Saturday, November 22, 2008

Total devotion to the Rebbe

To what degree should a Chossid bond with his Rebbe? The Rebbe guides us:

The Hiskashrus (bond) with our Nasi (“leader”), my father-in-law, the (Previous) Rebbe, whose liberation we are commemorating today, must be forged in all faculties of the soul, such that no faculty or aspect remain that is not connected:

  • The Hiskashrus of one’s faculty of thought (with the Rebbe’s) is attained by contemplating the Rebbe’s words.
  • The Hiskashrus of one’s faculty of speech (with the Rebbe’s) is attained by verbally studying the Rebbe’s teachings.
  • The Hiskashrus of one’s faculty of action (with the Rebbe’s) is attained by doing the things that the Rebbe wanted and instituted.

Additionally, all the above ought to be done with feeling, i.e., the emotions, and understanding, i.e., intellect, and with willpower and pleasure, for through this he connects all the faculties of his soul.

However, each person knows that sometimes one of the faculties of his soul may be lacking in Hiskashrus. The solution to this is to give charity, for with this money “one could have bought the life of one’s soul (i.e., health)”; thus, giving charity is similar to the Hiskashrus with all “the life of one’s soul,” as explained in Tanya ch. 37.

This is especially applicable when one gives charity according to the law of Rabbi Nosson: “When someone is owed a maneh (100 units of currency) by his friend, and his friend in turn (is owed a maneh) by his friend, we can take from this one and give to that one (in order to settle the debt).”[1] Similarly, in this case: He devotes himself to our Rebbe, and therefore he gives his money for those things that our Rebbe devoted himself to, according to the law that “we can take from this one and give to that one.”

This is the reason for the good custom that has been introduced that on 12 Tammuz (during the farbrengen) everyone makes a donation for the “Oholei Yosef Yitzchok Lubavitch” in our Holy Land, may it be rebuilt, and in the Diaspora. This name is significant, for it indicates that those who study in it ought to be educated according to the wish and intent of our Rebbe, such that all who see them will recognize that “these are seed blessed by G–d.”

Since this donation is relevant to Hiskashrus, as explained above, there is nothing to be gained by publicizing it, which might well spoil it. Thus, the custom is that each person gives his donation quietly and in a modest manner, and he writes his name and his mother’s name on a special note, in order that he be mentioned (by the Rebbe) at the gravesite (of the Frierdiker Rebbe).

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 4, p. 1325.

[1] Gittin 37a.

In my own words: The Chossid’s bond with the Rebbe should permeate every level of his soul and every aspect of his behavior. This is the ideal. However, even if the Chossid is yet to achieve this in the literal sense, by giving charity to one of the charity funds of the Rebbe, it is also considered in a sense as if he devoted all his faculties to the Rebbe, and bonded with him totally. Since this charity is intended as a means of forging Hiskashrus, which is a deep, personal bond, it should not be publicized.


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