By Rabbi Moshe Bleich,
Director of Wellesley Weston Chabad in Wellesley, MA
My most inspiring moment, since I last saw the holy face of the Rebbe in 1994, happened this past Thursday on the 22nd of Shevat, the yartzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Shneerson, of righteous memory.
My wife, Geni, traveled to Brooklyn for the International Kinus Hashluchos and I was sitting alone on Wednesday night, thinking about the Rebbe and the Rebbetzin who inspired us to move to Wellesley and dedicate our lives to spreading the light of the Torah and Judaism.
I started watching video clips connected to this special day –a short documentary about her life, the large funeral and what the Rebbe said following it. I wondered whether I would find myself in any of these videos.
The chances were slim. I was a simple student from Boro Park in the early 1990s and wasn’t born into a Lubavitcher family. I do have a few treasured photos with the Rebbe when he distributed dollars for tzedakah, but those photos were usually taken of the person before or after me in the line.
Nonetheless, I happened to be in Crown Heights for a family simcha on Shevat 22, 5752 (1992). I was privileged on that day, along with my father and my brother Yanky Dov, to go to Lubavitch headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway and receive a sefer, a thin book which the Rebbe distributed to many thousands of chassidim that night.
Alas, I found no video of me. I was a bit dejected, so before I went to sleep, I walked to the shelf where I keep my “goodies” from the Rebbe and held the holy book that I had received from the Rebbe.
The next morning, I opened an email that I had received from a family relative of mine, who is also a Chabad Shliach. The time stamp indicated that he had sent it to me at the very moment I was searching through the videos the previous night which I didn’t end up opening.
In the email, he sent me a link to a video on YouTube. It was uploaded on Oct 28, 2010 by the JEM organization and was a collection of clips of Shluchim passing by the Rebbe and there I was!
Why was he watching this particular video, which was not at all connected to the 22nd of Shevat? How did he recognize me as a child? How and why was a shy little boy from Boro Park allowed to stand near the Rebbe, when the usual “hang out time” is only one second and I was there for more than 30?
What was I even doing there at all as a child? I don’t have any clue, but this looks like it’s in the Rebbe’s house in 1988 or 1989. I am wearing a camp Agudah t-shirt, so it must be soon before or right after camp.
Either way, I guess this was the Rebbe’s answer to me.