By Libby Herz
The Beis Hamikdash basks in white beams of light. Lilac clouds tipped with gold hover above swaying men wrapped in ivory prayer shawls. Soft streaks of lavender and jade enhance the dream-like quality of the minyan. In the foreground of this artwork, stands the image of the Rebbe – bold and alive, with an expression of concentration upon his holy visage.
This iconic painting graces the walls of Jewish homes and Chabad Houses around the world. It is the vision of a devoted follower of the Rebbe named Meir Jungreis. Jungreis is now considering the option of selling the original artwork.
“The painting is an idea of what the Rebbe might see with his eyes, and what the future will be like,” says Meir Jungreis’s wife, Nili. “It is about the days of Moshiach.”
Meir Jungreis would commute from his home in Monsey, New York to his business in Florida each week, but never missed a chance to visit the Rebbe on Sunday for ‘dollars’ and a blessing.
He originally met the Rebbe in the eighties after joining Machne Yisrael of Florida and sought the Rebbe’s guidance on practical and spiritual matters. Despite his busy schedule and weekly plane flights, “he saw the Rebbe every Sunday for fifteen years,” Nili says.
Inspired by the Rebbe’s mission to spread Torah throughout the world and bring about the ultimate redemption, Jungreis commissioned a Russian artist to create the painting. “I met the Rebbe face-to-face hundreds of times,” says Nili, “But when I saw the painting for the first time, the Rebbe looked so real, I almost fainted!”
Interestingly, the actual painter never met the Rebbe in person, and created the composition using only photos for reference.
The painting became an immediate hit, and the Jungreises began receiving hundreds of requests for copies of the original. “The painting was copyrighted,” says Nili, “but my husband gave consent for people to make posters.” Those posters are proudly displayed in frames around the world.
In 1991, Meir Jungreis was filled with excitement as he went to a yechidus along with Rabbi Dovid Schapiro and Rabbi Yitzchak Teitelbaum.
When it was their turn to meet with the Rebbe, Jungreis unveiled a framed photograph of the new “Chabad House on Wheels.” Jungreis had donated Miami’s first-ever mitzvah tank. He handed the Rebbe a box containing the keys to the tank, along with a special proclamation from the mayor of Miami Beach.
“Whenever my husband wanted to make a decision,” Nili says, “he asked the Rebbe first.” At that time, Jungreis had been traveling from Miami to Monsey for business, and he longed to settle down in one permanent home with his family. But there was so much to consider, and choosing one place to reside seemed like an impossible feat. So, the Jungreises, along with their oldest daughter Dorit, went in for a yechidus with the Rebbe.
“The main concern is for our children’s yiddishkeit,” Nili told the Rebbe. She wanted her children to attend schools with strong hashkafa.
The Rebbe understood the Jungreis’s concerns. “Today Miami has good Jewish schools,” the Rebbe said. The Rebbe then advised the family to speak with Rabbi Avrohom Korf about good schools and kosher food. “You have no peace of mind when your business is in one place and you are somewhere else,” the Rebbe concluded.
VIDEO: Mr. & Mrs. Meir Jungreis with the Rebbe on 26 Adar 5751 – March 12, 1991
That summer, the Jungreis family settled in Miami, where their children attended Chabad yeshiva. They have been living there ever since.
Throughout the years, the Jungreises continued their strong connection with the Rebbe.
For their son’s bar mitzvah in 1991, the Jungreises arranged for 138 Russian immigrants to have a bar mitzvah alongside their son. The Rebbe gave 138 single bills, one to be handed to each bar mitzvah boy. The joy of that bar mitzvah was unforgettable.
As Jungreis’s connection with the Rebbe flourished, he became instrumental in growing the Landow Yeshiva of Florida, and he supported countless Chabad institutions.
The painting of the Rebbe, the Beis Hamikdash, the kosel, and the minyan, is a vision created by a chassid with a very unique kinship to the Rebbe. It is the image of one chassid’s pure and simple faith in the coming of Moshiach speedily and in our days.
For more information about purchasing the original painting, email: [email protected]