Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin which took place Friday morning in Sochi, was scheduled for two hours. It ended up being a five hour meeting. At a certain point, it was clear the prime minister would not make it home to his family on time for Shabbat.
The Chabad community was there to prepare all Shabbat needs, along with a Torah scroll, Siddurim and chumashim. Plenty of kosher food for Kiddush and the Shabbat meals for the entire delegation and staff of the Prime Minister.
The delegation’s Shabbat meal was held at a hotel with the participation of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, which was conducted by Shliach Chabad in Sochi, Rabbi Sholom Lazar.
Before Kiddush, Bennett thanked the entire delegation and staff for the effort each one of them put into the success of the meeting, and shared that the meeting with President Putin was warm and constructive, with mutual understanding and a desire to continue the cooperation of both sides.
The Prime Minister continued his remarks from this week’s Torah portion and said, “What I learn from אברהם אבינו and the story of עקידת יצחק, is that אמונה and בטחון in Hashem is not an insurance policy or a deal with God, that everything will always be great. When someone believes, he may also face difficulties, there may be challenges, but אמונה is to do everything, the maximum we can do, and to believe that the rest is in the hands of G-d and he will do everything just as it should be.
“I want to thank Chabad, which is second to none Jewish organization, for the warm welcome, and for their dedication and work they do here in Russia, and in every corner of the world,” the prime minister concluded.
After Rabbi Sholom Lazar recited Kiddush, he delivered a Sichah on this week’s Torah portion and the importance of hachnosas orchim, adding, “I want to thank the Prime Minister and the entire delegation for the great privilege of hosting you this special Shabbat. The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains how we learn from אברהם אבינו why affording hospitality is not enough, what is more important is to accompany and escort the guests. With השגחה פרטית you stayed here for Shabbat, and you privileged us with the great Mitzvah, not only to welcome you, but also to accompany you properly; I want to thank you for the Kiddush Hashem you did here in our city, and the strengthening it gave to our community and all Russian Jews.”
In a private conversation afterwards, the prime minister told the rabbi: “I want all Chabad Shluchim to know – I very much admire you, I love you, I truly love each and every one of you. Keep up your great work.”
Photo: Zalman Ratner