I attended a chasuna recently returning to my former neighborhood, in Crown Heights where I had lived for several decades and yet, as I stood in front of 770 Eastern Parkway, for the chupa, I was transported back in time to the early 1960s when I, a little 10-year-old girl joined my friend Leah, who was hosting me for the last days of Pesach, when we were fortunate to find a seat on a bench on Eastern Parkway.
Back then, you see, in the early 1960s, the schechuna (neighborhood) overflowed with all manner of Yidden, as the flight from the neighborhood had not yet materialized. One was therefore fortunate if one could find a seat on one of the benches which dotted the parkway’s island.
It was about mincha time when a chant began: “Rebbe! Rebbe!” It didn’t stop. There was much excitement. Leah, told me to stand up, because the Rebbe is coming! I had no idea what a Rebbe was, being accustomed to the term, “Rabbi,” but I did as I was told and came face-to-face with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zy”a, who was cheering on his chasidim who would be visiting other neighborhoods in their customary minhag, I would learn later, which is to referred to as a “The Tahalucha.”
I was entranced with everything that I experienced on that yom tov and told my mother, upon my return home, that when I grew up, I wanted to live “in a place like Crown Heights,” as well as to adopt many of the customs that I had experienced. Mommie assumed that within three days’ time, I would forget what I had experienced, but through a series of different occurrences, I did, in fact move to Crown Heights, as a young married woman, with my dear husband, as well as my long-awaited kinderlach who are indeed brachas from the Rebbe!
And so, during the chupa, my eyes searched and found the bench that I had occupied all of those years ago, situated directly in front of 770, and my eyes teared with overwhelming gratitude to Hashem Yisborach, for ensuring that the hopes and dreams of a little 10-year-old did indeed, come to fruition.