The Chabad Rabbinical Court in Israel notified Chani Lipshitz, the movement’s emissary to Katmandu, Nepal, that she is forbidden to participate in Israel’s torch lighting ceremony on Independence Day next week. The lighting of 12 torches, that symbolize the Twelve Tribes of Israel, by people who are viewed as having made an outstanding contribution to society, is the highlight of the official ceremony that marks the closure of Memorial Day and the opening of the Independence Day celebrations in Israel.
The official state announcement explains the reasons for choosing the emissary saying that Lipshitz, who founded the Chabad house in Katmandu 20 years ago, alongside her husband, Rabbi Chezky Lipshitz, “symbolizes mutual support, the warm hospitality and love of country which characterize the sacred work of Chabad houses around the world.”
The Chabad Rabbinical Court in Israel sent a curt letter to Lipshitz, saying: “We hereby inform you that you must cancel your participation in the ceremony. The authority to approve participation in such ceremonies on behalf of Chabad in the Holy Land belongs to the Association of Chabad Chassidim in the Holy land, headed by the Chabad Rabbinical Court, as per the order of [the Lubavitcher Rebbe].”
The letter concluded: “We are certain that you will obey our instructions, and the continued follow up for this will be handed to the Center for Educational Matters, with all that this entails.”
The letter is signed by Rabbis Yitzchak Yehuda Yaroslavsky, Avraham Michael Halperin, Menachem Mendel Galkowski, Eliyahu Yochanan Guraryeh, Yosef Hecht, Moshe Havlin and Israel Yosef Hacohen Hendel.
It should be noted that Chabad in Israel is not in charge of appointing emissaries around the world, a function which is reserved to the Lubavitch center in Crown heights, Brooklyn, NY. The emissaries department in New York picks and trains couples and supports them through their first year in their designated facility. The reason the Israeli branch, which on occasion runs into turf skirmishes with their brethren in America, was able to step in, has to do with the fact that the torch lighting ceremony will take place in Israel, which is their domain and which they defend jealously.
Lipshitz, for her part, posted a message on Thursday on the Facebook page of Chabad of Kathmandu, announcing she preferred to give up the honor and avoid the turf war altogether.
Which, by the way, is typical of the noble and dedicated men and women of Chabd who make themselves available to Jews everywhere 24/7.
She wrote: “Dear and beloved friends, I write the following lines from my heart. It isn’t up to me! I was directed to cancel my participation in the Independence Day ceremony, and I cannot enter the fire of controversy. I sadly announced this to dear Minister Miri Regev, and to the charming staff of the Hasbara Center. I thanked them for recognizing in the Chabad of Kathmandu those parts which help join Israeli society together. I thank you again!
The State of Israel and every one of you! For the congratulations, best wishes and most of all, the gratitude that came from all over the world.”
“I may not be able to light a torch, but I’ve already received the greatest honor in this world – a life of service and mutual support. There is no greater gift than this! You warmed my heart so much ! ! Health to you all! with great love, Hani Lipshitz – Kathmandu.”
And this, my dear readers is the difference between having class and not having what it takes to recognize class.