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The Rebbe

Friday, 5 July, 2019 - 8:53 am

This Shabbos – tonight and tomorrow – are the Rebbe’s 25th yahrtzeit. For the past week, my phone has been alive with tweets of articles trying to unpack that bottomless question: "What made the Rebbe so special?"

And the articles, written by personalities across the world, have been fantastic (check out for some inspiring material).

The Rebbe and his perspectives have been a huge part of my life, for my entire life, even before I can remember (e.g. when the Rebbe guided my mother not to induce my birth, even though the doctor preferred to). In my childhood home, my father, Dean of the Rabbinical College in Morristown and the Rebbe’s personal representative to the State of NJ, was consistently referring to guidance he was getting from the Rebbe. When the Rebbe launched a new campaign to bring holiness and goodness to the world, which was frequent, that objective would permeate our lives.

So I have many, many memories. Yet, my mind always seems to gravitate to the Rebbe’s deep respect for every person, every living being, and every situation.

To the Rebbe, I truly mattered. And so did you. No matter what your particular background, or weltanschauung may be. The fact that we exist, that G-d intentionally creates each of us, gave every person de facto importance in the Rebbe’s mind.

That’s why the Rebbe constantly urged us to ask ourselves: Am I living up to my life's mission?

The Rebbe saw importance in every event and every interaction. If I bumped into you on a street in Manhattan, found myself with an extra hour on a layover in Frankfurt, or was faced with a sudden challenge in my life, the Rebbe saw that as a challenge. The situation beckoned: “embrace me as an opportunity for learning, moral growth and a better world”.

To the Rebbe, every life was intrinsically valuable, so every step of the journey was necessarily important.

There was no throwaway in the Rebbe’s lexicon. No irrelevant people. No thoughtless comments. No 'flings'. In our shaky world of impermanence, from disposable cellphones to empty relationships, the Rebbe was a consistent and persistent Rock of Meaning.

When you were with the Rebbe, life was an opportunity and we needed to grab the moments and make them meaningful. He encouraged us, inspired us, motivated us to be better Jews and more actualized human beings.

I think about him multiple times a day, and he continues to inspire my life.

Thank you Rebbe.

We love you.

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