Monday, November 20, 2006

Myth #6: There Are Many Chabad Emissaries

How do you get so many Shluchim in one picture? It's only one Shliach!
[Picture taken this morning]

The world knows by now to expect from their Lubavitch friends to hear the impressive account of how many Shluchim there are worldwide.

We speak about numbers a lot.

“Shluchim all over the world!”

It is a source of true pride.

But, when you get down to it, come on…

Let’s stop pretending.

There really is only one Shliach.


Being in Crown Heights for the Annual Shlichus Convention is a one of a kind experience, filled with much inspiration, energy, and deep realizations of what it means to be a Shliach, a messenger for the Rebbe, for the world.

My eyes were wide this past Shabbos, as I tried to take in all the light from the figures that awake within me such intense pride.

Shluchim are so dynamic, and they all hold somewhat of a celebrity status in my mind.

All Shabbos, in my mind, I was thinking, “wow, so many Shluchim!

I found myself at the resource fair Motzei Shabbos, looking around – “wow, so many Shluchim!”

I saw the convention picture, and, again, “wow, so many Shluchim!

I am sincerely amazed, and the pride is ever-present.

But when I looked deeper into the common thread, the underlying foundation, of what really inspires me, I was forced to stop and reconsider the exact point of pride within.

My observation led me to rethink a common notion of the Shlichus revolution.

Are Chabad’s worldwide triumphs the result of many Shluchim? Do all the power, aliveness, and focus find its roots in the power of numbers?


And not just impossible, but just the opposite.


The Rebbe's greatness is not that he produced a multitude of emissaries. The strength of the Rebbe’s leadership is that he sparked and supported a team that held within a unique sort of oneness - the kind of oneness that is not impressed by numbers but instead driven by the underlying mission and message.

Sure, each Shliach has their unique description, the details of what a day looks like in their specific communities.

But, really, the difference in needs, abilities, and direction - it’s all part of the multi-faceted personality of one Shliach.

Because there is only one Shliach, there is no discord as to who the directives come from. Everyone has the same picture on the wall, the same hometown where their revolution was born.

Because there is only one Shliach, everyone is happy to hear about a generous donation to any Chabad house. There is only one Shliach, so everyone feels the gain.

Because there is only one Shliach, the emissary to Thailand addresses an audience of many, and everyone feels deep down that, “he is talking to me.” The words of one Shliach apply personally to every single person.

Because there is only one Shliach, a Bachur says he can’t wait “to go on Shlichus” and not “to become a Shliach.” He’s joining something, not becoming someone.

Because there is only one Shliach, hundreds of Shuchim’s children sit in a room with their arms around each other, and they are wise and capable beyond their years because they are truly one family.

Because there is only one Shliach, a bachur hugs a Shliach he may not really know. He knows one, though. And if he knows one, he knows them all.

Because there is only one Shliach, everyone is trying to do fulfill their purpose, instead of competing for the top. When you’re truly one, there’s no bottom and there’s no top.

There’s no separation between Shluchim. Because there is only one Shliach, the Rebbe says, “Light up the world” and all of a sudden an ex-hippy Chabadnik and a man from a legacy of Chassidim are doing the same thing; sparking Jewish souls, reviving communities, and paving the way for redemption.

Now that’s what I call true oneness.


The only surprising thing about the numbers is that there can be so many and still the oneness pervades. This is possible only because of the Rebbe’s remarkable vision and guidance. Such oneness is a product of a people in tune with their leader, their father.

So the next time someone starts to boast about the numbers, stop them in their tracks and tell them the truth. Say, “So many Shluchim. So what?” Show them that feeling the power in the unity is the truest and greatest source of pride.

Tell them that there is one Shliach.

Watch the smile on their face as it sinks in.

In bewilderment, they will ask, “Really? One Shliach, eh?”

Just respond, “Yup, worldwide.”


the sabra said...


good one

GOOD ONE mimi.

ur right-i did enjoy it.

its so good. YOU'RE so good. (insert long list of mushiness that is neither appropriate for this blog nor for the sabra).

write a book.
scratch ur original plans and do it on chabad and yiddishkeit instead.
thanks for bein so obedient ;)

keep referrin me to good posts, will ya? ;)

the sabra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the sabra said...

i wish i could write more intelligent responses but i get so overwhelmed with your way of thinking that i can't write in detail.

InTransit said...

You're right there's only one Shliach, yet each part of the whole has their own flavor. There are different ways of doing things, but everyone's following the same light.

Mimi said...

Thank yo thank you Sabra, will respond more in length in a sec.

InTransit: What you say is true. Except I ventured to say that they all ARE one light, not just following one light.

The thing that allows for such differerence in "Shliach flavor" is this oneness, whereas you see with other people that there is a strict almost robotic guideline and image and style among the "Kiruv Rabbis." Only a disjointed group needs that...get what I'm saying?

Anonymous said...

"...a strict almost robotic guideline and image and style among the "Kiruv Rabbis"?

I don't believe that this is true at all--there are many varied approaches among non-chabad "Kiruv Rabbis" (as you term them) as well. You had no need to make this statement...without it, your point is just as seems small to insult your fellow Jews here for no reason.

Mimi said...

My apologies, I did not mean to be insulting. It's an impression I have, and not an unexperienced one. Perhaps I am not speaking about the "Kiruv Rabbis" you know.

But, also, I was not talking about approach. The approach of one Shliach never truly differes from another, it' almost impossible. I was referring to difference in community, energy, personal style (yes, down to the dress code), etc.

You're right though, there is no need to compare. So, moving on...

Pragmatician said...

it would be so nice if this was true not just for the shelichim but for Jews wordlwide.

Jumping for Jews said...

Im swelling with pride.

Im bursting with JOY!

I am dancing (well internally since I am sitting in a computer lab in school)in my seat.

...and I am ever so glad to have read your musings.


NO need for coffee when you can get a Mimi pick me up via the web!!


Anonymous said...

Someone sent me the link to this blog. As a Shliach (somewhere in the South) I must say that your words brought tears to my eyes.

But then I realized that there is one point missing. Yes, in a way you can say that we are all one Shliach. I will tell you that after the banquet I approached Victor Atiyah from Chevron, whose eight-year-old daughter perished in a fire while stating that she could not remove her burning dress because of Tznius, and I said: Listen, you do not know me and I do not know you. But I promise that everyone in this room tonight cried with you on that fateful day. It's just that we know what to say to hundreds of our Baalei Batim and Mekurovim in the time of grief, but not what to say to friends. (He told me that it was worth coming to the Kinus to hear this).

Having said that, however, the reason we are one is because we are unified in the only one Meshaleiach. We rejoice that money is coming into the Rebbe's mosad, and we are happy about the success of the Rebbe.

In other words, it is not just one Shliach - which is valid in some ways - but, most important, it is bitul the one and only Meshaleach.

A proud shlucha said...

Yes, I agree with anonymous above me.
That was in the back of my mind the entire time I read your post. I couldn't place it but that is what was bothering me-the emphasis is really on our meshalai'ach, not on the shluchim.

Fantastic writing, otherwise.

And anonymous, thank you for sharing that with us-what happened with Victor Atiyah and his daughter r"l.

Anonymous said...

Whoever that shliach was is really nice for having the courage to speak to Victor Aliyah and give him those awesome words of inspiration and comfort. Thanks on behalf of the rest of us!

Anonymous said...

power to the unity of people. power to the shluchim. power to yidden everywhere. power to be one with the only ONE and we should merit, through the good work of shluchim and yidden everywhere, the coming of Moshiach now when the world will truly be one.

moshiach now said...

mimi, may G-d grant you the strength to continue to reach others and touch them with your incredible abilities.

BH i have many things to do tonight and while midnight is approaching my list goes on. but i had to stop by and re-energize, glad i did. your words are so moving and being that they come from the heart they enter the heart.
the unity among shluchim is synonymous with being batul to our mishala'ch. for it is only through his cpacities (that are intrinsically bestowed upon us when we become his emmisaries) that we are one.

litzo said...

do you care if i share your bloggings. they are so meaninigful and i want to print/email them. (we adopted a tradition of reading Torah thoughts, and chassidus over cereal and milk in the morning instead of reading the back of the cereal box)

Dovid said...

How 'bout an update? Your readers rely on you...

Mimi said...

I am overwhelmed by the positive response to this post. Apparently it's been circulating among Shluchim, which give me such joy. Thanks to everyone. And yes, more posts soon, it's all sitting inside, bubbling...

[ Litzo, of coooourse, go ahead and share the blog. One catch, though - you gotta keep my up to date with the reactions and conversation that ensues, okay? And don't forget to send them here, to the main page. ]

[ Dovid, thanks for the push. Hearing "your readers rely on you..." - that feels good. ]

A light-filled Shabbos to all.

How does Kabbalas Shabbos in Jerusalem sound?

Friday breakfast would also do.

Hear that, G-d?

We're coming.

- M

Anonymous said...

Ditto Dovid

Mimi said...

Thanks Anonymous - who are ya?

It's coming, it's coming!

Anonymous said...

wowowow!!! soo true

Simi said...

Good writing, but very wishfull thinking.We all know what happened in 770 The achdus is one big myth and not only the meshichist/anti stuff.
Whatever, I still wish you well

Anonymous said...

Thats the ideal.
Not to knock it or anything, but I see it more as a room full of brothers.
Each racing, each criticising, each sharing, each supporting and each wanting to do Daddy proud.

With a strong and unspoken basis of love.

Each so different.
Each OF one.
Each one.