There are two ways to answer this question. One possibility is that we really should have begun to say Yechi HaMelech every day.
During one famous Shavuos Farbrengen in 5724, the Rebbe spoke about Russian Jews. Then the Rebbe stopped and said “Nu?” Nobody in the crowd understood what the Rebbe wanted. And the Rebbe was very upset and said again, louder, “Nu?” And again, nobody realized. Nobody knew what the Rebbe wanted. Finally, the Rebbe said that if the crowd would have said L’Chaim for the Yidden in Russia, it would have made it possible for all the Yidden who lived in Russia at the time to leave the country. “Tomorrow,” the Rebbe said, “people are going to write all kinds of questions- should I send this type of package to Russia or that type? If you would have all just said L’Chaim at this opportune time, it would have accomplished the release of all Yidden from Russia.” Because we were unaware of that great opportunity, the moment was lost.
Likewise, it is very possible that when the Rebbe said the Sicha about Yechi, we should have said it from that point and on.
There is also another possibility. After the Histalkus of the Rebbetzin, the Rebbe said the famous Sicha בואו ונחשוב חשבונו של עולם on Motzei Shabbos Parshas Terumah, Beis Adar. This Sicha is available on tape, in writing, and on video. The Rebbe discusses what to do if there would be a similar situation. The Rebbe makes it clear in the Sicha that there is no doubt that if such a time comes, people with questions should turn to the local Chassidishe Beis Din of their communities. The implication is clear that there should be no one to replace the Rebbe, G-d forbid. There should not be any kind of centralized authority in control of all of Lubavitch. It is clear that in 5748, the Rebbe was addressing a future situation.
So, too, it could also be that in the Sicha where the Rebbe talks about saying Yechi that this is something which gives life and health to the king- the Rebbe was mainly talking about something related to the future. The Chassidim first thought to reintroduce the declaration of Yechi following the famous Sicha of the 28th of Nissan, 5751, in which the Rebbe said to do everything you can to bring the revelation of Moshiach. This was further reinforced after the 27th of Adar, 5752. Chassidim were brainstorming about what to do to bring more life and health to the Rebbe, and they realized that the Rebbe had said that saying Yechi adds more life to the Nasi. Perhaps we should have said Yechi when the Rebbe was well, but we didn’t realize the necessity then. Therefore, it was begun only that night after the Sicha. Possibly the Rebbe intended the announcement mainly for the time in the future when it would be relevant. What is definitely clear: once we began to say it regularly in 5753 and the Rebbe endorsed it, we know it is now relevant and must be continued.
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