Wisdom From Our Mashpiim
Interview by Shmuel Alexander

Mashpiim in Lubavitch yeshivos around the world discuss inyanei Moshiach and Geula with a focus on questions such as: What is the source of our absolute bitachon in the immediate revelation of the Rebbe MH"M? Why is the constant involvement in the besuras ha’Geula so important? How can we fortify ourselves during this difficult time?

Part 4
(Click here for Part 1)


Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Butman
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, Lud

Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Ginsberg
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, Kfar Chabad

Rabbi Yitzchok Meir Gurary
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, Montreal

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Kesselman
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, South Africa

Rabbi Pinchas Korf
mashpia Oholei Torah, Crown Heights

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Landau
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, Bnei Brak

Rabbi Dovid Offen
mashpia Toras Emes, Yerushalayim

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Offen
mashpia Tomchei Tmimim, Tzfas and Yerushalayim

Rabbi Nachman Shapiro
mashpia Oholei Torah, Crown Heights

(Continued from issue 298.)

Rabbi Ginsberg: People who "live with Moshiach," realizing that the Rebbe is Moshiach, etc., exhibit greater hiskashrus and genuine enthusiasm than others.

What do you base that statement on?

Rabbi Ginsberg: It’s obvious. When we educate our talmidim that the Rebbe is Moshiach, who will imminently redeem us, it makes everything about the Rebbe very immediate. We’re not talking about a Rebbe we once had who still continues to guide us, but a Rebbe whom we will immediately see with our own eyes.

When you relate to the Rebbe as someone from the past, he becomes, r’l, part of history. The difference between the Rebbe and other tzaddikim, especially the other Rebbeim, becomes blurred. The miracles the Rebbe continues to perform, etc., alone do not sufficiently underscore the fact that the Rebbe is our Nasi, now as before.

Do you think that if someone went to Rostov and asked the Rebbe Rashab for a bracha it wouldn’t be accepted? Do we doubt that the bracha would be given? Of course the bracha would be given (especially since the Rebbe Rashab isn’t just any tzaddik, but one of the Rebbeim and Nesiim who are still our Nesiim), but that doesn’t mean the Rebbe Rashab is our Nasi, the Nasi of this generation.

Let me cite an example of what I am talking about. Two bachurim met after a Gimmel Tammuz farbrengen in their respective yeshivos. One bachur learned in a yeshiva in which the subject of Moshiach with all its details, including the Rebbe’s prophecy of Geula and the fact that the Rebbe is chai v’kayam, are all commonplace, while the other bachur learned in a yeshiva where this isn’t quite so strong. The boys shared their impressions of the farbrengens they had attended. The bachur from the more Meshichist yeshiva spoke enthusiastically about the fact that they spent the night talking about the Rebbe’s being Melech HaMoshiach, and that everything the Rebbe said will come to pass. The other bachur described, also enthusiastically, his farbrengen, how "they farbrenged the entire night about how we have to know that even though there was a Gimmel Tammuz, the Rebbe is still not like the earlier Rebbeim – the Rebbe belongs to us more..."

Now you might say, what’s wrong with that? But the answer is simple. In the first yeshiva they focused on something positive, which naturally leads to joy and excitement, whereas in the other yeshiva they also addressed the negative, which naturally leads to sadness. The fact that you have to begin explaining the difference between the Rebbe and the earlier Rebbeim, is a very serious matter. It is a sorry state if you have to begin farbrenging about that instead of taking this as a given.

Think about what could happen if a bachur takes his experience of Gimmel Tammuz b’p’shitus (the simple reality) and "our Rebbe" b’hischadshus (a new approach to conceiving reality). For this reason, it is important to constantly stress that the Rebbe said that in our generation there won’t be a histalkus, as there was in the previous generation, and that the Rebbe is shlita kepshuto (literally).

Some say, alright, the Rebbe said that, but why do you have to repeat it over and over? The answer is that when it’s clear that the Rebbe is shlita, then the Rebbe is someone we live with in the present, not someone who is part of past history, ch’v.

Lately, many people speak of the Rebbe as Moshiach. Many Chassidim use this title when referring to the Rebbe and write it in their pidyon nefesh. What is the purpose of this? Was there a time we didn’t know the Rebbe was Moshiach? The Rebbe is Rebbe, so of course he’s Moshiach!

Rabbi Korf: Originally, the fact that the Rebbe is Moshiach was experienced within the realm of emuna. Since the Rebbe didn’t say so explicitly, there was a noticeable distinction between referring to the Rebbe as "Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu," or even "Nasi doreinu," and "Melech HaMoshiach." There used to be those who had a koch in this area, such as R’ Avrohom Pariz, R’ Berke Chein, and others, and they wrote letters using the title Melech HaMoshiach long ago. But they were singular individuals. Once the Rebbe began talking about it openly – starting from Simchas Torah 5746, and especially after Chaf-Ches Nissan 5751, when the Rebbe often referred to the "Moshiach of the generation" – since the king himself was talking about it, we began using this term, too.

Rabbi Gurary: As said before, connecting with the Rebbe as Melech HaMoshiach is a higher degree of hiskashrus, one that includes within it far loftier kochos, along with great demands – "Do all that you can." Thus, emphasizing that the Rebbe is Moshiach stresses the point that today our hiskashrus to the Rebbe is not just on the level of "Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu," but also on the level of "Melech HaMoshiach."

Rabbi Shapiro: As emphasized earlier, hiskashrus means Chassidim kochen zich in what the Rebbe kocht zich. We saw the Rebbe constantly mentioning that the leader of the generation is the Moshiach of the generation, and it says explicitly in a note to a sicha of Tazria-Metzora 5751 that we Chassidim follow their example, referring to the disciples of various Amoraim, who pointed to their Rebbes as Moshiach.

In the early years the Rebbe barely mentioned Moshiach’s identity, aside from the Purim sicha of Naso 5720, when the Rebbe said that when the Rebbe Rayatz made his proclamation about Moshiach, the Chassidim immediately began saying that it was the Rebbe [Rayatz]. There were other isolated comments over the years, but besides that, the Rebbe did not elaborate on the matter. However, when the Rebbe made Moshiach the number one topic and began speaking of his arrival as something imminent, the Rebbe began stressing the point that the leader of the generation is the Moshiach of the generation.

The most outstanding point is that starting from 5753, the Rebbe encouraged the singing of "Yechi" hundreds and thousands of times. "Yechi" stresses that "our master, our teacher and our Rebbe" is Melech HaMoshiach. Naturally, this became our koch.

When the Rebbe began openly encouraging the singing of "Yechi," the members of the Vaad L’Hafotzas Sichos decided to ask the Rebbe whether we could add the title "Melech HaMoshiach" in his sfarim. The Rebbe agreed. This means that the Rebbe saw fit to present himself not just as a Rebbe but as Moshiach. Shouldn’t we do the same?

In our relationship with Melech HaMoshiach, more hiskashrus and more bittul is required, in accordance with our loftier goals. We see today that the Rebbe’s demands are greater than ever. There is a great concealment and we need the kochos of Moshiach to overcome them.

Rabbi Ginsberg: The answer to this is contained within the last sicha to the Kinus HaShluchim, in which the Rebbe MH"M set the agenda for the shlichus in this time period. I will quote from the sicha:

"The additional chiddush lately in the avodas ha’shlichus is: to greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu with the true and complete Redemption ... This is a general and primary chiddush which is not merely a detail or even a general aspect of shlichus, but a general and primary point, to the extent that it is the most all-encompassing point in Judaism – preparing for the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, which includes all the aspects and details of avodas ha’shlichus

"Since the shluchim have some time ago reached the point of being after the fulfillment of the beginning of the avodas ha’shlichus in hafatzas ha’Torah and Yiddishkeit and spreading the wellsprings outward – and some time ago reached the point after the middle of avodas ha’shlichus, until the shlichus has already been completed – and yet the true and complete Redemption still hasn’t actually come, one has to say that there still remains something to do in order to actually bring the Geula.

"This is based on the knowledge that ‘in every generation there is born one who is of the seed of Yehuda who is fitting to be Moshiach for Yisroel,’ one who, due to his righteousness, deserves to be the redeemer, and when the time comes Hashem will reveal Himself to him and send him." According to the proclamation of my father-in-law, the Rebbe, Nasi Doreinu, the singular shaliach in our generation and the singular Moshiach in our generation, that all the avoda has already been completed, it is understood that the ‘send please with the one You will send," has begun to be fulfilled, the shlichus of the Rebbe, my father-in-law.’ Therefore, it is understood that the only thing remaining in the avodas ha’shlichus is to actually greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu, in order for him to be able to fulfill his mission and take all the Jewish people out of Galus!"

In other words, the Rebbe is saying that the most fundamental thing in Judaism is greeting Moshiach – so that the Moshiach of the generation, who already began his mission, can take the Jewish people out of Galus. Put in yet other words, all the avoda today is connected with Moshiach’s identity!

Rabbi Butman: This question can be divided into two parts: 1) Why is it only lately that people have stressed that the Rebbe is Moshiach? 2) Why is it important to emphasize that the Rebbe is Moshiach?

The answer to the first question is as was explained at length above, that today, as we stand on the threshold of Geula, the fact that the Rebbe is Moshiach has become more real, and therefore, is more greatly emphasized. More importantly, though, is that we saw this in the Rebbe’s own conduct!

An example of this can be taken from the previously mentioned Purim farbrengen 5720. The Rebbe said that when the Rebbe Rayatz announced "l’alter l’t’shuva, l’alter l’Geula," the Chassidim immediately began saying that the Rebbe was Moshiach. This shows that the very speaking about Moshiach as something real immediately arouses talk about who Moshiach is.

I think the person who asks why we must emphasize that the Rebbe is Moshiach feels that the most important point is that the Rebbe is Rebbe, and does not understand how the fact that the Rebbe is Moshiach is relevant. I think he is asking: Why do I have to emphasize that the Rebbe is Moshiach? What’s important to me is that he is the Rebbe.

To such a person, the concept of Nasi Doreinu is actually not that important either. If the way he views the Rebbe is based on what he gets from the Rebbe – that the Rebbe tells him sichos, the Rebbe gives him dollars, etc., then clearly the entire subject of the Rebbe’s being Moshiach is of no interest to him. It just causes trouble. This is because the concept of Rebbe expresses a personal connection to Chassidim, whereas the concept of Nasi HaDor, and more especially Moshiach, refers to the entire generation and to all generations.

However, we should view the Rebbe as the Rebbe sees it. The Rebbe has constantly stressed that the Rebbe is the Nasi HaDor, and the revelation of the yechida of the Jewish people, which is what Moshiach is all about. When we reach the stage that the lofty status of Moshiach is openly revealed in the Rebbe, it obviously becomes something important to be emphasized.

(To be continued.)


Rabbi N. Shapiro
It says explicitly in a note to a sicha of Tazria-Metzora 5751 that we Chassidim follow their example, referring to the disciples of various Amoraim, who pointed to their Rebbes as Moshiach.


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