"Moshiach is ready to come now-our part is to increase in acts of goodness and kindness" -The Rebbe

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rising with the Rebbe

The Rebbe instructed (see the sicha of 12th of Teves 5747) chassidim to spend the entire month before Yud Shevat preparing for it.

The spiritual ascents of the [Previous] Rebbe, whose Hillula[1] we mark today [on 10 Shevat], go “from strength to strength”[2] throughout the year. However, these ascents are incomparably greater on the day of his Hillula. As he ascends, he takes along with him all those who are bound to him. This he ruled concerning himself, that the shepherds of the Jewish people “will not abandon their flock.”[3]

We find that the same was true of
Moshe Rabeinu, of whom it is written, “He executed the justice of G–d, and His judgment with Israel.”[4] This is interpreted[5] to mean that he remained in the desert in order to be with his flock, so that he will be able to bring them along with him to the Land of Israel [when the final Redemption arrives]. The same is true of all the shepherds of the Jewish people—their primary concern is for their flock.

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev once said that if given the choice to be in
Gan Eden on his own, or in Gehinom together with other Jews, he would prefer to be in Gehinom, for the main thing is to be together with other Jews.

This is the quality of a shepherd of the Jewish people: His entire existence and essence is defined by his role and mission as a shepherd, and therefore he doesn’t care about
Gan Eden and the like. What matters to him is to be together with other Jews, for this is his task and mission.

Thus, we can deduce concerning the ascents [in
Gan Eden] of the [Previous] Rebbe that if his ascents were not relevant to us as well, he would forgo them in order to remain together with his flock. It emerges that he does not rise without us; rather, he takes us along with him in his ascents.

Thus, when we move slowly and do not go along with him, not only are we lacking in our fulfillment of his mission, but we obstruct the [Previous] Rebbe from ascending, for he is bound with us.

Toras Menachem, Vol. 7, pp. 337-338.
[1] The anniversary of his passing.
Tehillim 84:8.
Igros Kodesh Admur HaRayatz, Vol. 1, p. 141.
Devarim 33:21.
Bamidbar Rabbah 19:12.
The relevance of this sicha for Chabad chassidim after Gimmel Tammuz is self-evident, especially in light of the principle that “he rules concerning himself” (see here) that the Rebbe mentions with respect to the way the Previous Rebbe spoke of the Rebbe Rashab.

So I will translate this to our current predicament after Gimmel Tammuz: The Rebbe maintains his bond with chassidim even posthumously, and certainly doesn’t abandon them, G–d forbid. This is because for him, devotion to his chassidim is of the utmost importance, superseding even his enjoyment of spiritual delights. By maintaining our hiskashrus with the Rebbe even after his passing, since the Rebbe surely maintains his bond with us in kind, we too rise to the same lofty heights that he reaches. But this is provided that we are sufficiently devoted to him, for if not, since he always maintains his bond with his followers, the opposite process occurs—the followers’ unworthiness holds the Rebbe back from rising higher, G–d forbid.

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