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ZOOM Marathon

Friday, 20 November, 2020 - 2:56 pm

Kinus Hashluchim Zoom.jpeg 

By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friends,

Here I am in Bangkok. Been in the same country since March.

Leaving Thailand is quite easy. It’s coming back that presents the problem.

Quarantining seems quite challenging, not to mention costly.

I did however attend the annual international conference. And I don’t need any quarantine to resume my work here in Thailand.

How is that?

Simple… The Shluchim conference was a ‘virtual’ one.

This year it was held via Zoom. And it just finished a few hours ago. Eight days later. With a break for Shabbat according to the times of Shabbat in each time zone. (I tried to figure it out and it seems like this is the deal. Four and a half hours after Shabbat starts in Honolulu, it ends in New Zealand). I believe that this is the world’s longest ‘Zoom’ meeting so far.

There were many many remarkable stories.

Rabbi Butman of Phnom Penh penned some nice thoughts about it.

Many of my colleagues shared miraculous stories involving the blessings of our dear Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn of righteous memory.

Click here for a story told firsthand by Dr. Bob Richter on the marathon Zoom.

It fits neatly into this week’s Torah portion Toldot, which describes the power of the blessing of a Tzadik. When  Yitschak is about to bless his son  Esav , his wife  Rivka goes to great lengths to ensure that their worthier son,  Yaakov, receive the blessings instead. The risk she takes to accomplish this gives us some insight into the importance and desirability of a tzaddik’s  blessing.

During the hundred plus hours of stories that had been shared by my colleagues this week there were many kinds of miracles.

Miracles that had brought about unbelievable reversals and overriding of nature. For G-d is the owner and creator of nature. He can easily override nature and its unyielding limitations.

Impossible situations that somehow worked out. Jewish institutions being built when it didn’t seem that the resources were there.

There were other hugely inspiring forms of miracles shared as well.

The miracle of remaining faithful to G-d even during challenging times.

May we never be tested in this way, but when something painful happens to someone good, it creates a ‘stress test’ on our belief and faith.

It takes a miracle of sorts during those painful times to remain faithful and believing in G-d who is a benevolent Creator.

In the previous generation, we saw this firsthand. The fact that so many people emerged from the Holocaust with their faith in G-d intact, was a miracle of epic proportion. The vibrancy of our Jewish world today is a direct product of that miracle.

It made me realize that sometimes the miracle is not that the reality changes and becomes rosy.

Rather, the miracle is the towering strength and resilience that emerges in those going through the difficulty.

The heroism that seems to spring out of nowhere.

Simple people who become examples of triumph in the face of adversity.

This is a miracle. A huge miracle. The miracle of the Jewish ‘neshomo’ that never gets extinguished.

Out there in the frontlines of Jewish outreach, my colleagues and I experience many interactions that are miracles of Jewish ‘akshnonus’ (obstinateness in a positive way). Jews sticking defiantly to their ideals and faith even when they thought they no longer cared. The Jewish soul that looked like it was flickering out fanned into a roaring flame of inspiration.

I too shared a story on the Zoom.

Here is the story I shared.

A few months ago, my friend YG who lives a few hours’ drive from Bangkok, sent me this email.

Rebbeleh, 

I dreamed I talked to THE Rebbe. We sat side by side and shmoo'est (talked) a bit, and he was just a nice zaydeh and I loved him for it. I told him about my grandfather too, and how he was a misnoged (someone not a fan of Chasidism). THE Rebbe just laughed and said it really did not matter as we are all the same Jews, no matter what. 

YF

When I got this note, I was excited. How nice that he had a dream of the Rebbe. But then when a ‘reminder’ popped up in my computer that today is YG’s eightieth birthday in the Hebrew calendar, I couldn’t believe my eyes. And I knew that YG didn’t know it was Hebrew birthday as there were a full two week left till his Gregorian calendar birthday.

I have shared on this forum before that I have a special fondness for celebrating eightieth birthdays with my local Jewish community members (if you are turning eighty please let me know 😊 ) and I had really wanted to be with YG on that special day, which it why it was marked in my calender. But YG didn’t let me come… and I don’t know his address so I couldn’t surprise him….

 Here is my response:

Y,

 

You bring tears of joy to my eyes!!!!

 

I wanted to visit you on your eightieth birthday… IT IS TODAY (in the Hebrew calendar) but you got something even BETTER.

 

The Rebbe came to visit you in your dream…..

 

And indeed the Rebbe loved every Jew and made every person feel loved and special…..

 

Thanks for sharing this special dream with me!!!!!

 

In the Chassidic tradition, when one has a dream of the Rebbe the next day is a celebration…..

 

With love and blessings to you for more years of Gezunt, and everything else you wish for yourself!!!!

 

If you would call me and give me your brochess today (it’s a mazeldikeh day for you!!!) I would be delighted.

 

Zeit gebensht un zeit gezunt,

 

Yosef Chaim

 

PS if you would allow me to come out there and wave at you in person I would be even more delighted 😊

 

I remember how inspired I was by this story.

I was happy for YG. (When I called him today to ask if I can use the story he said ‘I wish I had more warm and special dreams like that’). Dreams of a Tzadik don’t just ‘happen’. They are a special privilege.

And it was confirmation to me of my role as an emissary/Shliach of the Rebbe, the great Tzadik who reached out to every Jew in love. If I could not personally get to YG to visit, then the ‘Meshaleach’ the one who sent me, paid YG a visit in a ‘spiritual’ way. Today I can perhaps call it a ‘virtual visit’.

May we merit good health in the world,  the resumption of ‘in-person’ living,  and the ultimate blessings of the ingathering of the exiles (we were told that we have a one way ticket to our place of ‘mission’ and we need to earn our return ticket home by finishing the exile and returning with Mashiach) and the building of the Bet Hamikdash through Mashiach, NOW.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

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