By Rabbi Avrohom Brashevitzky – Chabad of Doral, FL
We are gathering this week in Crown Heights for the International Kinus Hashluchim. When some 5,200 shluchim, supporters, and family members will be all together in a single space it’ll surely be an image to remember.
But its not about the optics. The real story and the real headline of the kinus is ths story of the “lone Jew.”
Let me explain: The first Chanukah after my wife and I moved out to Doval, Florida, on Shlichus we made a Chanukah party in our shul (i.e. the living room of our home).
We hired David Lazerson, “Dr. Laz” to perform at the celebration. He was great, yet he noticed that I didn’t think the event was great. Truth is, I wasn’t overwhelmingly excited about the number of people that turned up. It was OK, but in my mind it wasn’t “great.”
We sat down after everyone left for a short Farbrengen and he shared the following story which I’m forever grateful for. This story has helped me get through many of those “difficult days” when it doesn’t seem like I’ve met or affected enough people.
He told us that a number of years earlier he was the guest speaker and performer for a Shabbaton event at the Shluchim in Binghamton. If you know Dr. Laz, you know that the students had a long wonderful night. After it was over, he went to sleep in a room adjacent to the shul.
As his eyes began to open in the morning, the good Doc realized that he’s in a serious dilemma. Through the door he could hear the Shliach giving a Shiur to many students. How could he make such a grand appearance and just walk through so many students during their Shabbos morning class – to go to the bathroom? What kind of impression would it leave on these students who got up so early after such a long night, and he, the visiting Rabbi, is just now rolling out of bed?!
After agonizing for quite a while he finally had no choice. He opened the door – he really needed to go. That’s when he saw that the big room was empty and the Shliach was giving a Shiur to ONE student, in the same manner one would lecture to a full crowd!
For me these were the exact words I needed to hear! It has helped me and guided me for all the years since. Every yid is a full crowd! Every Yid IS that special, much needed “tenth guy for the Minyan”. We are a collective Minyan bringing down the Shchina and every Jew is part of this great “Minyan” (we all count!)
The beauty of shlichus and our commitment isn’t only that we attract large crowds and throw large events. It’s that we are fully there also for the lone Jew.
How lucky we are, Ashreinu, that our dear Rebbe had this message fed to us through our baby food. Certainly any Yungeleit under 50 were positively affected and infected with the Rebbe’s love for every yid.
All the training we had throughout our teenage years going on Mivtzoyim and reaching out to others; All those groups who came to the Rebbe for Yom Tov; All those familiar faces of people who came for Tishrei only to return the next years looking totally different; There isn’t a vaccine in the world that can make one immune to such powerful messages as these.
I just had the privilege to attend the Bris of a fellow Shliach’s son. I must admit that I did not see Eliyahu Hanavie but I believe I felt the Rebbe. At the Bris were present 3 “generations” of Shlichus: The baby boy, his father who is a Shliach, and the Shliach was brought him to Yiddishkeit.
Is this not The Rebbe?
P.S. I’m inspired to compile inspiring stories about the “small town heroes”, those of us who are out there in relatively smaller places and see firsthand (through all the difficulty and challenges involved) the great accomplishment of the Rebbe’s vision of reaching out to each and every Yid. Perhaps with the permission of the editor of this website we could publish a story or two each week. Who knows, maybe we can eventually compile it into book format to help spread the legacy and inspiration further.
Please let me know what you think. I could be contacted at [email protected]