They were classmates since childhood – throughout elementary and high school they studied the same courses with the same teachers. But their life paths have taken them to the most diverse places on earth. If you would draw a line between each of their locations, it would circumnavigate the entire globe. Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, Germany, Israel, New York, Boston, Brazil, Guatemala – this is a far from complete list of the places settled by that original group.
What these classmates have in common is that they are all graduates of a Chabad yeshivah. They have all dedicated their lives to the ideal of Shlichut -- to serve as representatives of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in the far reaches of the globe, to prepare the world for the coming of Moshiach. They are known as "Shluchim."
This weekend, the Shluchim will hold their annual conference. Three thousand rabbis will converge from their posts around the world to the Lubavitch World Headquarters in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. They will lend each other spiritual support, sharing experiences, dreams, successes and G-d forbid failures. From this conference they will draw the strength and energy they need to go back for another year of intense effort on behalf of the Jewish people.
These conferences underscore the bond of unity among the Shluchim. Regardless how geographically distant, all Shluchim share the same mission and purpose.
The difficulties they contend with are not simple ones. Often they create a community from scratch – a synagogue, schools, a kosher mikvah, day camps and other activities. Each Shliach runs the programs and institutions most suitable for the local community. Despite their challenging jobs, Shluchim overall have a sense of serenity and satisfaction. They realize that they are blessed – they are the fortunate ones who play a central role in the future of the Jewish people. If not for the activities of the Shluchim, Jewish life in many remote locations would fade away, G-d forbid.
Abraham sent his servant Eliezer on a mission to find a wife for his son, Isaac. Eliezer was a distinguished individual in his own right; nevertheless, he represented himself as a "servant of Abraham." His sole identity was as Abraham's servant, despite his personal stature.
And this is the secret to the success of the Shluchim. They are all talented, hard-working, accomplished individuals; some are world-class scholars and leaders. Yet, they do not represent themselves; they are servants, Shluchim, of the Rebbe – they are his messengers, to carry out his goal.
As mentioned, the Rebbe defined the goal of Shlichus to prepare the world for Moshiach. Through filling the world with the holiness of Torah and mitzvot, we prepare it for the revelations that we will experience with the coming of Moshiach.
However, the Rebbe emphasized many times that not only those who hold the official title of Shluchim take part in this mission. Every Jew is a Shliach, a messenger of the One above, who was sent to this world with a unique purpose, to elevate his or her part of the world and make it holy. Through Torah study, mitzvah observance, doing a favor for another person – we bring holiness to the world around us and prepare it for Moshiach.
The annual conference of Shluchim is an opportunity for all of us to strengthen ourselves to fulfill our personal mission. And this will lead to the completion of our universal goal, to perfect the world and bring about the revelation of Moshiach.