Shlichus — Living One’s Life as the Rebbe’s Emissary

The Obligation to Go on Shlichus

.. The above serves as encouragement and empowerment to all the Shluchim who occupy themselves in the dissemination of Torah and Judaism and the dissemination of the wellsprings of Chassidus, doing so as emissaries of my father-in-law, the Rebbe, “One emissary making another — even up to one hundred emissaries.”1

They are to know and remember that the command and directive of the Nasi of our generation that we are to occupy ourselves in the dissemination of Torah and Judaism does not come under the heading of “hiddur mitzvah,” spiritual beautification and adornment, but is actual pikuach nefesh, an actual matter of life and death.

For the Nasi of our generation is standing and crying out, “Do not stand idly by as your brother’s blood is [spiritually] being spilled”2 — “... You are capable of rescuing him”3 !

Since this is so, surely the Shluchim will increase their shlichus efforts with even greater vigor and vitality in fulfilling the mission of the Nasi of our generation.

May a multitude of others learn and follow their example — that they too join the Shluchim of the Nasi of our generation — and occupy themselves in the dissemination of Torah and Judaism and the dissemination of the wellsprings of Chassidus.

(Hisvaaduyos, Vol. III, p. 260)

Go on Shlichus With Joy And Gladness of Heart

.. In practical terms and summarizing all the above:

All of you who are here should go on shlichus. Do so with joy and gladness of heart, and G‑d will provide you with all your material and spiritual needs.

(Sichos Kodesh 5721, p. 198)

Shlichus Develops and Reveals Within the Shaliach His Loftiest Potential

Chassidus cites4 the parable and explanation of the soul’s descent within a body, comparing it to a king who desires that his son utilize all his abilities and reveal his complete potential.

In order to achieve this, the king sends his son to a place very distant from the royal palace, a place where the manner of conduct is not at all similar to — indeed it may even be antithetical to — the [fine and upstanding] conduct in the royal palace.

When the prince faces all the obstacles and difficulties [in his new place] and nonetheless overcomes them and acts in a princely fashion, then all his hidden powers are revealed from potentiality into actuality, and he utilizes his talents in the best and greatest manner possible.

Similarly with regard to the descent of the soul into a body — it is a descent for the purpose of a subsequent ascent.5

In light of the greatness and importance of a Jew’s soul, as it is the greatest of all of G‑d’s possessions, G‑d makes it descend from “the greatest of heights to the lowest of depths” (“m’igra ramah l’bira amikta”)6 ....

G‑d does this so that when the soul conducts itself in a proper manner — that even when found in this lowly level, one can still readily tell that the soul is “truly a part of G‑d above,”7 fulfilling the King’s desires — there is thereby revealed all the soul’s latent abilities.

This is also one of the reasons for exile ... when a Jew conducts himself properly during the time of exile, he attains a higher level than he would have attained prior to the time of the destruction [of the Beis HaMikdash] and exile.8

The above matter, regarding the soul’s descent below and the descent of the Jewish people into exile, is at times found in an individual manner with regard to certain individuals.

These people were delegated the task of descending to specific places, etc. Clearly, the intent is not one of descent, G‑d forbid. On the contrary: they were provided with the power and merit to become elevated to a higher level — a level that they could otherwise not achieve — by fulfilling in that location the shlichus that was placed upon them.

.. This is also one of the reasons why the Baal Shem Tov, the Maggid of Mezritch, the Alter Rebbe, up to and including my father-in-law, the Rebbe, all sent disciples of theirs to dwell in distant locations — although seemingly, there is no better place for disciples to live than in the shadow of their masters their whole lives through.

Nevertheless, they conducted themselves in this manner, as it was specifically through this descent that their disciples were able to reveal special soul powers; they were given special merit to attain a higher level than that which they had attained previously.

Which is to say, although the disciples were ostensibly sent to these places in order to affect the places, all the same this effected a tremendous ascent within the disciples themselves.9

Thus we have verily observed that those who fulfilled the shlichus and did so with dedication and commitment and not out of a sense of compulsion or being forced ... achieved a tremendous personal degree of spiritual success.

Surely their degree of success was infinitely greater than those who dodged shlichus, or those who were never offered the position of shlichus in the first place — probably because they did not receive this zechus — and live close by.

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XIV, pp. 325-326)

Shlichus — Now as Before

... We must but believe with complete faith that there is no difference from before [the passing of the Previous Rebbe] to now; we must fulfill our shlichus.

We perceive that those individuals who conducted themselves in this manner — they did not think of matters as they exist in the realm of nature, for they know that they are going in the shlichus of the Nasi HaDor who transcends the bounds of nature — were tremendously successful.

We must be totally resolute in the knowledge that when we are connected to the Rebbe, nature has no say, and that the Rebbe can give and desires to give.

This is important not only regarding one’s success in fulfilling his shlichus, but also regarding providing for one’s personal material matters as well.

For as mentioned earlier, the Rebbe also concerns himself with the material needs of each individual, as the Rebbe always conducted himself in a manner that the material and spiritual went hand in hand.

When one opens the door for G‑d, even if it is but “the [tiny space of a] point of a needle,” G‑d reciprocates by opening with the broadness of the Ulam [which had a breadth of 32 amos and] which was always open, providing all manner of good, both materially and spiritually.

(Toras MenachemHisvaaduyos, Vol. VII, p. 338)

Place Yourself in the Other Person’s Shoes And Go On Shlichus

.. The above is also connected with Rashi’s statement,10 “Look upon yourself as if you were a poor person”:

Were you to be in the [spiritually] impoverished state of that pauper, you would protest and let out a cry; you would never agree to a situation where the other would occupy himself in hiddur mitzvah, in his own personal spiritual adornment, and not come to your aid when you are lacking the critical and basic [spiritual] necessities.

So, too, when G‑d has aided you that you find yourself in a place where you lack nothing, and you know that others are lacking basic spiritual necessities, it is incumbent upon you to travel there [on shlichus] to assist him.

(Sichos Kodesh 5729, Vol. I, p. 369)

The Tremendous Advantage Of Those Who Go On Shlichus

There is a tremendous advantage to those who travel to distant places in order to fulfill the shlichus of the Rebbe, the Nasi. For as known, there is the famous saying of the Baal Shem Tov,11 that “In the place where a person’s desire is found, that is where he is found.”

Thus, although [the shluchim] are found in a place that is [physically] distant from the Tziyon, but since in that distant place is to be found the Rebbe’s desire, that is where the Rebbe is found. And fortunate is their lot both materially and spiritually.

All the justifications of how difficult shlichus is merely conceal and obscure [the truth]. When one begins to actually fulfill his shlichus mission, all these difficulties simply melt away.

Especially now that we have merited (and in truth, this is not at all a merit) that nowadays shlichus is accompanied with ample sustenance and honor, unlike previous days when going on shlichus involved tremendous difficulties.

Thus we observe that when the shaliach arrives here everyone rejoices over him, he is elevated and given attention — and most importantly, the shaliach himself is happy and achieves importance in his own eyes. Moreover, when he comes home, he tells his family that he is a shaliach and that he was honorably received, etc.

Consequently, during present times a shaliach can receive true honor and imagined honor. The only thing that he must do is place his ego on the side, knowing that it is not he who is acting; it is the Rebbe who is acting through him.

(Sichos Kodesh 5721, p. 30)

Volunteer for Shlichus

.. Hopefully, from now on, a radical change will occur and each and every one will accept upon himself the shlichus of my father-in-law, the Rebbe, the Nasi, traveling to any and all places on shlichus.

The shaliach is to know that the Rebbe is together with him [in his shlichus] wherever he may be; even if he goes to a most distant place, the Rebbe, the Nasi, travels with him, and the Rebbe finds himself with him in his place of shlichus.

May it be G‑d’s will that from now on you will not wait until each of you is individually approached and commanded to do so [i.e., go on shlichus]. Rather, each and every one should volunteer, stating that he desires all manner of material and spiritual good, for which reason he desires to go [on shlichus] to a given place.

For though that location may well be many, many kilometers away in a physical sense, the truth of the matter is that specifically there one finds himself in the four cubits of the Rebbe, the Nasiimoi bimechitzosoi, (absolutely and entirely together with the Rebbe) — even as he [the shaliach] finds himself in this physical world.

Thus, upon accepting shlichus, it will be good both for him and his entire family spiritually and materially, in the most actual sense, here in this world.

(Sichas Simchas Beis HaSho’eivah 5721)

“Make Your Desire His Desire”

..There are times when Moshe Rabbeinu is [in a revealed sense] not together with us, and we must then act “alone,” in consonance with his directives. ...

A person may well say:

In the past, when he heard specific directives from the Rebbe, he could effectively perform according to the directives. Now, however, matters are quite different — he does not hear the voice of the Nasi of our generation! ... he is totally “alone” without his Rebbe!

.. Herein lies the lesson: Even when we are but aware of his general directives, still, we are capable of acting in accordance to the Rebbe’s desire.

.. This is the overall aspect of true shlichus: A Jew is sent overseas and doesn’t hear specific directives how to act in every situation, nor is he instructed down to the minutest detail.

Rather, in order to fulfill his shlichus, he must employ his innate intelligence and decide how to act, doing so in accordance with the general directives that he has previously heard from the Rebbe.

Should the question be raised (and indeed it is a good question) ultimately, how is it possible to carry out one’s shlichus relying only on oneself, without detailed directives? The answer is that if you but toil, you will surely succeed, and your actions will coincide with the Rebbe’s desire.

(Sichos Kodesh 5741, Vol. II, pp. 637-638)

Accomplishments of Shlichus Are Nonpareil

.. How does one achieve helping all of Klal Yisrael; how does one help bring about the Geulah?

This is achieved specifically through each shaliach journeying to his “far corner,” his “small city,” and being entirely immersed in his actions of disseminating Judaism and righteousness among the limited number of people of his small city.

For it is through the amalgamation of all individual Jews that Klal Yisrael becomes a reality; it is the distant places and small cities that compose the aggregate of the entire world.

.. No other person and nothing else in the world is capable of accomplishing that which is accomplished through the performance of shlichus.

When each and every individual shaliach will fulfill his personal shlichus in his designated location with the dwellers of that particular place, this leads to the salvation of Klal Yisrael and the full and complete Geulah, as all the work of the Shluchim are incorporated into one entire whole.

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXV, p. 335)

Making a Living The Proper Approach

We Earn Exactly as Much as G‑d Desires For Us to Earn

No matter how much effort is exerted, no one can earn one cent more than G‑d has ordained that he — this particular person — shall earn. One must do what is necessary [to earn a living], but one must remember that all his work is but an adjunct.

The main thing is G‑d’s blessing, and that blessing is earned by observing G‑d’s commands: Praying with a quorum (Minyan), observing Shabbos b’hiddur, (beyond the minimum requirements, with “beauty”), meticulous observance of the laws of Kashrus, and having children instructed by sincerely religious teachers.

(HaYom Yom, p. 76)

We Need Merely Make a Receptacle

A Jew who believes in G‑d and His Torah surely believes what he says daily in the first blessing of Grace After Meals, the blessing that was established by Moshe Rabbeinu:12 “… who in His goodness, provides sustenance for the entire world with grace, with kindness and with mercy.”

That is to say, that sustenance is provided by G‑d — He alone is the one who provides sustenance, without needing the assistance of any individuals, which, [if that would indeed be so,] would be a matter of shittuf, heaven forfend.

G‑d merely desires that we make a “receptacle” via natural means, as the verse says,13 “G‑d will bless you in all that you shall do.” But even while the person occupies himself in making a “vessel” through natural means, in truth, all that is occurring is that the person is drawing down G‑d’s blessings.

(Hisvaaduyos 5743, Vol. IV, p. 1805)

Man Needs But to Make a Receptacle

The verse states, “G‑d will bless you in all that you shall do.”

Man needs but to make a receptacle for his livelihood and to endeavor with all his power that the receptacle be pure of any impurity or dross of cheating others and the like. This means that whatever he does conforms to Torah laws.

Thus he becomes a “vessel” worthy of G‑d’s blessing in two ways: His livelihood will be ample and his earnings will be directed towards desirable ends.14

(HaYom Yom, p. 65)

It Is Not Uncommon for It to Be Difficult To Find a Means of Earning a Living — Trust in G‑d Hastens the Process

It is regretful that you are finding it so difficult to accept the fact that you are having temporary difficulties in finding a job, although — unfortunately — such situations are quite common during present times.

We actually perceive that which is explained in the sacred books, that the more one increases his faith and trust in the Creator of the world, the One who conducts it with individual Divine Providence, the sooner will there come about an improvement in the situation, and the greater will be the improvement. The same is true with regard to your situation.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVI, p. 223)

G‑d Will Find a Way That You Earn a Living

It would seem that once again you are worrying, and central to your worries is the concern about the possibility that, G‑d forbid, you will not be able to earn a living.

Understandably, it is quite disconcerting that you should be so concerned; surely that which is stated in Torah in general and in Toras HaChassidus in particular about faith and trust in G‑d should suffice [for you not to worry].

(As is self-understood, this in no way contradicts the need for making a “receptacle” via natural means, as the verse says,15 “G‑d shall bless you in all that you shall do.” However, this must be done in a manner of “By the labor of your palms shall you eat,”16 i.e., that your palms should labor, but not your head and heart.)

This is particularly so with an individual such as yourself, you who have beheld miracles with your own eyes, miracles that transpired with yourself.

Now, all of a sudden you begin to worry if the One who sustains and nourishes everyone, approximately one billion eight hundred million people, will be able to sustain you and your family in an honorable and ample manner.

It would be a misuse of precious time to go on at greater length about something so obvious.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XII, p. 198)

“You Do What You Must And He Will Do What He Must”

One of the Alter Rebbe’s great and very close chassidim had a private audience [with the Alter Rebbe] in the course of which the Rebbe inquired after his financial situation. The chassid complained bitterly that his financial situation had utterly deteriorated.

The Rebbe responded: “You are needed to illuminate your environment with Torah and ‘avodah of the heart’ (heartfelt prayer). Livelihood and what you need is what G‑d must provide for you. You do what you must, and G‑d will do what He must.

(HaYom Yom, p. 68)

Spiritual Service of the Person Who Earns a Living

The spiritual service of the person who earns a living includes arousing within himself the faith and perfect trust in the One who feeds and sustains all flesh, that He will provide him with an ample livelihood.

He must be truly happy and cheerful, as though all his livelihood was already in hand.

(HaYom Yom, p. 37)

“Six Days Work Shall Be Done”

.. “Six days work shall be done, and the seventh day shall be holy....”17 Our Sages note that the verse states here, “Six days work ‘shall be done,’ tei’aseh, instead of ‘You shall work for six days,’ ta’aseh.”

Ta’aseh means an active involvement and preoccupation with the labor, while tei’aseh [the passive “shall be done”] means that the work is done of itself.

.. The principle of tei’aseh in terms of man’s spiritual service means that the work and mundane actions which one is compelled to do during the six weekdays should not be done with engrossing preoccupation, but as if it were happening of itself.

The verse says, “When you shall eat from the labor of your hands, you will be happy and it shall be well with you.”18 This means19 that toiling to provide physical needs should only involve the hands and other external limbs. The head and heart, however, must be involved with Torah and mitzvos.

.. This is also the meaning of tei’aseh — it shall be done by itself: the person is not devoted to his business with his mind and heart, but only with his faculty of action; and even that faculty of action he exercises only as much as is necessary to provide an instrument for G‑d’s blessing.

.. Chassidus explains20 that on a subtle level the mundane preoccupation with effort and all kinds of schemes in earning a livelihood is also a form of idolatry. For this kind of attitude implies that one esteems the mundane involvement, which is like an intermediary, as if it had a value of its own.

.. In other words, the idea of “Six days ta’aseh — you shall do work” with effort, is rooted in his esteeming that work.

If he were to accept the truth that it is no more than “an axe in the hand of the hewer,” he would not immerse his head and being in the work, but would conduct himself according to the principle of “tei’aseh — the work is done of itself.”

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. I, pp. 187-191)

Too Long a Garment Causes One to Stumble

Since the Divine effulgence that provides sustenance is concealed and obscured within the garments of nature, man must use his intellect as well in conducting his business. However, he is to use his intellect only insofar as it is necessary for the actual business; he should not toil with his mind to come up with plots and machinations.

This is especially true since it is “G‑d’s blessing that provides wealth,”21 and the business is merely a garment to G‑d’s blessing (— not that the business is the true source of his sustenance, G‑d forbid).

[Since the business is merely a garment,] we thus understand22 that just as “too long a garment accomplishes nothing; to the contrary, it only makes matters worse,”23 [so too with providing too long a garment for G‑d’s blessing of sustenance]. ...

(Sefer HaMaamarim Melukat, Vol. I, p. 273)

Material Sustenance By Means of Spiritual Sustenance

It Makes No Sense to Declare ”I’m Too Busy
Earning a Living to Devote Time to Spirituality”

.. Chassidus explains — and it is consistent with common sense as well — that there are two aspects to obtaining a livelihood:

a) That the sustenance is standing by [and ready to descend] from above; b) that it actually needs to be drawn down below into this physical plane of existence [finding expression] in children, life and sustenance.

All this is explained at length in many places [in Chassidus and among them, in] Kuntres U’Mayon m’Beis HaShem Yatzah [from the Rebbe Rashab].

It makes absolutely no sense for a person to claim that he has no time to devote himself to the first part [i.e., to spirituality, the spiritual aspect of sustenance as found above] because he is too busy achieving the second part [i.e., actually drawing it down below through work].

Thus, it is specifically by occupying oneself in Torah and mitzvos that a person’s sustenance is determined and established above. [This matter is so patently obvious that] there is no need for further clarification.

(Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXII, p. 378)

Material Sustenance Depends More on G‑d
While Spiritual Sustenance Depends More on Man

We verily observe that occupying oneself in matters of spiritual sustenance is one of the surest vehicles and receptacles for material sustenance.

[Unlike the superficial notion that sustenance is within our hands and spirituality is in G‑d’s hands, matters are in fact] to the contrary:

Material sustenance is in G‑d’s hands, as we say in the text of Grace After Meals, a blessing of Torah origin,24 “… who in His goodness, provides sustenance for the entire world with grace, with kindness and with mercy” — man needs only to make appropriate material vessels [through his work] to receive these blessings.

This is not the case with spiritual sustenance. Here the matter is entirely in man’s hands, as “All is in the hands of heaven, except for the fear of heaven.”25 ...

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVIII, p. 98)

When Man Will Do His Spiritual Part G‑d Will Do His Material Part

When you will do all that depends on you with regard to your spiritual sustenance — something that depends entirely on you — for “All is in the hands of heaven, except for the fear of heaven” — then G‑d will fulfill all your needs, something that is dependent on Him, as it is He who provides food and sustenance to all.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVII, p. 88)

Job Advice

Beginnings Tend to Be Difficult

.. Since in our world all things get better with time, you should not be overly concerned if your first job will be difficult or your salary will not be satisfactory, for this is but the beginning [of your job experience] and “All beginnings are difficult.”26

.. Even if you imagine that you are being taken advantage of, as your productivity warrants a better salary, still, bear in mind that this is but the beginning.

In the above matter, the teaching “A person is [too] close to himself [to be entirely objective]”27 also applies. You should therefore specifically seek the counsel of your good friends. After explaining to them the details and your reasoning, they will be able to offer you objective advice [regarding your job].

(Mikdash Melech, Vol. I, p. 236)

Seek a Spiritual Job

In reply to your question about earning a living:

Understandably, you should make an effort to obtain a spiritual position. Moreover, as you have written [to me], you have the necessary diplomas [to acquire such a job].

(Mikdash Melech, Vol. I, p. 238)

Seek a Job in the “Vineyard” of Chabad

With regard to your earning a living:

In general, you should exert maximum effort to see to it that your material sustenance as well be derived by laboring in the “vineyard of Chabad.”

Aside from the fact that laboring there is closer to the hearts of Anash — whether they are aware of it or not — and thus they will be more successful in their labors, it also makes absolute sense in terms of the spiritual dimensions of this matter. For our holy Nesi’im draw down to their disciples and to Anash all the material matters they require.

This is similar to the question of Moshe Rabbeinu, “From where will I get meat,”28 which is to say that this [aspect of obtaining meat] was completely lower than the level of Moshe Rabbeinu, as explained in Likkutei Torah.29

Consequently, the actual drawing down of meat had to come about through the seventy elders. Nonetheless, this was achieved specifically through MosheRabbeinu [as he was the leader of the generation and everything that was drawn down from Above came through his intermediacy].

Thus, when your earning a livelihood is connected to the “vineyard of Chabad,” the spiritual side and the material side assist each other.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. IX, p. 13)

Get a Job Where Your Talents Shine

In reply to your question as to what would be the best type of job for you to obtain:

Understandably, you should give priority to the type of job where you can best utilize your talents and knowledge.

Also, seek the counsel of your local good friends, as this will clarify to a greater extent the situation, potential jobs, etc.

(Heichal Menachem, Vol. III, p. 179)

It Doesn’t Matter Where You Work,
What Matters Most Is Earning a Living

With regard to earning a living:

It matters not whether it be at a company or working for an individual — what is most important is that you earn a livelihood. For it is necessary that you properly provide — in accordance with Jewish law — food and clothing for your children.

It does not suffice for me that you and your wife are my chassidim — your children as well should be my chassidim, and for that to happen it is necessary that your material affairs be in order.

(Mikdash Melech, Vol. II, p. 402)

Reside Where You Will Have The Best Job Opportunities

With regard to your personal question:

You should lean in the direction of residing in a place that will best provide you with your spiritual and material sustenance.

It is generally true that “Man does not know how he will earn his living.”30 Nevertheless, it is self-understood that the chances of finding a job are better in a place and country that possesses greater and more diverse opportunity and where there is a greater chance of using one’s knowledge and talents.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. VII, p. 242)

Don’t Wait to Be Offered a Job Go Out and Actively Seek It

You write that for the time being you have not had any job offers:

In light of that which is explained in Kuntres U’Mayon, man must make a receptacle [for obtaining his sustenance].

It is therefore inappropriate to wait for others to offer you a job; you are to go out on your own and actively seek a job, particularly since this [i.e., acquiring a job] is more important to you [than to other individuals, i.e., those who may offer you a job].

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 417)

Obtain a Job That Offers a Minimum of Anxiety

My views are already known that it is worthwhile to get a job that provides a minimum of anxiety, as is well understood from that which is explained in Chassidus, that earning a living should be done with a bare minimum of preoccupation.

Therefore it would be advisable for you to give thought to the matter and make an effort to slowly begin earning a livelihood in an area that does not involve so much anxiety.

It is my hope that with proper thought and diligent searching you will eventually find such a means [of earning a livelihood]. May G‑d grant you success that you find such a job without having to search excessively.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIX, p. 143)

“According to the Advice of Friends”

.. Regarding matters of earning a living — [it should be] according to the advice of discerning friends. This is in keeping with the verse,31 “Salvation lies in much counsel”; which is to say, that the individuals offering advice are to be wise and discerning so that they are capable of providing counsel. And “much counsel” means that there be at least two [individuals providing advice], as the minimum of “much” is at least two.

Moreover, they are to be “friends” — individuals who seek your welfare, for which reason they will give your situation proper consideration and offer you sound advice.

(Sefer HaSichos 5748, Vol. I, p. 240)

In reply to your question regarding the various job suggestions about which you write:

I have already told you in the past that you should act according to the advice of discerning friends.

(Mikdash Melech, Vol. II, p. 231)

Make G‑d Your Partner

The Rebbe once told an individual who started a new business:

Maybe you’ll take G‑d in as your partner by promising Him ten percent of the profits, [i.e., distributing ten percent of the profits to tzedakah]. Take Him in as your partner, and G‑d will bless you.

(Zorei’ah Tzedakos, p. 135)