Sunday, March 29, 2009
Small Town, Big Ideas
Coming from Beis Nissan the Yoma DeHillula of the Rebbe Rashab of Lubavitch, here are some of my thoughts regarding the man and his mission. I was watching a farbrengen of 20 Cheshvan, the RR's birthday, where the last Rebbe speaks of the venture of the Rebbe Rashab to save Yiddishkeit by creating the Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim in Lubavitch in 5657, and how his directives are very pertinent to his Talmidim and Talmidim of the Yeshivah today as well. The Rebbe even is mechayev women as far as that goes. One cannot help but realize how important the Rebbe thought each and every one of us in returning the Jewish nation to its full glory and bringing Moshiach. It didn't matter if you were a pure simpleton, there was something you could teach to a total ignoramus, and you had to do that. Those of you who have difficulty understanding the derech of Chabad might look at it and see problems, real or imagined ones, and may see it as the brainchild of the Rebbe - not that there's anything c"v wrong with that - but I'll prove that it wasn't so; this was at least 3 generations in the making.
Let's take a look at the Rebbe Rashab. Kodesh Kodoshim Mamesh. Frum vi a misnaged, his own mother called him. A towering man who even the great Geonim amongst the Misngadim had no choice but to have great derech eretz for him and respect his often lone opinions. In 5657/1897, the Rebbe basically decided that he alone will save Yiddishkeit. We all know what kind of destruction the movements of the day were wreaking on Yiddishkeit those years, and the Rebbe wanted to at least put a dent in it. So he decided that he'll start a Yeshivah that would educate bachurim on Mesiras Nefesh and make true Yirei Shomayim, leaders of Klal Yisroel in the years to come. What does that mean, "true Yirei Shomayim?" Well, despite there being several Yeshivos Kedoshos at that time fully operational for decades by then, the Rebbe felt that they were generating Talmidei Chachomim, yes, but not the Yirei Shomayim that he was looking for. In order to produce leaders and true Rabbonim there would need to be a heavy emphasis placed on the learning of Chassidus Chabad.
So he went and started his own Yeshivah in the Belorussian backwoods. He traveled to see how other Yeshivos operated, but basically did it by himself. He didn't gather the leaders of the generation. He even disagreed with his cousins as to what the true Chabad derech was. HE decided that the few bachurim in his small town will save the world! He traveled to Pressburg to see how they do it there. Faraway Pressburg, not nearby Mir or Telshe or Kelm. I don't know what he took from there. All I know is that he went a long way out of his way. Do you begin to see the parallel already? There's also the idea that not only will he go it alone, but he'll also be the only one to fully understand the needs of the people - all kinds of people - and only his bachurim will get it done. He'll send his bachurimlach to faraway Georgia and Buchara too, despite them being as familiar with those Jews as I am with astronomy. Then, if you'd like, you can follow the next two leaders of Chabad and see what they did and how they did it, and you can see where they got their lessons from.