An open letter from a very hurt Crown Heights mother:
I am just a mother, raising my children in the Rebbe’s shechuna – Crown Heights. I try to develop a sense of Hiskashrus in them as much as I possibly could these days…
Our family knows how important the Tishrei guests were to the Rebbe so we all go above and beyond to be welcoming to them. My kids give up their beds and sleep on couches for a month and I spent long hours in the kitchen to cook for my family and guests.
Then comes Simchas Torah.
This is the one time a year when mothers are invited to bring their children downstairs, to the main shul of the Rebbe. It is a special moment for many of us and an incredible zechus. Some look forward to this occasion all year long, or at least, all month long.
Specific arrangements are made and times are set by the 770 Gabboim, the Crown Heights schools and Tzivos Hashem for the children to kiss the Rebbe’s Sefer Torah and Moshiach’s Sefer Torah.
The thought-process that went into this event is incredible. From the marketing of the event, with the brilliant video and flyer all the way through every last detail. I have been watching this event grow and become more organized from year to year.
I remember the first year when the Rebbe’s Sefer Torah was inside, and people brought strollers inside. It was total craziness. Moving the Sefer Torah to the plaza was brilliant. The line this year wrapped around Union Street for 3 hours straight. Thousands of women and children waiting their turn in line to kiss the Torah.
The High school ‘Madrichos’ were incredible. The girls from 1st through 6th grade were singled out and given Hakofos necklaces with their grade on it as a special entrance pass by the driveway near the Rebbe’s room where they were seated with their grade and looked after by their madrichos.
On the way up the ramp, there were girls helping you take out your children from the strollers and helping your children kiss the Torah. At the bottom of the ramp, there were girls helping park your strollers.
If you are a mother with a child of 0 to 2, you were directed to a special entrance. You got to enter through the main entrance of 770. If you have children 3 to 5, you got directed to the sukkah to enter from the back of 770.
There were barricades set up with girls in charge of making sure that only the appropriate people get let inside. It was their job to instruct all the older girls that they can join from the women’s section and at 9:15 pm they can come downstairs into 770 to kiss the Torah.
As you walked inside you were greeted with a beautiful Hakofos Companion and a bag full of Nosh. A danish, Bisli snack, wafer and lollipop. You could not have done a better job.
Sadly, that’s where it ended.
We walked in and found 770 packed with women and girls. It was a beautiful sight until we noticed that none of the women and girls were Crown Heightsers. They were guests: girls from Israel, France and elsewhere.
We had no place to sit or stand, and we couldn’t even get in to do Hakafos or anything.
And so, I had to write this. I don’t mind giving you my bed and couch at my house, but why take away this single opportunity from your hosts?
You were able to attend every davening this entire month, I couldn’t because I have children and were busy cooking. Besides, we couldn’t even get in because you have filled every inch of the Shul.
So I ask you, why did you steal my place?
Why did I have to end up going home with no Hakafos?
I was so upset, so hurt, I felt like I was robbed, my kids were robbed of this special zechus.
I am glad the guests come for Tishrei to connect and be inspired but what about my Tishrei and my children’s Tishrei?
To the readers I ask: Do you feel the same way? Are you feeling as hurt and frustrated as me? Do you feel robbed? Or is it just me?