From the COLlive inbox:
By Rabbi Avrohom Brashevitzky – Chabad of Doral, Florida
Now that many of the Kinusim, the regional conventions for Chabad Shluchim, have taken place, I felt the need to share the following.
Many of us, who attended these kinusim, can be considered the “little guys.” Not in height or prowess, rather the small-area Shluchim. The ones that you hardly hear about – not even on COLlive.com.
When Rosh Hashana comes around we daven like everybody else – just with an extra hope. Maybe this year we will have a nice crowd for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. And let’s be realistic: by “nice crowd,” a small Shliach may mean 50 or 80 Yidden or who knows, if we really win the lottery – 100+.
Maybe this year we will finally merit to see those community members and unaffiliated folks we’ve been pestering for all those years. After all, I’ve been to his place of business and put on Tefillin and discussed Yiddishkiet and repeated all my corny jokes and for so many years. Was I poi’el anything?
How many times does a small-town Shliach think to himself, “Where is this heading to?” How many sad tales and depressing thoughts could the interior of your home, office or car relate – if only they can talk…
We didn’t make it to the Chabad headlines on COLlive or Lubavitch International, because there’s no “real” news. We never had an issue with zoning because we are so small that our “whole big crowd” goes unnoticed most of the time. We can wish we got a knock on the door, “Sorry you got too many people congregating here.” Some of us would have been excellent at evading the KGB…
Please, nobody misunderstand. It’s not that the “small” shliach is just Davening Baaavodah and reading Zohar all day. In fact, the “little guy” has to work extra hard to 1. justify his existence (b’Ruchniyus), and 2. to exist (financially). Most are out there breaking their backs and “making it happen.”
Like everything else in life, there’s a boss. Everything is b’hasgocha Protis. Perhaps (actually, most likely) if it was your destiny to be in the “big place” I’m certain that you would have done so much more than the guy who’s “so successful”, as you are a much harder worker and are so much more ambitious. It’s not your fault nor Cheshbon to know why your Neshama and your Birurim are in this place which you are.
Isn’t this the whole point of the Meshaleiach? Wasn’t it his desire and demand that we go out to every Jew? Did you ever read the Sicha about going out to small places? The Rebbe describes it as Mes Mitzvah with whom nobody really wants to get involved. The Rebbe describes how far dem Oibrshten passt tzu ton “v’attem teluktu l’Echad Echad Bnei Yisroel”, to take each Yid by the hand, back home”. Hey buddy, you were chosen. Hashgocha Ha’elyoina decided that someone special like you; with a very small ego will go out there to reach his Banim Yechiddim.
Perhaps others would not be able to survive the difficulties and loneliness of being in a small place. No flares, no bells n’ whistles, just you and your job (tzu oisfirren di Kavone!) And of course: Our Dear Rebbe!
Take a trip to the bigger established communities and you will find many families from the “smaller places” who have relocated there as a result of your Hashpa’ah! I know that when they left it was like “Vayichad Yisro” – you were both sad and happy. I know that with them went 20 – 30% of your Minyan (or “regulars”). But that’s what it’s all about.
Perhaps we don’t always see the effects of our hard work (after all we don’t and most chances are won’t have a big building or a network of mosdos). But don’t let the Yetzer hara get to you. You are doing a wonderful job! I can’t tell you how many people I have met over time who “heard about us” but it took several years till we got to meet. But that’s the whole point: We ARE there AND we make the difference for them.
So, as you worry, dream, fantasize about the big crowd you hope to have this year, please don’t get pulled down. Don’t get depressed about the lonely Sukkos or Simchas Torah; The Rebbe IS with you!
Before I conclude I must apologize to you. I really wrote this for myself. I was itching for a pat in the back. I needed to get my name on COLlive (hey, it’s been a while), sorry I used you. To boot this time you have to suffice with quantity instead of quality. However, even after so many words, not enough has been said to fully salute the “small” shluchim.