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A Jew is never alone!

Thursday, 6 January, 2011 - 11:59 am


Another "regular" day in the Jewish world that the Rebbe changed forever    

The Hebrew month of Shvat which we enterd into today, is an auspicious one for us Chabadniks.  The 10th day of the month marks the 61st anniversary of the passing of the previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Y. Schneerson and the day the Rebbe assumed the leadership one year later.

The relationship between a Chasid and Rebbe is a unique one.  It is different than the relationship between a teacher and student, different than the relationship of master and servant, different than the relationship of father and son.  It can only be understood by one who has entered into that relationship which is one reason that many see the relationship as a curious one.  

In the case of the Rebbe however, while the Chasid/Rebbe relationship remains a mystery, the impact and influence of the Rebbe on the world and the Jewish world is readily visible.

It would take more than the space of this email to adequately capture this idea.  So please let the following anecdote suffice to express merely one aspect of this influence.

A Jew is never alone!

This Sunday I found myself in Knoxville, TN in the early morning as I traveled north to perform a Bris for a family who was connected to Chabad of Knoxville and were recently blessed with a baby boy.  As soon as the bris was over and I got into my car for the four hour trip home to Atlanta I received a call.  The call was from ZAKA in New York.  (ZAKA is an Israel based organization of observant Jews that is dedicated to the preciousness of the Jewish body.  In terrible times they are the ones who collect the body and body limbs etc. after the terrorist bombings that have taken place in Israel.  They have also been called on by other countries in times of crisis to help out with similar circumstances.)

The man on the other line asks me if I am the closest Chabad Rabbi to Grady Hospital.  I said I was. He proceeded to tell me that he was contacted by ZAKA in Israel by a couple who's daughter was hit by a car while on a visit to the US and all they knew was that she was admitted to Grady.  They had no idea what her condition was or even if she was alive.  They had contacted ZAKA in Israel who contacted ZAKA in the US who in turn turned to Chabad.org to find the closest Chabad center.

Being that I was out of town and Rabbi Sollish of Chabad Intown and Rabbi Lipskier of Chabad at Emory were also out of town, I turned to Rabbi Isser New of Chabad of GA.  He in turn contacted a doctor that he knew at Grady.  The doctor shared the news that the girl was alive and overall in decent condition but was going to need non life threatening surgery.

The news was relayed back to ZAKA in NY who in turn passed the news back to ZAKA in Israel who in turn passed the news on to the family, who were now able to breathe easier with the knowledge that their daughter was alive.

A Jew no matter where he/she is has never been alone.  Gd was always with us wherever we may have been.  Now the 1000's of Chabad Houses provide a home away from home and a connection to our extended family wherever they may be.  This home is there for spiritual nourishment, as well as physical comfort.  


This is the legacy of the Rebbe. 

Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman

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