Article by Rabbi Mendel Dubov: There are those who are unable to be in shlichus, for any number of reasons. What is the message for them, and how do we educate youth knowing many of them will be in such a position?
By Rabbi Mendel Dubov – Shliach to Sussex County, NJ
Let’s talk a little about hashgacha pratis.
A young couple wants to go on shlichus. Wonderful. They search and find a position that provides a parnassa within the framework of the Rebbe’s mosdos. Wonderful!
If, for a legitimate reason, a couple does not immediately have this opportunity, then this is b’hashgacha pratis. None of us can know ahead of time what our life’s destiny will look like.
The Torah obligates a man to find a suitable parnasa for his family, to find adequate housing, etc. If your family situation is such that parnassa needs to come from elsewhere, two things should remain at the forefront of your consciousness:
1) The Rebbe’s relentless call that every Yid commit themselves to the Shlichus of spreading Yiddishkeit and Chassidus in their workplace, community, and with the people they come in contact with.
2) That alongside a day job must come the assumption of some responsibility or project in the realm of הפצת התורה והיהדות והפצת המעיינות חוצה – paid or otherwise.
Both these projects should be taken up with the utmost seriousness and chayus, as this is the Rebbe’s Shlichus for you, now.
A couple may ask: at which point can we know that our shlichus exists in a certain setup, one that is different from the “classic” form of working in the Rebbe’s Mosdos?
I believe the correct answer is this: WHEN WHAT YOU ARE DOING FEELS LIKE YOU ARE FULFILLING A SHLICHUS. This includes the case where pulling out of your assumed responsibilities would mean the end or significant weakness of a particular endeavor of Torah and Yiddishkeit.
This fact should be known to every chosid: There were many people whose location or occupation was a Shlichus so vital that the Rebbe never let them leave it. This was even if the suggested substitute was much more overtly ‘kedusha‘ orientated.
This is not to say that a shlichus can never be changed, it is to say however that being in such a position must be viewed as a full-fledged shlichus.
Admittedly, there is something uncomfortable for many about living this way as there are those who settle for such a lifestyle due to a lack of willingness and commitment. You want to be a shliach!
Here is the truth: the kind of life you live can be IDENTICAL to that of a shliach or shlucha. Life on shlichus is a life filled with a sense of mission. This is something that shluchim feel each day, albeit at times on a subliminal level.
This feeling can and should be exactly the same for those whose life, in general, is a shlichus: you can wake up each morning filled with the sense of the greatest purpose: fulfilling the Rebbe’s personal mission for you. You can live and breathe this all the time.
There are scores of Yidden in every community around the world whose lives are dedicated to the Rebbe’s inyanim in the most incredible way. This is notwithstanding the fact that their parnassa is (at least in large measure) not directly from mosdos Chabad.
Anyone with a little knowledge of the Rebbe’s interaction with such families knows the genuine and endless nachas the Rebbe derived from them and their activities.
An additional point:
We are all familiar with the concept of ‘Yissachar and Zevulun’: Zevulun funded the Torah of his brother Yissachar and thereby earned an equal share in the merit of his brother’s Torah learning.
This idea readily applies to all those who fund the Rebbe’s mosdos. But there is another Torah concept that is sometimes overlooked.
When it comes to a time of war, the Torah speaks of those who are יושב על הכלים – “guardians of the vessels” i.e. those who guard the property and assets left behind by the soldiers. Avraham Avinu set the standard that these guardians receive an equal share in the gains from the battle along with those who actually fought. Dovid Hamelech enshrined this into law despite the opposition to it within his camp (see Rashi Lech Lecha יד, כד).
An army is made up of many units. Many of those who join the military will never be deployed to a combat zone. But these people are as vital to the army as those who are on the front lines, for without their contribution the army would be disabled.
In a similar way, the project of shlichus necessitates many יושבים על הכלים: people who do the work that directly enables the work of Shlichus to continue.
There is no Mivtza Tefillin and Mezuzah without sofrim (this includes those who check Tefillin and Mezuzos – a very important and much-needed position). There is no Mivtza Kashrus without shochatim and mashgichim. Bayis Malei Sefarim necessitates printers and distributors. Etc, etc.
Now, there have of course been sofrim, shochatim etc. throughout Jewish history. These are honorable positions of avodas hakodesh in any generation.
But in addition to their inherent importance, this very same occupation can be unique if it also serves to directly enable the Rebbe’s shlichus. In such a way, a Jew can attain the status of being part of the Rebbe’s army as a יושב על הכלים. According to Torah, such a person receives equal reward with those doing the actual work on the front lines.
Introducing the kind of life set out above immediately triggers the question of chinuch: how should we speak to young people vis-a-vis the fact that not all of them will end up working in mosdos Chabad (whether by choice or not)?
Our chinuch must always be that bochurim and girls should want to live lives completely and entirely devoted to the Rebbe and his work. No halfway, no compromises. As the famous line goes, this is not about donations, this is about a commitment.
Now, the expression of this will usually be to find one’s life occupation in the Rebbe’s mosdos. And the truth has to be said: there is no greater zechus and privilege than this.
This is a rule. But every rule has exceptions. It always was and always will be the case that there are those whose shlichus will take on a different form. You may be one of them, and you may never have anticipated it. (Recall the story of Reb Yosef whom the Alter Rebbe instructed to become a baal agala). The point is to be prepared for your particular shlichus in life b’simcha v’tuv leivov.
So young people will ask: how will I know what my Shlichus is today, in the situation after Gimmel Tammuz?
The answer seems to be something like this: the first thing for you to think about is reaching the place in your mind and heart of wanting to devote your life to the Rebbe’s work.
When the time comes, write this to the Rebbe. Along with guidance from your “rav”, you will continue your life’s journey. Rest assured that if you are sincere, the Rebbe will personally see to it that you will be his shliach or shlucha in the most complete manner, and in the fullest sense of the word.