Thursday, July 31, 2008

Infallible 3

To sum up my understanding of this matter:

A Chossid accepts the words of his Rebbe fully and unconditionally with pure emunas Tzadikimas as emes laamitoi (the absolute truth). If he is indeed a Chossid, he has not the slightest shadow of doubt that what he is told by his Rebbe is Shechina medaberes mi’toch grono (the Shechinah speaking from the throat) of the Rebbe. Does he understand what his Rebbe says? Not necessarily. But his approach is not predicated upon intellect, but upon emunah. 

Thus it is out of the question for him to “second-guess” his Rebbe, G-d forbid, and decide that he knows better in some case. Not that he can’t try to understand why his Rebbe would have told him as he did; on the contrary, he can and he should. But even if he doesn’t understand, he accepts and obeys regardless because of his pure emunah that Hashem is speaking to him through his Rebbe. 

This is also an approach that according to various non-Chabad chassidishe stories I’ve heard is found in all Chasidic groups, and it’s one of the main differences between the way that a Chossid looks at his Rebbe and the way a non-Chossid looks at his gadol.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Infallible 2

This is a sicha from the Previous Rebbe as a follow-up to the last post, with more details and an explanation not mentioned there. Obviously, both explanations are olim b'kaneh echad (complementary).

Many years ago a meeting was held in Warsaw at which the Rebbes of Ger, Radzmin, and my father (the Rebbe Rashab) were present. They discussed the issue of the Polish government’s requirement that Polish rabbis take a secular course promoted by the Enlightenment.
Even before my father had heard the possible advantages of this law, he declared explicitly with his holy mouth that he opposes it. When asked to explain why this law did not find favor in his eyes, he responded with his golden expression, “I don’t want it” (in the Yiddish, “es vilt zich mir nisht”). 
The Rebbe of Ger asked him, “Lubavitcher Rebbe, how can you base yourself upon this?” 
My father responded, “Yes. I decide based on my unwillingness when first weighing up the matter. For from my childhood I have accustomed my body not to desire that which is forbidden according to the Torah, and to bring every organ in my body to truly desire to perform the Mitzvah that is connected to it. I have so accustomed myself that this has become second nature, so much so that I believe my body.”
Sefer HaSichos of Summer 5685, pp. 91-92.