Tammuz 1994: Transmission
“How is it that the Redemption has not yet
been attained? That despite all that has transpired and all that
has been done, Moshiach has still not come?
"What more can I do? I have done all I can
to bring the world to truly demand and clamor for the Redemption….
The only thing that remains for me to do is to give over the matter
to you. Do all that is in your power to achieve this thing—a
most sublime and transcendent light that needs to be brought down
into our world with pragmatic tools….
“I have done all I can. I give it over to
you. Do all that you can to bring the righteous redeemer, immediately!
“I have done my part. From this point on,
all is in your hands.”
The Rebbe spoke these words at the close of an
address he delivered on Thursday evening, April 11, 1991. Spoken
in an anguished voice and couched in uncharacteristically personal
terms, the words deeply shocked the Chassidim present in the Rebbe’s
synagogue and reverberated throughout the global Chabad-Lubavitch
No abatement was seen in the Rebbe’s activities
following this talk. On the contrary: although approaching his 90th
year, he accelerated. Every Shabbat there was another public gathering,
and sometimes several more during the week. Every Sunday, the Rebbe
stood for hours, greeting visitors with blessings and advice--and
a dollar to give to charity. His campaign to bring the world to
an awareness of the imminence of the Age of Moshiach continued and
But a suspenseful expectation hung in the air.
The Rebbe had implied that the torch that had been passed from leader
to leader, from prophet to sage since Abraham--that torch had now
been passed by the Rebbe to each and every one of us.
The 25th of Adar I, 5752 (February 29, 1992) was
a Shabbat like many others for the Rebbe’s Chassidim residing
in Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York.
Because it was Shabbat Mevarchim (the Shabbat preceding
the start of a new month in the Jewish Calendar) they joined the
Rebbe in his synagogue at 8:30 am to recite the book of Psalms,
as is the Lubavitch custom. This was followed by the usual Shabbat
morning service. Following the service, some rushed home for a quickly-eaten
Shabbat meal. Within the hour they were back, joining those who
had remained in the synagogue. By 1:30 p.m., the time that the Rebbe's
weekly Shabbat farbrengen (gathering) was scheduled to begin, several
thousand Chassidim crowded the large room at 770 Eastern Parkway.
Shortly thereafter, the Rebbe entered. For the
next three hours he spoke, expounding on a variety of Torah subjects.
In brief intermissions between his talks, the Chassidim sang and
raised small plastic cups of wine to say lechaim to the Rebbe.
In one of his talks, the Rebbe spoke about the
Torah reading of the day, Vayakhel (Exodus 35-38), and that of the
following week, Pikudei (Exodus 38-40). But why, asked the Rebbe,
does Vayakhel, which means “community”, come before
Pikudei, which expresses the concept of “individuality”?
Don't we first need to develop and perfect the individual, before
hoping to making healthy communities out of them?
But this, said the Rebbe, is the Torah's very point:
Make communities, even before you have perfect individuals. People
are not Lego pieces or machine parts, which must be fully formed
individually before they can be assembled together in a constructive
way. People are souls, with the potential for perfection already
implicit within them. And nothing brings out a soul's potential
as much as interacting and uniting with other souls. Imperfect individuals,
brought together in love and fellowship, make perfect communities.
The farbrengen having ended, those who had not
yet done so went home for the Shabbat meal; they, too, had to hurry,
as the short winter day was already drawing to a close. As soon
as Shabbat was over, a group of scholars (called chozrim, or "repeaters")
gathered to recall and write down the Rebbe's words (it being Shabbat,
no electronic recording devices were employed at the farbrengen).
Within 24 hours, the Rebbe's words were transcribed, translated
into half a dozen languages, and faxed to hundreds of Chabad-Lubavitch
centers around the world. The Rebbe's Chassidim now had "material"
to study, disseminate and implement until next Shabbat's farbrengen,
if the Rebbe did not deliver a weekday address before then (as he
But on Monday afternoon (March 2, 1992), while
praying at the gravesite of his father-in-law andd predecessor,
the Rebbe suffered a stroke that paralyzed his right side and, most
devastatingly, robbed him of the ability to speak. There was no
farbrengen on the following Shabbat, nor on the Shabbat after that.
Two years and three months later, in the early
morning hours of the 3rd of Tammuz, 5754 (June 12, 1994), the Rebbe's
soul ascended on high, orphaning a generation.
The Rebbe's disciples are still waiting for the
next farbrengen. In the meantime, they're making communities.