Hiskashrus: Yes, We Can!
Rabbi Y. Oliver
Of course, receiving direct attention from the Rebbe, especially in Yechidus, is far preferable to receiving guidance from the Rebbe via a personal rav (see this post). It’s a much more uplifting feeling and powerful experience.
Yet despite the genuine advantages to a chossid receiving direct attention from the Rebbe, this is not what defines the Rebbe-chossid relationship. There were many chassidim imprisoned for decades in Russian gulags who maintained their devotion as chassidim (on the contrary, their Chassidic warmth was so great that it kept them Torah-observant even under cruel Communist oppression, and in a time when vast numbers of non-chassidim had abandoned outward Torah observance due to the danger it posed to their lives). Obviously it poses challenges, but the fact that it was done demonstrates that it is possible.
The same is true in our current situation; although the Rebbe is certainly leading us just as before, we do not connect with him physically. Now, too, we witness many people who succeed at staying devoted chassidim after Gimmel Tammuz just as much as before, and with even greater devotion. Moreover, we see people becoming chassidim, such as younger people who never saw the Rebbe, or only saw the Rebbe as small children, and even total newcomers. One cannot argue with the facts. This proves that this level of bonding with the Rebbe, and the passionate inspiration that this bond evokes, is attainable even today.
So although after Gimmel Tammuz in a very real sense it’s harder to maintain the Rebbe-chossid relationship, this is a challenge we can overcome. Although it may be necessary to reach into a deeper part of our souls to come to that level of inspiration, we have surely been endowed with the full ability and the tools with which to do so (see also this post.)