Unfazed: Journeys of Resilience
By Rabbi Moishe Kievman - Chabad Chayil
June 15, 2021
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson - After the decimation of the Holocaust, the Rebbe breathed new life and vitality into the Jewish people.
The 3rd of Tamuz, this year on Sunday, June 13, marked the 27th Yohrtzeit - anniversary of the passing, of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Known affectionately and simply as The Rebbe, he was probably the most influential Rabbi, in history. With his Shluchim emissaries, dispatched to every corner of the world, his impact is felt everywhere, you turn.
After the decimation of the Holocaust, the Rebbe breathed new life and vitality into the Jewish people, urging them (and demonstrating by example) to celebrate Judaism and live life optimistically, to ‘reclaim’ countless individuals and communities to living a Jewish way of life, to feel personal responsibility and for all others, everywhere. In so doing, the Rebbe altered the much-prophesied demise of Judaism, forever shifting the course of the history and transforming the landscape, of Jewish life.
The Rebbe took breathtaking responsibility for the material and spiritual welfare of Jews in the Soviet Union (including masterminding the exodus of thousands), in Morocco, Iran and more, while reaching out to Jews in Curacao, Japan and Alaska...
Israel’s leaders turned to the Rebbe for counsel, on public health policies; military strategy; economy; relations with the U.S., Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia and above all, it's, the educational system.
Growing up in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, just a few short streets away from the Rebbe, I was fortunate enough, to see the Rebbe, all of the time. I prayed with him, in his Shul, sang by his Farbrengens, stood at his public gatherings and rallies, I watched every glimpse, that I could. As a child, I would look around at the thousands of people that would constantly come from all over the world to seek his counsel, hear his talks, or just to see his holy face and I remember thinking, how privileged I was, to live, right there.
Every Sunday for hours,The Rebbe would stand, giving out dollars and blessings to thousands of people from all walks of life. He gave the dollar to be given to a charity of choice. People would of course exchange that dollar for one of their own to give to charity and to keep the dollars they got from the Rebbe’s hand, as a sign of, a blessing.
The Rebbe was remarkably accessible and counseled, countless individuals from a wide array of backgrounds, including statesmen and artists as diverse as Ronald Reagan, Robert F. Kennedy, Yitzchak Rabin, Menachem Begin, Elie Wiesel and Bob Dylan, as well as countless and “nameless” individuals, who were, each showered with his individual attention and love.
He spoke out largely, about his activity, in public issues, like, public school education, charity for employees’ distribution, large families, moral education, the energy crisis, a universal moral code for all, creating and bolstering the Food Stamp/WIC system for America’s underprivileged, the responsibility of government and much more. He believed and taught that the age-old ideals and text of Torah are as real and relevant today, as they were at Sinai, over, 3,000 years ago.
Today, thank G-d, the Rebbe’s teachings and ideals have already become ingrained in our society and inspire millions of Jews and non-Jews. More people than ever, are learning his teachings and acting on his wishes of spreading Judaism to Jews and moral ethics, to all people.
People of all walks of life, flock to his resting place to pray to G‑d for blessing, guidance and inspiration. In 2013, on the night, preceding his election to the Senate, Democratic Candidate, Cory Booker, an African-American Christian, went to pray at the Rebbe’s Ohel. In 2016, preceding his election, President Trump sent his family to pray at the Ohel, on his behalf. Go there any day, any time and you will see people from all walks of life praying to G-d, at that holy site.
The Rebbe was a wide-ranging Torah personality, whose vast knowledge spanned the entire spectrum of the Torah. His teachings include: Ideas in Jewish philosophy and theology, commentary on biblical, talmudical and kabbalistic texts, perspectives on world events as well as, moral and practical, directives.
Over the next few weeks, thousands of communities worldwide, will be marking this holy day with special events. I urge you to contact your local synagogue or Chabad to find out what they have planned, but more importantly, to see what extra good deeds you can do, to perpetuate the Rebbe’s legacy and make the world, a better place. You’re invited, of course, to join us at The Family Shul for a Special Shabbat Dinner & Lunch honoring the Rebbe, which, you can RSVP for, at: 305-770-1919. To learn more about this saintly man, visit: www.ChabadChayil.org/rebbe.
There will also be a special in-person & virtual event, joined by hundreds of communities and titled, Journeys of Resilience. This mega event will feature lessons of resilience and self empowerment from the life & teachings of The Rebbe, featuring speakers such as: Elisha Wiesel and Dina Hurwitz, performers like Itzhak Perlman and Shulem Lemmer. Join us on Monday, June 14th at 7:00 p.m., in-person at Chabad Chayil. Or virtually at: www.ChabadChayil.org/LiveStream.
About the author:
Rabbi Kievman, together with his wife, are the ambassadors of The Rebbe to Highland Lakes, Florida. They are the founders of CHAP - an afterschool program, for Jewish children, in Public Schools and directly at: Chabad Chayil. He’s the rabbi at The Family Shul and can be reached at: (305) 770-1919. Or e-mail him at: rabbi@ChabadChayil.org