This week is the 26th yahrzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
The stories that were written about the Rebbe fill pages and books. His vast knowledge of the Torah, combined with His great love for the people of Israel, and of all mankind, was legendary. Throughout time there have been so many different leaders and Rabbis that gave advice to their congregation, and showed them the right path to go on. The Lubavitcher Rebbe was a head above them all.
There are all types of Rabbis. Some lead congregations, whether it’s a Modern Orthodox community, or a Chareidi one, etc. Other Rabbis give great lectures and try to bring Jews who are far from Judaism back home. Others go out collecting funds for great causes, while others are hidden and no one knows of their greatness even though it exists.
And then there are great Rabbis whose names and greatness never cease to exist. Not just for that specific generation, but for all the generations to come.
In our generation we definitely had such a great rabbi whose greatness carries on, not just in our time but to all the generations to come. The Lubavitcher Rebbe was this type of leader. Not only did he lead his congregation, which was and is so great and enormous, he was a leader to all the Jewish people.
I grew up in a wonderful orthodox home. My parents, were not affiliated with any chassidic movement. I knew very little about chassidism and was happy with the upbringing that I had. As I grew up and got married life had its turns for me and I met all kinds of people including chassidim of all types. I read stories of great rabbinical leaders and of Rebbes from all over the globe. I was intrigued by the stories of the Baal Shem Tov and of all his successors. I wished I could have met them and could have learned so much from them.
Although I was alive while the Lubavitcher Rabbi led his congregation, and was a light unto the Jewish population at large, I myself didn’t merit the honor of ever seeing or meeting the Rebbe. However, from all the stories that I read about him, I always felt as though I missed out.
We all feel lost at times, and we all go through our hard experiences in life, some greater than others. Throughout some of my hardest times, I always felt as if the Lubavitcher Rebbe, though I never met him, was always there for me.
As I mentioned I never had any specific attachment to any chassidic movement nor was I in touch with any Chabad community of any sort. And yet when my life took its turns, like we all have, the first ones I met that lifted me up when I had fallen so hard, were the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s chassidim. I felt that although the Rebbe had passed away years ago, his energy and light lived on forever, just like that, of our great leaders in the Torah. A person whose light lives on forever, is that of a person who is so clean inside of any personal interest, that all they see is Hashem and how they can make themselves vessels to pass on G-d’s ways to his people. These holy people have only one thing on their mind and that is Hashem.
Whoever is filled with G-d, passes on only good things. This entire world is full of Hashem’s presence. However sometimes we need to see and hear someone as great as the Rebbe, in order to really internalize Hashem’s wonders in His world.
As a mother and grandmother the stories which drew my attention most of all, were usually those of the Rebbe, with children; how such a great scholar and leader saw each and everyone, even small children.
The story which I loved so much regarding the Lubavitcher Rebbe, was one of a friend of mine when she was a young child.
When she was about 6 years old her family flew to New York to see the Rebbe. She was just a small child. She was told that when the Rebbe leaves the building after his prayers as he goes to his car, he hands out half dollar coins to the children standing around. This lady who was a child at the time, tried to stand as close as she could in order to receive the coin from the Rebbe, but she was intimidated by the older kids and stood on the side, disappointed, as she shed tears in frustration for not being able to receive this coin from the Rebbe.
As he finished handing out all the coins, and passed all the children, he was about to enter his car, when suddenly the Rebbe motioned to the group of children hovering over him to please move aside. A bee line was made instantly leading right up to my friend, who was crying and feeling bad. The Rebbe called her over and said, I was waiting to give you this coin, I’m so glad you made the effort to come and see me all the way from Israel. She stopped crying instantly and was overjoyed with the personal attention she had just received from the Rebbe.
This is just one of thousands, if not more, of stories showing us who the Lubavitcher Rebbe was. May His light and Torah ways keep shining on us and bring us closer to Hashem and the Torah every day.