It happened once five years ago…
“I was invited by the Shliach in Meron, Israel, Rabbi Yosef Halperin, to come for Shabbat Mevorchim.
Meron is known for the famous resting place of the holy Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, where thousands upon thousands of Jews gather on Lag B’omer and other times during the year to pray at his gravesite.
After a number of entreating calls, I finally agreed. I drove with my wife from Eilat, where we are the Shluchim, by way of Jerusalem, until we reached Meron. Being in the holy city of Jerusalem left me with exalted feelings, and the whole way to Meron, I was on a high We arrived close to Shabbat and went straight to the home of our dear hosts.
We enjoyed a lovely Shabbat meal from where we went to the special synagogue in the courtyard of the Ohel of Rashbi where a farbrengen took place.
The next morning, we arose early to say the whole Book of Tehillim as is customary on Shabbat Mevorchim, the Shabbat which blesses a new month.
We davened Shacharit and Musaf, and following a wonderful Shabbat meal set up at long tables for all the guests, the farbrengen began.
In my naivete, I thought it would last two or three hours and then I would go back to the home where we were staying.
But my host informed me that the Shabbat Mevorchim farbrengen generally lasts at least seven hours or more in the summer months!
The biggest surprise about the farbrengen was the amount of people who participated.
Some stayed for a short while, while others for a couple of hours, and still others stayed for the whole time.
Of the many guests who come to Meron for Shabbat, it is unusual to find anyone who does not stop by at the Chabad farbrengen in the courtyard close to the resting place of the holy Rashbi.
You can understand, my friends, that every type of Jew is included at the farbrengen, from the most religious, from all spectrum’s of the religious community, to the most secular.
The farbrengen was magnetic and inspirational, drawing the crowd into its inner circle.
A talk, a song, another talk, followed by another song, some l’Chaims, and the pattern continued, hour after hour.
After about four hours, one of the participants stood up and asked permission to speak.
He gave his name, Yaakov* and announced that three years ago he turned thirty, and for some reason, he is the only one among all his friends who is not yet married.
The years have passed quickly, as he is sitting and learning Torah in a Litvish yeshiva.
From time to time, a prospective shidduch is suggested for him, but
nothing has come of them.
Recently he received an invitation to the bar mitzvah of one of his friend’s
sons, which stirred him up.
In the month of Tamuz, he continued, he traveled to New York and went to the Ohel of the Lubavitcher Rebbe on Gimmel Tamuz.
“I prayed very hard that G-d should help me find my life’s partner. I have prayed at the holy resting places of many holy people,” he said, “but praying at the Ohel of the Rebbe, I felt strongly that this time my prayers will be answered.”
“Please,” he said turning his head around to all of us, “say ‘L’Chaim’ for me that the power of this Chassidic farbrengen should stand me in good stead, and the Rebbe’s blessings should be fulfilled very soon.
I came especially to Meron this Shabbat to strengthen the blessing of the Rebbe. And here I meet the Shliach of the Rebbe from Eilat, who came from so far to farbreng in close proximity to the Rashbi!”
These were the heartfelt emotional words of this Yeshiva bochur, whose outward appearance did not hint at all that he had been at the Ohel of the Rebbe to request a blessing.
All those present filled their cups to say ‘L’Chaim’, and from the depth of our hearts, we blessed him that the blessing should be fulfilled very soon!
Three weeks after this inspirational Shabbat, I found myself on a plane to Rumania, where I needed to be for a certain purpose. What a pleasant surprise, as I entered the plane, Yaakov was sitting in the plane surrounded by his family. As soon as he spotted me, he shouted out to tell me that he is engaged!
It was a true miracle, he recounted. He was now on the plane traveling with his family for a vacation which had been planned a while back. He asked me to please farbreng at the hotel on Friday night, exactly like the one I had done in Meron!
He assured me that he would procure enough L’Chaim for all present.
To be continued…