Nov 12, 2012
My First Kinus Banquet
Photo: Baruch Ezagui

Op-Ed: As I watched thousands of shluchim dance and sing at the Hilton ballroom, as the waiters wondered how they would collect the fish plates and serve meat, a thought occurred to me.

by Dr. David Nesenoff

My son relayed to me that a fellow bochur he studies with was trying to enter a building in order to introduce tefillin to the CEO of a company whose name sounded Jewish.

He stood outside the locked door when a voice yelled from a security speaker, "Who is it?" And the young man, with tefillin bag in hand, replied, "It's Mendy!" The voice from the speaker shouted, "Do you have an appointment? What do you want?" To which the bochur answered, "The Lubavitcher Rebbe sent me to speak with Mr. Shapiro!" A buzzer sounded and the door was unlocked.

I attended my first Kinus Hashluchim banquet Sunday evening and was privy to witness first hand the 4.600 Lubavitcher emissaries from over 70 countries come together.

And just like my little story that my son told me, these shluchim were all there because the Rebbe had sent them throughout the world to find all the Mr. and Mrs. Shapiros. (And also just like my son's story, two-thirds of them at the banquet were named 'Mendy' as well.)

As I listened to all the incredible presentations by everyone from inspired laity to shluchim to Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, I began to reflect on the magic of Chabad. And when I heard of the personal triumphs and the dear selfless kind munificent life of Sami Rohr, of blessed memory, and the magnitude of generosity and sincere concern by Mr. Bogolubov for all shluchim and their families, I thought even more seriously about the power of the Rebbe.

We all know, love to hear and recount the supernatural narratives of the Rebbe's actions and interactions. A childless couple asks for a blessing and then a family of ten children is produced. A Jew down on his luck, penniless and in debt, becomes a billionaire. The tales are real and documented.

But as I watched at the Hilton ballroom the thousands of shluchim dance and sing nigunim snaking around hundreds of tables while smiles broadened, tears streamed and waiters wondered how they would ever collect the fish plates and serve the steak and chicken… a thought occurred to me.

Any one of these dancing beautiful souls would pray for a fellow Jew's health and wealth. And prayers are, Baruch Hashem, indeed often answered. So maybe it's not so supernatural to supplicate and receive blessings; it is rather the natural course of events concerning the business of holy pleas.

But as the roll call of Chabad throughout the world was delivered by Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, with help from a few young voices, the magic and very supernatural wand of the Rebbe revealed itself beyond any Chasidishe account of babies being born and fortunes being made.

After the decimation of European Jewry and the assimilation of American Jewry, the natural thing to do would have been to take the remnants of Yiddishkeit and plant them all in one place, huddle together, and then cautiously rebuild and hope for the best. It would be counter intuitive to separate and spread them out. But the Rebbe (and the previous Rebbe) took these broken seeds and fallen limbs and instead of naturally planting them in one Crown Heights' environment to try to take root, the Rebbe sowed these kernels in a very unnatural disbursement throughout the globe.

That unnatural decision was once again proven to be indeed supernatural as on Sunday evening chasidim from Virginia to Viet Nam, from Miami to Malta, from El Paso to Paris, from South Africa to Sydney all came together to remind each other that they indeed have an appointment… and it is with all the Mr. and Mrs. Shapiros in the world. And that the supernatural miraculous hand of the Rebbe sent them with his blessing. It is a blessing that is working.

Sunday's global international participants continued to farbreng at 770 till Monday morning's early hours ultimately declaring that buzzers will continue to sound and doors will continue to open for these precious emissaries of a Rebbe who very naturally made supernatural decisions.

From my first experience at such a kinus, I came away being aware that these once dispersed kernels and now seasoned Colonels of a Rebbe's global army are not only knocking on doors with their Rebbe behind them, but these shluchim stand at that door and enter all gateways knowing that there are 5,000 brothers alongside them as well.

Dr. David Nesenoff, a rabbi, musician and filmmaker, will be one of the guest speakers at the 51st Annual Nshei Chabad Convention, to take place November 30-December 2, 2012 in Southbury, CT (find out more here). He can be reached at

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Opinions and Comments
Represent tiferes baby!!!!!
(11/12/2012 9:26:28 PM)
Love Rabbi Nessenoff
He is such a warm man, you can't resist loving the man.
(11/12/2012 9:33:43 PM)

So imagine, if all the Shluchim together would say, once, we want Moshiach now!!!
(11/12/2012 9:57:21 PM)
Hi David,

Your name can be related to the month of Nissan which is connected to the Hebrew word Ness and all in all means miracles. So I guess you are the right guy to cause some miracles and write about miracles. Great article, keep going strong!
(11/12/2012 10:09:15 PM)
Is that???
Dudu Fisher in the top pic?
(11/12/2012 10:10:43 PM)
Beautiful article!
Fantastic description! Keep writing, your stuff is great. Helen Thomas, move over!
(11/12/2012 10:33:39 PM)
How Many Shluchim at the convention???
I've seen numbers all over the board with many media outlets reporting 5,000 Shluchim at this years conference!

1st off: from what I understand there are about 4,500 Shluchim in the world. There is no way that all of them came in for the convention - maybe 3,000 max.

2nd: I understand that there were about 4,000 total people in attendance at the grand banquet, this includes Balabatim, Friends, Family, Random Buchrim and Yingerlit etc.

So it would be more accurate and truthful for it to be reported that about 3,000 Shluchim were in NY and 4,000 People came to the banquet.

I'm not C'V trying to minimize the convention or the Shluchim in any way but accuracy is important.
(11/13/2012 10:04:44 AM)
to 7
4,500 shluchim?
i think there's much more...
(11/13/2012 3:46:17 PM)
why i enjoyed this year's banquet, and why this article ruined it for me
I am just a simple guy from Canada. I am one of those shluchim who doesn't bring "baalei batim" to the kinus. I have always felt that, although they are supporting us, the kinus is a time for US to fill up on energy, not another oportunity to milk these guys. The Banquest takes them so much into consideration that the whole tone of it became very unnatural.
By the grace of G.d, we had a chance to sit this year in another ballroom. There was not one person without a beard in the hall. Even the facial hair challenged shluchim sat where they belong: with the "baalei batim" they try so hard to emulate and impress. There was no show, no need to impress anyone, no facade, no perfume. Just 700 shluchim who chose to be sitted together, with their own, for this was THEIR time.
I must say that it was a great experience. After 25 years of attending the kinus, I found myself, at last, back to the time where the kinus was about "uleachiv yomar chazak". I don't need to hear about the awe that these people experience at the sight of the shluchim dancing. I hear about that year round. They tell me how much we have influenced their lives. The kinus is not about them. It is about us.
But some people cannot shake it off. It always goes back to Ron said that, Dan said this. And this article did just that.
O how I long for a time when shluchim (and anash) would remain focused on their shlichus and get passed the accessories to our work. Remember what is ikar and what is toffel.
(11/14/2012 9:17:51 AM)
Comment to number 9
You say yourself that you are a simple guy. Hmmm. It is one thing to have a simple thought that Baal habatim somehow ruin the kinnus for you and that this beautiful article about the Rebbe ruined the kinnus for you. But to actually write it and put it on a public forum while you remain anonymous and insult the author and the other baal habatim and the other shluchim who brought guests… you should think about what you just wrote and did..

And by the way, Rabbi Dr. David Nesenoff who wrote this article was not a baal habayit guest of a shaliach, he was a personal guest of the kinus and he is a shaliach of the Rebbe doing work around the world speaking and inspiring shluchim and their Chabad Houses. I know him, and he was invited by COLLIVE to write the article and I know that after a full week of lecturing at Chabad houses around the country and attending the kinus and then farbregen at 770 and then seeing both his children who are both attending Chabad yeshivas in Morristown and Crown Heights, he took the time to write a thoughtful piece which everyone has been so thankful for … except you. I think you should spend some time and do a cheshbon nefesh. You are obviously having some great deal of issues or a melt down and that cannot be good for the baal habatim in your community. You have missed and forgotten the ikar yourself.

Would the Rebbe be proud of your comment?

In your defense… perhaps you aren’t such a troubled person but rather disgruntled about your lack of prime seating in the other room… and between sour grapes and rationalization you came up with this great chiddush of yours to insult others.

Let’s continue to be thankful for all those that attend the kinus. And keep whatever petty little issues or problems we have to ourselves without insulting really kind nice people.
(11/14/2012 10:32:43 PM)
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