Everyone is a Shliach

Lubavitch-Shuluchim-110813Thousands of rabbis pose in front of Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters in Brooklyn on Sunday during the annual International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries.

By Yonatan Gordon

The annual Kinus Hashluchim, gathering of Chabad shluchim (emissaries), event culminated in the gala banquets last Sunday evening. Thousands of Chabad emissaries from around the world converged on Brooklyn to celebrate with togetherness and love.

For several years I exhibited during this time. My wife and I, soon after we got married, spent the final day of Sheva Brachot staffing a booth for Kehot Publication Society, publisher of Chabad. It is an exciting time filled with much activity and fanfare. And while I miss speaking to the shluchim, I have come to terms with this time away period.

Not being in the thick of things has helped me appreciate something called the “shliach in each of us.” Whether you have a Chabad house, whether you consider yourself Chabad, we are all in the same boat. Distinctions were something that previous generations benefited from. So that the Chassidic movement should retain its stature special students were selected, the holy circle of the Maggid of Mezeritch, and so on.

But now God has chosen us to live in a weaker generation. So we are doing our best. But with our best comes the realization that situations have changed. The Lubavitcher Rebbe gave the task of bringing Moshiach to us, not to any specific group, and not even to those who have devoted their lives to become full-time, full-fledged emissaries of Judaism.

With all due respect, to be a shliach today doesn’t mean being granted a pass to either of the banquets held this past Sunday. And it doesn’t mean having a Chabad house, although this is a most noble pursuit. It means to do acts with all of our might to bring Moshiach. And at the time, if the act is handled with complete devotion and dedication, then you are an emissary, a shliach, at that time.

When I write these articles, most times I have little idea how it will turn out and even less desire to dig deep within once again. It’s hard to write and even harder to write from the heart. And many times, most times, some thought comes from afar, some good idea that helps the article along. It is these thoughts that come as the result of effort that show that perhaps I’m doing something right.

Explained in this way we need to redefine our terminology. Kinus Hashluchim should be viewed as a gathering celebrating quantity not quality.

An introverted rabbi of a Chabad house stretches himself every time he invites Shabbat guests. After a certain point, he can’t take a “Shabbat off” because people, his newly forming community, look forward to these interactions each and every week. But if I decide not to write one night, I don’t receive a call next week from someone saying that they didn’t attend a Shabbat meal the week before because I decided to “take off.” The quantity, the expectations of consistency are different. But the quality, the acts themselves, are equally cherished by God.

With this explanation, we can now begin to redefine shlichut, what it means to be an emissary:

  1. Celebrating Quantity, not Quality: The shluchim banquets, and the shluchim conference, should be viewed as a celebration for those who devote themselves most often to the task of bringing Moshiach. Day and night people call or knock on their door, and for this they indeed should be celebrated for their selfless and ceaseless efforts.
  2. Everyone is a Shliach: Each of us can be a shliach at any moment, an emissary for bringing Moshiach. Whether you consider yourself Chabad of not, together we can tip the scales, the critical mass or tipping point, to bring the Redemption.
  3. With all Your Might: At the time that we devote ourselves fully, with all our might, to go beyond our natural tendencies to do some good act to bring the Redemption, then at that moment we are a shliach.

And through our actions to bring Moshiach, may we soon attend the ultimate banquet with Moshiach.

{Freely inspired and adapted from “Connecting (Hitkashrut) to the Rebbe after Gimel Tamuz” by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh.}

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