Question: [Thursday 3rd Tamuz 5780]
Growing up, and in yeshiva, we were taught from a very young age and throughout our education of how much the Rebbe wants us to become Shluchim. I did not merit to become a Shliach and am a simple Baal Habaas. Last night I turned into the global unity Farbrengen for Gimel Tamuz, And while it was certainly enjoyable and inspirational for me it was kind of personally sad, as so much talk was done about Shlichus and Shluchim then it seems like this is the entire emphasis today on our connection with the Rebbe and being a Chabad Chassid. Where does that leave me, and hundreds if not thousands of others who are simply not holding there and are not Shluchim but simple Baalei Batim. Are we merely part of the fan club of Chabad, or can we be considered active players? I know this may be a more general question that requires more detailed answer perhaps you can give me at least some words of inspiration to help make my Gimel Tamuz a little more fulfilling.
I received your question and duly understand the feelings that you are expressing in your letter. While I too was amongst the many spectators in the global Farbrenegn and did see an emphasis on the concept of Shlichus, there was also an emphasis in having the Rabbanim speak to the audience, and Mashpi’im explain the Mamar. Nonetheless without entering into the subjective debate on whether factually this particular Frabenegn emphasized too much on Shluchim, your feelings are certainly validated and understood and this issue has been voiced already by many Rabbonim and famous Mashpi’im who are Baalei Avodah. While certainly the Shlichus organization is a major branch today of Chabad Lubavitch, it does not come to negate at all the generational Chabad philosophy and meaning of being a Chabad Chassid, and Chassid of the Rebbe. Aside for the fact that in general, every Jew and Chassid is considered a Shliach in his field of occupation, and amongst his friends and family, wife and children, being a Chabad Chassid first and foremost is the study of Chassidus, and Davening in Avoda in a way that helps form and mold one’s character, and increase in practical Ahavas Yisrael. In addition to the above, being a Chassid of the Rebbe entails studying his teachings, following his directives, and doing the daily Chitas and Ramban study cycles. Those who do so should be considered not fans of Chabad, but an integral core of its essential philosophy and followers. While from an ideological perspective I’m sure few would debate the above points, nonetheless practically many people share your feelings that if they are not some sort of Shliach they’re not really part of the full-fledged Chabad enterprise and are more back-seat fans. This conclusion is very untrue, as official active Shlichus is only one part of being a Chabad Chassid and does not come to exclude G-d forbid all the other vital and important aspects of Chabad philosophy. In order for this feeling to be changed it is incumbent upon Rabbanim and Mashpi’im to speak about the greatness of Avoda, and learning Chassidus, etc And make a big deal about those who do so just like we make a big deal about the Shluchim. When a child and or adult constantly only hear of the emphasis of Shlichus and being a Shliach they can come to forget that this is not the generational definition of being a Chabad Chassid, and being a recognized active Shliach is not the exclusive definition of being considered a Chassid of the Rebbe. A Chassid who is not a formal active Shliach, but takes part in all the other aspects that we discussed above is a core part of the Rebbe’s army. If speakers, and official Chabad events would give more attention to emphasizing this it would help elevate and motivate the moral of the average Chabad Chassid who is not a Shliach and emphasize to him the central importance of his Avoda. Perhaps this was not done enough by the above said Farbrenegn, and while they certainly boosted up the Rebbe’s Shlichus enterprise, the normal Chabad Chassid may have felt a little left out. This does not mean that Shluchim should not be independently admired, but simply that they should not take the full emphasis of the Rebbe and Chabad in negation of discussion of all the other vital generational issues that the Rebbe and Chabad Lubavitch always stood for, and that every Chassid can aspire to do and perform.
I’l conclude that indeed the final message in the Ata Tetzaveh Mamar, which was the last Chassidic discourse that we merited to receive from the Rebbe’s hands a day before his stroke and can be viewed as his parting mission statement to his followers for the next generation, his emphasis was not on Shlichus, but on every Jew being completely broken hearted from the fact that he is found in exile and does not see revelation of G-dliness. This recognition can only be accomplished through intense contemplation and Avodas Hatefila, and perhaps is not emphasized enough or made enough of a big deal about amongst the echelon of Chabad or in Yeshiva.
Rest assured that even if you are not an official recognized Shliach, by you following through with the above said activities that the Rebbe requested, you are a vital part of the generational Chabad movement, and not a mere fan, and provide the Rebbe and Hashem much Nachas!