An early talk from the Rebbe, delivered at the aufruf kiddush of Mr. Chaim Chanowitz, which took place in 770 on Shabbos parshas Chukas in 1950, was recently discovered with edits of the Rebbe by Lubavitch Archives. The talk was previously published unedited and is one of a few edited talks by the Rebbe discovered after 3 Tamuz, 1994.
For over 15 years, Lubavitch Archives brought the teachings of the Rebbe and the Rabbeim, and Chabad history, to hundreds of thousands. They have done so through publications, a website and on Facebook, or through assisting others with the large digital archive of Chabad-Lubavitch photos and documents.
The sicha discusses a length how we could learn from the Parah Adumah to reach out to every Jew, no matter what level of observance they find themselves. The Rebbe lauds the fact that the chosson received an Aliya in the Friediker Rebbe‘s office.
The Rebbe’s edits were published, in time for Parshas Parah, in last week’s Kfar Chabad Magazine.
Chaim Chanowitz was born in 1915 in Glubocke, Belarus, to a Chabad family. He was one of ten children. His father, Reb Ben Zion Chanowitz, was a respected shochet and mohel. In those days, the shochet was as important and influential a member of the community as the rov.
Chaim’s mother, Elka, was the daughter of Shmuel Avrohom Hellman from Liepla, Russia. Her brothers were Reb Chaim Meir Hellman, the well-known and highly respected author of the Bais Rebbe, and Reb Moishe Hellman, the Druyer Rov.
She was very smart and was known to be a lamdanis. Reb Itche Der Masmid recounted that he discussed Torah subjects with her, and Rabbi Yossel Wineberg acknowledged her as a lamdanis.
When the Rebbe Rayatz announced the wedding of his daughter Chaya Mushka to Rabbi Menachem Mendel in 1929, a group of Glubocke Chassidim hired a wagon to travel to Warsaw for the wedding.
Almost half way there, someone noticed that one of the passengers was too young to undertake such a journey without a chaperone. “What are you doing here?” the older Chasid scowled. The young man was Chaim Chanowitz. Just a year over Bar Mitzvah, he had wanted to join the Chassidim at the wedding. The Chassidim were not happy, but it was too late to turn around. Thus Chaim merited to attend the Rebbe’s wedding.
Glubocke was also a stronghold of religious Zionists. As he came of age, Chaim was attracted to this group, and he immigrated to the Land of Israel, then Palestine, in the 1930s.
He continued to work for Zionist causes there, and eventually he was sent back to Warsaw, Poland, to be a representative of a Zionist organization. In this capacity, he shored up many connections with local officials and politicians.
One year in Tishrei, Chaim’s uncle, Rabbi Moishe Leib Rodshtein, who was a secretary to the Rebbe Rayatz (and later the Rebbe), asked him for assistance.
On Simchas Torah, the visa belonging to the Ramash had expired. The police arrived at the shul and tried to apprehend the Ramash in order to deport him. Those present convinced the police to wait a few days while the issue was resolved.
Rabbi Rodshtein wanted Chaim to use his connections to help get the Ramash’s visa renewed. Chaim did help to resolve the immediate issue, but the Ramash was later forced to leave the country.
Years later, Chaim traveled to the United States in the weeks before his own wedding. He visited New York and asked to meet the Ramash. (It was shortly after the passing of the Rebbe Rayatz, and the Rebbe had not yet accepted leadership.) The Ramash agreed, and an appointment was arranged.
In the Ramash’s study, Chaim tried to explain who he was. “I come from a Lubavitch family. My father was a Chassid of the Rebbe Rayatz,” he said.
“I know who you are,” the Ramash interrupted, “I remember you from the wedding.”
It seems that Chaim’s brothers Reb Gershon and Reb Yisroel, who had survived the war and lived in Crown Heights, arranged for Chaim to receive an aliya in 770 for his Shabbos aufruf.
That Shabbos afternoon, the Shabbos before 12 Tammuz, the Ramash said a sicha in honor of the aufruf kiddush. The Ramash also recounted how Chaim had assisted him by typing some of the Rebbe Rayatz’s kesavim.