On Shabbos Chaye Sarah the annual convention of Lubavitcher emissaries in America took place in Crown Heights. In this Essay we present a free rendition of the discourse which the Rebbe Shlita spoke to the Shluchim.
Contrasting the approach of Lubavitch to the approach of other religious philosophies, the Rebbe emphasized that no job is to be underestimated and every Jew must be helped and encouraged in the observance of Torah and Yiddishkeit. Only by dedicating themselves to the individuals in their local "far away" hometowns can the emissaries of the Nassi hope to reach the greater goal of speeding the advent of Moshiach.
The world is now ripe to be conquered by Torah and Yiddishkeit and Jews all over the world are waiting to be taught and brought back to G-d.
The convention of American Chabad Shluchim* begins today. They are, of course, emissaries of the Previous Rebbe, who introduced the concept that every Jew can and should be a Shaliach to propagate Torah and Yiddishkeit and spread the fountains of Chassidus. He translated this theory into reality by appointing Shluchim and then sending them to different places.
The truth is that every human being has a primary mission from G-d. For his/her soul was sent as a Shaliach -- an agent -- to join the corporeal body in this mundane world in order to make a dwelling place for G-dliness.
This is accomplished by serving G-d faithfully, observing Torah and mitzvos, and by encouraging others to do the same. In this way G-d's Name is made known in the world even among the gentile nations. As the Rambam teaches:
Moshe our teacher commanded us, by Divine ordinance, to compel all human beings to accept the commandments enjoined upon the descendants of Noach. (Rambam, Laws of Kings 8:10)
Chassidus also explains that every Jew is a messenger of the Supernal man and "A man's agent is equivalent to himself" (Berachos 34b).
Our mission is fulfilled and revealed through observance of mitzvos which are also referred to as the messenger of G-d, as the Midrash states:
Respect the commandments for they are My messengers and the agent is equivalent to the sender.
(Tanchuma, Vayigash 6)
As G-d's emissaries the mitzvos effect the unification of the Jew with the Holy One, Blessed be He. When G-d told us,
You will be a kingdom of Kohanim and a holy nation to Me, (Shemos 19:6)
He empowered us as His ambassadors to make a dwelling place for the Shechinah in the lower worlds.
One of the requisites of this mission is the directive concerning Torah and mitzvos:
Every day they should be to you as something new.
(Rashi, Devorim 26:16)
In fact, each day there is a true newness in Torah and mitzvos, as a result of which the daily observance must also be like a new act.
The Baal Shem Tov taught that everything in existence is recreated at every moment. Clearly then, the original experience of accepting Torah and even the subsequent historical settings in which this Torah mission was reassumed, are no longer active, but each person must individually reaccept in a "new" setting his role and mission of Divine service. The Holy One, Blessed be He, causes events to evolve so that from time to time the "newness" in a Jew's mission will be accentuated.
In every generation there is also a Nassi, a true leader, who radiates the power and potential to all the people to carry out their mission in Torah and mitzvos and the new mission in every generation.
The Previous Rebbe functioned very powerfully in this realm. He revealed in everyone the fundamental responsibility of Shlichus, to spread Torah, Yiddishkeit and promulgate the wellsprings of Chassidus. To this end he taught that one must leave his place and travel to distant destinations all over the world -- there to carry out the mission of spreading Yiddishkeit.
The Previous Rebbe actually called people and appointed them as his agents to accomplish certain missions in spreading Yiddishkeit. This began while he was still behind the Iron Curtain in a clandestine manner, and then when he settled in other, freer, countries his activities were done more openly.
When he arrived in this country, where there was also cooperation from government and statesmen, his practice of sending out emissaries expanded and he was able to send his ambassadors to the far corners of the globe. This phenomenon has been continued by his disciples and by his followers, so that now in many places in the world, even the distant corners of Australia, Africa, etc., you will find Lubavitcher Shluchim who are completely involved in carrying out the mission of their sender and the Holy One, Blessed be He, to spread Yiddishkeit and propagate Chassidus.
But in our generation there is yet another mission even for those who have not been sent off to distant outposts. For them there is also a special mission, to be involved in spreading Torah by stepping out of their spiritual confines to reach out and teach others.
When the convention of Shluchim is arranged every year this introduces a new aspect to the life of the Shaliach:
Each one shall aid his fellow, and to his brother he shall say, "Strengthen yourself." (Yeshayahu 41:6)
The gathering of Shluchim at a convention harnesses the power of the multitude to impart power to each of the individuals, to carry out his unique mission in his particular place, and all together to strengthen each other's activities.
In addition to this there is a unique quality and special strength in fulfilling G-dly activities in a communal fashion (see Heichaltzu 5659, ch. 10).
Practically speaking, many Shluchim have found success in certain activities from which others may learn. This should also include activities which promote righteousness and uprightness among the nations of the world by observing the Seven Noachide Principles (commandments). There should be discussion as to how to increase and expand activities in this area.
In addition to the new approach taken by the Previous Rebbe in the area of sending out Shluchim, there was also a novel approach to the Shaliach's activities and attitudes.
One who is sent to a particular place with a job to fulfill may approach his work in different ways.
There are those communal workers (rabbis) who upon arriving in a new place proceed to deliver emotional, dynamic sermons on the general universal condition of the Jewish people and the global problems facing society. They stress that the world faces terrible crises and we must save the world. To accomplish this goal meetings must be convened and committees must be formed. He then concludes with the plea that a particular institution, its teachers and students, must be helped. He begins with the universe and the total Jewish nation and then works his way to the help needed for individuals.
Our Nassi's Shluchim follow a different route. Since he was sent to do a job in a particular place, he must begin by speaking individually with the inhabitants of that place, and he informs them that he is there to work with them and for them. He wants to help them improve their Yiddishkeit, justice and righteousness. His help is extended to them, their spouses, children, friends, etc., and even to the non-Jewish inhabitants of the area. Therefore he approaches them to help establish an educational facility which will benefit them and their community and which they will be part of, and which they must help along.
When Torah and righteousness are enhanced in this place it will also assist the general Jewish community at large -- and ultimately bring the redemption.
But the first job of the Shaliach is to devote all his efforts, and to work with all his power, with the local people, to awaken an interest among the indigenous population to improve their own level of Yiddishkeit. It is in his "hometown" that he must find success and disseminate Yiddishkeit, Chassidus, righteousness and nobility.
As a fringe benefit, the Shaliach knows that his actions and accomplishments will also be added to help bring Moshiach. But this universal thought must not interfere with his dedication at the time of his involvement in his work. This approach will bring unexpected success, infinitely greater than the other way, as we have seen in reality.
How do we bring the redemption for the Jewish nation? When every Shaliach will go back to his "far away corner," the "little city," and devote himself totally and enthusiastically to acts which spread Yiddishkeit among the people of that place. When he will be successful there his success will be added to the accomplishments of other Shluchim worldwide and bring Moshiach. After all, the whole Jewish people is made up of individuals, and the whole world is made of many far away places!
On the other hand, if he will be concerned only with generalities and the ultimate redemption, and fail to pay attention to the present needs of the local individuals -- he will not be able to save the world -- for the larger community is composed of the individuals.
This same philosophy also holds true when we analyze the goal and purpose of the soul's descent into the physical body. The odyssey of the soul is also a Shlichus, a mission, to serve G-d through the observance of Torah and mitzvos.
The Holy One, Blessed be He, created a world which is composed of many units, parts and particles, of which nothing was created in vain, and every particle and detail contributes something which the other parts lack. Their individuality cannot be interchanged. Furthermore:
All that the Holy One, Blessed be He, created in His world, He created solely for His glory.... (Avos 6:11)
Each being that exists expresses the glory of G-d in its own unique way. When an individual in some distant corner of the globe takes a glass of water and recites the blessing, he glorifies G-d in a special way and it effects the same "storm" as an act which more overtly influences the whole world.
Similarly, every Jew as an individual is required to fulfill all the mitzvos, because each Jew has a unique mission which cannot be fulfilled by another. When all the accomplishments of all the individuals are combined we attain the true fulfillment and perfection.
The emissaries of the Nassi must see their role in the same light. A Shaliach who finds himself in a distant corner of the world should not be upset or downhearted. Although he is involved in seemingly petty matters of Yiddishkeit such as teaching small children aleph-bais or encouraging a woman to light Shabbos candles, how to conduct a Jewish home and raise her children, he must not see these matters as insignificant. For, on the contrary, only through these daily, domestic deeds and simple acts of men and women and their families -- activities done without much fanfare -- only there you will find the true Divine interest and intention. There G-d's honor will be expressed, in a manner not possible through any other medium.
When an ambassador carries out his mission in his place and with the inhabitants of that place, that accomplishment, in cooperation with others -- will speed the salvation of the Jewish people and the true and complete redemption.
It is therefore a satisfying and delightful event when the Shluchim from many different cities and towns gather for a convention, and each one can encourage and influence his colleague in a manner that: "Each one shall aid his fellow, and...say, 'Strengthen yourself'."
Since the emissaries represent their respective communities, by coming together they create an immense community of Jews. This in turn increases the powers of the individual Shluchim. So that, when they return home they will carry with them increased knowledge, encouragement and enthusiasm, and the strength to carry out their mission of holiness in the daily "mundane" aspects of life in an ever increasing measure, and thereby increase the glory of the Holy One, Blessed be He.
From this will emerge a resultant succor for the Jewish people and the ultimate conquest of the world through righteousness, uprightness and knowledge of the Divine, and especially among Jews, with Torah and mitzvos and the fountains of Chassidus.
In our generation a new phenomenon has emerged on the negative side which also provides us with a new potential possibility on the positive side. In the sorry state of Jewry today we find that nearly 75% of all Jews all over the world today receive no Jewish education or training whatsoever. Despite the dedicated efforts of many community activists in this field of Jewish education, the sad statistics are shockingly true, that the vast majority of Jews -- young and old -- received no Jewish education (sorry to say!)
Under these circumstances the opportunity presents itself to everyone, and at the same time the responsibility rests on everyone, to change and improve the world, by going out and doing whatever possible to bring Jews closer to Yiddishkeit in a pleasant and peaceful manner without divisiveness or controversy.
In the present condition, as much as was already accomplished by others, so much more so is still left to be done, and there are so many Jews waiting to be helped.
We must therefore deduce that this is an auspicious time to conquer the world with Torah and Yiddishkeit in a pleasant and peaceful way:
All the land is before you. (Bereishis 13:9)
And you must function in a manner of:
You shall spread out to the west, to the east, to the north, and to the south. (Bereishis 28:14)
There are many places where thousands of Jewish children receive no Jewish education. And there is no need for any "war" in order to attract them to Yiddishkeit; just love and attention.
Let it therefore be proclaimed for all Jews and especially the students of Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim, who have been educated by our Rebbe'im, the Nessi'im, and have been trained to be communal leaders and emissaries to go out and engage in the "wars of the house of Dovid," in order to bring our righteous Moshiach:
Accept the role of emissary (Shaliach) and go out and conquer the world with Yiddishkeit!
Your success depends only on your determination. Don't get bogged down in the worthless "pearl -- barleys" of the marketplace, but place your enthusiasm in the truly valuable "cultured pearls" that are worn on the neck (aphorism of the Previous Rebbe).
Parenthetically, it should be mentioned that the philosophy and policy of Chabad and its emissaries always places the greatest emphasis on Ahavas Yisroel (love for fellow Jews) and on a pleasant and peaceful approach -- this is the essence of Chabad Lubavitch -- Ahavas Yisroel and Jewish unity.
Even when we meet Jews whose conduct is questionable or undesirable we must follow the advice of the Gemara:
It is written "Let chattaim (sins) cease." Is it written chotim (sinners)? It is written chatta'im (sins)!
Chabad wages war on the sins and not on the sinners. Quite to the contrary, we try to convince the sinners to return and repent.
Of course, no countenance or "hechsher" is given to all the sinners, and notice must be given to everyone else to beware not to conduct themselves in a sinful manner, but the battle is waged against the transgressions and not the transgressors. An illustration: a case of non-Kosher meat involves the prohibited product and the accompanying religious disgrace -- nevertheless, you must attack the meat -- not the butcher.
This brings us to the most fundamental item to be introduced on the agenda of the convention. Now is the time for every Shaliach to conquer his city by spreading righteousness and uprightness, by spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit and the wellsprings of Chassidus to the outside, with pleasantness and peace. Start with your city and its citizens; it will lead to the salvation of the whole world.
Starting on Shabbos this convention will incorporate the aspect of delight in all the future endeavors. This Shabbos has a unique aspect for it is blessed from a previous Shabbos which was the 20th of MarCheshvan, the birthday of the Rebbe Rashab, who was the founder of Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim. It was he who appointed students of Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim to be soldiers and Shluchim in the "wars of the House of Dovid," to spread the fountains to the outside and to bring our righteous Moshiach. This work was continued by his son the Previous Rebbe, Nassi of our generation.
May the convention reach great success and may the power of the multitude inject strength and enthusiasm to each and every Shaliach, so that he will return to his place and carry out these directives, for now is the time to conquer the world with righteousness and Yiddishkeit in a pleasant and peaceful manner. All this must start with the activities of the Shluchim in their own hometowns, with the local inhabitants of these towns, and with the establishment or expansion of Chabad Houses which will serve as centers for Torah, prayer and tzedakah.
Another recommendation to keep the power of the multitude alive: Establish a central office with an active telephone for Shluchim, where suggestions, solutions and advice may be obtained anytime. This will enhance all of the activities of the Shluchim. The success will be seen in all of the communal activities as well as in their personal needs: children, good health and sustenance -- healthy children, healthy grandchildren -- good marriages and all the necessary blessings.
All this should be publicized as much as possible so that others may take a good example and follow suit as illuminating lamps.
G-d will help that through the activities of the Shluchim in spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit and especially in disseminating the wellsprings of Chassidus to the outside, the prediction of Moshiach will come true and Moshiach will come. And with the Shluchim at the lead we will all dance into the true and complete redemption through our righteous Moshiach. May it come speedily and truly in our time with joy and gladness of heart.
* Note: Shluchim are the official agents or representatives of Chabad Lubavitch. They serve as the emissaries and ambassadors of the Rebbe Shlita and implement the mission of Lubavitch all over the world.