This year (5774 ) is the 20th anniversary of the 3rd of Tamuz, Gimel Tamuz. In this article, Rabbi Ginsburgh describes how to continue to feel connected to the Rebbe and in what ways we can advance and empower his life’s goal.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe initiated ten campaigns, all intended to enhance the physical and spiritual well being of our generation and to rectify the world. These campaigns were part of the Rebbe’s broader, all encompassing “Mashiach campaign,” which channeled the energies of the Rebbe and his followers toward the goal of bringing the redemption. The Mashiach campaign initially addressed two main issues: Mashiach‘s work, and the determination of Mashiach‘s identity. Initially, the emphasis was placed on the work of Mashiach vis-a-vis the campaigns that the Rebbe had instituted. In contrast, the issue of Mashiach‘s identity — who exactly possesses the messianic qualities that will enable him to bring reality to its consummation — was not emphasized. At that stage, it was possible to say that the Rebbe — who was leading the movement — was the most Mashiach-like personality then identifiable, but this did not necessarily imply that he was assuming the role himself. As time progressed, however, more emphasis was placed on Mashiach‘s identity, and it became clear that the Rebbe was expecting everyone to seek and discover the proper candidate, and follow him.
The Rebbe explains that missing an opportunity to bring Mashiach eventually results in an even higher manner of his revelation than was previously possible. The fact that the Rebbe’s physical presence is hidden from us (although, as Chassidut teaches, the tzimtzum — withdrawal — is not truly real) can be understood as a “descent for the sake of subsequent ascent,” meant to awaken the messianic spark within us.
It is crucial to consider what factors brought about this descent and what exactly the coming ascent should be. It is not enough to simply proceed with the same type of messianic activism in which we engaged before Gimel Tamuz or even to increase it. We must continue to raise Mashiach consciousness, but in a new and totally different manner.
Relatively speaking, whatever one does in response to direct, explicit instructions of the Rebbe is itkafia — simple submission to his will. In order to practice this type of itkafia, it is not necessary to tap one’s hidden potential. As such, this type of service cannot awaken the innermost depth of one’s heart. The Rebbe expressed this grievance in his famous address of the 28th of Nissan 5751 (April, 1991), when he put the responsibility of bringing the redemption into our hands. “Do whatever you can!” the Rebbe said. “Act with the energy of the ‘lights’ of Tohu, though in ‘vessels’ of Tikun, to make Mashiach come immediately!” In that same address, the Rebbe bemoaned the fact that his followers cry “How long?!” (until Mashiach comes) only in order to fulfill the bidding of the Rebbe, and not because they are genuinely moved to do so. “If they would truly mean what they are asking and shouting for,Mashiach would most certainly have already come!” the Rebbe insisted.
When we don’t know what to do to bring the Mashiach, where to place the emphasis, or how to focus our efforts, our enthusiasm to act is perforce weakened. Clearly, however, no approach is more counter to the messianic spirit than that which dictates that in the face of doubt it is better to do nothing. Someone truly imbued with the messianic spirit will, when he weighs the options, decide that it is better to act. This may entail acting with a certain amount of uncertainty, but messianic fervor by its very nature is the readiness to dive into the realm of the unknown, confident that there really is no other choice. As explained in the Rebbe‘s teachings, the very purpose of the Rebbe‘s withdrawal from the scene is in order to stir us to act in those very areas that are ill-defined and uncharted.