SO WHY ARE WE IN THE BRONX ZOO?
April 17, 2013
Rabbi Gershon Avtzon in #876, 28 Nissan, Moshiach & Geula

While historically we felt that the main responsibility was on the Tzaddikim – Rebbeim – and we would do our small part, the Rebbe shifted the responsibility onto us. It is not a message of desperation, it is a message of empowerment. The Rebbe – and all the Rebbeim – have prepared us for this special mission and we can, must, and will accomplish it.

I was recently watching a video of a public symposium featuring a few Lubavitch Rabbanim. Here is how part of the dialogue went:

Moderator: Why did the Lubavitcher Rebbe not pick a successor?

Rabbi A: He is still living, and therefore there is no need of a successor.

Rabbi B: We have his teachings and he lives through his teachings. He gave us direction until the time of Moshiach.

Rabbi C: There was nobody worthy enough to be his successor. A Rabbi can be replaced, but a Rebbe can’t be elected or replaced. You are either born with it or not.

Rabbi D: He DID choose a successor!

Moderator (and other Rabbis): What?!

Rabbi D: Yes, he chose us!

I feel that the above-mentioned “symposium” defines the “division in Chabad” that we find today:

Those which take the approach of “Rabbi A,” tend to focus on the Sichos of 5751-52 and place a special emphasis on learning and connecting everything with Moshiach. Those who take the approach of “Rabbi B” tend to take the whole Moshiach concept in moderation. They focus on the nostalgic history of the Rebbe, the “earlier” sichos, letters and writings of the Rebbe and there they find their solace. Those that take the approach of “Rabbi C” tend to be more cynical or apathetic to the future of Chabad.

Wherever you find yourself in the above-mentioned discussion, please listen and internalize the words of “Rabbi D”!

On 28 Nissan 5751, the Rebbe said the following words: “From what has been said previously about emphasizing the subject of Redemption (especially) at this time – emerges the absolutely incredible: how is it possible that notwithstanding all these things – we have not yet accomplished the coming of our righteous Moshiach in actual reality?! …something completely beyond comprehension!

“Equally incredible – that when ten (and many times ten) Jews gather together, and in a worthy time with regard to Redemption, and nevertheless, they don’t create an uproar to cause the coming of Moshiach immediately and instantly, and it’s not inconceivable to them, G-d forbid, that Moshiach won’t come this night, and also tomorrow our righteous Moshiach won’t come and also the day after tomorrow our righteous Moshiach won’t come, G-d forbid!

“Also, when they cry, ‘Ad Masai’ – it’s because they were told to. If they meant it and desired it and cried sincerely, with absolute certainty Moshiach would have already come!

“What more can I do so that all the children of Israel should create an uproar and cry sincerely and cause Moshiach to come in reality, since all that was done until now, has had no effect, and the proof is, that we find ourselves still in exile, and most essentially – in an inner exile in Divine service.

“The only thing I am able to do – is to turn the matter [over] to you: do everything in your ability – things that are in the nature of lights of Tohu, but, in vessels of Tikkun – to actually bring our righteous Moshiach immediately, instantly, in reality!”

With these words the Rebbe redefined our role in the bringing of Moshiach. While historically we felt that the main responsibility was on the Tzaddikim – Rebbeim – and we would do our small part, the Rebbe shifted the responsibility onto us. It is not a message of desperation, it is a message of empowerment. The Rebbe – and all the Rebbeim – have prepared us for this special mission and we can, must, and will accomplish it.

I want to share a small story: A little camel looked up to her mother inquisitively, “Mom, why do we have such big humps?”

“My child, they are there to help us store water for our long treks across the desert, so we can go without drinking for long periods of time.”

“Okay. And why do we have three-toed feet?”

“When we trek along desert sand, our toes will help us stay above the sand!”

“Hmm… Mom, why do we have such long eyelashes?”

“My child you’re brilliant today. They are to keep sand out of our eyes during our trips in the desert.”

“So let me get this straight, we have huge feet to stop us from sinking, long eyelashes to keep the sand out of our eyes, and these humps to store water.”

“Yes dear,” said the mother.

“So why are we in the Bronx zoo?”

We have all the tools we need to make it happen. Instead of focusing on what other are doing – or not doing – and blaming everyone else, let us look inside ourselves and ask ourselves, “What have I done, and what am I doing, to ease the birth pangs of Moshiach and make us worthy of the complete Redemption through Moshiach?!

Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati and a well sought after speaker and lecturer. Recordings of his in-depth shiurim on Inyanei Geula u’Moshiach can be accessed at http://www.ylcrecording.com.

 

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
See website for complete article licensing information.