The Rebbe’s Public Will II
Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver
As discussed here, on Motzo’ei Shabbos Terumah, 5748, the Rebbe clearly alluded to what Chassidim should do after his Histalkus, saying that they should turn to local Chabad Rabbonim for guidance. The Rebbe had also alluded to a possibility of turning to Rabbonim for leadership even during his lifetime (see the sicha: “or it may remain in both ways, etc.”)—which clearly presaged the situation after the Rebbe’s first stroke on 27 Adar.
After the sicha, the Rebbe immediately began distributing dollars to be given to charity. Rabbi Yehuda Kalman Marlow (of blessed memory), who was then a member of the Crown Heights Beis Din, passed by the Rebbe to receive a dollar, and referred to the beginning of the Torah portion of the week to come, saying: “It is written ‘ve’ata tetzaveh es bnei Yisrael’—‘you [i.e. Moshe Rabeinu] should command the Jewish people” (Shemos 27:20) and everyone knows to whom ‘you’ refers.”
What Rabbi Marlow meant was clear: He wanted to bless the Rebbe, the Moshe Rabeinu of this generation, that there be no Histalkus (in which case the Rabbonim would be charged with the role of practically leading the Chassidim, as the Rebbe had said), nor should it be shared with the Rabbonim. Rather, the Rebbe alone should lead the Chassidim.
The Rebbe responded to Rabbi Marlow, “May this not be in a way of ‘kosis’ [“crushed,” a reference to the continuation of that verse].” To this Rabbi Marlow responded, “May [the Rebbe] have long life [arichus yomim ve’shonim tovos].” “Amen,” the Rebbe responded.
My understanding of this response is as follows. Even after 27 Adar, and after Gimmel Tammuz, the Rebbe is still leading us. The Rabbonim are merely an intermediary through which the Rebbe’s leadership is practically administered, and “one’s agent is the legal equivalent of oneself” (Nedarim 35b). However, we are crushed at the fact that Gimmel Tammuz occured, and that therefore we do not see him and his leadership openly.
May we merit to openly see the Rebbe leading us again, with the coming of Moshiach now!