By Simcha Poretz-Geder
I penned these thoughts at the end of the Tishrei 5769 season, and unearthed them recently.
Every Tishrei, along with many of my peers, I was turned off anew at the scene in Crown Heights. I would be disgusted at the pushy, sweaty orchim, the homeless girls sleeping in 770 and the general feeling of ‘hefker’ness.
Until one Tishrei, I decided to play Devil’s Advocate. What exactly it is that makes these Israelis tick? Let me feel what they feel, see what they see and look at the Rebbe, Chabad, 770 and Crown Heights through their eyes. I have nothing to lose.
I sat down with a few of the girls who practically live in 770. I challenged, eavesdropped and observed as they studied Sichos and Maamorim, as they Farbrenged and listened to Shiurim. I came as a cynic, scoffing, but in the end, the joke was on me.
I guess it’s true that you find what you look for. I needed these foreigners to come show me what I had in my backyard my whole life.
That Tishrei was life-changing. It was the first time I realized the holiness of where I was, and I was blown away. I was bowled over by these girls’ heartfelt passion and Chaishek for the Rebbe, and I was humbled by their sincere belief in Moshiach. I had never seen anything like it in my life.
These girls had never gone to Manhattan or done any of the typical NYC sightseeing, and had no plans for it. They had saved up a year’s worth of hard-earned Agurot of babysitting money, summer jobs and even menial labor for “Tishrei im haRabbi”, to literally sit on the benches of 770 for a month straight and store up all the inspiration they needed for the year ahead.
I gained a newfound inspiration in the familiar Tishrei scene. I squished in 770 on Simchas Torah in an exhilarating, breathless mush; I watched the pure joy of the faces of the dancing Chassidim; my breath was taken away at the sight of Tahalucha… and through it all, I felt the Rebbe with me, something I’d never experienced before.
On Isru Chag, I was inspired to the point of making life-altering Hachlatos while sobbing and thanking the Rebbe at the Ohel.
It was then that it struck me: Where there is the most potential, the Satan causes intense disharmony; he knows just what we Lubavitchers can accomplish when we stand in unity.
If we choose to stop condemning our brothers and concentrate instead on the beauty that unites us, there’s no doubt that we will change the world, and literally bring Moshiach now.
A Gut Moed.
DISCLAIMER: I am not condoning anyone’s rude and unacceptable behavior, just attempting to portray another side of the coin. Please do not turn the comments into a bash-fest. Many thanks.