Today (Thursday morning) we davened together in the Rebbe’s room where you got your first aliya to the Torah. That room is the Rebbe’s office, a place I never went to during the Rebbe’s zy”a’s lifetime, and your Zeidyies only went inside a handful of times in their lives.
You mentioned to mommy that this was a special moment for you. This was your moment with the Rebbe.
I want to share about my Bar Mitzvah letter that is going to be read in just a few moments… and what I can only imagine it was for me – and what I hope your moment with the Rebbe today, will be for you and let this be your moment of connection.
Sadly, I don’t really remember much about the arrival and reading of my bar mitzva letter. There was a lot going on for me at that time in my life and my memories of that time are fuzzy. Yet, when I was talking with mommy yesterday about her bas mitzvah letter that she received and how much it meant for her and how Zeidy so carefully read it for her, I can share what I imagine it could’ve and should’ve looked like.
Yesterday, I went to my special place where I store my handful of possession from the Rebbe. There are a few dollars, a few likutim/pamphlets, a minted coin and a Tanya. My bris letter is there and my bar mitzvah letter and not too much else.
I can only imagine how the great unboxing or letter opening happened…
I close my eyes and imagine what it was like …
It is the lead up to my bar mitzva and the Rebbe’s office was informed of my upcoming bar mitzva by my father. Some time later a letter arrives in the mail to 4572 Linden Ave. Long Beach California, 90807. I imagine my father quickly runs to the Mikveh so he is in a pure spiritual state before opening this holy communication.
I can imagine him gathering the family together, preparing them for this special moment when the Rebbe’s letter will be read. It doesn’t matter that 1000’s of other bar mitzvah boys have received this letter before me. The verbiage matching word for word, but this is MY moment. My minute where the Rebbe took a few seconds to think about me, and wish the best for my spiritual and material wellbeing.
I can imagine the envelope slowly being opened as anticipation builds. The letter is carefully opened with the consideration of someone who excitedly prepares to add a new priceless stamp to an invaluable collection.
The brittle paper is removed from the envelope as loving hands open it and read clearly in both Hebrew and then English so that I can understand its contents.
That was the price and reward for living out on Shlichus. You savored every bit of connection to the Rebbe whose mission you were on. You didn’t get to have daily or weekly communication, but the few communications you had were most cherished and relished.
My dear Shaya, you too are a shliach – willing or not as the kids are sometime careful to point out to me – you, like me, were given the gift of living far away from friends and family to help us in our work to spread Yiddishkeit to people who don’t even know that they are missing anything.
The hard part is that it can be lonely at times, and sometimes there is no kosher restaurants, family or family around. So, courtesy of Covid, we tried to give you both. You get to have a celebration here in NY with your friends from camp, cousins and uncles and aunts and our extended family, and next Shabbos we will have a big kiddush in shul for our local Chabad community.
Most importantly, cherish that special moment from this morning and appreciate it, hold onto it, let it buoy you during tough times and be your crown in my better times.
Love Mommy & Tatty