By COLlive reporter
Photos Itzik Roytman
It was a meaningful tribute when a group of esteemed rabbis visited the gravesite of Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson OBM, the mother of the Rebbe, in the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, on Wednesday.
Together, they recited Tehillim at the gravesite on Chof Av, the day of the yartzeit of her revered husband, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Schneerson OBM, the fearless Chief Rabbi of Ekaterinoslav (today Dnipro).
Both Reb Levik, as he was called, and Rebbetzin Chana sacrificed their lives to sustain Judaism behind the Iron Curtain. When the Communists exiled him to Kazakhstan, she dutifully joined to assist him.
To honor his pious memory, Rabbi Avraham Shemtov organized the first Global Yarchei Kallah gathering of Torah learning 45 years ago in 5734 at Camp Gan Israel, the Chabad boys summer camp in Parksville, NY.
The plan was accepted and approved by the Rebbe and the Rebbe himself identified with this initiative. Once, in the midst of a farbengen held on the same Shabbos as Yarchei Kallah, the Rebbe referred to the gathering, saying “This is my project.”
When Mexico’s Chief Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Hirschberg mentioned that he had participated in Yarchei Kallah, the Rebbe highlighted the connection to his father, explaining that the mitzvah of honoring one’s parents continues after their passing and that the most consummate honor that can be paid is the study of the Torah.
Rabbi Shemtov, Chairman of Agudas Chassidei Chabad International and organizer of the Yarchei Kallah, accompanied them there and at the Rebbe’s Ohel.
In this spirit, the participants of this year’s Yarchei Kallah joined for a shiur in Likutei Levi Yitzchok on Reb Levik’s teachings presented by Rabbi Sholom Charitonow, Mashpia in Beis Medrash Oholei Torah in Crown Heights.
The rabbonim of the annual scholarly gathering of Chabad’s Rabbonim, Roshei Yeshiva and Mashpiim then held a Chassidic farbrengen in honor of Chof Av at the Ohel Chabad-Lubavitch.
From there, they traveled to the Catskill Mountains where they will be spending the next few days in deep study and discussions, alongside the staff members and campers of Gan Israel, directed by Rabbi Yossi Futerfas.
The gathering will culminate with a Grand Melave Malka on Motzoei Shabbos, 10:30 PM, at the Main Shul of the camp. Open to the public with a program for men and women, the event will feature speeches and a Siyum Haramabam by the Rebbe’s Choizer, Rabbi Yoel Kahn; Rabbi Shemtov and Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Kalmenson, Rosh Yeshiva of Chabad in New Haven.