The boys division of the Nigri International Shluchim Online School launched an initiative for its students as part of their extracurricular programs in honor of Shnas Hakhel.
For the month of Tishrei, children were asked to either do mivtzoyim on Sukkos with lulav and esrog, or make a Hakhel gathering in their city. Each child sent in a picture or story about the “mission” that they completed. The participants were entered into a raffle, and wrote a duch which was brought to the Ohel.
Below are some of the stories and pictures that the children sent in.
“I went on Mivtzoim the first day of Yom Tov, I went to an old age home (called a hogar de ancianos) and shook lulav and esrog with the old people.”
Yosef Perman – Age 7, Santiago Chile
I delivered sets of the daled minim with my father to people who wouldn’t have otherwise gotten. People were very impressed that I came, not just my father.
Yechezkel Gurkow – Age 12, Westford, MA
I went with my father and siblings to bentch lulav with lots of people in our neighborhood.
Mendy Hecht – Age 11, Sunnyvale, CA
On the second day of yom tov, we went to an old age home and bentched lulov and esrog with people. On the first day of chol hamoed we went to a different old age home and bentched lulov and esrog with people. On friday we went to a few houses to bentch lulov and esrog with people.
Zalmen Katzman – Age 12, Omaha, Nebraska
On the first night of sukkos I made a beautiful Hakhel. Baruch hashem we had lots of guests over for the seudah. Sometime during the evening I gathered up around 15 kids, sat them down in a circle, said pesukim with them and gave out treats. It was beautiful and the first of its kind in Barrington.
Mendel Laufer – Age 9, Barrington, Rhode Island
It was Chol Hamoed Sukkos – we were all in the car, chattering and listening to music on the way home from a Chol Hamoed trip to a Nature Reserve.
We were looking forward to a warm supper in the Sukka. Suddenly my mother said “I know its late and you were all on Mivtzoim in the old age home yesterday, but I don’t know why, there is this urgent feeling that we need to drive to the old
age home to Bentch Lulov and Esrog with the old people there. The only thing is, I’m worried you might be hungry…”
Of course we agreed to go! After all, we are the Rebbe’s Shluchim! And Behashgacha protis we had taken along a lulav and esrog in the car, in case we would meet a Yid. There were only 20 minutes to shkia and since Lulav and Esrog is a daytime mitzva, that wasn’t much time. Our brother Dani drove as fast as he could (safely, and there’s a speed limit, don’t worry!) and we entered the security gate and began our visits.
After quite a few people had bentched lulav, just a few minutes before shkia, we knocked on one door, and Rosa- a holocaust survivor from Poland- was sitting alone at the table. She is 103 years old, ka’h! When she saw the lulav she gave a joyful cry. In a trembling voice she said in Yiddish: “Ch’ob gevart in gevart in gevart a gantzn tug tzi bentchen lilov, in kiene iz nisht gekimen!” “I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting the whole day long to bentch the Lulav and no one was coming!”
She laughed with happiness and disbelief, with tears in her eyes. “In yezt zeit ir du!” ” And now you are here!” She laughed and cried as she said the Bracha in a fluent Poilish Yiddish accent and held the lulav and Esrog with loving tenderness. ” Ich bin a Yiddishe tuchter…” I’m a Jewish daughter. ” Ich kim fin a frime mishpuche….” My mother also had tears in her eyes. We all realized how Hashem had heard her tfillos and rewarded her pure emuna. She had waited all day to bench the lulav. And Hashem made us come, zooming in with an urgency, even though we didn’t know why. Because He knew she was waiting. Hashem… We are all waiting for Moshiach. For the world to be just as You planned it to really be. A place of kedusha. Today… Please, please…. And there’s no speed limit.
Levi Namdar – Age 8, Gothenburg Sweden
There is a family who recently moved here from Montreal with their kids Sam and Jacob. I thought it would be really nice to teach them about Hakhel. On Hoshana Rabah I taught them about Hoshana Rabah and they shook Lulav. And on Simchas Torah they said to me “I really enjoyed learning with you can we do it again.”
Leible Kaplan – Age 10, Victoria British Columbia, Canada