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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Lubavitcher Rebbe’

Now, This Is a Lulav

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Here’s an image of the Lubavitcher Rebbe benching his lulav and etrog.

 

Nancy commented, when she saw this image, how his eyes always look directly at you in all his pictures.

The etrog is upside down, which I thought meant the Rebbe is about to make the blessing, but reader JK was quick to correct me (from his iPhone) that the Rebbe never turned the etrog upside down and didn’t bench in shul.  He also added: “Get things right before writing to thousands.”

I was impressed by the lavish assortment of hadassim and aravot in his lulav bunch. Why haven’t I thought about it before? All these years I’ve been carefully counting them out, three of this, two of that – when I could have this big, fluffy hedge of a lulav.

This morning I plan to take my spare branches and add them to the ones that have so far survived the daily benching, see what that looks like.

Chag Same’ach!

The Evolution Of American Orthodoxy: An Interview with Yeshiva University Librarian Zalman Alpert

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Books. Some people love them; others claim they can do without them. For Zalman Alpert, they are essentially his life.

For the past 35 years, Alpert has served as a reference librarian at Yeshiva University (YU). Educated at Columbia University’s School of Library Services and New York University’s School of Education, where he attained a master’s degree in Modern Jewish History, Alpert is one of those individuals who knows a little (sometimes a lot) about everything. Over the years, he has contributed articles to such works as Encyclopedia of Hasidim; Jewish American History and Culture: An Encyclopedia; Encyclopedia of Jewish American Popular Culture; Midstream; and The Jewish Press.

The Jewish Press: In your three decades as a YU librarian, what would you say was your most interesting experience or encounter?

Alpert: Well, one recent one took place last summer when I noticed a Catholic priest in the library. I started talking to him, and through conversation it became clear that his mother was a little girl during the Holocaust, was hidden by non-Jews, and never came back to Judaism. She adopted the Catholic religion and eventually married a Catholic in Poland.

For some reason, however – I guess because of the pintele yid inside her – she and her husband moved to Israel in the 1960s or so. This young man was born there and attended Israeli schools, but the family later left Israel and moved to a Polish enclave in New Jersey. Subsequently this young man returned to Poland, studied for the Catholic priesthood, got a doctorate in Old Testament studies using the Hebrew he had acquired in Israel, and is now a professor at a Catholic theological seminary in Poland.

I couldn’t really get this priest to admit he felt Jewish although he knew the halacha and didn’t deny he was Jewish. He said he came to the library to familiarize himself with midrashic literature because he wanted to see how the Jewish rabbis interpreted the Bible.

Have you ever met people in the library who would otherwise never dare step in YU due to ideological reasons?

Absolutely. In fact, many of the more interesting people I have met over the years are chassidic rabbis from Williamsburg. The Pupa dayan, for example, was here, as was the spiritual head of the Organization of Young Satmar Chassidim.

They come because everything is in one place, and many of them don’t want to go to the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) for theological and halachic reasons. In recent years, though, there’s been a marked decrease in the number of chassidim who come here because of the availability of such databases as HebrewBooks.org, Otzar HaHochma, etc.

Many people claim JTS’s library is far better than YU’s. True?

If you’re doing research that requires use of old manuscripts, JTS is better. But if you’re doing research that involves books published in the last few hundred years, I would say YU compares favorably to JTS and in some areas is even better.

Why does JTS have a better manuscript collection?

They started building their collection a lot earlier than YU. When Solomon Schechter took over the seminary in 1902, he brought part of his library with him, which included a lot of Cairo Geniza fragments. Also, Schechter brought faculty members with him who were very interested in creating an academic library, and they went to Europe actively seeking manuscripts and rare books.

In contrast, YU’s college was first created in the 1920s and the Jewish studies graduate school only started in the late 1930s. YU’s library only really became very professionalized after World War II.

How many Jewish books does YU own?

I would say 300,000-400,000. We also have something like 50 incunabula, which are books printed before 1500.

You possess something of an interesting family background. Can you share?

My parents were Holocaust survivors from Lithuania/White Russia. In Europe, my father was part of the Lubavitch community, but my mother came from a misnagdic background. I attended Lubavitcher school in New Haven for many years growing up, and then went to YU later on.

Do you consider yourself Lubavitch?

The sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, said there were three sorts of Lubavitcher chassidim: chassidei ha’geza, i.e., people descended from Lubavitcher chassidim; chassidei ha’nusach, i.e., people who live their lives according to Lubavitcher minhagim; and chassidei Lubavitch, which I imagine means people who study Chabad chassidus and have a personal connection to the Rebbe. I would put myself in the first two categories.

Chaya Aydel Seminary Adds Chassidic Discourses

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

The Chaya Aydel Seminary has added the study of Hemshech Ayin Beis to its curriculum. Hemshech Ayin Beis is a lengthy series of discourses from the Rebbe Rashab. This past Shavuos marked 100th years since this series of maamorim began in the city of Lubavitch by the Rebbe Rashab, the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom Ber Schneersohn (1860-1920).

Rabbi Yossy Lebovics, principal of the seminary since its inception in 2002, announced that “When it comes to pnimiyus haTorah (the inner teachings of Torah), girls and women have the same obligation as boys and men, to study subjects which pertain to the love and fear of Hashem.”

Rabbi Raphael Tennenhaus, Chaya Aydel dean and executive vice president of Chabad of South Broward, noted that at the end of the current school year the seminary “has had a taste” of this intriguing subject. In the upcoming seminary year, Ayin Beis will be studied for forty-five minutes each week as an additional class in the curriculum of chassidus.

Florida’s only Jewish teachers seminary, located in Hallandale, covers a wide range of subjects including Talmud, halacha, educational psychology and Tanya. Students, who come from around the world, are graduates of the finest Jewish high schools.

For more information on the Chaya Aydel Seminary, log on to Chayaaydelsem.com.

Jewish Press Radio with Yishai Fleisher: In the Eyes of the Rebbe

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by popular guest Baruch Widen (commentator on Arab society and Arab Jewish relations) to discuss a book by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe) on settling the Land of Israel. Yishai and Widen dig into the phenomenon of young American Jews moving to the Land of Israel and how programs such as Birthright (Taglit) are actually decreasing the intermarriage rate among young Jews.

To download, right-click, and “Save Target As” HERE.

Meeting The Lubavitcher Rebbe

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

It was a beautiful morning in May 1985 when I decided to take my tzedakah box to Lubavitch headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway. I did not know much about Chabad, and had to ask for directions.

Driving along Eastern Parkway, I encountered thousands of Lubavitcher chassidim. I finally managed to park my car on a side street.

As I started to walk, I asked a chassid, “Where is 770?”

He said, “four blocks ahead.”

I pushed my way through the crowd until I saw the building, and approached the three steps leading up to the front door of 770.

To my amazement, the Lubavitcher Rebbe was coming out of the building and facing me, looking directly into my eyes. I froze right there on the steps.

“What do I do now?” I wondered.

The Rebbe was walking toward me. I went backwards down the three steps. My left hand touched the gray Cadillac parked there, and I dropped my tzedakah box on the sidewalk. A young Lubavitcher chassid opened the front door of the car.

The Rebbe looked at me again and got into the car. I closed the car door, picked up my tzedakah box from the sidewalk, proceeded up the three steps again and ascended to the office on the second floor.

I could not believe what had just happened to me: meeting the Lubavitcher Rebbe face-to-face!

It must have been Divine Providence that I had come to 770 to drop off my tzedakah box.

Several years later, I told a fellow Lubavitcher chassid my story and he said, “You did not close the car door for the Rebbe. The Rebbe opened the door for you so that you could continue doing mitzvot and learning Torah until the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

May it be soon!

Mother Knows Best

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

I am just a small-town girl whose aspirations never included the notion of traveling to exotic places. I dreamed of getting married, raising a family, and living near my parents and in-laws.

Well, as the popular Yiddish saying goes, man plans and Hashem laughs. As a young married woman, my husband and I lived in England during his tour of duty as an Air Force chaplain. Not an exotic location to be sure, and the dialects were similar. However, I spent a lot of time writing letters to loved ones (no faxes or e-mails in those days). I needed to connect with those near and dear to me. The loneliness was acute.

Upon our return to civilian life, we settled in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, where I had the privilege of raising our children in the neighborhood of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Chabad is synonymous with kiruv, reaching out to unaffiliated Jews. I love that concept. We believe that regardless of one’s religious background, it is our Yiddishe neshamah that unites all Jews.

As the children grew, so did their wonder at where they would go on shlichus (outreach) once they finished Beis Medrash or Seminary.

Personally, I was too enthralled with the miracle of being blessed with children to even think about the day that my children would leave the nest to venture to some far- off place. Frankly, I firmly pushed the possibility out of my mind.

The years passed, and my son, Chaim Ozer, decided to become a shaliach (emissary). It was hard for me to accept the reality that he would leave for a far-off destination. I expressed my feelings to him for the whole year preceding his assignment.

At that time, my mother was quite ill. I was visiting her in the hospital when we received a call from our son. He instructed us to call a particular rabbi to find out where he was being sent on shlichus. I should have realized at the time that it was strange that he could not divulge his assignment to us, but I was too concerned about my mother’s condition to think clearly.

The rabbi was very excited to inform me that Chaim Ozer was going to be sent to a certain country, one I had expressly forbidden. I was adamant. He would not go! I knew that the Rebbe would not agree to any assignment if the parents did not give their consent.

I informed the rosh hayeshiva that I had every confidence that he would find a more suitable destination for Chaim Ozer.

A few days later we learned that he would be going to Hungary. That was fine with me.

Chaim Ozer’s year of shlichus was very successful and he was asked to return the following year. He was only 20 years old at the time, but he had made a good impression on the young rabbi and rebbetzin there.

In fact, although it was too early for our son to consider marriage, they were convinced that Chaim Ozer was the perfect match for the young rebbetzin’s sister.

We knew nothing about this scenario, as it was put on the back burner for several years until the appropriate time.

It turned out to be a wonderful idea.

For the past few years, Chaim Ozer and Racheli have been on shlichus in Las Vegas, Nevada, raising a lovely family that includes little Raizy, who is named for my beloved mother.

It would seem that Hashem concurred that “mother knows best” after all!

Life Filled With Miracles

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Something beautiful happened last summer while I was visiting my daughter and her family in Toronto.

I was shopping at Sears and did not realize that I had accidentally dropped my wallet on the floor. I only realized what had happened after returning home. It was upsetting when upon returning to the store to inquire, no one had turned it in. But I then had to return home to Montreal.

Two days later, someone called my daughter to say she had found my wallet. She explained that she had bent down to pick it up, and when she stood up, I was gone.

My daughter drove to the woman’s home, and was asked many questions. She finally handed my daughter the wallet after showing her that everything was in place. First and foremost in the wallet was a photo of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

I am a child survivor of Tarnopol, Poland – the only survivor of my family. I came to Montreal as an orphan, and have been living there since 1948.

Although I have suffered much in my life, I am grateful for my blessings. My life is filled with miracles, like the finding of my wallet after I had given it up for lost.

Thank you, Hashem.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/life-filled-with-miracles/2010/03/17/

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