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Tuesday
Sep192017

YOU TOO CAN HAVE YECHIDUS WITH THE REBBE

Dear Reader sh’yichyeh,

The story is told that when Reb Mendel Futerfas came to Eretz Yisroel, after spending years suffering behind the Iron Curtain of the former USSR, a huge farbrengen was held in his honor by the Anash of Eretz Yisroel. During the farbrengen, he was asked to describe the Avoda of Elul of the Lubavitcher Chassidim in Russia. They were expecting to hear about the intense davening and T’shuva of the great Chassidim. After singing a few niggunim, he replied: “Elul in Lubavitch…was travelling to the Rebbe!”

As we prepare for Tishrei 5778, we all must think about our travel to the Rebbe. Whether it means to physically come to 770 or to be involved in the shlichus of the Rebbe, which everyone will discuss with their Mashpia, we must all leave our comfort zone and elevate our connection to the Rebbe this Tishrei.

The highlight of a Chassid’s travel is the yechidus that he has with the Rebbe. For this special one-on-one encounter with the Rebbe, the Chassid prepared himself like the Kohen Gadol going into the Kodesh HaKadoshim. In the HaYom Yom it speaks of the power of yechidus and the effect that it has on a Chassid.

What is yechidus?

“Great elders of the Alter Rebbe’s Chassidim used to say that yechidus (private audience with the Rebbe) means “clear,” “designated,” “united.” The sources of these three interpretations are in Sh’kalim 6:2, Yevamos 62a, and B’Reishis Raba 20. This means that the idea of yechidus is: To clarify one’s own status; to designate a mode of avoda for him in “turn away from evil” and in the acquisition of fine character traits; and that he should bind himself in total oneness, and utterly dedicate himself with all his desires.” (HaYom Yom 10 Elul)

How would Chassidim prepare for yechidus?

“For three years R. Moshe Vilenker prepared himself for yechidus with the Alter Rebbe. Afterwards he remained in Liozna for seven years to translate the yechidus into actual avoda.” (HaYom Yom 18 Tammuz)

“The chassid, R. Mordechai Horodoker, related: The first aphorism we heard from the Alter Rebbe when we arrived in Liozna was: What is forbidden is forbidden, and what is permitted is unnecessary. For some three or four years we labored with this until we integrated this manner (of service) into the various aspects of our lives. Only then did we enter into yechidus, to ask for a path in avoda.” (HaYom Yom 25 Adar 2)

What is special about the first yechidus?

“Among my grandfather’s aphorisms: The intellectual and emotional structure of the Chassid is consonant with his first yechidus with his Rebbe. The first yechidus is in accordance with the essence-character of the Chassid. The Rebbe prescribes an order of avoda appropriate to the nature of the Chassid’s essence-character.” (HaYom Yom 20 Sivan)

“The chassid R. Hendel related: It was known to all Chassidim that at one’s first yechidus the orla (insensitive thick skin) was removed. Whatever else, one was immediately rid of the orla of the heart.” (HaYom Yom 13 Elul)

The effect on a Chassid: “To make meat fit for consumption, the forbidden blood must be removed by the following procedure: [First the meat is] soaked, then salted, and then rinsed. The parallels in our Divine service are: Soaking — which means immersing oneself in the words of one’s Rebbe; salting — which means [meeting him at] yechidus; rinsing — which means [singing a] niggun. (HaYom Yom 26 Elul)

In the sicha from which the above teaching is taken, the Rebbe Rayatz explains two approaches in the study of Chassidus. In one, a person carefully selects the subject matter he desires to study; he knows he has a particular fault and chooses those discourses that will help him rise above it and correct it. Yet, though this aspiration for spiritual refinement is admirable, it is marred by self-centeredness.

A different approach is highlighted by the three steps of Divine service briefly described in the above-quoted teaching. While immersing oneself in the words of one’s Rebbe, he is overwhelmed by the spiritual insights he has been granted. In contrast to the first approach, he is not in control of the spiritual growth process. On the contrary, he has given himself over to his Rebbe’s teachings and is carried by their power.

Thus motivated, he seeks to enter his Rebbe’s study and receive direct personal guidance from him. Coming face to face with his Rebbe at yechidus cools his heated desire for material things. In the analogy, this stage in his avoda of self-refinement corresponds to salting, which frees the meat of blood. The final stage is rinsing — singing a chassidic niggun, which completes the process of making the meat kosher, symbolizing that the Chassid enables his very physicality to become a means of revealing the soul.

There may be many who are reading this and wondering how this all can apply to us today in our current situation, where we do not merit to see the Rebbe and have a personal yechidus.

There are two important points to think about and internalize. Firstly, “We wait for his coming every day.” We are all waiting and preparing for the ultimate yechidus, when the Rebbe will be revealed to all as Melech HaMoshiach.

Additionally, I will share with you a story that I personally heard from Rabbi Moshe Orenstein, Mashpia in the Yeshiva G’dola in Tzfas. “When I (Rabbi Orenstein), was a bachur, I merited going into yechidus. Later that year, I wanted to go into yechidus again. I prepared myself and approached the mazkirus and explained that I really wanted to go into yechidus. They refused to give me another chance, as I already had been in yechidus that year.

“Feeling rejected, I wrote a letter to the Rebbe bemoaning my situation. To my great surprise, I received an amazing answer of the Rebbe (the words here are not exact, but the content is): You are mistaken. As you prepared for yechidus properly, and it was not your fault that you could not physically enter, you had yechidus!”

Dear Chassidim!

As we prepare for Tishrei 5778, we all must realize and tell our children, students and community members, that we can have yechidus today. The only condition is that we prepare properly. We must focus our minds and our hearts on strengthening our connection to the Rebbe and allow ourselves to enter into yechidus with the Rebbe.

There is no question that the Rebbe is “accepting all with a happy face and showing a bright and glowing face to all.” Our requests will be received and Brachos are being and will be given to all. We need to make ourselves proper vessels to receive these special Kochos and Brachos.

This is all very much relevant to our connection to Melech HaMoshiach.

“Yechidus” is connected to the word “yechida,” the innermost part of the neshama of a Yid. While we all have our personal yechida, the Nasi HaDor is called the Yechida HaKlalis - the General Yechida, which encompasses all of our individual yechidus. It is precisely because of that reason that we are able to explain how the Nasi HaDor is the Moshiach of the generation.

In the words of the Rebbe (Kuntres Beis Rabbeinu Sh’B’Bavel): “Rabbeinu, the Nasi HaDor, is also the Moshiach of the generation, like Moshe (the first Nasi) of whom it is taught, ‘The first redeemer is the final redeemer.’ This relates to the well-known teaching that in every generation ‘there is a righteous individual who is worthy of being the redeemer, and when the time comes, G-d will be revealed to him and will send him…’ It is logical to assume that this is the Nasi HaDor. Indeed, regarding Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi [known also as Rabbeinu HaKadosh] the Talmud explicitly states: ‘Rav said that if he is among the living, he is Rabbeinu HaKadosh.’ In other words, ‘If Moshiach is from the ranks of the living, he is certainly Rabbeinu HaKadosh,’ the Nasi HaDor.”

And in footnote 81: “Note that a spark of Moshiach exists within each and every Jew. [This resolves an apparent contradiction between two Talmudic teachings on the words, “A star issued from Jacob” (Numbers 24:17): According to one teaching this refers to Moshiach (Jerusalem Talmud, Taanis 4:5); according to another it refers to every Jew (Jerusalem Talmud, Maaser Sheini, end Ch. 4).

“In light of the above there is no contradiction, for each and every Jew possesses a spark of Moshiach’s soul (see Me’or Einayim, end Pinchas), since every Jew possesses a yechida (the fifth and inner most level of the soul), and every individual yechida is a spark of the comprehensive yechida, which is the soul of Moshiach (Remaz on Zohar II, 40b; et al.).] Since ‘the Nasi is everything’ — i.e., he comprises the entire group of individual sparks of Moshiach, his soul is perforce the comprehensive yechida; hence, he is the Moshiach of the generation.”

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

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