Question & Answer With Chaim Of Life-Of-Rubin - Using Igros Kodesh
A Simple Jew asks:
Since Gimmel Tammuz there has been a common practice amongst Lubavitchers to consult the Rebbe's letters contained in Igros Kodesh in order to obtain the Rebbe's personalized advice for the present. This is accomplished by a person writing a letter to the Rebbe and randomly choosing one of the many volumes of Igros Kodesh off the bookshelf. Once an individual volume of Igros Kodesh is selected, the person opens up the sefer and puts his letter inside. It is believed that the Rebbe's letter contained on this particular page that the person opened up to not only contains an answer to the person who originally wrote the letter but also to the person who is now attempting to elicit an answer.
Do you personally follow this practice or do you have problems with the practice of using Igros Kodesh in the manner in which it currently is being used?
I remember very shortly after Gimmel Tammuz I started hearing more and more people doing this. At the time it was very emotional for people and I think that people were using it sub consciously as a grieving process. I'll be honest with you, at the time I did it a few times also. Although I never got a "personalized" answer.
I'll tell you a funny story. A guy I know use to do it a lot and he once told me "what do you think it means that I keep getting answers pertaining to women?"
So I told him I have no idea - that is weird. Then I asked him "what volume" he was using, what years? He shows it to me and I point out to him that this particular volume contained all the letters that The Rebbe had written to the Shluchos (female emissaries) at the annual Shluchos Convention.
Obviously most people will say that it can't be used as a real method in which to receive an answer. I know that many people still use it, but I don't. I don't see the point. Tragically, The Rebbe is not physically with us anymore and that means we can never truly get a "personalized" response. But there are dozens of volumes of letters from The Rebbe.
It's a beautiful thing, if a person wonders what The Rebbe would say about any topic under the sun, all you have to do is find where he specifically addressed it. You don't have to play silly games. It's all right there, in black and white. Just open the Sefer and read all The Rebbe's Igros. Yes, many times The Rebbe did have different answers for different people. But if you read the context of the letters you can attempt to see why the different reasons applied to different people.
I believe we are lucky that we live in the technological times that we do. There are so many unique ways to gain knowledge. We have almost 50 years worth of teaching of The Rebbe in every way imaginable. We have thousands of hours worth of videos and audios.
But I won't admonish people who do it either. For them that's the way they continue to connect with The Rebbe. It's not easy; The Rebbe was more then just a spiritual leader. He was like a father. We're still painfully mourning Gimmel Tammuz and it's very hard to come to terms with the realization that he isn't physically here to answer us like he used to.
But like I said, he left us with more then enough detailed teachings and it's our job, and the job of our Chabad spiritual mentors and older chassidim to help us decipher what we should do and how we should do it.