By Rabbi Avrohom Brashevitzky, Shliach in Doval, FL
One of the popular flyers Shluchim have used over the years to promote their Shavuos Ice Cream Party is the one with the “Sundae on Monday” catch line.
Returning from the fantastic International Kinus Hasluchim in New York, I share with you that this year I experienced Simchas Torah on a Sunday in the month of Cheshvan. (Can anyone come up with a nice catchy line for that?)
Not having the ability to attend the entire Kinus, I was determined not to miss the banquet for any money.
I flew in Sunday morning with the sole purpose of getting re-energized and charged up. I first went to the Rebbe’s Ohel to daven and report back from the field and then continued to the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal.
Standing in line for security, a Chabad supporter from New Jersey asked me what I’m looking forward to getting out of the evening.
I explained to him that although I’m certain we will have some great speeches and certainly very good food (they sure know how to pull it off!), for me the highlight will be the energy! The electricity at the dancing – that’s what does it for me.
I even shared with him a conversation with one of the members in my small community from several years ago. Apparently, he got wind of a tagline “The Rebbe is alive” and was very uncomfortable about it.
Not wanting to go into divisions of philosophy, I explained to him that the best way for me to answer the question is to invite him for the Kinus banquet. It is there he will understand the line from Zohar in its essence that “mah zar’o bachayim – aff hu bachayim” (just like his descendants are alive, so is he). He came to the banquet that year and the two of us never had a need for that conversation again.
There was something very special about the singing and dancing this year at the banquet. Perhaps it was a result of it being after dinner, perhaps it was the beautiful composition of the music and the singing of Benny Friedman. Whatever the reason may be, the only way I can describe it is by saying that it felt like Simchas Torah.
For those few minutes, I felt transported back in time to the days we had the zchus to witness and enjoy genuine Simchas Yom Tov. The choice of the YomTov’dike niggunim certainly helped enhance this feeling. The length of the dancing impacted the sense of Simchas Torah. For me, it’s something I haven’t felt since Simchas Torah 5752 with the Rebbe!
If you think about it, the banquet is very similar to Simchas Torah. Here, all Jews are cherished equally regardless of their knowledge or social standing and everyone can dance and rejoice to thank Hashem for the great zechus we have to be part of it all.
The full course dinner resembled a Seudas Yom Tov. Perhaps this explains the (even more than usual) festive mood. It was a great idea to finish the meal before the program and dancing.
P.S. A big thank you to Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky and the entire Vaad Hakinus for the wonderful experience.