“The Rebbe Never Left, He Didn’t Finish His Mission In This World.”
July 10, 2019
Avremele Rainitz in #1173, 3 Tammuz, Interview

Rabbi Yosef Hecht in a post Gimmel Tammuz interview.

As we prepare this interview to print, it is with the hope that much of its content will be no longer relevant, but Gimmel Tammuz is not just a day we can mark off the calendar and move on with our life. “He who the Beis Hamikdash was not rebuilt in his days, it is as if it was destroyed in his days,” so Dalet, Hey, Vov or Zayin Tammuz, as well as any other date on the calendar, are just as are just as fitting for discussion of the messages and meaning of “Gimmel Tammuz.”

We turned to Rabbi Yosef Hecht, from the Rebbe’s shluchim to Eretz Yisrael, rav of Eilat and a member of the Beis Din of Rabbanei Chabad in Israel for some guidance and inspiration for the “day after” Gimmel Tammuz.

Despite the many projects and activities that have been done to hasten the hisgalus of the Rebbe Melech Ha’Moshiach over the past many years, if, G-d forbid, we are still in galus, what should we do?

The fact that we are in a terrible period of concealment, in which we don’t physically see the Rebbe, needs to shock every Chassid, no matter how many years it is.  This reality as we know it, that we didn’t imagine in our worst nightmares, is completely unacceptable and so, every day that the concealment continues, needs to shake us up. From this perspective, the situation was terrible even the first year. But when decades go by, in addition to the concealment, there is also the aspect of a very long period of time which certain magnifies the pain and shock.

The concealment is highlighted as compared to the tremendous revelations that we merited before Gimmel Tammuz. The Rebbe inspired Lubavitcher Chassidim the world over and revealed within every Jew the firm belief that Moshiach is coming. The Rebbe spoke forthrightly about Moshiach’s activities in the world and we could all see it. The passion of belief in the coming of Moshiach was incomparably intense and was felt around the world.

And then, suddenly, such a concealment and for such a long time! Not a delay of a few days or several weeks but decades! When you think about it, it’s simply horrifying.

So, what do we need to do? Be in shock?

Our problem is that we are stuck in our bubble, each with his tzaros, with his life, and we don’t do enough to change the situation. In order to get out of this “hole,” each of us needs to contemplate these points until we feel, in the depths of our soul, that we cannot go on like this.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean shock for its own sake, if it doesn’t lead you anywhere. The point of this inner shake-up, from the depths of the soul, is to arouse new strength and to push and spur us on to do things that will bring an end to the concealment. We need to rethink: what else can be done that wasn’t yet done? What does the Rebbe want us to do now?

At the same time, since we are in the bridge period between the end of galus and the beginning of Geula, just as we need to contemplate the length of the galus, we need to contemplate the other side of the coin and strengthen our belief in what the Rebbe said, that we are on the threshold of Geula.

Gimmel Tammuz needs to arouse and strengthen our simple faith that lies within the heart of every Chabad Chassid, that we are in the seventh generation which is the generation of Geula. To meditate on how after over 1900 years of galus, Hashem sent the soul of the Rebbe to the world, in order to bring the Geula.

This point is the core essence of the Rebbe’s work throughout the years of his nesius (leadership): to instill within the awareness of every Jew, both in the conscious and super-conscious faculties, that the Geula which all the generations looked forward to, and all of the upper worlds eagerly anticipate, is coming in our generation!

This faith needs to burn powerfully in the hearts of every one of us and we need to ensure that it doesn’t weaken, G-d forbid.

A person can think, since Moshiach is a general matter, what can I, as an individual, do about it?

This thought might have occurred to a Chassid before Chof-Ches Nissan 5751, but after that sicha in which the Rebbe said he gives the matter over to us, “do all that you can,” it is impossible to even consider such an evasive excuse.

Although, throughout all the years, the Rebbe spoke about the need for every person to hasten the Geula, in that sicha the Rebbe added an essential point: that every person has the personal responsibility to bring the Geula. Until then, we were like employees in a business who, of course, are committed to the success of the business, but without the feeling of responsibility like actual owners.

Since Chof-Ches Nissan 5751, we have the responsibility of owners, obviously, with the power and wishes of the Rebbe. And like owners of a business can’t sleep when the business isn’t advancing properly, we too, cannot rest for a moment as long as Moshiach hasn’t come.

Practically, how do we do this?

The Rebbe said that the direct way to bring the Geula is by learning inyanei Moshiach and Geula, so we know how the world will look when Moshiach comes and we can already start to live the “Days of Moshiach.”

As the Rebbe Rashab said regarding the education of children, that a person needs to think for half an hour every day about it, since we have the obligation to teach children to anticipate the Geula, each of us should set aside a certain time of the day that is dedicated to hastening the Geula: to learn something about Moshiach and Geula, or watch a video of the Rebbe, or sit with the children and tell them about our being in the seventh generation and the Rebbe will come and redeem the Jewish people. Everyone can consult with his mashpia about what he should do during this half an hour.

The point is, it should be a set time that is devoted to bringing the Geula. When there will be a fixed time it will become fixed in the consciousness and that half an hour will have an impact on the entire day so that it is permeated with Geula and Moshiach.


After two-and-a-half decades, where do we get the strength to stoke the flames of faith?

From the Rebbe. It’s as simple as that. Every Lubavitcher Chassid, without exception, believes that the Rebbe continues to lead us. The Rebbe surely is aggravated for every moment the Geula is delayed and he imbues us with tremendous abilities so we succeed in reaching the goal and bringing the Geula.

The Rebbe’s main role is to bring the true and complete Geula. As long as we haven’t achieved the hisgalus, the Rebbe continues his work, including channeling the necessary powers for our work. The Rebbe does not hold back any power that we need.

When a Chassid pictures to himself, how now too, the Rebbe does not rest for a moment, and does everything in order to provide us with the powers to withstand the test, this meditation itself creates enormous strength.

Over the years, we see that nothing was able to cause any lack or weakness in the Rebbe’s avoda, and if there is any obstacle or delay, the Rebbe provides even greater kochos so we can withstand it and overcome.

For example, in 5738, after the Rebbe’s heart attack on Simchas Torah, despite what seemed like an enormous concealment, within less than 48 hours, the Rebbe poured forth for the Chassidim kochos and encouragement by saying sichos, answers to letters, and even editing sichos. That is an amazing example of how the Rebbe does not allow anything to prevent him from spreading the light of Chassidus in the world.

I remember something else, which expresses the same message. It was erev Shabbos Parshas Noach 5731/1970. I was a bachur in 770 and when I entered the main hallway of 770 I heard severe coughing from the Rebbe’s room. It seemed the Rebbe had a bad cold. If I were to say that it was painful to hear, that wouldn’t sufficiently convey what we felt when we heard that coughing. Every additional cough shook our very beings. We preferred not being there at that time. We figured that although that Shabbos was Rosh Chodesh, the Rebbe would not come down to farbreng because it would be hard to talk.

The Rebbe thought otherwise. Shabbos afternoon, at the usual time, to the amazement of us all, the Rebbe came down to farbreng as though nothing had happened. It was a farbrengen like that of any other Shabbos with current events, a maamar, a Rashi sicha, hora’os, etc. The Rebbe’s voice was very hoarse and it was very hard to hear, but the farbrengen lasted several hours.

Throughout the years of the nesius, we saw how the Rebbe never gave consideration to any concealment. Whether it was the Succos farbrengen that took place every year in the succa in the pouring rain, or the Rebbe’s trips to the Ohel summer and winter, and over the years, we saw the Rebbe standing for hours without a roof over his head (until, in 5738, a small booth was built. But until then, who thought of it?) To the Rebbe, it made no difference what was going on outside, what the weather was, what was comfortable or uncomfortable. If he was supposed to farbreng now, he farbrenged; if he needed to go to the tziyun now, he went; nothing would stop him.

Now too, despite the fact that, unfortunately, we do not see the Rebbe, we have no doubt that the Rebbe is not allowing the concealment to withhold anything from the Chassidim. He continues with all the blessings that we need to advance and fill the role the Rebbe designated for us: to bring the Geula shleima!

Nobody imagined we would reach this time and Moshiach would still not have come. There is no doubt that every passing moment gives the Rebbe great anguish and every moment is anguish for the Shechina which is also in galus. But even if so many years have passed and he still hasn’t come, surely the Rebbe is granting us additional kochos so that we can handle the additional concealment and step up the activities.

When we contemplate this, that the Rebbe is looking to our work, and how much kochos the Rebbe is investing in us despite the concealment, then “as waters reflect a face, so too, the heart of man.” This inspires us to devote ourselves to the Rebbe and actualize the kochos that he endows us with.

The Rebbe provides to the general public and to every individual. As far as the flow of blessing on the personal level, every Chassid can testify regarding himself. As he meditates upon his experiences and sees the unnatural successes in his personal life, he ought to understand that everything comes from the Rebbe.

In the public sphere, everyone sees the extraordinary success of Chabad, beyond the norm. It all comes from special divine flows from the Rebbe. The Rebbe opens the gates of blessing and success for us and as the Rebbe himself once said, when there was success in communal matters: we see that the Rebbe Rayatz is working in a bigger way.


We talk about the Rebbe continuing to lead us and that he is the Nasi Ha’Dor. Are we denying what occurred on Gimmel Tammuz?

Nobody is denying it. All know that a great concealment occurred on this day and, unfortunately, decades have passed and we do not see or hear the Rebbe yet. At the same time, Chassidim look at events differently than how the rest of the world may view them.

There were always things that Chassidim accepted as matter-of-fact which, other Jews, who were not Chassidim, and even very religious Jews, viewed as a chiddush. They couldn’t digest it; they looked at those things as illogical, irrational. This was expressed in countless ways, in tefilla, learning, and other aspects of avodas Hashem. There were always two different approaches: the approach of a Chassid and the approach of someone who did not merit to be a Chassid.

What causes two Jews, both of whom learn the same Torah and keep the same mitzvos, both of whom believe in the same Creator, and yet, to the Chassid, certain things are a given while to his fellow, they are out of the question? What generates these polar opposites?

A Chassid has a special motivation to think in a way that his fellow is unfamiliar with and that is, a Chassid has a Rebbe! The Rebbe provides a Chassid with an outlook that belongs to a completely different dimension, not at all the level that a person knows who lives here, just in this world. This perspective is pure; it’s the perspective of how things look from the position of pure truth.

Therefore, someone who never got a taste of what a Rebbe is, what Elokus is, and doesn’t know what the Rebbe’s role in the world is, can err and look at Gimmel Tammuz 5754 as Yud Shevat 5710, the yom hilula of the Rebbe Rayatz.

As for we, who did get a taste of the truth, who merited to be in “the king’s legion,” a completely different outlook is expected of us. Not the outlook of logic alone but a genuine outlook, that of the Rebbe.

We, who were educated in the “seventh generation,” who heard all the sichos and all the maamarim, and received the true prespective from the Rebbe – we need to know that the Rebbe is not just “another tzaddik.” And Gimmel Tammuz is not a yom histalkus etc.

Throughout the years, the Rebbe emphasized in his sichos that his job is to redeem the Jewish people, to build the Beis HaMikdash and gather the Jews. This is what the Rebbe wants, is doing, and working on day and night, with mesirus nefesh. As long as the Geula hasn’t come, his job is not complete and he continues the nesius with the same strength, in the same way, without change.

On Yud Shevat, the Rebbe Rayatz completed his job to bring the ikar Shechina to the first heaven. That is why the sun set and the sun rose, and “one kingdom does not intersect with another.”  A new generation began with a new avoda. The Rebbe said clearly that his avoda, that of the Nasi of the seventh generation, is to bring the ikar Shechina down to earth! To bring the Geula in the most literal sense.

Therefore, as long as this hasn’t happened, obviously, the Rebbe has not finished his work and consequently, he continues to be the Nasi Ha’Dor of the seventh generation in full force and eternally, even though we don’t see all this.

Despite the concealment, every Chassid knows that Gimmel Tammuz is not Yud Shevat and not Beis Nissan (the day of the Rebbe Rashab’s histalkus).


On the one hand, we believe that the Rebbe continues; on the other hand, it is a time of concealment … What feeling should we have on this day and going further?

As I said, there is terrible anguish and deep shock over the concealment from our physical eyes and ears, which is going on for decades. On a day like this, naturally, great longing is felt to see and hear the Rebbe.

However, we cannot allow this longing to bring us to sadness and tears. This is not what the Rebbe wants. On this day, the Rebbe wants us to strengthen our emuna and bitachon. We certainly have good reason to be happy – for being soldiers of the seventh generation, that the Rebbe gives us kochos so that, ultimately, we will bring the Geula.

Above all else, a feeling of certainty, that we will definitely merit to see it!

To attain this, we need to think, to contemplate that for thousands of years there were millions of Jews who worked to bring the Geula but they did not merit to accomplish this, while we are the ones who will bring the Geula! This thought is very uplifting and leads a person to real inner simcha.

Over the years, the Rebbe spoke about Gimmel Tammuz and said that this day is the “as’chalta d’geula,” the start of the Geula. After Gimmel Tammuz 5754, can we look at this day as the “as’chalta d’geula?”

The Rebbe’s words stand and since the Rebbe defined this day, of course it is something eternal. On Gimmel Tammuz it was the start of the redemption of the Rebbe Rayatz and this is a reality that exists till this day.

Actually, to the contrary of what you asked: perhaps we can say that the fact that the Rebbe defined this day as the as’chalta d’geula means we can derive great encouragement for our present situation! When the Rebbe Rayatz was incarcerated, it looked as though Gimmel Tammuz was part of the imprisonment and exile, but afterward, it was shown to be the first stage in the redemption of 12 Tammuz.

Since everything is by divine providence, especially what happens to a Nasi Ha’Dor, there is great significance to the fact that the current concealment began on Gimmel Tammuz, of all days. We need to strengthen ourselves and arouse ourselves with emuna that very soon we will see how what happened on Gimmel Tammuz 5754 is part of the Geula process.

As mentioned, today too, we know how the light of the yechida and the light of Chassidus continues and is affecting things and the Rebbe is active like before Gimmel Tammuz. But soon, we will merit the true and complete Geula and maybe then, we will understand what the various forms of concealment were about. Either we will or won’t understand …


Before Gimmel Tammuz, when we wanted to draw people close to the Rebbe, we simply brought them to him. Today, even if we bring them, they don’t see the Rebbe. What attracts them to the Rebbe?

You are working with the assumption that what drew them close before Gimmel Tammuz was seeing the face of the Rebbe. True, that had an impact, but that wasn’t the main thing. The main kiruv happened through the Rebbe’s kochos that he poured forth to whoever desired to draw close him and the Rebbe continues to generate these kochos today.

True, today you need to find the proper words to explain it but that does not change the fact that the Rebbe is providing even more kochos. The facts are there for us to see; we see how numerous people are drawn to the Rebbe and his teachings, including anticipating the hisgalus of Moshiach. Where does this come from?

How do those of us who saw the Rebbe and were filled with feelings of love for the Rebbe, convey this feeling to mekuravim who never saw the Rebbe?

Actually, this question is not only regarding mekuravim but for our children too, most of whom did not see the Rebbe. We need to know that the Rebbe does not leave a vacuum, and if we do what we need to do, the Rebbe will fill in the rest.

As I said in connection to kiruv, the same is true for love for the Rebbe. The main feeling doesn’t come from having seen the Rebbe but from the Rebbe shining his light into our hearts. When we felt joy and excitement at seeing the Rebbe or when we felt a closeness because we were in his presence, more than our inner faculties drew close to the Rebbe, the Rebbe drew close to us and his light filled our senses. This light that the Rebbe infused within us, refined us and enabled us to feel what needed to be felt.

Today too, as we do the maximum we can, learning the Rebbe’s sichos, seeing the videos and gazing at the Rebbe’s holy face, the Rebbe finds a way to shine the light of love within the heart of a young bachur or mekurav.


Gimmel Tammuz also put to the test the belief that the Rebbe is Moshiach. What makes us sure that the Rebbe is Moshiach despite the concealment?

One who does not know the inner idea of what Moshiach is about, and only sees him as a leader who will fight on behalf of the Jewish people, might be confused because of Gimmel Tammuz. But someone who knows that the main inyan of Moshiach is to reveal the innermost essence of the Ein-Sof in the world, and that the ones who reveal the divine Essence in the world are the Chabad Rebbeim, it is clear to him that the Rebbe is Moshiach.

The idea is deeply rooted in the basic foundation of Toras HaChassidus.  Anybody who is familiar with what Moshiach said to the Baal Shem Tov, that the redemption will come when the wellsprings of Chassidus will be spread outward; and anybody who heard about the soul of the Alter Rebbe being a “new soul,” from the souls that will come down to this world in the future time; and whoever saw the words of the Rebbe Rashab who testified that the dynastic chain of the Rebbes of Chabad are the continuation of the kingship of Dovid, “Chassidus will be until Moshiach comes, about us it was said that his candle shall not be extinguished for all eternity”; and anyone who learned the Kuntres Inyana shel Toras HaChassidus (“On The Essence Of Chassidus”) from Yud-Tes Kislev 5766, that the revelation of the teachings of Chabad is the revelation of the yechida of Torah and brings about the revelation of the general yechida – Moshiach – in the world – to him it is self understood that Chabad Chassidus is the revelation of the light of the Ein-Sof in the world, and only the Chabad leader, the Rebbe, can be the one to accomplish this.  There is no one else who can do it.

The belief that the Rebbe is Moshiach is not an idea that sprouted suddenly.  It is built upon the significance of the revelation of Toras HaChassidus in the world. Anybody who questions this, is challenging all of the fundamental principles of Chassidus.

As far back as the first maamar Basi L’gani that the Rebbe said on 11 Shevat 5711, the Rebbe spoke about it as a reasoned and structured G-dly plan.  Exactly the way that it took seven generations to bring the Shechina down into the Mishkan, so too, when it comes to bringing down the innermost aspect of Shechina through the inner dimension of Torah, it requires seven generations.  The Alter Rebbe was the first generation and the Rebbe is the seventh.  Whoever challenges the premise of the seventh generation is actually contesting the entire structure of Chabad Chassidus, starting from the first generation, and even including the Baal Shem Tov!

There are those who bring their proofs of faith from the sichos of the later years, of 5751-52.  Although it is true that things are written there more explicitly, and in words that were never heard before then, but the underlying message can be found in the sichos of the Rebbe from all of the years, from 5710 to 5752.  All of the sichos are filled with this!

Therefore, anybody who was by the Rebbe in earlier years and as a result, “lives” with the sichos that he heard directly from the Rebbe, it makes no difference whether it was in the 50’s and 60’s, or in the 70’s and 80’s, can and should live with the point – that the Rebbe is the one who brings the Geula – from every sicha.

This is along the lines of the story told by the Rebbe Rayatz, of how there was a Chassid in the days of the Alter Rebbe, a very simple Jew who it was doubtful that he knew the meaning of the difficult words in davening, and yet he would daven at length. Not only on Shabbos and Yom Tov but even on weekdays, and not only Shachris but also Mincha and Maariv; and it was noticeable that he was not just saying the words, but really praying to the point of “exhaustion of the soul.”

When the Chassidim expressed their astonishment and asked him to explain what connection did he have with davening at length, he answered, “I don’t know, but I once heard from the Rebbe (the Alter Rebbe) on the words zachor v’shamor b’dibbur echad, that in every word it is necessary to remember and protect the ‘Echad.’” This man davened for forty years straight with this aphorism!

Obviously, there is a special quality to the sichos from 5751-52 where the Rebbe emphasizes that the Geula processes have already begun, and to the point that everything is “ready for the feast” etc, and we only have to open our eyes to see how close it is to us.  That is one of the main chiddushim of 5751-52, but the basic fact itself can be seen in just about every sicha that was said since 5711.

We need to strengthen our emuna and bitachon (faith and trust) that the concealment will be removed immediately, and we will merit to see the Rebbe, “the king in his full glory,” with eyes of flesh and before the eyes of every Jew!

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
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