Publicizing The Identity Of Moshiach Part 4
here for Part 1)
Interview by Rabbi
Shalom Yaakov Chazan
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”
Brings Honor To Lubavitch
I am not mistaken, Mivtza Moshiach is the only campaign
that the Rebbe said should be “b’ofen ha’miskabel”
(in a way that is acceptable to others). There are those who think
that publicizing Moshiach’s identity is not “b’ofen
Majeski: If I were able to do so, I would hang up a huge sign
correcting the terrible mistake made regarding this concept.
People simply took a phrase from a sicha and ascribed a
falsified meaning to it. In the sicha, which is a
fundamental sicha about shlichus and which was said
to the shluchim, the Rebbe says that “every shaliach...explains
the concept of Moshiach, as it is explicated in the Written and
Oral Torah, b’ofen ha’miskabel to every single person
according to his intellect and understanding, including and
especially – by learning inyanei Moshiach and Geula.”
is an explicit directive about how to learn. You must explain the
concept of Moshiach to every person in a way that will make it
rationally understood and accepted, and this is done primarily
through learning inyanei Moshiach and Geula. Where
is there a condition being made here about what should and should
not be publicized?
idea that it must be explained and clarified according to the
capacity of each person is fundamental to all the mivtzaim,
which must be done with ways of peace and pleasantness. As the
Rebbe said in the sicha of Shavuos 5745, “obviously all
this must be done with ways of pleasantness and peace, but – in
a way of war, i.e., that you proceed boldly without fear... At the
same time, as was said, in the ways of pleasantness and peace, and
then you will achieve success in the proper way.”
connection with this I will quote from a letter the Rebbe wrote (Igros
Kodesh, Vol. 3, #599): “He pointed out a question
concerning the wording in my letter, ‘to bring merit to the many
in the proper manner,’ and you ask what is ‘the proper
manner’?: I simply meant that sometimes the content or language
of the maamarim and kuntreisim are difficult for
some of the listeners, so I added ‘in the proper manner.’ I do
not mean that by sending the kuntres, they should benefit
only those who understand the content or language; they should
also benefit those who need help understanding it.” So ofen
ha’miskabel means conveying something properly in a way that
will make people receptive to it. This is important for every mivtza
Greenberg: As Rabbi Majeski said, “ofen ha’miskabel”
with regard to Moshiach is exactly like the Rebbe’s demand
“not to break their nose” regarding Mivtza T’fillin.
The reason the Rebbe used the expression “ofen ha’miskabel”
is because there is a difference between the topic of Moshiach and
other mivtzaim pertain to a certain action — that a
person should put on t’fillin or keep Shabbos, etc. The
person’s understanding of these mitzvos is not as
essential, whereas the topic of Moshiach, on the other hand, must
be understood. Therefore, the Rebbe says that a person should be
made to understand it and accept it rationally.
brings us to another point. Even when we publicize Moshiach’s
identity, it isn’t enough that people know who Moshiach is and
believe it. He must understand what Moshiach is all about, what
kind of person is he, and what he is destined to accomplish.
Wilschansky: As a side point, one could add that, on the
contrary, it is specifically regarding the topic of Moshiach that
the Rebbe said it must be approached with oros d’Tohu, as
the Rebbe said on Chaf-Ches Nissan, “oros d’Tohu b’keilim
are people who say that they are out on shlichus and this
matter is simply not accepted in their area. What do you say to
Wilschansky: Nobody guarantees that all you have to do is go over
to someone and say: “Listen my fellow Jew, the Lubavitcher Rebbe
is the redeemer and we must accept his kingship and anticipate the
redemption” – and he will just nod his head in agreement and
accept it all just like that. Nobody will guarantee you that every
Jew you approach will agree to Mivtza T’fillin. At the
same time though, nobody will say that you should forget about Mivtza
T’fillin. Even a director of a Chabad House who sometimes
cannot get even one Jew to put on t’fillin would not say
to forget about it because no one will do it. The Rebbe gave us
the ability and prepared the world so that people will become
informed and accept Moshiach’s identity with true faith.
Therefore, this matter is possible – you only have to
know how to be successful at it.
only that – even if a mivtza of the Rebbe is not accepted
in a certain place, you shouldn’t stop that mivtza. On
the contrary, you must make every effort to get that mivtza accepted
in that place.
the early years of Mivtza Tzivos Hashem, one of the shluchim
encountered tremendous opposition from a certain educator who
said that nowadays you have to educate children about peace and
not war (as implied by the name Tzivos Hashem, the Army of G-d).
It reached a point where the Rebbe sent that educator a three-page
letter, but that didn’t help. In the end, the shaliach had
to leave his shlichus! Now, following that incident, did
the Rebbe call a halt to the mivtza? Clearly, the Rebbe
wants us to continue with this mivtza, even in that city.
Greenberg: Today it just isn’t a topic for discussion
anymore because everybody knows that Lubavitch believes the Rebbe
is Moshiach. Perhaps, if instead of debates, we explained things
properly, we could quickly supply the public with an explanation
which is miskabel.
Majeski: Somebody once asked the Rebbe Maharash for a bracha
for a refua. The Rebbe sent him to a doctor and the person
recovered. His friend was sick with exactly the same illness and
went to the same doctor (without consulting with the Rebbe) and
received the same medicine, but his condition did not improve. The
first person asked the Rebbe about this, and the Rebbe replied
with the saying of Chazal, “From here we learn that a
doctor is given permission to heal.” So too with us. Something
for which the Rebbe gives permission, he gives strength and
once heard a debate between two men, one from Crown Heights and
one from out of town. The first said, “Your problem is that you
aren’t in 770 every Shabbos. If you heard the Rebbe’s sichos
every Shabbos you would agree we have to conquer the world
with the besuras ha’Geula.” The second one said,
“Your problem is you hear too many sichos. If you went
out into the street a bit and would hear people’s reactions, you
would ‘get off it’ pretty fast.”
other words, the debate was over what defines reality – sichos
or the street?
are people who say that when it comes to general outreach they do
fine, and it’s only the topic of Moshiach they have a problem
Wilschansky: It is simply not correct to say that the topic of
Moshiach’s identity is harder to accept than anything else. On
Leftist settlements, for example, the Rebbe’s views on shleimus
ha’Aretz are much harder to get people to accept than in
other neighborhoods. The Leftists find it difficult to accept the
idea of not serving in the army, as well. Different people find
different ideas harder to accept. It is harder to publicize this
matter than to work on Mivtza T’fillin, which is stated
explicitly in the Torah. In any case, the ability to succeed was
given to us by the Rebbe and, therefore, we can be successful.
people oppose publicity because they claim it hurts Lubavitch.
These are not only people on the sidelines, but people with
experience in shlichus, too. In your opinion are they
simply wrong and is there no basis to what they say?
Wilschansky: There is a basic misunderstanding as to the meaning
of kvod Lubavitch [bringing honor to Lubavitch]. The Rebbe
is the one who dictates what is kvod Lubavitch and
what isn’t. The kvod Lubavitch is measured by what
the Rebbe wants and establishes and not by us.
if someone would think it wasn’t dignified for the Rebbe to
announce the birthday mivtza? It sounds weird and reminds
people of kindergarten and birthday cakes with candles, he might
claim. Of course, this is ridiculous and even worse than that,
because it’s the opposite of what the Rebbe said and naturally
the opposite of kvodo.
biggest chillul Lubavitch is when you do the opposite of
what the Rebbe wants. A good example of that is the Camp David
Accords. While most of the Jewish people rejoiced over the
“breakthrough to peace” and began to imagine tours in Arab
capitols, the Rebbe screamed about the great chillul Hashem involved
in giving away land.
question is, what chillul Hashem is there in publicizing
that the Rebbe is Moshiach? On the contrary, opposition to the
idea could offend people and push them away from Lubavitch. There
is no greater chillul Hashem than doing the opposite of
Torah and what Hashem wants. Likewise, when we know the Rebbe
wants us to publicize Moshiach’s identity, there is no greater chillul
Hashem than opposing this.
Greenberg: A good example of this is the whistling at the
Rebbe’s farbrengens. At one of the farbrengens the
Rebbe motioned that somebody should whistle. This became a
standard practice, but at the time it was new and unfamiliar and
there were people who felt a bit uncomfortable with this
Gershon Jacobson published a picture of it in the Algemeiner
Journal, and as expected, it aroused a furor. There were
Chassidim who were embarrassed by it (unfortunately) and tried to
deny it had happened. They tried to rationalize it in order to
mitigate the “indiscretion.” In addition, they gave it over
the head to the editor for shaming the honor of Lubavitch. “We
simply cannot walk out into the street,” they exclaimed.
did the Rebbe say? At the Purim 5736 farbrengen the Rebbe
said an unusually sharp sicha: “They are embarrassed by
what I do?!”
teaches us that there is no greater denigration of Lubavitch than
to be embarrassed by things the Rebbe does and encourages!
Majeski: By asking the question about “experienced shluchim,”
what you really are saying is that if they say otherwise, then it
can’t be as simple as you make it out to be.
would like to quote a sicha of the Rebbe Rayatz, the
contents of which everyone knows, but the exact language used is
not so well known, and it sheds light on this issue. This sicha
was said by the Rebbe Rayatz right after his arrival in America,
when he proclaimed “America is no different,” and he initiated
the founding of Tomchei Tmimim in America.
number of askanim who were called to a meeting to get the yeshiva
off the ground approached the Rebbe Rayatz and asked him not to go
through with it. This is how the Rebbe Rayatz describes the people
and what happened:
distinguished people came to me. They are old-time American
citizens, yichidei segula [very special individuals] who
are most dedicated people, beloved to me, and they said, ‘We
heard today how the Rebbe spoke about his plans, but unfortunately
we must inform the Rebbe about the terrible situation in America.
It is painful, but we must tell you. The Rebbe’s desire to
disseminate Torah and fear of Heaven as it is done in Europe, with
all possible efforts, is impossible!’
added three things for which reason they wanted to prevent me from
carrying on: 1) the responsibility [they felt] to save me from
great disappointment, 2) from abysmal failure, 3) ‘to protect
the honor of your holy ancestors.’”
words speak for themselves.
Majeski: It is the obligation of every Chassid to sit and learn
the sichos from the summer 5751 through the winter of 5752,
in order to be able to appreciate the unique era we are in, on the
threshold of the Geula, seeing it through the Rebbe’s
eyes. This will forestall many of the questions about Moshiach and
Geula in general, and the sensitive and important issue of
Moshiach’s identity in particular.