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The Mission Can't Wait

Thursday, 13 January, 2011 - 9:29 am


In 1951, the Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke at a public gathering.
The occasion would serve as the Rebbe’s official – albeit reluctant – acceptance of Chabad's leadership, one year after the passing of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, the Rebbe’s predecessor and father-in-law.
The relatively small Chabad community, most of whom had narrowly escaped  the Holocaust’s carnage, had gathered in Brooklyn to hear their new, forty-eight year old Rebbe lay out a vision for the future.
Here's a snapshot of what the Rebbe told them:

We yearn and strive for connection with an Infinite G-d, an unfathomable Divine Reality. At the same time, we live in a world that seems shallow, unreasonable and replete with moral challenges.

And that’s exactly the point.

G-d’s deepest core-desire is fulfilled when we, in our simple human lives, make cosmic choices; G-d's most profound presence is drawn into our reality when  we rise above our own egocentric impulses, and transcend the bombardment of external distractions, to do the right thing.
But it’s not just about ‘doing’ the right thing; it’s about committing oneself to a purposeful life.
Deep-seated commitment.
To me, that's what shows when a toddler takes sick in middle of the night and we immediately - without a thought - jump out of bed; there’s no cost/benefit analysis (“he’ll probably be the one to choose my nursing home, so….”).
We just act – super-rationally – to honor the deep relationship we share.
Taking it a wider angle, we’re speaking of a super-rational commitment to Higher Living, which is also the antidote to irrational behavior, i.e. our counter-productive habits.
Finding a deep-seated commitment to our relationship with the Divine, overriding the irrational with the super-rational, brings G-d’s Essence into our lives.
And that’s the end-game of all creation.
All of spirituality, the angels and metaphysical cosmos, are simply means to an end: Our daily struggle to live a purposeful life in this otherwise-shallow world.

That’s been the challenge of history, to bring Divine Essence into a seamless presence in our world. Now we’re finally at the peak; we need to bring Moshiach.
It can sound grandiose to think that we’ll accomplish a goal that has eluded previous generations. But we’re standing giants’ shoulders. Our strength lies in completing what they’ve begun, and what they have granted us the opportunity to achieve.


This Shabbos will mark sixty years from this foundational talk. The Rebbe passed away in 1994, yet his voice still speaks to us.

The mission can’t wait.

Comments on: The Mission Can't Wait

Mendy wrote...

Based on the Rebbe's discourse - known as Basi l'Gani - delivered on the 10 of Shevat 1951.