By COLlive reporter
Photos by Shimon Roumani
Shluchim from around New York gathered last week to mark the 59th anniversary of the establishment of Tzeirei Agudas Chabad Hamerkozis – the Central Lubavitch Youth Organization (LYO, or “Tzach”).
It was held on the eve of Iyar 2, the birthday of the 4th Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Maharash, whose leadership was distinguished by his motto of l’chat’chila aribber, the approach of surmounting, from the very outset, all worldly difficulties.
The gathering of shluchim, who operate under the auspices of Tzach, was enveloped by a warm atmosphere of devotion to the goals set by the Rebbe, who empowers all the Shluchim, and to fulfilling, to an even greater extent and with renewed impetus, all activities the Rebbe has initiated, in a manner befitting the theme of l’chat’chila aribber.
This gathering was celebrated with a particularly festive banquet at the hall of the Jewish Children’s Museum of Tzivos Hashem organization. A video was shown of the Rebbe speaking about the significance of 2nd Iyar and l’chat’chila aribber.
The master of ceremonies was Rabbi Yaakov Saacks, Director of Lubavitch Chai Center of Dix Hills in Long Island, who conducted the event with ease.
The first speaker was Rabbi Moshe Pesach Goldman, senior member of Lubavitch Youth Organization’s founding committee and its secretary ever since.
Rabbi Goldman told how the Rebbe’s Chief of Staff Rabbi Mordechai Isaac Hodakov related that the Rebbe wanted to participate in Lubavitch Youth’s first convention.
“That was why the first convention had a continuation at the Rebbe’s farbrengen for Simchas Beis Hasho’eiva, during which the Rebbe directed me to give, publicly, a report of the convention,” Rabbi Goldman said.
In the following years, too, continued Rabbi Goldman, at the Simchas Beis Hasho’eiva farbrengen, the Rebbe used to direct the chairman of each year’s convention to give a report of the convention.
Over the years, those privileged to give reports at the farbrengens included Rabbi Sholom Ber Gordon, Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Gansbourg and Melbourne Head Shliach Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Groner, all of blessed memory.
A MOST DEAR INSTITUTION
Rabbi Shmuel Butman, Executive Director of Lubavitch Youth, noted how the original letter with which the Rebbe founded the organization was dated Iyar 2, 5715 (1955), but the Rebbe writes that he “was pleased to receive the notification that immediately after the farbrengen of Shabbas Mevorchim Iyar.”
Rabbi Butman quoted what the organization’s late and legendary chairman Rabbi Dovid Raskin, used to say, that although the Rebbe indeed spoke on Shabbos Mevorchim Iyar (24th Nissan, 5715-1955) about establishing, the Rebbe himself emphasized that the date of its founding was Iyar 2.
“The Rebbe thereby emphasized how he empowers everyone connected with the organization to work on two levels, that activities be conducted in a manner of l’chat’chila aribber and also in a manner not only of tiferes – beauty and honor – but in an even more profound manner, tiferes sheb’siferes,” he said.
He quoted what the Rebbe once told the Chossid Rabbi Schneur Zalman Gurary OBM that each of the Chabad Rebbeim had a special organization that he established, and that “my particularly special moisad is Tzeirei Agudas Chabad – which I hold dearer than all other Mosdos.”
Rabbi Kasriel Kastel, Lubavitch Youth’s Program Director, described the notable success of shluchim in and around New York, who presently operate over 60 Chabad centers, and predicted that their success will be even greater in the future.
He spoke about an “Encounter with Chabad,” the famous and fruitful events that introduced Judaism and Chassidus to many in the 70s and 80s, will be held again after the Shavuos holiday.
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Geisinsky, shliach in Great neck, spoke about how the Rebbe continues to help the shluchim, illustrating this with a personal story:
Many years ago, when he was standing near the entrance to 770, the Rebbe passed by and wished him “Arichus Yomim Veshonim Tovos” (“a long and good life”). It was most surprising for the Rebbe to wish this to anyone as he passed by the entrance, and particularly to a young person.
Now, however, after Rabbi Geisinsky’s recent miracle, the Rebbe’s unusual blessing becomes truly understandable.
Rabbi Geisinsky further related that, following the first miracle, the Rebbe appeared to him again in a dream on Shabbos night and asked him how he was, and he replied that he had to undergo many time-consuming treatments, which were disturbing his shlichus.
He said the Rebbe told him, “If so, they are unnecessary.” Later, when his doctors told him to come and continue the treatments, he answered that he no longer needs them. After arguing back and forth, he asked for another blood test.
“At first they didn’t agree because I recently had one. Finally, they agreed, but when the results came in, they called me to redo it. After a second blood-test, they called me to a meeting and said that, indeed, I don’t need any more treatments, and that they had never seen anything like this in their lives!”
Lubavitch Youth and all shluchim gave their colleague, Rabbi Geisinsky, their blessings to continue his shlichus in excellent health and with outstanding success for a long and happy life.
The next speaker was Rabbi Hirshy Minkowicz, Director of Chabad of North Fulton in Georgia, who recently lost his 37-year-old wife Mrs. Rashi Minkowicz, daughter of Rabbi Chaim Meir Lieberman, committee member of Lubavitch Youth.
Rabbi Minkowicz said he now appreciates the meaning of the traditional saying that “Chassidim are one family,” seeing the outstanding, substantial help that has come from other shluchim, even from outside the United States.
“Hardly two days goes by that my children don’t receive gift packages from around the world, even from people they don’t even know,” he noted. “All this enables us to continue and to intensify our work even at this difficult time. We will continue and increase our momentum stronger and stronger in the spirit of the Rebbe.”
The main speaker was Rabbi Ezra Schochet, distinguished Rosh Yeshiva of Or Elchonon Chabad, Los Angeles. In his characteristic manner and unique approach, he riveted the audience on the subject of “What the Rebbe wants of us at this time.”
He stressed how essential it is that we be clear about what we want to accomplish and the manner in which we accomplish it. All, he stressed, must be permeated with the teachings of Chassidus and with the hanhogo conduct of Chassidus.
The audience listened attentively to his address, which, together with the manner in which it was delivered and its profoundly significant message, left a powerful impression upon everyone.
As one of the shluchim later commented, “It was a unique gathering generating great spiritual warmth. We saw how the shluchim become so inspired with genuine dedication to the Rebbe and to the goal of their mission.”
Many shluchim proudly declared that this was a gathering of deep Chassidic feeling and warmth which will accompany them to their shlichus locations, empowering them to work even more energetically to fulfill the Rebbe’s shlichus of preparing ourselves and others for the true and complete Redemption.