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Dear Rebbe...

Friday, 5 July, 2019 - 6:09 am

Dear Rebbe,

I can’t believe it’s been twenty-five years. A quarter of a century!!! has passed since that horrible Sunday morning, the 3rd of Tammuz, June 12th, 1994, when my parents woke me to share the news that I never thought would come. We walked by your room at 770 that morning and saw you laying on the ground covered in a Talis, we begged you for forgiveness for anything we may have done to dishonor you during your lifetime and for all of your precious time that you spent on us, we cried as we tore our garments in mourning and we went home that night battered and broken and unsure how to move forward.

Yet, twenty-five years later, I am here in Queens, where Menny, my six year old, and I, will spend Shabbos near your resting place. We Schlepped from Montana, where we serve as your ambassadors, so that we can be next to you on this day of loss; we miss you and we just want to be close. Yes, even Menny who never met you, misses you, because he sees films of you, he knows what you teach, he, and his sisters, live your goal of spreading light to Montana and even he, born nineteen years after your passing, wants that priceless dollar from your hand, not mine. I miss you too. I bask in the memories of those twelve illustrious years under your wing and my heart aches for more of that comfort, more of that light, more of that electricity.

Yet, amid my yearning, as Chavie and I wish we could call Rabbis Hodakov or Krinsky and ask them to speak to you on our behalf regarding our challenges, both personal and work related, we are not Kvetching. We are not complaining or despairing, because you continue to electrify us every day. You excite us not only through your teachings and brilliant life lessons, not only through your depth and incredible perspective, not only through our bonding at your Ohel and holding the books that you gave us close to our heart, but through your amazing Chassidim, those precious students you gifted to the world. Sure, I try my best to be one of them too, but today I’m writing about our family being on the receiving end of your disciples’ love.

It’s your student Benny who spends hundreds of hours each month caring for Jewish children, including our own Shoshana, who are in Utah getting the therapeutic care they need. It’s your students Mendy and Dinie who take families in who may be visiting Cherry Hill for medical appointments like when Chavie and Zeesy needed just that. It’s your students Yossi and Luba who with unimaginable kindness took a newborn premie baby into their home, a baby who became our baby Chaya. It’s students like Levi and Chani who, without knowing us, opened their home and hosted Menny’s Bris when we were in Baltimore for his adoption and it’s students like Ovadia and my uncle Chaim Shaul, who after adopting Chana Laya and having a full plate with five Kinderlach, have continued to guide me in the right direction and ensure my sanity.

I don’t take any of that for granted. Each one of these students, and thousands like them, electrifies me and inspires me with their love, concern and care for anyone who may be in need. Not just spiritually, but like you dear Rebbe, their care is first and foremost for the physical and material needs of those seeking their help. I know you’ve been unable to answer my calls since 1994, I know I haven’t received a personal letter from you since my Upshernish in 1984, but your students, like Joshua influenced by Moses and Elisha influenced by Elijah, allow me to see you so very often.

I await that hopeful day when we will reunite and you’ll meet Shoshana, Chaya, Zeesy, Menny, Chana Laya and of course our beloved Bozeman community, but until then, please know Rebbe dear that you’re not only a picture on peoples walls, but a Rebbe who is etched in hearts, minds and souls.

Come see us soon Rebbe; the red carpet is rolled out for you in Big Sky Country.

Your grateful student,

 

Chaim

 

May You guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May You protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!! 

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