By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Shia Deitsch is used to welcoming visitors to the Shaarey Tzedek Chesed Center which he directs in Moscow as a source of humanitarian and social assistance.
So when a 50-year-old man walked in the other week, Rabbi Deitsch was quick to greet him and offer help from the array of services the center offers such as their medical treatment, food distribution and financial aid.
As the conversation continued, the man commented he has never put on Tefillin.
Rabbi Deitsch invited him to the Tefilla L’Dovid synagogue in the center and offered him on the spot to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah and put on Tefillin.
The man agreed and began praying, saying Shema Yisroel with great concentration.
Following the prayer, the man was asked for his name and his response sent chills down the Chabad Shliach’s back.
My name is Artium Schneerson, he said.
Like the famous Schneersons? the rabbi inquired, referring to the family name of the Chassidic Rebbes of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.
Yes, the person answered. “I heard about the Rebbe and I have a photo of him in my house.”
Artium Schneerson said his father is Leonid, the son of Yisroel, the son of Boruch, the son of Zalman.
Rabbi Deitsch concluded that the man is a fifth generation of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad known as the Alter Rebbe and author of the Tanya and the Shulchan Aruch.
The emotional encounter ended with Rabbi Deitsch giving Schneerson a copy of the Tanya translated to Russian, as well as a copy of the Tehillim in Russian.
“I will stay in touch and will be learning from these cherished books,” the man said.