February 28, 2014
Rabbi Gershon Avtzon in #917, Thought

When the wagon stopped for the third time that day, even the gentiles realized that everything that happened with the Nasi Ha’dor was with his consent. The axles broke, the horse died, and nature changed all because the Alter Rebbe wanted to spend Shabbos on the roadside.

This event, that was told by the Rebbeim, comes to teach us a basic lesson in how to look at a Rebbe. The Rebbe is above the world! He is not limited by the limitations of nature. Everything that occurs to him is with his full consent and part of a detailed, G-dly plan, whose ultimate purpose is the hisgalus of the malchus of Melech HaMoshiach.

This is not a hergesh of Chassidim on one side or another, but something stated explicitly in the Sichos Kodesh of the Rebbe. When the Rebbe Rayatz told this story, he said that everything that happens to a tzaddik is solely with his consent. There is no other possibility!

Let us consider the following. The Rebbe MH”M, since accepting the nesius, gradually steps up inyanei Moshiach and Geula from year to year, moving it to the forefront, and turning it into a progressively more dominant issue. The Seifer Torah to Greet Moshiach, the Tzivos Hashem anthem, Tihei Shnas Divrei Moshiach, Hisgalus Moshiach, Moshiach Vadai, and moving from “yehi ratzon” to “the Yemos HaMoshiach in which we are presently,” and an explicit demand to publicize to all that our generation is the generation of Geula, that we need to learn inyanei Moshiach and Geula and to make this learning top priority, and there is a Navi who announced that the Geula is on the threshold.

Then, at the height of all the excitement, something happened that looked, to coarse, physical eyes, like “an unexpected glitch.” This “something” created the possibility that certain people might become confused and argue that something happened here that “ruined” all the Geula plans the Rebbe set into motion, making it necessary to stop the work that the Rebbe had explicitly asked for. G-d forbid!

Everything that happens with the Rebbe is with his full consent. It does not occur because of some external necessity, but with G-dly intent as part of a well-planned program whose final stage is the complete hisgalus.

When the Rebbe says that the action of a tzaddik, and all the more so, seeing or hearing his voice, needs to leave an unforgettable impression, he means even a one-time motion pertaining to an individual Chassid. All the more so does it pertain to the Rebbe’s demands of every one of us regarding the Geula and Moshiach. To say that something happened on Chaf-Zayin Adar that is a deviation from the original plan borders on heresy!

It must be stated clearly: The Rebbe knew ahead of time what would happen on Chaf-Zayin Adar I 5752 at the Ohel of the Rebbe Rayatz, and he knew this before he began demanding of the Chassidim that they ramp up the publicity and involvement with Geula and Moshiach. He knew there would be a situation in which it would be hard for us to explain to “outsiders” (and also to some people on the “inside”) that our generation is the generation of Geula and that the “Nasi of the generation is the Moshiach of the generation,” and that the Rebbe is the one who will redeem us. And yet, he demanded this of us.

Along comes a new type of kluginker (smart aleck) within our hearts who says, “Okay, the Rebbe wants us to be involved in inyanei Moshiach and Geula and to make this top priority, but what can I do when I am not excited about this? What can I do when I don’t ‘relate’ to it? I am not saying it’s incorrect. Nor am I saying that it shouldn’t be done, but I personally am not going to do it.”

The Rebbe says that when a certain thing is demanded of a person from Above, this itself is a clear sign that he has the ability to do it, because “according to the camel is the load,” and the job given to each of us to take action suits our strengths and abilities. If we just do what is demanded of us, we are guaranteed divine success from Above. As Chazal say, “Open for me an opening like the eye of a needle and I will open for you an opening like the opening of the (Temple) Hall.”

Despite all the pain that this day evokes, we need to do this with joy. Even if we don’t quite understand how it all works and what the divine plan is, we need to rejoice that the Rebbe moved us another step closer toward Geula. This day of Chaf-Zayin Adar is a day of simcha, a day much like the day that the Alter Rebbe was imprisoned, who during his stay in prison, some of the Chassidim, if not all of them thought –because the Rebbe Rayatz had not explained to them that everything that happens with a tzaddik is with his consent –that this day is a day of terrible concealment in which the Rebbe was taken to a terrible state of incarceration against his will. 

Afterward, it turned out that it occurred with his consent and it was another step in the revelation of the teachings of Chassidus to the extent that there is no comparison between “before Petersburg” and “after Petersburg.”

As it was then, the same is true today, with all the pain and sorrow. We need to know that the Rebbe is moving us forward toward the Geula. As great as the descent is, that is how great the ascent that follows it. After such an enormous and painful descent as this, we are absolutely certain that the greatest ascent, with the complete hisgalus, will follow.

The simcha needs to be not only “despite” the situation in which we cannot see the Rebbe, rejoicing only because we are told to “serve Hashem with joy.” Rather, because we are in a situation that the Rebbe put us in, and if the Rebbe is the one who put us in this place and at this time, we ought to be joyful because of the situation we are in.

Obviously, we absolutely do not agree to the concealment and darkness we have been in for so many years. We want to see our king. We cannot, G-d forbid, tolerate another moment in this dreadful situation. But, as long as this does not happen for another moment and the hisgalus is delayed, rather than being sad and discouraged, we need to be totally invested in what the Rebbe wants of us now. We need to do so joyously because this is what the Rebbe wants, while simultaneously not making peace with the circumstances. The combination of these two things is possible only by closely adhering to what the Rebbe said in the sichos about our times and acting accordingly.

We can compare the situation we are in to the situation the Chassidim were in after the passing of the Rebbe Rashab. Many Chassidim found it difficult to transition to the next Rebbe and to subjugate themselves to the Rebbe Rayatz. The reason they were unsuccessful in moving on was not because of their egos, G-d forbid, but because they were totally invested in and utterly subordinate to the Rebbe Rashab and his leadership to the point that they aligned themselves with him completely.

The truth is though, that a Chassid needs to be devoted to what is demanded of him now, even if this goes counter to what was demanded of him previously. A Chassid does not have an independent “inner essence;” his entire essence is Rebbe, as the early Chassidim would say, “The innermost depth of Chassid is Rebbe.” When a Chassid becomes an independent entity, even if he fully complies with the Rebbe’s demands right now, it is possible that the demands will change and the Chassid will find it hard to change his inner character.

It is only through complete nullification to what the Rebbe said that we can be sure that we will always behave in a manner that gives him nachas. It is only by setting ourselves aside and utterly devoting ourselves to the Rebbe’s instructions that we can be truly happy and adjust ourselves to every horaa. To be on mivtzaim and be mekarev Jews with all the “koch” and chayus and delve into learning right after that; to be immersed in the avoda of t’filla with full emotion and chayus and publicize the Besuras Ha’Geula right after that, because it is only when we are truly nullified to the Rebbe that we can be “real” Chassidim. It is when we are truly battul to the Rebbe that we can be Chassidim who can be described as the Rebbe Rayatz put it, “as a ball of fire and simcha.”

We see that this works. Nullification to the Rebbe, chayus and simcha, and the Besuras Ha’Geula, go hand in hand. One leads to the other.

In Parshas VaYeitzei it tells of Yaakov Avinu who was sent to his uncle Lavan due to “technical considerations” within the family. He sets out on a long trip without knowing when or whether he will see his parents again. He knows what will be demanded of him in Lavan’s house and what he will have to contend with there. It’s a very difficult galus, a galus that will end with Yaakov’s going down to Egypt to begin the Egyptian galus.

At the same time though, despite the great sorrow in this, Rashi tells us that when he heard the good news—when Yaakov heard the Besuras Ha’Geula and understood that the entire terrible galus will end with the Jewish people leaving Egypt, receiving the Torah and becoming the Chosen People connected to Hashem with an eternal covenant—immediately “Yaakov raised his feet,” i.e. it became physically easier for him to walk. Living with the news of Geula and not with galus vision, caused him to be filled with joy.

So too in our times, we can see that those bachurim who live with the Besuras Ha’Geula, learning it and publicizing it, are the ones who are genuinely happy. They are the ones who you regularly see with a smile on their faces and they are the ones who do mivtzaim happily and are successful in all areas, spiritual and material.

We need to take upon ourselves to promote this day as a day of strengthening every aspect of inyanei Moshiach and Geula, as a day of simcha and chayus, and internalize the idea that by the Rebbe there is no such thing as against his will! If a movement of the Rebbe or hearing his voice ought to be unforgettable, all the more so his clear prophecy will not go unfulfilled. We need to publicize wherever possible and joyously: Humble ones, the time for your redemption has arrived!

Another point, even a superficial study of the maamarim that the Rebbe published for 15 Sivan reveals to us that now, in retrospect – after the Rebbe Rayatz left prison and subsequently went to America and established Chabad headquarters in 770 – we can see that the day the Rebbe Rayatz was taken to jail was, as the Rebbe put it, “sowing before the growth.” Specifically because of the imprisonment, there was a huge increase in the spreading of the wellsprings outward and only good resulted. Therefore, says the Rebbe, Chassidim also celebrate 15 Sivan and have farbrengens, since it has since been revealed that this was the start of the Geula.

In our case, since the Rebbe told us as a prophecy, something which has the status of a certainty according to Torah, that this generation is the last generation of galus and the first generation of Geula, and “hinei zeh Moshiach ba,” in a certain way we can say that Chassidim “celebrate” Chaf-Zayin Adar as it were, since we know ahead of time, 100%, what the end will be. What will result from this is the true and complete Geula.

Immediately, the Rebbe will appear on the roof of the Beis HaMikdash and will redeem us, willingly or not, and will destroy our galus plans and take us on eagle’s wings to the third and threefold Beis HaMikdash, speedily in our days, mamash! Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu V’Rabbeinu, Melech HaMoshiach L’olam Va’ed!


Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (
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