I am not a Crown Heights resident, though I do make frequent visits, being that I live close by. Anyone who visits here is always warned about potential muggings and the like, so I always take caution at night not to be out so late.
However one thing that strikes me (or anyone for that matter) as strange is that I have been warned to hold onto my valuables even in 770.
“Never leave your Teffilin lying around in 770, someone will take them,” “I put my hat down, went to the bathroom and when I came back my hat was gone,” – these are things which happen, frequently or not, all the same things seem to disappear in 770.
If the scene would be the mems the nuns (5740’s and 5750’s) during the Rebbe’s Hakofos and your gartel slipped off, fine that’s one thing; don’t expect to see it again.
But more recently a new phenomenon has occurred: Throngs and throngs of Israeli, French and other bochurim and yungerlite have temporarily immigrated to Crown Heights during Tishrei, some for Rosh Hashona and some even for 6 weeks.
Everyone knows that when there is an influx of a crowd, there is an increase of theft, including 770.
So when I went yesterday (Zayin Tishrei) to daven in 770, planning later to head to my place of residence, I left my small carry-on under a coat rack in the hallway downstairs in 770.
Stupid idea? Well, I didn’t think so based on experience. I learned in Crown Heights for a year and every time I went home, quite frequently, I would do the same thing the day I had to leave: Daven Shachris in 770, leave a small bag right under the same coat rack and head home. I never had a problem (it still might be a stupid idea but that’s how it goes if it works a few time it will work a few times more).
Of course I never leave my wallet or other valuables in the bag because that really is not a good idea.
For some reason yesterday I forgot to take a certain item of reasonable monetary value and extreme intrinsic value out of the bag.
Guess what? When I can back to get it, I found the bag right where I left it but my valuables were gone (a 120 giga iPod and its charger and a mobile charger).
So who stole it?
Maybe it was one of the non Jewish janitors. But whoever it was didn’t bother to “clean up” my suitcase and other bags there were untouched and and the Janitors are never seen near them.
There is a rule of “bosar acar harov” (we go after the majority). The ratio of thousands of guests to just 10-15 janitors means that according to halacha it was most likely a yid.
How can this be done on Aseres Yemei Teshuva and before Yom Kippur?!
This is not just an aveirah but a also chutzpa to take the whole point of his coming to Crown Heights for Tishrei and telling the Rebbe “I don’t care.”
The Rebbe once said at Vov Tishrei Farbrangen that there were the 3 maalos of Olom, Shana and Nefesh present: It was Aseres Yemei Teshuvah (the kedusha and malo of Shanah), in 770 (a shul, the kedusha and maalo of Olom) and many minyonim (the kedusha and maalo of Nefesh).
This ganev took all three malos and gave in to his personal demons and evil inclination.
The facts have shown that during Tishrei these situations increase. Aside from the Chassidish and serioes bochurim who come for the Rebbe (ostensibly) and really glue themselves to the seforim, there are also the “chilled Israelis” who come here as “businessmen” to make a quick buck.
A nice amount of the latter guests keep no order, have no respect, are loud and make a mess.
The barrier on Eastern Parkway to prevent jay-walking casualties was put up mainly for the “iberchachomim” who come for Tishrei or even to learn in 770 for the year and can’t wait at a red light like other humans.
I’m not calling for a boycott of Tishrei orchim – it’s important they come and the Rebbe wanted so. I’m just expressing feelings of a first-hand account and my remorse of how such a thing can happen in the Rebbe’s neighborhood and the Rebbe’s shul.
My hope is for a chasima v’gmar chasima tova to everyone. Don’t forget to daven for geulah protis for those in need and a refuah for those in need until shnas ufaratzta, poretzes chomas hagolus begeulah ha’amitis v’hasleimah now!