Those who are emissaries of the Rebbeim to disseminate Judaism and Chassidus have a total identification with their sender. Two critical conditions for fulfilling their mission are absolute adherence to the sender’s wishes, and to carry out their work pleasantly and joyously.

Every Jew is an emissary of G‑d,1 particularly through fulfilling Torah and mitzvos — as our Sages have said,2 “Give honor to the mitzvos, for they are My emissaries.” Jews therefore enjoy the distinction possessed by every emissary, that “a man’s (in our case, the Supernal Man’s) emissary is as himself.”3 And, adds the Alter Rebbe,4 the emissary is “as himself” veritably.

Thus all Jews. Some, in addition, have the merit to be emissaries in a special mission: that of the previous Rebbe, our generation’s leader.5 That mission is to disseminate Judaism in general and Chassidus in particular.

Consonant with the above quoted dictum that “a man’s emissary is as himself,” these people are veritably equivalent to our generation’s leader. Indeed, their identification with the previous Rebbe goes even further, for various levels exist in the relationship between emissary and sender:6

1) The deed performed by the emissary is the sender’s.

2) The emissary’s limb which performs the mission is the sender’s.

3) The emissary himself (and not just the particular limb) is as the sender.

4) The emissary is not just as the sender, but actually is the sender. This fourth — and highest — level , is similar to the rule that “whatever a slave acquires his master acquires.”7 Because a slave has no existence independent of his master, as soon as he acquires something, his master immediately and automatically owns it.8

An emissary of the previous Rebbe who faithfully carries out his mission attains this elevated level — of being inextricably one with he who sent him. Conversely, he must be vigilantly alert not to deviate from his mission; if he does stray from his mission, he can no longer be considered an emissary,9 and thus he automatically loses his identification with the sender.

How can an emissary be certain that he has correctly fathomed the sender’s desires as to the proper course to take in each and every situation that crops up in his mission? He is but flesh and blood, his soul enclothed in a body indistinguishable from that of a non-Jew.10 How can he ensure that he will not deviate from the proper course of his mission?

But, says G‑d, “I do not ask ... according to My capacity, but only according to their (Jews’) capacities.”11 Certainly, then, Jews have been granted the necessary powers to fulfill their mission totally. Angels were not chosen to be emissaries, but specifically Jews of flesh and blood — and He who sent them on the mission surely made certain they would have the correspondingly necessary abilities to carry out the mission and to fathom fully and correctly the sender’s intention.

All an emissary need do to ensure he does not deviate from the mission’s course is to act in the manner of “You shall be whole with the L‑rd your G‑d.”12 When the emissary goes about his task in this manner, surmounting all obstacles, he may rest assured that he will conform to the sender’s wishes. In the words of the previous Rebbe himself:13 Everything is prepared; all that remains to “stand ready all of you.”

For the mission to be completed fully, it must be undertaken with joy, for when one works joyously, the success is much greater.14 The word for emissary in Hebrew, “shaliach,” has the numerical value of “someach,” which means joy. This teaches that a true emissary is not one who is forced to carry out his mission, but who performs it joyously: he is happy that he is an emissary.

On the other hand, “shaliach” is not the same word as “someach,” but only its numerical equivalent — meaning that the joy possessed by an emissary must be “hidden.”15 That he is an emissary of the generation’s leader does not give him free rein to ride roughshod over others. Joy stemming from the knowledge that he is fulfilling a mission and has the powers to do so is to enable him to fulfill his mission properly. It is not to be used against others. It is a “hidden” joy. Divisive or overbearing conduct is the complete antithesis to what the Rebbeim desire. An emissary must act pleasantly and peaceably — for it is a positive command in the Torah to do so;16 it is the will of G‑d, of whom the Rebbe is an emissary!

That an emissary must fulfill his mission joyously and with a good heart is especially relevant to parshas Vayeitze.17 The parshah begins with the words “Ya’akov left Be’er Sheva and went to Charan,”18 and continues to say that “Ya’akov lifted up his feet and went.”19 Rashi comments that “when he was informed of good tidings ... his heart lifted his feet and it became easy to journey.”

The relevance to emissaries is that there can be no greater “good tidings” than the promise of the Rebbeim, our leaders, that their emissaries shall surely succeed in their missions. This causes on emissary to fulfill his mission with joy and a good heart — “his heart lifted up his feet and it became easy to journey.”

May it be G‑d’s will that through the service — with joy and love — of “Your wellsprings shall spread forth to the outside,” we speedily merit the coming of our righteous Moshiach, in the true and complete redemption.

That the first and foremost condition in being an emissary is the fulfillment of the sender’s will applies also to students (in Yeshivah or in Kollel) who have been sent to various places. They must constantly remember that the goal of their mission is to study Torah in the place to which they have been sent, and to be “lamps to illuminate.”20

They have not been sent to supplant the Rosh HaYeshivah or Mashpia, but solely to learn as students. Thus proper fulfillment of this mission entails obedience to the administration, adherence to the study timetable, and to hearken to the Rosh HaYeshivah’s instructions.21

If the students are unhappy with the administration, they should quietly, pleasantly, and amicably, present their complaints to the administration and talk over the problems. This is the Torah way. The administration, if it finds that the students have good grounds for their complaints, will surely put the matter to rights to the satisfaction of the students.

It is absolutely prohibited to squabble and cause controversy. Not only is controversy forbidden at any time, but particularly now, in the era immediately preceding Moshiach, extra efforts must be made in loving Jews and in uniting Jews to eradicate baseless hatred, the one and only cause of the exile.22 In addition, such conduct is the complete antithesis of their mission’s purpose — and thus automatically their mission and their identity as emissaries cease with such behavior.23

It is therefore incumbent upon students who have complaints against the administration of the Yeshivah to which they have been sent to decide if they are able to accept the administration’s authority. If the answer is positive, then everything will be fine. If negative, they should pack their bags and return whence they came.

May it be G‑d’s will that very soon “wisdom and understanding will increase,”24 and people’s conduct will be in a manner of “love truth and peace”25 — peace, love of Jews, and unity of Jews.

And then, as noted above, the cause of the exile will be annulled, and G‑d will immediately take each Jew26 — as part of the “one people” — out of exile, and “a great congregation will return there”27 — to our holy land, to the holy city of Yerushalayim, to the third Bais Hamikdosh.

Sichas Shabbos parshas Toldos
(delivered in connection to the
National Conference of Emissaries held then).