On the occasion of the Rebbe’s 103rd birthday
Ten years ago a lot of people speculated about the future of Chabad-Lubavitch.
“Without the Rebbe’s leadership”, they asked, “can the movement sustain itself?”
And they were right.
Without the Rebbe’s leadership, Chabad would indeed be unable to sustain itself.
Of course the Rebbe’s chasidim and shluchim (emissaries) had no such concerns.
Indeed the movement has not only survived, it has continued to grow exponentially over the past ten years.
Why? Because the Rebbe’s leadership continues unabated.
The results are everywhere and they speak for themselves.
All over the world, Jewish life is being reborn and recharged through the Rebbe’s shluchim – Jews everywhere are reconnecting to G-d and His Torah
In ever greater numbers, young Lubavitch couples renounce the comforts of home and hearth to strike out in new countries, in new communities, on new campuses in order to deliver the Rebbe’s message of Jewish faith, spirituality, tradition and unconditional love.
And when they go forth, it is not for a month, or a year, or on a two-year contract.
They go for life!
They go armed with unshakeable faith in G-d and absolute trust in the Rebbe.
Indeed there are today some 4,000 full-time Lubavitch emissary families directing over 3,300 outposts and institutions. And by the time you read this message, even this number will be obsolete.
This is all the more incredible considering the fact that these volunteer couples are newlyweds in their early 20s who have no formal training in organization management, fundraising, school administration, or even the language and customs of their new home.
How to explain this astonishing success?
In a word; “Leadership.”
More specifically, the leadership of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, scion to the royal house of King David; leadership that, inspired by G-d, transcends the limitations of nature.
Ask any Chabad emissary what his or her motivation is, and who gets the credit for their achievements, and the answer is always the same; “The Rebbe.”
And yet, many of these young couples are too young to even remember the Rebbe as a physical presence.
Rather, they see and feel the Rebbe on a vastly more transcendent scale. For them – indeed for all of us – the Rebbe is immanent, especially now.
Take the former Soviet Union, for example: The past ten years have witnessed a renaissance in Jewish life everywhere in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and the Asian republics. Without exception the chief rabbis, the school principals, the congregational rabbis and teachers, the social workers are all Chabad.
This didn’t happen by itself.
A 30 year old Lubavitcher from Brooklyn becomes the chief rabbi of Russia, and kindles a Chanukah menorah in Red Square with Vladimir Putin – this does not simply ‘happen’.
Yet a similar scene plays itself out in scores of major metropolises around the world.
A thousand Jewish backpackers show up in Katmandu for a Chabad-run Passover seder – the largest public seder in the world – this does not simply ‘happen’.
Yet a similar scene plays itself out in hundreds of locations around the world.
A tsunami hits southeast Asia and a Chabad rescue squad is already there to comfort the victims and identify missing Jews – this does not simply ‘happen’.
Indeed, today it is difficult to find a Jewish community of any size, however remote, that lacks a dedicated Chabad presence.
And, yes, it’s all because of the Rebbe’s continued leadership.
Never before has the possibility of Jewish life and a Jewish future been as strong as it is today. Because never before have there been so many shluchim. All because of the Rebbe’s leadership.
Chabad is not just an organization. It is a global community of believers who follow the Rebbe in their unconditional love of G-d and love of their fellow human beings.
And all this activity and accomplishment is the tangible manifestation of this love.
The Advent of Moshiach**
Yet, as important as all this activity is, there is an overarching purpose as well – the Redemption of humankind through the advent of Moshiach, the righteous redeemer.
The Rebbe, as a prophecy, has made it very clear that “ours is the last generation of exile and the first generation of redemption.”
It is within our grasp to live in a world perfected, a world of harmony, peace and loving-kindness.
But we must all do our share …
For Jews, this means increased acts of goodness and kindness – of taking upon ourselves to fulfill the Torah’s commandments, especially the kindling of Shabbat candles for women, donning Tefillin for men, studying Torah, and giving charity.
For those who are not Jewish, it means upholding the ethical principles of the seven Noahide* Laws.
There is so much that we can do to put the finishing touches on G-d’s masterpiece, the world we live in. The Rebbe has made it very clear what we must do.
This Wednesday – April 20th marks the Rebbe’s 103rd birthday. As we celebrate, we are all inspired to redouble our own spiritual efforts. A good way to start is by making this Passover a profound experience. As we retell the story of the birth of our nation and the Exodus from Egypt over 3,0000 years ago, we must – at every seder around the world – emphasize our own faith in the fast-approaching Redemption as expressed in the words “Next year in Jerusalem.”
It is our mission as individuals to do what we can to spur the momentum of Moshiach. Because, as Maimonides teaches (Laws of Repentance 3:4), it takes but one righteous act to tip the balance in humankind’s favor….
…And that single deed can be anyone’s – even yours.
In this merit may we be privileged to celebrate Passover with the righteous Moshiach in the Third Beit Hamikdash, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
Best wishes for a happy and kosher Passover
YECHI ADONEINU MOREINU VERABEINU MELECH HAMOSHIACH LEOLAM VOED
Not just for Jews
The Rebbe’s message extend to all humankind. He urged his followers to inspire the world to greater ethical attainment through adherence to the core principles of the Seven Noahide Laws. These include: Belief in G-d – the rejection of idolatry; Respect for the A-mighty – by not blaspheming His name; Respect for human life – by not committing murder; Respect for family – by upholding sexual morality; Respect for the rights and property of others – by not stealing; Establishing a judicial system – for the pursuit of justice; Respect for all living creatures – by not eating limbs taken from live animals.
“Whereas in tribute to this great spiritual leaders … we turn to education and charity to return the world to the moral and ethical values contained in the Seven Noahide Laws…”
(Public Law 102-14, 102nd Congress, 1st session. H.J res 104)
A single righteous act can tip the balance
and make all the difference
In honor of the Rebbe’s birthday I hereby commit myself to the following improvements in my lifestyle in order to hasten the arrival of Moshiach and Redemption for all humankind.
Studying Bible-Torah regularly
Giving my children a Noahide education
Purchasing new Bible-Torah books
Assisting the needy (tzedakah))
Doing more to treat my neighbors kindly
Please send a report of my commitments to the Rebbe.
name and mother’s name ______________________________
City_______________ State ___ Zip _______
Please send more information about Moshiach and Redemption