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 Rabbi@RabbiLIVE.com.