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On Publicizing The Identity Of Moshiach Part 3
(Click here for Part 1)
Interview by Rabbi Shalom Yaakov Chazan

Three distinguished shluchim, known for their involvement with inyanei Moshiach and Geula, gathered to discuss the Rebbe’s directives as they pertain to our times * Their conclusion: publicizing Moshiach’s identity must be, as the Rebbe put it, “an ongoing and increasing activity”


Let’s discuss the proclamation of saying "Yechi." What significance does it have?

Rabbi Majeski: This proclamation contains a number of important ideas that are explained in the Rebbe’s sichos. First of all, as the Rebbe said in the sicha of Beis Nissan 5748, the people’s proclamation of "Yechi HaMelech" brings about additional life to the king, which is even more significant when speaking of Moshiach. In addition, the Rebbe emphasizes there that proclaiming "Yechi HaMelech" pertains to the core of Geula and brings about the fulfillment of "‘Arise and sing, those who dwell in the dust’ — the Rebbe [Rayatz] — including ‘arise and sing,’ Dovid Malka Meshicha."

Proclaiming "Yechi HaMelech" also expresses the idea of kabbalas ha’malchus, as they said regarding Dovid and Shlomo HaMelech — "Yechi HaMelech Dovid l’olam" and "Yechi HaMelech Shlomo" respectively. The kingship must be accepted by the people, as the Rebbe said in the sicha of Mishpatim 5751: "The appointment of Moshiach happened already, and what remains is the acceptance of his kingdom by the people."

Aside from that, this proclamation signifies the existence of Moshiach. It announces and reveals that Moshiach’s existence is openly here in the world and we must greet/accept him. This is similar to what the Rebbe said in VaYeira 5752, that now we have not only the existence of the one who is worthy of being Moshiach in every generation, but also the actual revelation of Moshiach, and that we must greet him.

In Toldos 5752, the Rebbe said that the proclamation of "Yechi Adoni HaMelech Dovid l’olam" actually refers to Moshiach, and reveals the essence of his existence. From this stems all of Moshiach’s accomplishments and all inyanei Geula. In this way "Yechi" is connected to all inyanei ha’Geula.

In the beginning of the 2 Nissan 5748 sicha (section 12) it says, "The main thing is action: we must conclude and finish our deeds and our avoda, including the request and demand of ‘ad masai’ and the proclamation of ‘Yechi HaMelech Dovid Malka Meshicha,’ with the utmost haste."

Rabbi Wilschansky: Based on the Rebbe’s conduct and statements, you can categorize the basis of saying "Yechi" into three central concepts:

1) Hiskashrus: "Yechi" is a fundamental principle and an affirmation which the Rebbe implanted in us in the final period before Gimmel Tammuz. Since this is the last thing we received from the Rebbe, it expresses our very connection to the Rebbe. We live with it, we daven with it, we learn, farbreng, and do the shlichus assigned to us with it in mind.

2) Fulfilling the Rebbe’s directive: Proclaiming "Yechi" declares that Moshiach is here and affecting the world, that we must accept his leadership and fulfill the Rebbe’s directive to publicize the besuras ha’Geula.

3) Kabbalas ha’malchus: As Rabbi Majeski said, it is a principle that is fundamental to inyanei Moshiach.

Rabbi Greenberg: It is important to stress that among all the ideas included in "Yechi," the concept most relevant to us now is adding life to the Nasi HaDor. However we explain the life of the Nasi HaDor at present, it certainly isn’t the sort of life we want, and it is not the sort of life the Nasi HaDor wants. The main point of this proclamation is simple: to increase the king’s life in a way that is apparent to all.

The source of "Yechi Adoneinu..." is the sicha of Beis Nissan in which the Rebbe speaks about the proclamation of "Yechi HaMelech." Why then don’t we simply proclaim "Yechi HaMelech"?

Rabbi Wilschansky: That was satisfactory until the Rebbe began encouraging the singing of "Yechi Adoneinu." Since Simchas Torah 5753, the Rebbe encouraged the singing of "Yechi Adoneinu" hundreds and thousands of times, and this was a change from the earlier expression.

The phrase "Yechi HaMelech" only expresses the idea of adding life to the king and bringing the Geula, as the Rebbe explains in the sicha of Beis Nissan 5748. The concepts of accepting the kingdom of Moshiach, however, and the revelation of his existence, which the Rebbe spoke about in the sichos of 5751-2, are emphasized only in "Yechi Adoneinu."

This answers the claim certain people make that since the Rebbe said that "Yechi HaMelech" is included in "ad masai," then we are better off proclaiming "ad masai"! This is absolutely wrong. Examine the sicha. The Rebbe explains the importance of proclaiming "Yechi HaMelech" – that it effects an increase in the life of the king and brings the Geula. (When the Jews hailed the kingship of the House of Dovid, they did not proclaim "ad masai.") The Rebbe’s intent is that it is so essential to say "Yechi HaMelech" that even calling out "ad masai," which is simply a cry about Galus in general, includes within it the idea of "Yechi HaMelech." "Yechi Adoneinu," on the other hand, is more than an expression of the general concept of bringing the Geula and increasing the life of the king. It is a more specific idea that Moshiach has already been revealed and that we accept his kingdom. This is a meaning that "ad masai" and "Yechi HaMelech" lack, as I have explained. It is obvious that the primary proclamation is "Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach l’olam va’ed."

Rabbi Greenberg: The phrase "Yechi Adoneinu" includes the proclamation that was always said to the Rebbe with his encouragement and consent, starting at the farbrengen of 20 Av 5736: "Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu." The addition of the words "Melech HaMoshiach l’olam va’ed" is based on the pasuk, "Yechi Adoni HaMelech Dovid l’olam." The main point is, as was said earlier, that the Rebbe accepted this and encouraged it for over a year.

Rabbi Majeski: When I am asked this question I say: If you insist, then proclaim "Yechi HaMelech."

It’s important to note that in the sicha of Beis Nissan 5748, the Rebbe says that the source for proclaiming "Yechi HaMelech" is in the proclamations made to the kings of Beis Dovid. At the time, they would specify which king they meant, and would not say merely "Yechi HaMelech." That is why we must specify that we mean Melech HaMoshiach.

If the proclamation of "Yechi HaMelech" is so important and "ad masai" is simply not enough, why wasn’t this done back then in 5748?

Rabbi Greenberg: I think this question is meaningless at this point. Let’s say we made a mistake back then. What does that have to do with right now?

Perhaps back then we didn’t feel the need for the nation to affect the life of the Nasi HaDor as we did after Chaf-Zayin Adar. In general, one could apply the statement of Chazal that Yisroel, "if they are not prophets, they are the disciples of prophets." This point, this Chassidic sensitivity, began only when the Rebbe began speaking very strongly about Moshiach.

Rabbi Wilschansky: The truth is that there were a few people who did proclaim "Yechi HaMelech" and the Rebbe encouraged this. There’s a video of the Rebbe returning from the Ohel, in which one of the Chassidim proclaims "Yechi HaMelech" and the Rebbe motions with his hand encouragingly. Perhaps we really were supposed to begin saying it then, but we didn’t "get it" until the Rebbe began emphasizing the issue of Moshiach even more.

Rabbi Majeski: Generally speaking, there are many things which the Rebbe introduced, and it was only after a certain period of time that he referred back to those ideas and brought them down to a practical level. An example of this is in the famous sicha of Chaf-Ches Nissan in which the Rebbe gives over the job of bringing the Geula to us. The truth is that the Rebbe spoke similarly (if not as strongly) on Purim 5747, when he explained how the avoda goes from the Nasi to the people. You can also say that in 5748 the Rebbe mentioned it once, and as we approached ever closer to the Yemos HaMoshiach the emphasis was even stronger, particularly since Simchas Torah 5753.

If I understand correctly, the bottom line is that "ad masai" or "Moshiach now" are not as essential or central as "Yechi Adoneinu" ...

Rabbi Wilschansky: Definitely the dominant idea and the most recent instruction the Rebbe encouraged (to date) is "Yechi Adoneinu...," and in a way that was obviously more powerful than "ad masai" or "Moshiach now." Clearly this is the primary essential point.

There are those who claim that the proclamation of "Yechi" seems like a slogan or something superficial and lacks all inner content.

Rabbi Wilschansky: Why does it assume the status of a slogan? We are talking about a proclamation based on a sicha of the Rebbe. Chassidim sang this proclamation thousands of times after Chaf-Zayin Adar, in moments of love and yearning, out of true hiskashrus to the Rebbe and with a prayer from the depths of their hearts for the Rebbe’s complete health and imminent revelation.

How could a Chassid of the Rebbe, a mekushar, who is ready to sacrifice everything he has for the Rebbe MH"M and his inyanim, who saw with his own eyes, or maybe only on a video, how the Rebbe encouraged this singing, literally being moser nefesh with movements that must have been quite painful — how could he diminish its importance?! The Rebbe’s secretary said that every movement took greater effort than handing out dollars for eight hours straight! The Rebbe repeatedly encouraged the singing of "Yechi Adoneinu" for over a year. This is the song that the Rebbe chose to use before seemingly parting from his Chassidim until his imminent revelation, the only thing we have merited to receive from the Rebbe for such a long period of time. How is it possible to describe it as a superficial slogan?! What a shame that we have reached such a state that these things are said.

So what’s the answer? These are people who have not bothered to examine what the Rebbe has to say about the matter, let alone attempted to understand it in depth, which is why they say such derogatory things that slight the Rebbe’s honor. I don’t mean to say that anybody intends to denigrate the Rebbe. Unquestionably, Chassidim value every move the Rebbe makes. But the painful truth forces us to say that not studying what the Rebbe has said has led to these terrible errors.

Now, as far as chitzoniyus (superficiality) and pnimiyus (inwardness), I say that the person asking the question sees the proclamation as something superficial, since whatever he sees of this proclamation is superficial. Whoever examines the content and source of the proclamation, especially bearing in mind the Rebbe’s non-stop encouragement of the song, couldn’t possibly say that it is superficial.

We cannot say that putting on tefillin without kavana is a superficial act and that answering amen without kavana is a superficial slogan, ch’v. The same applies to "Yechi." At the same time, though, it is important to emphasize that when the kavana is missing, the act is sorely lacking. As the Sages say: A prayer without kavana is like a body without a soul.

Rabbi Majeski: Actually, I am happy with the term "slogan" in its positive sense. In the Rebbe’s Igros Kodesh (Vol. 18, letters #6768 and #6836) you find the following: "the slogan of this year is: u’faratzta yama va’keidma tzafona va’negba." A slogan is a phrase that fully encapsulates an idea. It is certainly appropriate to say that "Yechi Adoneinu" is the slogan that the Rebbe instilled in us in connection with Mivtza Kabbalas Pnei Moshiach. It represents our enthusiasm and koch in this matter.

Anyway, I would like to know why this question wasn’t asked when we proclaimed "ad masai" and "Moshiach now" years ago?

But why does "Yechi" have to appear on every letter or flyer? If you bring a guest for Shabbos to 770, he will hear "Yechi" chanted practically a dozen times. Isn’t this a bit much? And now there are t’fillin brochures that have "Yechi" as part of the t’filla.

Rabbi Wilschansky: Since "Yechi" expresses our enthusiasm and our mission, it’s only natural that we want to express this at every opportunity. If you read the Rebbe’s letters from the beginning of the ‘40’s, when the Rebbe Rayatz said "L’alter l’teshuva, l’alter l’Geula," you will see that even though the Rebbe Rayatz himself did not stress this in every letter, the Rebbe would mention it at the end of nearly every letter, to the point that it became part of the official symbol of Machne Yisroel until today.

Proclaiming "Yechi" today is a direct continuation of the singing of "Yechi" after the t’fillos with the Rebbe in 5753. Since that’s the way it was standing before the Rebbe MH"M, it’s the same now. As far as the other times it is proclaimed, at gatherings, etc., the Rebbe said on Chaf-Ches Nissan that it isn’t possible for ten Jews to gather without making a tumult about the coming of Moshiach. That means that we have to use every means possible to make a tumult about the coming of Moshiach. When we put tefillin on with a Jew or have any other mivtzaim encounter with a Jew, it is a great opportunity to demand the Geula. And saying "Yechi" is even more appropriate.

Rabbi Majeski: I would ask the question the other way around. Are we saying "Yechi" enough? As long as we have still not merited the final revelation, what is more important than crying out more for the Geula? What is more important to us today than meriting to see the Rebbe again?

In the sicha of Parshas Tzav 5745, the Rebbe says that during the times for davening one should daven; at the time for Krias Sh’ma one should recite Krias Sh’ma; and the rest of the day one should cry out "Moshiach now!" The "Moshiach now" of our times is "Yechi Adoneinu!"

In the last sichos we heard (to date) the Rebbe constantly emphasized the Rambam which says that a person should see the world in a balance, where one mitzva could tilt the scale. The Rebbe stressed that this could be even a single good thought. Since the proclamation of "Yechi" has such deep significance, perhaps it will tilt the world to the side of merit and bring the Geula.

You quote many sichos from before Chaf-Zayin Adar and refer to the Rebbe’s encouraging the singing of "Yechi" after that. Maybe this all applied before Gimmel Tammuz, but not afterwards.

Rabbi Wilschansky: In order to decide whether something is appropriate or not in any given context, you must examine its meaning and see whether something ought to change or not. In our situation, when you examine the meaning of "Yechi Adoneinu," which is primarily based on the idea of kabbalas ha’malchus and adding life to the king — what could have changed after Gimmel Tammuz?

Rabbi Majeski: In the sichos that were said after Yud Shvat 5710, you can discern a theme that runs through them all: all the activities that began before Yud Shvat must continue without any change or diminishment.

The Rebbe wrote to someone in connection with the difficulties the person was encountering in running his mosad. He was considering closing the mosad. The Rebbe wrote (5740, Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 19, p. 620) that he should consult with "those who are real askanim and real Lubavitchers." How would he know who are the real askanim and real Lubavitchers? The Rebbe writes: If the people you consult with talk about expanding the mosad or, at the very least, keeping it open, then they are considered by the Rebbe to be genuine Lubavitchers. But if "someone tells you not to take action or not to bother, in whatever project it might be...he is not considered to be an askan at all, and he is obviously not a member of the Anash of my father-in-law, the Rebbe."

Rabbi Greenberg: The very question is dangerous. Imagine what would happen if Lubavitch would stop publicizing Moshiach’s identity and the public would accept the fact that we stopped believing it. That would mean that a major, well-publicized stance of Lubavitch and the Rebbe did not work out in the end.

Let’s say the whole besuras ha’Geula will have turned out to be a mistake, ch’v. Then maybe other mivtzaim, and everything else Lubavitch stands for, is not 100%, ch’v.

We have to be very clear about this: Lubavitch doesn’t do something and regret it afterwards! Hashem is 100% correct, the Rebbe is 100% correct, and anything done with the Rebbe’s encouragement and consent is true and eternal.

(To be continued.)



Rabbi Heschel Greenberg - director of the Jewish Discovery Center Williamsville, New York
We have to be very clear about this: Lubavitch doesn’t do something and regret it afterwards! Hashem is 100% correct, the Rebbe is 100% correct, and anything done with the Rebbe’s encouragement and consent is true and eternal.

Rabbi Shloma Zalman Majesky - dean of Machon Chana, Crown Heights
I would ask the question the other way around. Are we saying "Yechi" enough? As long as we have still not merited the final revelation, what is more important than crying out more for the Geula?

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Wilschansky - Rosh Yeshivas Chassidei Chabad Lubavitch, Tzfas  

Every movement took greater effort than handing out dollars for eight hours straight!

Yet the Rebbe repeatedly encouraged the singing of "Yechi Adoneinu" for over a year... How is it possible to describe it as a superficial slogan?!


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