By COLlive reporter
Photos by Yossi Percia
1500 bochurim filled the Rose hall in Campus Chomesh in Crown Heights Monday for a welcoming farbrengen for those who came to New York to spend the month of Tishrei at 770 and the Ohel.
Following a full day of the Tzom Gedalya fast, the organizers of Vaad Hatmimim offered a full course meal as part of their Hachnoasa Orchim service which includes farbrengens, shiurim and hospitality.
Property owner and donor Yossi Popack told the bochurim “you thank me, but I should be thanking you for the inspiration we get from seeing your pure sincerity.”
Nevertheless, Vaad Hatmimim Director Rabbi Tzvi Altein and Director of Tishrei Activities Yosef Yitzchok Nabul thanked Popack along with Zalman Lezell and Zalman Fischer for their providing hospitality for the guests.
Another thank you was given to Rabbi Mendel Sharfstein of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch, Rabbi Aba Refson and R’ Mendy Wilhelm of Ohel Chabad-Lubavitch Center and R’ Schneur Minsky for their assistance.
The bochurim heard from Rabbi Sholom Paltiel, a Shliach in Long Island, who shared some inspiring stories about the Rebbe and Migdal Haemek Mashpia Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Segal.
A main speaker was Rabbi Yoel Kahn, the 770 Mashpia and Chief Choizer of the Rebbe. He pointed out that when a bochur goes on mivtzoim to influence another Jew, he should feel that he is bringing the Rebbe with him, as a true emissary is like the messenger.
In addition to the speaker, there was another thing in the hall that caught the participants’ attention: a bottle a Smirnoff.
It was not a regular vodka. The bottle was said to contain mashke the Rebbe himself touched in 1993 – a rarity as vodka is chometz and chassidim won’t sell it to a gentile for Pesach.
COLlive.com was told that the bottle surfaced on Rosh Hashana 5772 when a non Jewish doctor by the name of Tony came to the Rebbe’s Ohel gravesite in Queens.
The physiotherapist, who is regularly seen at the Ohel, was part of the medical staff that treated the Rebbe after his stroke in 1992.
He said he once saw a chossid leaving the Rebbe’s room with a bottle of Smirnoff received in connection with his birthday. The doctor, whose birthday was near, insisted on getting one as well.
Contents of that bottle were always being refilled as chassidim do with wine received by the Rebbe.
At the farbrengen Monday night, that “Mashke from the Rebbe” was given out to say L’chaim and wish each other a Kesiva Vachasima Tova.
DOWNLOAD: Vaad Hatmimim published two original booklets that shed light on Tishrei with the Rebbe over the years.