Leadership & Delegation 2
You must be kidding if youre asking
whether I received any response to last
weeks article. Response is not the word. Hundreds
of responses are more like it. A few want to kill
me. Others want to hug me. 98% of the responses have been
extremely positive. Quite a number wrote to me about their
newfound respect for the Rebbe and his shluchim (emissaries);
they now appreciate more than ever the great challenges
and accomplishments of their local shliach. But the few
critics argue that my premise undermines all authority.
I never received such two opposite reactions to one and
the same article!
Allow me to share with you one example of this
weeks correspondence, which captures the essence of what
many others have written to me.
I must commend you for a brilliant
and powerful article. I have discussed the piece with many of
my colleagues and friends and they too share my feelings. Though
I am sure that some in the establishment will initially
criticize your words (for obvious reasons), and I too have some
questions which I will address later, it is obvious after reading
your article that we must first acknowledge your courage and
clarity in addressing these issues from a Torah perspective
issues that have great bearing on all of us.
I also appreciate the fact that you cited sources
that can be corroborated and invited others to do the same,
so that we can perhaps all gain a better understanding as to
the Rebbes intentions in the shlichus system he built.
What really made me think and I heard this
from some others as well are the words you wrote that
the Rebbes approach to shlichus provides us with a blueprint
for future infrastructures. I would appreciate if you could
elaborate on this point.
Now, so as to ensure that you dont allow
my compliments to get to your head, I will say this:
Notwithstanding the merit of many points you make,
the question is: do shluchim have accountability only to themselves,
the Rebbe and Torah, and not to any other hanhala (authority)?
Isnt it true that the Rebbe wanted that shluchim send
reports to central headquarters? What role does headquarters
Also: Shliach oseh shliach means that the first
shliach appoints the next one. What responsibilities do they
have to each other?
Needless to say, much more can be said on this
topic, but I will suffice with these questions for now.
Keep up the excellent work. We avidly await your
weekly e-mails, which bring much inspiration to our community,
as I am sure to many others.
Thank you for your very kind and moving words.
Before further addressing these issues, I want
to qualify my thoughts with the following disclaimers:
My objective in writing the article was in response
to the request of many to try bringing some clarity in understanding
the Rebbes intentions, based on his words and teachings.
I attempted to do so to the best of my ability by searching
in the Rebbes talks and writings. By no means should this
be seen as the complete picture it was really about putting
the main issues clearly on the table, with the invitation to
anyone that has more facts to come forward and share any of
the Rebbes writings or public talks that can help shed
more light on these issues.
Even after reaching a measure of clarity in the
Rebbes approach, there inevitably will still remain questions
and issues that may arise case by case. As the Rebbe directs
us, these issues should be addressed amongst Chassidim, and
being that they are interested in the truth, they will surely
be able to resolve any questions. Should the need arise Rabbonim
can be consulted, as is the Jewish way in all matters of life.
Now, to the questions you pose, beginning with
the model for the infrastructure of the future. One of the defining
features of the future losid lovo
is that the world will be filled with Divine knowledge
as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9. See Rambam at
the end of his Mishne Torah). The prophet Jeremiah elaborates:
I shall put my teaching in their inward parts and write
it in their heart
They shall no longer teach one another
saying know G-d, for they shall all know Me
from the least of them to the greatest of them (31:32-33.
See also Joel 3:1-2. Vayikra Rabba 1:14. Tanya ch. 36).
If they shall no longer teach one another
for they shall all know me why does the verse say that
there will be a distinction between the least of them
(ketanom) and the greatest of them
(gedolom)? Explains the Rebbe that diversity
will remain, there will be both young and old, smaller and greater,
yet each will know Me G-ds Essence (Oisi)
will permeate each according to his/her level (see also Likkutei
Levi Yitzchak on Zohar vol. 3 p. 210).
And even then there will be a need for a teacher
and leader (Moshiach) who will reveal even deeper dimensions
(see Tzemach Tzedek, Derech Mitzvosecho, the end of Mitzvat
Today, we have obviously not yet reached this
level of equality and balance, but it does it give us insight
into the infrastructure of the future: Individuality
and avodah bkoach atzmo of each individual will
be integrated with the Divine Will. In less perfect times individuality
can contradict the common goal of the community. Not so in the
future. [More on this, see Individualism
A foretaste of this is in the shlichus infrastructure,
with each individual location becoming so permeated with Torah
and Mitzvot that each place itself becomes like an independent,
self generating source of light (similar to the concept of
metziuso matzmuso of the yesh
hanivra) see Sichat Parshat Vayeishev 5752.
This leads us into the other issues you raised.
There is no doubt that central headquarters can play a key
role as we see the remarkable results of their dedicated
work in the new Chabad centers springing up in Europe and
Asia and many other locations around the world. Witness also
the great Kiddush Hashem at the annual International Shluchim
and Shluchos Conference.
Central headquarters can additionally offer a
powerful service by helping shluchim with funding, provide them
with materials and services, coordinate efforts between shluchim
The same is true for shliach oseh shliach:
Enormous credit must be given to the first shluchim who pioneered
the way by selflessly and without question accepting the Rebbes
mission to become shluchim they took the lead, broke
the initial ground and helped forge the way for those that followed
through their initiative of building institutions in their respective
communities. Further credit is due to them for not sufficing
in transforming their own territories, but in expanding the
work as the Rebbe instructed by recruiting new
shluchim, who in turn built additional new communities.
The Rebbe clearly wanted and expected warm cooperation
between shliach and shliach and between shluchim and headquarters.
But the Rebbe trusted his shluchim, and did not impose authority.
His deepest wish is that Chassidim shluchim
would be united, and be able to get together, with true bittul,
and address all issues that may arise. Not through force and
litigation, but in an environment of chassidishe warmth and
The pioneer shluchim, precisely because they came
first and have the experience of seniority, should lead the
way as role models demonstrating this Chassidishe bittul.
I submit here that the greater the shliach the more bittul
he has to the meshalayach the more compassionate
he will be, the more loving, the more he will motivate others,
including the shluchim that came after him, the more he will
be loved and respected.
Obviously, shluchim need to work well with each
other, and when one shliach brings out another there must be
healthy coordination and cooperation between them, which is
built on a fundamental trust. Their detailed responsibilities
to each other have to be worked out between them at the outset,
but it will always be successful when built upon mutual trust
May we all learn from the Rebbe how to lead with
love how to inspire and motivate with passion and compassion.
May we all together reach a true clarity
yisbariru vyislavnu hadevorim
in understanding what is expected of us.
Finally, may we refine our existing infrastructures
and align them to the infrastructure of the future, thereby
helping prepare for the world that will be filled with
Divine knowledge as the waters cover the sea and they
shall no longer teach one another
for they shall all know
Me from the least of them to the greatest of them.