By Devora Leah Jaffee, Student of Ohel Sara Seminary, Los Angeles
If seminary is a time to grow spiritually, Yud Tes Kislev magnifies that purpose.
The 24 hours are sacred, packed with spiritual provisions for the months ahead. With Chassidim sharing the uniqueness and messages of the day, one farbrengen built upon the other, forming a treasure of meaning and inspiration, leading to a call to inner action.
At Ohel Sara, celebrations began with a beautifully prepared meal, guided by our amazing dorm counselors, Chaya Posner and Rochel Osdoba and organized by 3 of our own students and hosted by our popular Chumash teacher, Rabbi Dovid Gurevitch, shliach at UCLA. The farbrengen that lasted several hours was a great opening to what was in store for the next day.
The following morning on Yud Tes Kislev, we started the day with a sicha, along with the video of the Rebbe teaching that sicha.
After davening Rabbi Chaim Hanoka, shliach at Chabad of Pasadena, and our fantastic Tanya teacher, gave a class on the Tanya of the day. He also Spoke about the details of how to write a pa”n, which was a lesson in itself on how a Chossid approaches his Rebbe on such an occasion.
Rabbi Korf, Shliach of Los Feliz, spoke with us about the victory and liberation of the day and how the Rebbe instructed us to treat this day not just as a great victory over the opposing side. We must realize how small we really are in the bigger picture, and to use this day to strengthen and feel a greater connection to Hashem.
We then had Rabbi Mendel Lipskier, shliach of Sherman Oaks, and our excellent Maamorim teacher. His talk centered on how we establish the holiness of the day and then Hashem adds more holiness, making it a Yom Tov. One who uses the day properly, his requests will be fulfilled. He also talked about how chabad is about being a “pnimi”- one who internalizes. Chasidus chabad is not just about belief but it is also about having an understanding of Hashem in the physical brain and feeling it in the heart too. The Alter Rebbe’s revelation is that every Yid can learn, understand, and internalize.
After that, how can we not immerse ourselves in the power of a niggun? The day at seminary ended with the touching melodies of our holy Rabbeim, led by Zisi Wolf, our early morning Chassidus teacher.
With our mind stimulated and our souls touched, we were ready to go on mivtzoyim to give out neshek.
The inspiration continued that evening with a farbrengen with Rabbi Ephraim Mintz, director of JLI. His talk focused on how chassidus is compared to light, chassidus isn’t anything new but only what was reintroduced by the Alter Rebbe and continues being spread out by all our rebbeim. Chasidus doesn’t change anything about Torah but reveals what is hidden to us in this lowly generation.
This led into a beautiful Shabbos experience. Oceanside is a beautiful town that lies on the outskirts of S. Diego. Known for its scenic beaches and mild weather, it was a perfect place to spend the Shabbos. The local Shluchim, Rabbi and Mrs. Boruch Greenberg, graciously opened their homes and hearts to our group. Not only was there delicious food, there was plenty of food for the soul as well. Together, they farbrenged about the uniqueness of our connections to Chassidus and the Rebbe.
In the spirit of bringing the lessons to practice, students were seen handing out Chanuka Menorahs even in Disneyland on their Sunday trip. The amazing weekend ended with a wonderful supper and farbrengen at Rabbi and Mrs. Mendel Slavin at Chabad of S. Clemente and the closing fireworks at Disneyland. Plans are now underway to expand these shabbatons and experiences for next year by adding a ten day trip to Israel.
As the lights and excitement continue to shine, the work now begins to continue spreading that inspiration within us and to all those around us.