Diffusion of the Rebbe

This week is a big week for Chabad.  Wednesday marks 70 years since the Rebbe became Rebbe. 

Many people wonder why we're celebrating the day on which the Rebbe took over leadership of Chabad if he passed away 26 years ago.  People also wonder why Chabad hasn't appointed a new Rebbe.

The simple answer to the second question is because his shoes can't be filled.  There's a deeper answer though, which answers the first question too.

Even before officially becoming Rebbe, he would give the honor of officiating weddings with certain conditions.  About 12 years into his leadership, he officially stopped, due to lack of time.  At the same time, he encouraged people to have their wedding ceremony outside of his office, would listen in on occasion, and assured couples that this was "the same" as him performing the wedding. 

About 20 years later, he stopped giving private audiences (yechidus), again because of time constraints, but started giving out dollars on Sundays and promised that it's the same.  He also encouraged people to attend farbrengens for the same reason.

The Rebbe sent thousands of Shluchim to be his representatives to the whole world, because he wanted to be in every place and reach every Jew, something not humanely possible without his brilliant system.

You can see this trajectory of the Rebbe becoming grander while retaining his dedication to the individual (unlike most people who rise to power and become less concerned with the the individual).

The best word I can think of to describe this phenomenon is "diffusion."  If you pour a cup of water in a humidifier and turn it on, the water level in the machine will decrease while the machine turns the water into vapor and spreads it across the room.  At face value, you might say that the water becomes less and less while the machine does it's work, but in truth, the water is in the room, and even more than it was before being diffused.  Until its diffusion, it was limited to the cup holding it.  Afterwards, the water spreads across the entire room, in a way that can be absorbed. 

You see?  It's the same two opposites:  The water is less visible, while at the same time even more present than before.

In the Rebbe's "inauguration speech," he quoted the Kabbalah which claims the the word "passing" - הסתלקות, used in reference to righteous people, doesn't mean that the person passes on and goes away, but on the contrary, is in the world more than during his lifetime. 

Maybe, the best explanation for this Kabbalah claim is "diffusion."  Just as the Rebbe stopped officiating weddings, giving private audiences and even passed away, it's not because he is further away from the world.  On the contrary, the Rebbe is more alive and influential today, than during his lifetime.

The reason why we don't need a new leader is because we still have one, and this is the same reason we still celebrate the day he accepted leadership, a leadership that this Wednesday will be 70 years strong.


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