Students at Chabad Girls Academy were privileged to hear encouraging and uplifting words during their weekly Lunch ‘n’ Learn this past Tuesday.
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Halevi Shagalov, whose granddaughter is a student in the school, came to share an important message with the girls about their individual power to make a difference in the world.
He also sponsored computers for the school’s research lab in memory of his father Schneur Zalman Halevi Shagalov whose passion was in educating teens about yiddishkeit. This generous contribution is allowing the students to learn lifelong skills of becoming independent learners.
Rabbi Shagalov began by sharing a few not so well known stories of the Rebbe, when he was living in France. He explained that during the time that the Rebbe was in France with the Rebbetzin, he was taking the train home from university every day. Instead of getting off at his own stop, the Rebbe continued for one more stop since it landed him near a Jewish orphanage. The children there were from North African countries such as Tunisia, Morocco, and Yemen. The Rebbe showed them extra special care and came on a daily basis to teach them aleph bais, brachos, basic Jewish ideas and practices. One boy who was bar mitzvah age was taught by the Rebbe how to put on Tefillin and how to read Hebrew. This boy grew up to raise a large family who were all Torah observant.
On one of Rabbi Shagalov’s trips to France to participate in a large shabbaton catering to Jews from a variety of backgrounds, he heard this story first hand from one of the participants. The man announced excitedly that he was that 13-year-old boy whom the Rebbe taught how to put on Tefillin and read. He proudly shared that today over one hundred of his family members are frum because of the Rebbe.
Students were fascinated to hear this incredible story and they were moved by the power of the Rebbe’s love and care displayed to this particular man and all Jews. This power continues to affect Jews worldwide through Lubavitcher chassidim who continue to emulate the Rebbe’s teachings and examples.
Rabbi Shagalov shared other personal stories and explained how he himself took it upon himself to help other Jews every Thursday. Helping others ended up helping him even more. This highlighted the message to the girls that they themselves have the power within to make a lasting impact on the world by beginning with their own surroundings. There was a very empowering feeling in the lunchroom for the students to take with them and inspire others when they go out and assist others in our community.