By Rabbi Yosef Katzman
I am humbled.
I am speechless.
I am at a loss for words.
Yes, it sounds cliché, but it is the honest truth.
Oh, what a wedding!
I was privileged to participate in the historic wedding of Mendel and Miriam Mintz in Baltimore, and I was inspired to the core.
Something I never imagined, and would miss for nothing.
The Chosson summed it up in a few words as he toasted L’Chaim to the guests: שהחיינו וקימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה, we are just normal people who want to live a normal life, and we wish you all to live a normal life, the take away; if there is a will there is a way, you just have to try.
This humble much about nothing statement coming from Mendel, says it all.
It is not important to go into the details about Mendel and his personal life, suffice it to say that he is wheelchair bound his entire life, enough to setback anybody and just be happy that he is alive.
But what did Mendel do for us?
Who can claim that he was not affected by any one of many projects that Mendel initiated?
If it was his enabling us to benefit from the Rebbe’s teachings and inspiration through Rebbe Drive, the Mafteiach project, the Moshiach Weekly magazine, and many offspring projects created by admirers who were inspired by Mendel.
Who did not benefit from Mendel’s initiative to get the City to close off the service lane in front of 770 for the entire month of Tishrei so that the overflow crowd of the Rebbe’s guests have a place where to Daven in the air-conditioned tent that Mendel setup without fanfare or personal gratification.
And who can claim that he was not inspired by all the major unity gatherings on the Parkway in front of 770, whether it was 70 years of the Rebbe’s leadership, or the Rebbe’s 120th birthday, or the last Siyum HaRambam that attracted many thousands more than ever, together with a first ever Lag Baomer celebration with bonfire in front of 770, and many more which I fail to list here.
Mendel did it all without any name recognition, and when called out he’d prefer that you forget about him.
Mendel is an amazing force for peace, everybody and anybody, knows him and admires him.
And all this from his wheelchair, Mendel is a ‘powerhouse’ to use a cliché.
It is not my place to get into the details of Mendel’s life, but when I danced with him as he graciously reached out to me as he did to every single other guest, to swing with him in the wheelchair and dance at his wedding I was moved to tears.
I would be remis if I didn’t mention the graciousness of his parents Rabbi Efraim and Sheina Basha Mintz, how they greeted every single of the many hundreds of guests who came from far and near to join them and dance with them at this very special Simcha.
And I hear that Miriam is no second fiddle here, she is known to be a powerhouse in her own right, may Hashem bless them to enjoy a truly happy Jewish home full of action to benefit the Jewish nation.
On the day of Mendel and Miriam’s wedding we learned in the Hayom Yom:
“The most important thing is for a sick person to arouse within himself two realizations: (a) an awareness that he is sick, and a desire and a yearning to be cured of his illness; (b) the knowledge that he can be cured, and the hope and absolute trust that with G d’s help, he will be cured. “
In the source letter for this Hayom Yom, the Frierdiker Rebbe explains, that this process comes about when a person self-analyzes and establishes his strengths and weaknesses, and this way he can assess properly how and where to invest his energy to cure himself and the world around him.
An illness is simply anything that is imperfect, and which can use improvement, and I believe that Mendel truly keeps assessing himself and the environment around him, and he finds ways how to improve and remedy what’s missing, and the beneficiaries are himself and all of us.
Yes, I say it, our world is a better place because of Mendel and his actions, we owe him a tremendous amount of gratitude, so let’s join together with all those who came to dance at the wedding, to offer our heartfelt blessings to Mendel and Miriam, they should built an everlasting edifice in the house of Israel, they should live a happy and healthy life, a very happy life which bring Nachas to the Rebbe and to Klal Yisroel and to the Lubavitch community in particular, until we merit the revelation of Moshiach who will usher in the full redemption speedily, Amein.
Have a faithful and inspirational Shabbos,