By COLlive reporter
On the 27th of Adar I, 5752 (Monday, March 2, 1992), the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, suffered a disabling stroke while praying at the gravesite of the previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch.
On the same date two years later, the Rebbe lost consciousness following another stroke; three months later, on the 3rd of Tammuz 5754 (June 12, 1994), the Rebbe’s soul ascended on high, orphaning a generation.
A detailed account of the weeks and days leading up to 27 Adar, based on memories and diaries of people present, is published in this month’s edition of A Chassidisher Derher magazine.
Here are excerpts of the article in the Derher:
Adar I 5752 was a unique month at Lubavitch Headquarters – 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, NY. The amount of dollars the Rebbe distributed for people to give to charity was extraordinary and they were given almost every night following Maariv or a sicha.
Delivering a sicha almost every night was also rare and the topic the Rebbe addressed often leading to a demand to increase in simcha. This instruction to increase in joy and true expressions of happiness led Chassidim to dance in 770 with live music.
It was also a very difficult time as tragedy struck in Crown Heights on Thursday, 2 Adar I when a young mother, Mrs. Pesha Leah Lapine was brutally murdered al kiddush Hashem.
Shockwaves spread throughout the community and thousands streamed to the funeral on Friday, including Chassidim and African-Americans; reporters and camera crews came to document the event.
The Rebbe came out of 770 and followed the hearse down Eastern Parkway and part of Kingston Avenue and waited until the procession continued out of sight. The effect of the tragedy was extremely devastating.
Thursday, 9 Adar I 5752 – The Rebbe talks
The next Thursday, when shiva for Mrs. Lapine ended, the Rebbe spoke about the incident. People present said one was able to feel the Rebbe’s pain and anguish.
The Rebbe began by saying, “We will talk about a topic that is timely, even though we aren’t opening with a bracha as we usually do,” and continued to speak about the amazing merit one must have to fulfill the mitzvah of kiddush Hashem.
But, the Rebbe continued, we demand that Moshiach must come. ‘A day passes, and another day; a week and another week; over 1900 years and Moshiach has not yet arrived!’
It seemed as if the Rebbe was working to counterbalance something.
Shabbos Vayakhel, 25 Adar I – The Last Farbrengen
At the farbrengen, the Rebbe spoke very loudly, and those present recall that one could clearly hear the Rebbe even at a distance away, unlike past Shabbos Farbrengens where it was hard to hear the Rebbe.
The farbrengen was also exceptionally rich in content and over 50 minutes long, with the Rebbe offering lengthy and detailed explanations on a wide variety of subjects.
The Rebbe stressed the need to feel as one with each and every Yid in the spirit of true Ahavas Yisrael. When influencing the conduct of another Yid, it must be done in a peaceful manner.
In that sicha the Rebbe also mentioned that none of the Chabad Rebbes moved to or even visited Eretz Yisrael. Even the Frierdiker Rebbe, who did visit, only did so instead of visiting the graves of the Rebbes’ in Lubavitch and Rostov.
Following the singing the niggun of the Rebbe’s kapital and the niggun Shuva, the Rebbe continued to speak 3 more Sichos and distribute bottles of Mashke to 14 individuals who were making special events in the following weeks.
That night, the summary of the farbrengen which was usually printed immediately after Shabbos, was edited by the Rebbe before publication. This was highly unusual. This means that as soon as Shabbos ended the editors of the summary made a review, transcribed the summary, submitted it to the Rebbe, who in turn edited it and returned it—all in the course of a few hours.
Sunday, 26 Adar I 5752 – Uncommon question
The following day, Sunday, 26 Adar I, the Rebbe davened mincha in Gan Eden Hatachton at about 1:50 p.m. This was a custom the Rebbe started on Sundays this winter because the line to receive dollars could stretch for many hours, into the early winter night.
The Rebbe began distributing dollars later than usual that Sunday. Due to the many groups that joined the line and the unusually large crowds, ‘dollars’ extended for over five hours! Many interesting incidents occurred during that day’s ‘dollars’ (see A Chassidisher Derher Issue 29 page 30 for a selection of those encounters).
For the first time ever, several hours into the distribution, the Rebbe asked how long the remaining line was, providing a small clue that not all was well. Yet, the distribution of dollars continued until 7:30 p.m.
VIDEO: A special selection of encounters with the Rebbe during his Sunday distribution of dollars for charity on 26 Adar I, 5752 — March 1, 1992
Monday, 27 Adar I 5752 – the stroke
The next day, Monday, the Rebbe went to the Ohel, as he usually would on a Monday. While the Rebbe was at the Ohel, davening and pleading for Klal Yisroel, reading the thousands of letters and pannim that arrived at his door with requests for brochos and yeshuos, the Rebbe had a stroke, to the shock and distress of all the Jewish nation.
Chof-Zayin Adar I marked the beginning of the doubled and redoubled dark golus; a time that we do not see the Rebbe in his full glory, as we should.
For the short meantime, we hold steadfast in the path that the Rebbe set for us, guided by the principles he spoke of in all these sichos. And as the Rebbe teaches in the maamar Ve’ata Tetzave, it is our connection with the roeh ne’eman, the faithful shepherd of our time, that gives us the necessary capability to carry through with our avodah in the darkest times of golus.
Until we will ultimately see the day when the Rebbe will return in his full strength, and lead us out of golus, may it be bekarov Mamash!
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