Have you heard of a city called ‘Ndola’? I’ll assume your answer is no.
Allow me to tell you about someone who did.
Tishrei 5729 (1968). A young man by the name of Yerachmiel Glazer went into yechidus with the Rebbe. Like any young bochur, he was looking for guidance in his next step in life.
Yerachmiel had made aliyah in 5726 (1966) to the religious kibbutz called Ein Tzurim. After only a short while, he was informed by the kibbutznikim that he needed more than what they could offer.
Taking their suggestion to heart, he promptly sent a letter to the director of the Aliyah office, asking if he knew of a yeshiva that would be fitting for him.
Rabbi Avrahom Lison, a chossid from Kfar Chabad, happened to visit the Aliyah office and saw the letter from young Yerachmiel. He immediately sent a letter back offering to take him into Kfar Chabad to visit for Pesach.
It took only one month of learning the depths of chassidus for Yerachmiel to be convinced that this was it for him; there was no turning back. He proudly walked out of the store sporting his shining new black hat and black suit, a complete Yeshiva bochur.
Two years later, he made his way to 770, eagerly awaiting his first glimpse of the Rebbe.
Overwhelmed with excitement, he wrote a letter to the Rebbe requesting permission to stay and learn in 770 by the Rebbe. The response was swift in coming: No. “Go back and continue learning in Kfar Chabad.”
As the end of Tishrei neared, Yerachmiel went into his first Yechidus. Upon entering, he placed his tzetl on the Rebbe’s desk and waited quietly. The Rebbe began answering the questions in his note, and when he finished, he put down the papers, lifted his holy eyes and said: “I would like you to go to Zambia and spread Yiddishkeit there.”
Zambia? Let’s go back a little.
Who was Yerachmiel really, and what did he have to do with Zambia?
Yerachmiel was born to a non observant family in Johannesburg, South Africa. At a young age, his family made the move for business to Ndola, Zambia, a third-world country just a two hour flight away. He was the only one in his family – at that time – to make aliyah and create this huge change in his life.
And now, after hearing the Rebbe’s request, Yerachmiel was in shock. Me? Zambia? Why? He couldn’t understand. “The Rebbe already instructed me soon after I arrived here to go back to Eretz Yisroel, and I’ve already purchased my ticket to leave tonight!” he stammered.
The Rebbe thought for a moment, and then told him that he should indeed return to Kfar Chabad as instructed, and he was to communicate with the various Jewish communities in Zambia regarding yiddishkeit, yamim tovim, and tefillos, and have them hang his letters on bulletin boards in the shuls in town.
Yerachmiel began a consistent correspondence with the communities there and received a very enthusiastic response.
A half a year later, his parents sent word requesting he leave Yeshiva and everything that had become his new life to come back home to Zambia and help his father’s business.
A staunch chossid, Yerachmiel of course sent a letter to the Rebbe asking what he should do.
To his surprise, the Rebbe enthusiastically agreed! He would not just help in his fathers business – he was being sent on a shlichus.
The Rebbe instructed him to involve himself in hafotzas hamaayanos and specifically, mitzvos Maasiyos.
For the next few months, he did exactly that. He went around town laying tefillin, giving out shabbos candles, and hosting Yom Tov meals and minyanim.
The last shlichus he accomplished in Zambia was Purim 5730 (1970). Yerachmiel read the Megillah for the very first time.
Yerachmiel now lives in Crown Heights.
52 years later…5782 (2022)… the Megillah was read in the country of Zambia yet again.
This time, in Lusaka.
Chabad of Zambia set down its roots.
Rabbi Mendy and Rivky Hertzel, the newly appointed Shluchim to Zambia, write:
A couple of weeks after our wedding in Nissan 5781, we heard the sad news of the passing of Mrs. Miriam Bentolila OB”M, Shlucha to the Congo. Immediately during the Shiva, Rabbi Shlomo Bentolila, head Shliach to 10 other countries in Central Africa, announced that he would be opening a brand new Shlichus in the country of Zambia in her memory.
Like many of you, we had never heard of this country’s existence. But a few months later, as we began our search for shlichus and the options came flowing in, we realized that we wanted a place where we could begin from scratch. We visited for a few months and discovered a new country to plant the Rebbe’s flag. Our hearts were pulled in the direction of far off Central Africa, and there was no turning back.
We want to invite you to take part in this unique and special shlichus which goes back so many years. The Rebbes vision for us, young shluchim who haven’t merited to see the Rebbe physically, fills us with emotion and so much Chizzuk, reminding us of the incredible zchus we have.
We want to share this with you.
Please consider partnering with us and helping us launch our campaign for 72K to begin our Shlichus on the right foot this Chanukah, 5783!
Donate now! www.Charidy.com/IgniteZambia