Do I go on shlichus?
Used to not be such a question. I mean it was clear as day that this is the ultimate version of life.
It still kind of is.
But time and opportunity have planted the seeds of this question over the past several years.
Automatically you think if you don't go on shlichus you must not be looking for a fulfilling life.
Is there truth to the fact that if you're not ready to (1) Run after the more scarce shlichus opportunities and (2) Take on the many challenges of actuality being Shlichus, then you don’t have the same dedication as others who would take that on? Yes definitely true.
But the real question is, what’s left for us? The fulfillment based people who want to make a difference but are more inclined to the pragmatic path in life?
Do we just pick up the leftovers?
Chassidim for many years we're proud of their effect on the world. They were so saturated with that mission that we talk about them to this day. Yet they chopped wood or owned the local kretchme. So they were "businessman".
What's changed is that the Rebbe introduced to us, his chassidim, this revolutionary 24/7 version of fulfillment, of a direct effect on the world.
So is it over? Did our Rebbe shut the door on the businessman who can pride themselves on a life of meaning? I would definitely say to that chas v'sholom.
But beyond that, I don't have clarity.
We like to think that whatever decision we do make will have us getting up every single day with absolutely no questions. So we ask ourselves what that will be, and that is how we attempt to go down this path. The problem is that doubts are ineviatble. From the most successful buisnessman to the biggest shliach, with a ten million dollar building, there are always times where we wonder if we are truly in the right field, or if any of our work is really being successful. Success is rarely evident, at least at first glance.
Maybe we should ask ourselves a different question. Maybe we should ask ourselves were we can function best as yidden, as chassidim. Where can we see ourselves being alive and happy with what we're doing? Then we take our best steps forward in those shoes. The trick is to be legitimately honest with ourselves, or else what's the point?
(We don't always know that clearly, hence the saying In Pirkei
Avos that the Rebbe stressed "עשה לך רב וקנה לך חבר", we need objective, and experienced perspective to help us get clarity.)
Wherever that takes us, that is where the Aibeshter wants us, and if we're truly looking for opportunities of fulfillment, of shlichus, we will find them.
Someone once mentioned to me that they were told that in NYC there is a surprising amount of buttons on the floor. It makes sense, millions of people walking with suits and coats, buttons are bound to fall off.
But he didn't believe it. He's walked the same streets every day and has almost never seen any buttons on the floor.
So he was challenged the next day, to actually look for buttons, on his way to work.
Fifty-two. He found fifty-two buttons in just a couple of blocks.
We need to know where we can wake up as many mornings as possible and function as a chossid. It could be shlichus, could be business.
But then we have to look for the buttons, the opportunities to reach out, (and some would say, even more, to reach in).
And trust me there are a lot of buttons.