Soon after we moved to Israel, I attended a farbrengen in Nachlat Har Chabad, and one of the participants came over to me. With great feeling he said to me, “I envy you!”“You envy me??” I asked in surprise.
He answered simply, “Yes, my friends and I who came to study in 770 remember well that almost every time during Kiddush Levana*, the Rebbe turned to you and said, ‘Shalom Aleichem’” (Peace unto you, a refrain said to another as part of the prayer service of Kiddush Levana.)
“Among my friends,” he continued, “we tried to guess why the Rebbe gave you such special attention. We surmised that because you are the son of a Shliach (emissary of the Rebbe) from a far-away country, you had this great merit of closeness.”
I could not have guessed that these very personal moments in my life, were so obvious to others.
He continued to describe to me, which indeed I remembered, that afterwards, the bochurim (older Yeshiva students) would place me on their shoulders and dance with me. I remembered this, but at the time did not think that they were aware of who I am and who my family is.
I must say – I merited to have Yechidut (private audience) with the Rebbe, both together with my esteemed father, as well as by myself, a number of times. I participated in the farbrengens of the Rebbe many times and merited to receive the blessed Dollars and blessing of the Rebbe numerous times. Nevertheless, it was at this moment (Kiddush Levana) that I felt the personal care and love of the Rebbe. I felt that he truly cared about my wellbeing and feels what is in my heart. This scene remains engraved in my mind and heart and has been with me all my life.
I merited to be born in the place of Shlichut where the Rebbe sent my parents. In my younger years, I suffered terrible loneliness. We did not have any relatives anywhere near us; Chabad friends who were my age, surely, I did not have; and connectivity in those days was not yet developed the way we have it today.
My dear parents always instilled in me the knowledge that we were here as Shluchim of the Rebbe. They tried to encourage me to be happy in spite of my feelings of loneliness. But for whatever reason, I always hoped that one day, in the future, I would be able to travel to a place where I would have many Chabad friends.
When I turned thirteen and became a bar mitzvah, my parents suggested that I travel to Crown Heights to learn in Yeshiva with many friends and at the same time be close to (in the vicinity of) the Rebbe. Their suggestion made me very happy. I felt that my dream was about to come true.
To my great pain, when I got to the Yeshiva, my beautiful dream burst, with a new reality which was much worse than the loneliness I had felt. I felt that I was a foreigner among my new classmates. Here I was a young boy, lonely, and far away from my parents, who had hoped to come to a warm Chabad environment, and yet…..
In the deep darkness which enveloped my world, there appeared a ray of light. A ray of warmth and caring, which was extended to me from the direction of the Rebbe.
This occurred on Motzoei Shabbat when the Rebbe went out of 770 to bless the new month with the mitzvah of Kiddush Levana. I tried to get a good place close to stand close to where the Rebbe stood. I would look at the Rebbe’s face and try to forget for the moment all my thoughts and the feelings in my heart. I wanted to concentrate only on the Rebbe’s davening (prayers).
The face of the Rebbe was concentrating in his siddur. The Rebbe touched his holy right hand to his mouth, as was his custom, and then….the Rebbe turned his holy face back, looking for someone…
In a second, the people standing around me moved back, and the Rebbe – found what he was looking for. He looked at me, and said to me: “Shalom Aleichem”… And I, in a childish voice and embarrassed, answered the Rebbe: “Aleichem Shalom”. (Peace to you – the traditional answer to the question.)
At that moment, my heart was filled with a powerful joy. I was overwhelmed. I felt that the Rebbe understands well the difficulties which I am experiencing and he is giving me the strength to overcome them and move forward, in spite of all the tests.
From then on, I continued to stand close to the place of the Rebbe, especially during Kiddush Levana. I merited that, for the next six years the Rebbe continued to honor me with his “Shalom Aleichem”!
By Anonymous – translated from the magazine: Techayenu – 3rd Tamuz, 5776. Story verified with the Shliach.
*Kiddush Levana – the Sanctification of the moon – a mitzvah of great importance, blessing each Jewish month. Traditionally it is recited following the third or preferably the seventh of the Hebrew month, though, no later than the fifteenth. It is performed at night and preferably following Shabbat on Motzoei Shabbat. The moon must be visible to the naked eye in order to recite the beautiful prayers which compose Kiddush Levana. The Rebbe connected the importance of doing this mitzvah with a large multitude (where possible) and with great joy, to the hastening of Moshiach. May he be revealed immediately NOW!