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

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Rebbe: Two levels of inspiration

The Rebbe has initiated two types of campaigns:

1. Those that were clearly his initiative. There was no sense of expectation that others should have realized the importance of such campaigns on their own, and no disappointment that they hadn’t. For instance, the campaigns to study the Mishneh Torah, or to celebrate the year of Hakhel, were the Rebbe's suggestion. Chassidim would not have initiated these ideas on their own, and if they had, it would not have been widely accepted.
2. When the Rebbe saw that people were not realizing sufficiently on their own that certain action is inappropriate or needed, the Rebbe would draw people’s attention to this neglect. These were areas that the Rebbe felt people should have been sensitive to regardless, but recognized that for whatever reason they were not. In his distress and concern for his fellow Jews, the Rebbe saw no choice but to point out these areas of neglect and plead that they be corrected. These campaigns were directed to all levels of society, for example:
  • to all mankind: the need to establish a "Moment of Silence" in public schools and to implement the school voucher program to assist parents who want to send their children to parochial schools;
  • to the Jewish people as a whole: rectifying the "Who is a Jew?" law and the halachic prohibition of surrendering land needed for Jewish safety to non-Jews;
  • to frum Jews: his encouragement that they be actively involved in providing Jewish schooling to all Jewish children from non-observant backgrounds and that children only view images of kosher animals;
  • to chassidim: repeatedly pointing out the need to disseminate Yiddishkeit in general and Chassidus in particular, according to the existing instructions of the Previous Rebbe.
This would appear to parallel the two purposes of a king, as described in an earlier post:
A king may be needed to ensure basic law and order, just like a non-Jewish king, for “Were it not for the fear of the government, a man would swallow his fellow alive (Pirkei Avos 3:2).
However, once law and order is well-established, or if the people have attained a level at which they don’t need external motivation to civil behavior, the king is able to elevate them to a level of connection with Hashem far beyond what they would ever have been able to reach on their own. This is the true purpose of a Jewish king. However, if we are unworthy, we will need the king simply to prevent anarchy.
Perhaps the same can be said of a chossid’s relationship with the Rebbe:
If we are worthy, the Rebbe will be able to elevate us to sublime, otherwise unreachable levels of connecting to Hashem, along the lines of what is explained here. However, if we are not worthy, we will need to maintain a connection with the Rebbe simply in order to remain motivated to abide carefully by the minimum standards that the Torah expects of us, along the lines of what is explained here.
May Hashem help us to attain or maintain the level at which we only need to connect with the Rebbe for the former, and not for the latter.

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