How is the Rebbe “Nassi Hador” if not accepted by all as Nassi?
September 5, 2019
Beis Moshiach in #1181, Rebbe, Stump the Rabbi

In the famous ma’amar of Ve’ata Tetzave 5741, the Rebbe explains that there are generally two types of leaders of the generation.

One category includes leaders such as Moshe Rabbeinu, who was inarguably the recognized leader of all Jews in his generation. Mordechai Hatzaddik was definitely in this category, as the Midrash tells us: “Mordechai BeDoro K’Moshe BeDoro.” The Rebbe also includes the Frierdiker Rebbe in this category. By extension (applying the rule of “Hu pasak al atzmo”), the Rebbe is also in this category.

The second category includes many other Tzaddikim that not everybody was necessarily able to realize that they were the Nassi of the entire generation.

For example, the Rebbe Maharash didn’t have so many Chassidim, and it wasn’t an openly visible fact that he was the leader of everyone.

There is a story that relates how Chassidim of the Rebbe Maharash once felt bad that certain important issues of the generation were being dealt with by other Tzaddikim. The Rebbe, to ease their pain, allowed them to see how he was really behind the scenes, accomplishing these matters.

[Let’s also bear in mind, that global communication didn’t exist as it does now, and many communities were probably not even in contact with others. They might not have even known of the existence of the Nassi Hador of their time, let alone accept him as such.]

In any case, what we can gather from this distinction made by the Rebbe is that a Nassi doesn’t always need to lead from the forefront, it’s a role that can be filled from behind the scenes at times… (See Ma’amarei Admur Hazakein – Inyanim p. 299 in the name of the Ba’al Shem Tov).

Even Moshe Had Opposition…

Returning to the original question, even Moshe Rabbeinu, who was unarguably a revealed type of Nassi, experienced opposition, not from “lowlifes,” but from prominent figures like Korach (whom Chazal describe as a “pikeach” — a wise person) along with a group of 250 heads of Sanhedrin! They surely brought along with them many more followers who believed that Moshe was unrightfully taking his position.

Mordechai also, the Megillah tells us in its last verse, was “a great man among the Jews, and was favored by the majority of his brethren.” Chazal teach us that this infers that “Some members of the Sanhedrin disassociated themselves from him” (see Likkutei Sichos vol. XVI p. 373ff), and nevertheless, he was the revealed leader of the generation.

How is that?

The concept of a Nassi Hador can be understood based on the idea of connecting to a Tzadik and Talmid Chacham in general:

The main Purpose of the Nassi

The Torah commands us to “Cleave to Him” — to Hashem. Chazal ask, “Is it possible for a human being to connect to the Shechinah? Rather, connect to Talmidei Chachamim.”

Kabbala and Chassidus explain that the Neshamos of the sages are like the head and brain which connect the rest of the body to its soul which resides primarily in the brain.

Now, the brain serves its purpose, regardless of whether the body parts recognize it or not. Tanya chapter 2 talks of “those who willfully sin and rebel against the Torah sages” and declares that they are nonetheless connected to Hashem through the Talmidei Chachamim.

The concept of a Nassi Hador, one primary Moshe-like leader in every generation, is one that is mentioned both in Nigleh and expounded on the Nistar. The Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah, 56:7) says “There is no generation that doesn’t have a likeness of Moshe” and the Zohar (Tikkunim, ch. 69, p. 112a) teaches that there is an “ispashtusa,” an extension of Moshe in every generation continuing Moshe’s mission to provide the people of Israel with Da’as, knowledge and connection to Hashem.

Tanya chapter 1 brings from the Midrash that Hashem saw that Tzaddikim are few, so he planted them in every generation, as is written “the Tzaddik is the foundation of the world.” Chazal say (Yoma, 38b) that “even for one righteous person the world exists” based on this passuk and insists that it can be even one!

In P’nimiyus HaTorah this concept gets even greater clarity, as Moshe carries the Neshama Klalis, the general Neshama that includes the 600,000 Neshamos of all Jews and connects them to Hashem, their lifeforce. The Tzaddik possessing this general soul, must obviously exist at all times…

So, we clearly see that there is in every generation the one Tzaddik who holds up the entire generation.

How Can You Tell A Nassi From Other Tzaddikim

Now many Tzaddikim teach Jews about Hashem and inspire them, how can we know which of them is the Nassi Hador?]

A Nassi Hador means someone we see giving and teaching to the generation as a whole; someone who concerns himself, on his part, with the needs of all the Jews of his time, whether or not they accept it.

Moshe brought the Torah to every Jew; he taught the knowledge of Hashem to all Jews and internalized the Emuna of every Jew of his generation. Physically too, he brought down for all of them the Mon from Heaven without excluding anyone.

Whether or not it was accepted, is not consequential to the reality that Moshe was the Nassi Hador.

Mordechai HaYehudi brought Mesirus Nefesh to all of the people of his generation, whether they would accept and agree with him or not. And in our times — in a way more revealed than by Mordechai and maybe even Moshe Rabbeinu — the Rebbe teaches us all to believe, want, demand and live Moshiach.

That belief has become a reality for every single Jew of our times, and it reaches far beyond Jews… The recognition and belief in Moshiach have become household ideas to all. They may accept it or fight against it, but no longer can it be sidelined.

We also see clearly how no one wasn’t affected in some way, directly or indirectly, by the Rebbe. Most, if not all, Jewish leaders of our times (Chassidishe Rebbeim, Roshei Yeshivos, Mekubalim, and Litvishe Gedolim, as well as non-frum leaders, heads of state, etc.), corresponded or otherwise held a line of communication with the Rebbe, and in one way or another were influenced by the Rebbe’s leadership. This is something that has not been seen to such an extent with any other leader in any other generations.

[This is not about “comparing” or “measuring” greatness of Tzaddikim against one another, it’s just that among many other Tzaddikim, whose Divinely ordained mission is to care for their own flock, there is one Tzaddik in each generation who is chosen by Hashem to fill this role of Moshe Rabbeinu and care for the nation as a whole.]

The fact that people don’t want to accept and acknowledge it, and worse yet — fight it, does not change the fact that they were affected.

We don’t have the time to go through all of the concepts the Rebbe brought into the world and made “mainstream,” but a few examples: Ideas from Chassidus such as Hashgacha Pratis as taught by the Ba’al Shem Tov, is now universally accepted.

Or keeping Mitzvos B’hidur (like being particular about Shmurah Matzah or Chalav Yisrael) are among the chidushim the Rebbe introduced into our world and even if not followed by all, the awareness of its importance is universal…

And of course, the “crown jewel” — the idea of bringing non-affiliated Jews closer to Yiddishkeit (“Kiruv”), which today is no longer an exclusively Chabad thing, which is something the Rebbe started single-handedly, amidst sharp criticism and ridicule.

There are countless more examples that can be given, but the main example is what we mentioned before — Moshiach, a topic now talked about by the entire world! 

In this generation, there is the single, one Nassi of the generation who has affected every single Jew and even non-Jew in this generation in the most powerful way and manner.

Transcribed and edited from a video on

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