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Tuesday
May152018

RABBI REUVEN WOLF: MY FATEFUL DECISION

The speech that inspired thousands at the central 11 Nissan farbrengen and became the talk of the day among Chabad Chassidim. * The speech given by the guest speaker, Rabbi Reuven Wolf, director of Mayan Yisroel in Los Angeles.

Thousands of Chabad Chassidim, men and women, filled the large hall of Heichal Kvutzas Shlomo, at the event in honor of 11 Nissan. The atmosphere in the hall was warm and embracing, an atmosphere of Chassidim, an atmosphere of unity in celebration of the birthday of our king.

With a well-planned program, the atmosphere continued to warm the crowd, especially when Rabbi Reuven Wolf was called up to speak. Rabbi Wolf, who has been teaching students of all ages since 1995, disseminates Torah in Los Angeles at a center called Mayan Yisroel, which he and Haki Abehsera founded to spread the teachings of Chassidus.

***

Last Thursday, I opened to a letter of the Rebbe after asking him whether I should go to this event in Eretz Yisroel. The trip entails a lot of effort and I didn’t know whether I was worthy of giving this speech. There were two letters on the page that I opened to, in the Igros Kodesh. In one letter, the Rebbe blessed me:

And yehi ratzon that with tranquility of soul and tranquility of body, he should be able to fulfill his most responsible function, even if it were in another place, all the more so in the land which, “The eyes of Hashem, your G-d, are upon it from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.”

Further on, the Rebbe includes the following blessing:

And as per the statement of our Sages, that Hashem does not request only according to the strength of each individual, certainly the Creator of the World and He who runs it gave you the necessary strengths to fulfill the job. And not only that, but also not to be impressed by questions and tests, or in the language of Chassidus, concealment and cover-ups, and to fulfill his job with an upright posture, and the merit of the many provides assistance.

The other letter was very short and said: And immediately upon his arrival, he will make a storm etc. I will mention it at the tziyun.

ENERGY FLOWING
BOTH WAYS

Rabbi Wolf’s voice carried in the air, not because of the powerful sound system but because of the determination in the tone of his voice. It was obvious that he was emotional to be standing at such an event, and yet, his voice was steady and clear. One could see that he had prepared for this speech and the important message he wanted to convey:

On Rosh Chodesh Kislev of this year, I spoke at the Kinus HaShluchim in 770 about the process and change I went through; about the crisis I went through after Gimmel Tammuz, the great darkness that surrounded me and the inner battle that I went through. But all that brought me to a very great light. I saw the signs in 770 with an excerpt from the Rebbe’s sicha of Beis Nissan 5748 about the importance of proclaiming “Yechi HaMelech.”

It suddenly opened my mind. I knew that this increases the life of the king, but I hadn’t grasped the depth, what the Rebbe was really saying here. The entire subject of the hiskashrus of the people of the generation to the Rebbe, of Chassidim to the Rebbe, was new to me.

There is the idea that the Rebbe is the brain of the generation and the brain operates all the limbs. We see this in our times as everyone writes to the Rebbe and the Rebbe provides guidance as far as shidduchim, yeshiva, business, avodas Hashem, all matters.

But the Rebbe has another aspect, the fact that he is also the heart. The king of Israel is the heart of Israel. The heart is different than the brain. The heart has blood circulating to all the limbs, providing them with life. Without the heart, the entire organism dies. At the same time, this works both ways in that the limbs need to send blood back to the heart.

When I think about this, I understand it as follows. The Rebbe gives me, Reuven Wolf, chayus. This means that all my chayus is from him. I don’t just get the teachings, the ideas and the philosophy from the Rebbe, but the spiritual life, i.e., Torah and mitzvos, and my material life, it all comes from the heart. This is the role of the Rebbe as king. A king has subjects. The king provides you with life in order for you to serve him with all your heart and soul.

In addition to the heart pumping blood to the limbs, the limbs return the blood to the heart. How is this done? By accepting the king’s malchus! For the kingship depends on the people accepting it. If the people don’t accept the king, he is not the king. He needs all the limbs, all the Chassidim and all Jews, to say that he is the king.

How does a person submit to the king? By proclaiming “Yechi HaMelech!”

When I learned all this in the Rebbe’s teachings, it was an enormous chiddush for me!

This is the way it is for a regular king; but the Rebbe connects this idea mainly to the malchus of Moshiach. On the verse, “a star burst forth from Yaakov,” there are two explanations. One is that the verse is talking about Moshiach. The second explanation is that it is speaking about the yechida of the soul of each of us. As the tzaddik from Chernobyl explains in his Me’or Einayim, Moshiach cannot be revealed in the world until every Jew reveals the aspect of Moshiach, the yechida, within himself. What does it mean to reveal the yechida? That you have a connection with Moshiach! That you are his subject and he is your king.

How is this expressed? “In all your ways and in all your matters, know him.”

As a first step, we need to say and proclaim “Yechi HaMelech.” We need to crown him in a coronation.

When I learned this point in the sicha, it was amazing to me. I understood that this concept is broad and deep in every respect. Why did Hashem create the world? Why were all the people created? Why did Hashem create the upper and lower Gan Eden and the entire order of hishtalshlus and all the stars and galaxies? Why do we have Judaism, Torah and mitzvos? Why did Hashem descend on Har Sinai? Why did we go through all the exiles and suffering for thousands of years? It is all meant for one thing: to reveal the kingship of G-d in the world. Hashem created the world in order to be king.

When I learned the work called Inyano shel Moshiach, my eyes were opened. The book expresses so clearly the idea that Hashem’s malchus has no tangible reality in this world unless it is a kingship over people of flesh and blood. The malchus of Moshiach is the malchus of Hashem in the world.

This means that the proclamation of “Yechi HaMelech” is the essence of all of Judaism and all of Torah and mitzvos! I am not talking about a superficial proclamation, but a proclamation with your entire being and existence.

HOW WILL THEY LOOK AT ME?

I was in 770 many times and I’ll admit, that on these visits I looked at the people somewhat askance every time they proclaimed “Yechi.” I belong to the “wise and discerning nation,” and I need to understand, and not just make proclamations. But when I learned this sicha, I understood that there cannot be a Geula in the world until the king undergoes a formal coronation, if only for the simple reason that Chazal say that “there is no king without a nation.” There must be a coronation, for this is the entire life force and energy of existence; everything depends on it.

But I had a problem with this and I struggle with this challenge even now.

I arrived at a crossroads. On the one hand, if I started to proclaim “Yechi Adoneinu,” people would think I became a “Meshichist,” and consequently, a little crazy, and that’s not very pleasant. I have some self-respect; if I proclaim “Yechi,” people will look at me in wonder, thinking, “Hey, what happened to Reuven Wolf? He writes a lot of things on Likkutei Torah and spreads the wellsprings.” If so, why should I be the new meshugene? Today, there are no secrets and what is said here can reach the whole world within minutes. I am concerned about my honor, and it isn’t pleasant to be called crazy.

On the other hand, I thought, what do I have to lose? Can I not leave my “Egypt” because of my self-respect? Can I not announce that I recognize the malchus of Moshiach and do what I think I really need to do?

SHOULD I PROCLAIM YECHI ONLY AFTER ALL THE GENTILES?

Rabbi Reuven Wolf is a popular speaker in Los Angeles. He did not grow up in a Lubavitcher family; he comes from a Chassidishe family in Boro Park. Over the years, he spent time in the presence of many Admurim (“When I lived in Boro Park, I went to all the Admurim; just not to the Rebbe in Crown Heights.”) but he did not find what his soul sought.

Then he learned in Slobodka in B’nei Brak where he encountered Chabad for the first time. He went to the yeshiva in Kfar Chabad for a Shabbos where he met the legendary mashpia, R’ Mendel Futerfas, and he became very attached to him.

At that time, he began to be exposed to the teachings of Chabad Chassidus. Although he was learning in a Litvishe yeshiva, he set times for learning Chassidus intensively. He learned with the mashpiim: R’ Zalman Gopin, R’ Mendel Wechter, and R’ Zalman Landau, until he was dismissed from Slobodka for his “insubordinate” activities. Then began his real connection with Chabad.

In recent years he began giving shiurim in Chassidus and inyanei Moshiach and Geula but felt that something was missing; he himself did not know what. Until he discovered the seifer Inyano shel Moshiach which is about the Rebbe’s teachings on Geula. There he discovered for the first time a systematic approach to the Rebbe’s teachings regarding everything connected to the topic of the Geula. He was captivated by it.

Rabbi Wolf usually speaks in English and Yiddish but in this speech on 11 Nissan in Eretz Yisroel, he had to speak in Hebrew. This made it somewhat difficult for him to express himself, but the intensity came through and made serious inroads in the hearts of the listeners.

His voice reverberated in the hall as he spoke:

The holy Baal Shem Tov began preparing the world for Moshiach and after him were the Mezritcher Maggid, the Alter Rebbe, the Mitteler Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek, the Rebbe Maharash, the Rebbe Rashab, and the Rebbe Rayatz along with all of the mesirus nefesh of all the generations; as well as the deep teachings of Hemshech Samech-Vov and Hemshech Ayin-Beis with all the tremendous revelations in them.

There are also the decades of the Rebbe’s leadership and all the holy mivtzaim that he initiated. Is it possible that all of this rich history came to an end with Gimmel Tammuz? And what now? Was it for this situation that our Rebbeim gave their entire lives? For brachos and miracles that you can get at the Kosel where you put notes? Was it for this that Hashem sent Chassidus to the world? Was it for this situation that Hashem desired a dwelling in the lower realm?

On the other hand, I now have the opportunity to join with the Chassidim who believe with perfect faith that nothing ended; everything is now beginning.

True, there is a question about the situation, that is a solid and true fact. It is not simple. However, is there anyone who can imagine that in the most awesome and important matter of all there won’t be a test? And if it’s a test, should I fail?

You need to be blind not to see the “praise Hashem, all the nations, laud Him, all the peoples.” We are holding by this chapter of T’hillim, about which the Chassidic explanation is that the gentiles will praise Moshiach after he transforms all of them to do what Hashem wants. In this, Moshiach’s rule is different than that of the first redeemer, Moshe Rabbeinu. The first redeemer had to break and subdue the goyim through plagues and suffering; as Chassidus puts it, iskafia, but Moshiach will bring about is’hafcha; he will take the government and transform it into good.

I live in Los Angeles, where you can’t even mention the name of the president of the United States because of all the hate and revulsion that the people of the city feel towards him. What a transformation occurred in America. Not long ago, we had a government led by someone who fought against anything connected to the Jewish people. He signed a treaty with a terrorist country that wants to wreak destruction r’’l. He announced that there is no solution to what is going on in Israel except for dividing Jerusalem, the significance of this being to try to interfere with the coming of Moshiach, for Yerushalayim is Moshiach’s city.

But the Rebbe turned the situation around and put a person into power who had no reasonable chance of winning the presidency. We keep on reading about how he throws out all the people around him who make problems and don’t toe the line regarding Yerushalayim and Iran. It’s astounding! Praise Hashem, all the nations! The goyim are already proclaiming “Yechi HaMelech.”

I ask myself: Do I want to proclaim Yechi only after the goyim proclaim it? Why only then? Because I’m trying to preserve my imaginary honor …

I have a simple question for every Chabad Chassid: When you picture the Geula, what do you think of? That the redeemer will come out of nowhere with sandals and no socks? With a shtraimel? We all picture how the Rebbe will come and make an appearance of “a king will arise from the house of Dovid.”

WHAT DO WE NEED CHASSIDUS FOR?

When I give shiurim on inyanei Moshiach and Geula, now and then I want to give an analogy to explain the concept of a king. But I have no analogy, just the Rebbe. I haven’t seen an example of a king anywhere except for the Rebbe. In my life, I have been to many Chassidic courts, but I never saw such majesty on the one hand, and the bittul of the people on the other hand. This is the most concrete example of “he will compel all Israel” that there can be.

Will we keep this information about Moshiach’s identity a secret among us, Lubavitcher Chassidim? How will Moshiach come to redeem the whole world if we keep it a secret? What’s the complaint, that it will turn people off from Chassidus? What need is there for Chassidus if we aren’t bringing it all to its natural conclusion and revealing the King of the world through the revelation of Melech HaMoshiach?

AND NOW FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME…

The confident voice of Rabbi Wolf sounds emotional; there was a small crack in the smooth delivery. At this point, you could have cut the silence in the large hall with a knife. The thousands of Chassidim were mesmerized by his speech.

Rabbi Wolf continued:

Now I will do something that is very hard for me. This is the first time in my life that I am doing this. I want to say it, but not in an ordinary fashion, but with full force!

I address the Rebbe and ask: We have gone through everything. We have gone through seven levels of hell throughout history. We have been the target of mockery by the nations and not only by gentiles but by Jews; and not just by Jews but also among religious Jews, and we have endured mockery from those on the inside. But we are strong in our faith without being impressed by or frightened by mockery.

Let us all, dear brothers here now, hold a coronation of the king for real, with the participation of all Chabad Chassidim and all the shluchim who are moser nefesh. I call upon everyone – let us get out of mochin d’katnus and the fear of what people will say.

Everything is ready and we just need to proclaim in a loud voice throughout the entire world, among all Jews, throughout the generations, from Avrohom Avinu down through the generations, through the entire order of hishtalshlus – let us crown the greatest king ever, who rules in the upper and lower worlds and happily accept his rule.

Our proclamation comes from the depths of our neshamos, with the nefesh, ruach and neshama, chaya and yechida; from the brain to our toenails, let us proclaim: Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu V’Rabbeinu, Melech HaMoshiach L’olam Va’ed.

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