Word-Of-Mouth | The Hundredth Time | Traif Busters | Dancing For Moshiach
Bowling For Mitzvot | Is It Kosher? | Until 120 | Candles And Baby Food
One-On-One | Kosher Week | Rosh Hashana Return | For Over A Decade
We're All Connected | Shabbat In Las Vegas | Stormy Tefilin | Not Just In A Museum
The Biggest Mitzva | Did You Believe | His Own Tefilin | Seven Commandments
Beauty Of Judaism | Just To Say Thanks | From Your Mouth | All That's Missing
Problem Solving | Bringing Moshiach Quicker | Guardian Of The Doors Of Israel | The Sound Of The Shofar
Call Chabad | The Russians Are Coming | You Saved My Family | Going To Shul
She Will Be There
The Mitzvah Campaigns, or "Mivtzoim" of the Rebbe, have become legendary. From a yeshiva student visiting his "route" of stores or offices every Friday after his studies are over, to a young girl approaching women in a shopping mall. From the "Mitzva Tanks" on street corners encouraging passers-by to put on tefilin or learn about an upcoming holiday, to "chance" encounters with fellow passengers on a plane or subway car. Whether in Melbourne, Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, South Africa, Montreal, or Moscow, the effect is the same. Another Jew was touched. Another Jew did a mitzva, perhaps just this once, but a mitzva all the same. Another Jew was reminded of her Jewish roots and who knows what the long-term results of that reminder will be. Our Sages teach, "The essential thing is not study but action." This has been the Rebbe's motto throughout his 48 years of leadership and the Mitzva Campaigns epitomize the Rebbe's approach .
Many thanks to the two people featured in our first story and particularly Gary who suggested that L'Chaim should print people's experiences of coming closer to Judaism through the Rebbe's Mitzva Campaigns. Their suggestion prompted this special insert in honor of 11 Nisan, the Rebbe's birthday. The following pages contain anecdotes about people who were touched by the many Campaigns. Each story is another mitzva, and who knows which mitzva will tip the Divine scale and bring the long-awaited Redemption?
"When I went on mivtzoim on 10 Shevat, I entered one of the offices that we regularly visit and asked Gary if he would like to put on tefilin," writes Yossi Rubin. "He responded with a polite but firm, 'No, maybe next week.' I explained to him that today is a special day as it is the anniversary of the Rebbe becoming Rebbe. Suddenly, he had a change of heart and said, 'Yes, I would like to put on tefilin.' We sat down and put on tefilin. We spoke about the Torah portion and our job of bringing G-dliness into this world and bringing Moshiach. Then, Gary made a decision on the spot to put on tefilin every Friday with us.
"The next Friday we came to Gary's office on the 23rd floor and Gary was outside waiting for us with a smile. He told us he had something very interesting to share with us. From the time of his Bar Mitzva 30 years ago, last week was the first time he had put on tefilin. He had been in a clothing business called 'No Soap Radio' for 8 years and this week, the week right after he had put on tefilin, was the best business week he had ever had. Phones were constantly ringing, orders were piling up. Gary said he wanted to take this good feeling and channel it into mitzvot and good deeds!"
"Often you don't see the fruits of the your labor," says Esther Rochel Spielman. "But in this case I saw what came of the seed I planted. I was at the Ohel (the Rebbe's resting place) and a young woman there asked me where she could get a drink for the little girl, her friend's daughter, she had brought with her. We got to talking and she told me that she was visiting from California. I suggested to her that she try to attend some of the women's classes held daily in "770" which are very interesting and inspiring, especially the classes on Chasidic philosophy. Before we parted I again encouraged her to spend some time studying Torah. Months later, I was attending a Bar Mitzva in New Jersey of a cousin's grandson.
My cousin, who lives in California, gives a well attended class in Tanya, the basic book of Chabad Chasidic philosophy. I asked him how people find out about his class. 'Mainly word-of-mouth,' he told me. In fact, just 2 or 3 weeks ago a woman started coming to my Tanya class who said she had met someone at the Ohel who had encouraged her to attend classes in 770 while she was visiting in New York. She had not managed to fit it into her schedule. But when she came back to California and heard about my class, she decided to come.'"
"This happened in the first years of the Neshek (Candle lighting) Campaign. A woman called me up one morning," begins Esther Sternberg, head of the Neshek campaign since its inception in 1975. "She asked me if she could come to pick up candle sticks for her grandchildren in North Carolina.
"When she came Friday morning to pick up the candle sticks I asked her how she knew about our campaign."
"'It's a long story,' she said. Nevertheless, after some encouragement she told me more:
"'I often shop in Kings Plaza (the first mall in Brooklyn). It seemed that every time I went there I was approached by young Lubavitcher girls asking me if I am Jewish and if I would like to light Shabbos candles. I answered that I am Jewish but that I am not interested in lighting candles. It was after I was approached about 90 times that I told myself that if I would be asked 100 times I would agree to light candles. Sure enough, I was asked ten times more, and on the 100th time I took the candlesticks from the girls and began to light Shabbat candles. I was so inspired by the girls' perseverance and the beauty of candle lighting itself that I told my grandchildren in North Carolina about it and they asked me to get them candlesticks, too, so that they could start lighting.'"
When people's interest in pesticides, cholesterol, carcinogens and fibre began increasing, so did Jewish people's interest in the benefits of a kosher diet. A number of years ago, the New York Daily News featured an article called "Traif Busters."
The article described the work of the Lubavitch Women's Kashrus Committee and their team of young couples and Rabbinical students who visit the homes of people interested in making their homes kosher and do the actual koshering of the kitchen. "Years after the article appeared," remembers Sterna Zirkind, one of the heads of the Kashrus Committee, "we received a phone call from someone whose first question was, 'Are you the traif busters?' The woman had read the article and had saved it for the time when she might decide to go kosher. Within a short while, the woman was the proud proprietor of a kosher kitchen." You can find out more on Kashruth - on-line at: www.chabad.org/kosher
"Whenever we set up a table, whether at the local J.C.C. or in a supermarket, in addition to brochures about various mitzvot, such as keeping kosher, lighting Shabbat candles, having mezuzot on one's doors, we also publicize the Rebbe's message that the time of the Redemption has arrived and that Moshiach's coming is imminent," says Esther Melamud. "As part of the display we have a beautifully decorated tambourine. (The Rebbe said that the righteous women who left Egypt were so confident that G-d would perform miracles that they took tambourines with them. So, too, now, the righteous women of our generation trust so completely in the imminent Redemption that they are beginning, in these last moments of exile, to use their tambourine s and dance for the coming of the complete Redemption.) Everyone always asks us about the tambourine. I remember once when an older woman was so excited by what we said about the Redemption and its imminence that she took the tambourine in her hand and started dancing with it."
Dovid Levy is a volunteer in the "Released Time" program which allows children to leave public school once each week for an hour of religious instruction. "We give out charts with mitzvot for each day," explains Dovid. "One of the mitzvot is lighting candles for Shabbat. One of the kids asked me if it counts if he gets his mother to light candles. I told him it was fine. The next week he was excited to tell me that his mother had lit candles for the very first time. A week later he told me that the previous Friday he had been at a bowling alley with his mother when he suddenly realized that candle lighting time [18 minutes before sunset] was fast approaching. Without finishing the game they left the bowling alley and got home in time to light candles."
The Released Time volunteers organized a day camp for the children during their winter break. "On one of the days in camp we had a kosher label contest," says Dovid Levy. "The next day the mother of one of the children proudly told us that the first thing her son asked her when she gave him something to eat was 'Is this kosher?' Within a few months the family decided to make their home kosher.
"Although I'm more than 50 years his junior, Mr. Goldberg considers me his rabbi," says Rabbi Menachem Gerlitsky. When Mr. Goldberg wanted a "rabbi" he was put in touch with Rabbi Gerlitsky, director of Kollel Tiferes Z'Keinim-Lubavitch Torah Institute for Seniors, established by the Rebbe in 1980 to reach out to the elderly. "I'll never forget the phone call I received one Friday afternoon from his niece about 5 years ago," continues Rabbi Gerlitsky. "He was in very serious condition. He had internal bleeding and was generally in bad shape. They told him he only had hours to live. They were pressuring him to sign while he was still conscious that he did not want life-support if it was deemed necessary. His niece called to tell me that he wouldn't sign until he had spoken to me and had heard what Jewish law had to say. I told him not to sign. At 1:30 p.m. I gave a note in to the Rebbe asking for a blessing for him for a complete recovery. At 4:30 p.m. I met one of the Rebbe's secretaries who told me that the Rebbe had given his blessing. Saturday evening I called up his niece who told me he was feeling much better. I went to visit him on Tuesday. He was sitting up in his hospital bed and he looked great. He told me that he doesn't know what happened, and the doctors certainly don't know, but somewhere between 2 o'clock and 4 o'clock on Friday afternoon, he started feeling much better. This past summer my wife and I, and our children went to his home and helped him celebrate his 100th birthday."
"A woman called our Candle Lighting Hotline (718-774-3000)," relates Esther Sternberg, "and asked if I could tell her where she could get kosher baby food meat. She explained to me that she had made a 'deal' with G-d that if she would be blessed with a child she would start lighting Shabbat candles. Her baby was now old enough to begin eating solids and she felt it was only right to feed the child only kosher food."
"A woman called up the Lubavitch Youth Organization," begins Faige Benjaminson. "She wanted to do something for her children's Jewish education. Her children were attending public school. She was not interested in sending them to a Jewish day school, nor even to an afternoon Hebrew school. I told her about our weekly program where volunteers from the 11th grade of Beth Rivkah Girls School tutor children in their own home in Jewish subjects. She was interested in this one-on-one program. The girls we sent hit it off immediately with the woman's two daughters. The parents sat in on the first 'class' and were so excited by everything they were learning that they asked if they could tape future classes. This year they asked if the same girls could come back. They made their daughter's Bas Mitzva party in a kosher restaurant specially so that the two Education Campaign volunteers could come."
An effective way to promote the mitzva of keeping kosher is through "Kosher Week" at local supermarkets. The supermarket managers give permission for a table to be set up with a display of some of the products with kosher symbols that that particular store sells. In addition, the women who run the table bring brochures, a video and a display about keeping kosher as well as brochures about various other mitzvot. "The supermarkets are so very supportive of Kosher Week," says Shterna Zirkind. "In fact, we received a call a month ago from one supermarket manager who was concerned that we had not yet contacted him about Kosher Week and the time that we usually set one up in his supermarket was fast approaching."
"A single man living in a small town in Pennsylvania saw the full page ad we place in the New York Times each year before Rosh Hashana. He was very touched by the idea that Shabbat candles bring peace into the home. Though he was raised Roman Catholic, his mother was Jewish. He responded to the ad and asked for candlesticks and more information. He started lighting Shabbat candles. [A single man living by himself is required to light Shabbat candles.] He started learning more about Judaism and hooked up with his local shluchim (emissaries of the Rebbe).
"Rachel is a single mother who found out about the Campaign for Jewish Education much in the same way as the other hundreds of families we help each year, from a friend, word of mouth, or through the Jewish day school where she was hoping to register her children," explains Faige Benjaminson. "When she came we asked if she had mezuzot, we helped her son get tefilin, we encouraged her to take time to study Torah and organized a telephone partner with whom she could learn Torah on a weekly basis. (We have Torah partners who study in English, Hebrew and Russian.) Rachel came to us not only for financial assistance but also for help in finding the right yeshiva for her sons. We helped Rachel and her sons for over a decade and both boys are, thank G-d, married now. I was pleasantly surprised when I got the invitation to the second son's wedding. I immediately recognized the name of the bride. She, too, was from a family whom the Education Campaign had helped throughout the years."
Says Esther Melamud, "Recently we had a Kosher Week at a supermarket in Highland Park (a suburb of Chicago, IL). A few weeks later we received a call from a local shaliach (emissary) who told us that he had just made someone's home kosher. When he asked the woman what had prompted her to "go kosher" she said that a relative had stopped by at our Kosher Week table and had taken a few brochures. As an incidental part of the conversation, the relative had mentioned Kosher Week. They started discussing keeping kosher and she decided to take the plunge."
"We were at a supermarket doing mivtzoim in honor of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka's yartzeit," says Yehudit Kravitsky. "As one woman passed by our table I asked her if she lights Shabbat candles. 'I know all about it. I light candles,' she said distractedly, as she rushed by. A moment later she came back. 'I do normally light candles,' she said sheepishly. 'I'm doing some last minute shopping for a trip to Las Vegas tonight and I had totally forgotten about bringing candles.'"
"One of the places I go to each Friday has two Jewish partners," says Yossi Cohen. "One of them puts on tefilin and the other one, whenever I ask him if he wants to put on tefilin, tells me, 'That's o.k. I'm fine.' One Friday when I came there was a huge storm raging. It was really pouring. The partner who had never put on tefilin with me opened the door. He was shocked. 'What are you doing out in this kind of weather?' he asked. 'I came to put tefilin on Jon,' I told him simply. After Jon finished putting on tefilin, his partner approached me and said, 'Today I'm going to do it, too.' I asked him afterwards why he decided to put tefilin on that week. He told me, 'If you can come out in this kind of weather, then I'm going to put on tefilin."
"One guy I used to go to regularly never wanted to put on tefilin," relates Menachem Schwartz. "One week I went to him and he told me that he wanted to put on tefilin. He told me that he had just returned from Israel and had seen tefilin in a museum that were over 1,000 years old. They looked just like the tefilin I brought with me each week. 'If Jews have been wearing the same tefilin for thousands of years, I want to put them on,' he told me.
"I am very proud to say that Linda's ahavat Yisrael [love of a fellow Jew] is growing more and more each day," wrote Linda's mother to Tzivos Hashem, the Children's Campaign for a Jewish Tomorrow, established by the Rebbe 17 years ago. "She helps her friends with their homework and talks more politely to all of her teachers. Linda helps more around the house and behaves really well. She's doing many more mitzvot... and she makes sure to say a blessing before she eats anything. I would like to thank you very much for helping Linda become this way."
"When I was on mivtzoim in Brighton Beach (the Brooklyn neighborhood where a large number of Russian Jews have settled) I was sharing with a woman the Rebbe's message that Moshiach is on his way" says Frayda Sossonko. "'We have to do more mitzvot to get ready for Moshiach and we have to ask G-d to send Moshiach,' I told her. The woman was moved by what I said. A few weeks later I met her again. 'Mrs. Sossonko, I try to encourage other Russian Jews to say together with me, "We want Moshiach now,"' she told me. 'They laugh at me and say that so many generations have waited for Moshiach. Do I really believe it will happen? What should I tell them?'
"'Tell me,' I said to the woman, 'in your wildest dreams did you ever believe that you would go out of Russia? Did you ever believe that the Communist regime would collapse? Do you remember the song people used to sing in Russia that Stalin closed the borders and no one can leave? Did you ever believe that you would be walking as a free person here in America?' The woman smiled at me and said, 'I believe Moshiach is coming.'"
"About three years ago," remembers Yossi Cohen, "after I returned from summer camp, I started back on my Friday route. One of my 'regular customers' told me that he had started putting on tefilin by himself everyday. I was happy to hear the good news. 'What made you decide to do it?' I asked him. He said that the week after I had said goodbye to him for the summer and nobody came to put tefilin on him, he felt like something was missing. After the second week he went out and bought a pair of tefilin and started putting them on himself on Fridays. After a month he realized that since he already had tefilin he might as well put them on everyday."
"Once," relates Frayda Sossonko, "I saw a man outside of a building sweeping the sidewalk. I realized that he was the super of the building. I took out a card that has a list of the Seven Commandments of Noah - G-d's commandments for all humankind. I explained to him that these Divine commandments are for all nations of the world. He read it and then said to me, 'Give me another one and I will put it in the hallway on the notice board. Everyone who goes by will read it.' "
"I am David's mother," wrote one woman to Tzivos Hashem. "I just want to thank you for Tzivos Hashem! My son has changed dramatically since being involved with your organization. I, myself, am the child of Holocaust survivors. My parents taught me to worship G-d secretly and to never let the outside world know that I am a Jew. I did this for a very long time, but could not continue to see my son grow up in such a non-Jewish manner. About 5 or 6 years ago I promised myself I would change all of this with G-d's help. I found out about Tzivos Hashem and your organization has been a great help to us by teaching not just my son but my whole family the beauty and the richness of a Torah- lifestyle."
Tzivos Hashem is on-line - www.tzivos-hashem.org
"A man came to the Mitzva Tank 2 weeks ago saying, 'I want to say thank you to the Rebbe and to Lubavitch,' relates Rabbi Levi Baumgarten, director of the New York Metro Area "Chabad House on Wheels"- the Mitzva Tank dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson. "'In 1975, the man continued, 'a Mitzva Tank pulled up to my office and one of the young gentlemen asked me to put on tefilin. We had a discussion which changed my entire life and helped me return to my Jewish roots.'"
"Yesterday, at our mivtzoim table, I was talking to someone about Moshiach," says Esther Melamud. 'The Rebbe said that we are living in very special times,' I told her. 'Your mitzva can be the one that tips the scale.'
"'How can you be so sure that the time is now?' she asked me cynically. I told her the signs the Rebbe had pointed out to us: the fall of Communism, the miracles of the Gulf War, the beginning of the ingathering of the exiles to Israel... 'From your mouth to G-d's ears,' she said to me as she took a kit with two candles and a candle lighting brochure, promising to begin lighting candles in the hope that this would hasten the long-awaited Redemption.
"I was walking down Rue Champs de Elleyses in Paris doing mivtzoim," says Yossi Rubin. "I passed a father and son strolling down the Avenue. I could tell that they were American tourists. I quickly walked over to them and asked, 'Are you Jewish?'
"With a look of surprise, the father answered, 'Yes and as a matter of fact, I was just pointing out to my son how Eastern Parkway in our hometown of Brooklyn is a copy of Champs Elleyses. The arch at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn is a replica of the Arch of Triumph here. But one thing was missing, I was telling my son. There were no Lubavitchers on Champs Elleyses like on Eastern Parkway. Suddenly you came and completed the picture!'"
"About six or eight weeks ago," begins Rabbi Levi Baumgarten, "one of the people who comes to the Mitzva Tank on a regular basis and brings other people to the Tank brought a friend. I put tefilin on with the friend. We said the Rebbe's chapter of Psalms together. We chatted a little. 'This should be a good beginning,' I told the friend as he got ready to leave. 'There should be a continuation and you should go from strength to strength.' He left.
Later that day, my 'regular' visitor called me up. 'My friend was flying high,' he told me. 'He just called and told me that he was dealing with two major problems in his life: his wife had been diagnosed with a serious illness and he had been estranged from his daughter since her wedding over 5 years ago. Twenty minutes after he got back from putting on tefilin, he received a call from his wife that the doctors didn't know how, but the latest tests showed that she was absolutely fine. Minutes later he got another phone call. It was his daughter!' The next day, the friend stopped by the Mitzva Tank. He was on his way to visit his daughter. He told me that while he was putting on tefilin the day before he had asked G-d for two things: health for his wife and a reunion with his daughter. He comes to the Tank on a weekly basis now. He has also come with me to the Rebbe a few times and attributes his connection with the Rebbe to the fact that his business problems have solved themselves."
"We went to the Jewish Heritage Museum in Manhattan during the convention that the Lubavitch Girls High Schools had in connection with Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka's yartzeit," says Rivky Levertov. "When the group that I was with finished looking at all of the exhibits we sat down and waited for everyone else to finish. One of the women who works at the Museum came over and asked us what group we were from. I told her about our convention. 'And what is the theme of your convention?' she asked me. 'To help bring Moshiach more quickly,' I answered. 'How do you help bring Moshiach?' she asked. I told her that we help bring Moshiach by doing acts of goodness and kindness. 'Do you want to help?' She nodded her head, then asked, 'What can I do?' I suggested that she light Shabbat candles.
She told me that she used to light candles but she had stopped many years ago. 'Start lighting Shabbat candles again and you will be helping to bring Moshiach,' I suggested. She agreed and said that she knows the blessing and that one has to light 18 minutes before sunset. I wasn't sure if she was serious or just humoring us, but when we were getting ready to leave I heard her tell another woman who works in the museum that she had agreed to light Shabbat candles to help Moshiach come more quickly."
"One gentleman who came to the Mitzva Tank," relates Rabbi Levi Baumgarten, "told me that things were going miserably in business, his wife was seriously ill with a life threatening illness and his daughter was constantly getting sick. I suggested that I come to his house to check his mezuzot. On the door of the master bedroom, there was a mezuza case but it was empty, there was no scroll inside! The daughter's case had a mezuza but it was upside down. The son, who was fine, had a kosher mezuza on his door. We put mezuzot up on every doorway, as required by Jewish law. The daughter has been fine ever since. The wife had major surgery and is making a remarkable recovery. The husband begin putting on tefilin and his business has turned around. He now brings other people to the Mitzva Tank."
"One year in the afternoon of the second day of Rosh Hashana I passed by a neighborhood dry cleaning store," begins Simcha Eichorn. "I knew the proprietor was a Jewish man and yet the store was open. Perhaps he had not heard the shofar blown this Rosh Hashana? I thought of the Lubavitcher boys and men around the world who go to nursing homes, hospitals, and prisons to sound the shofar on Rosh Hashana, allowing the people there to fulfill the 'mitzva of the day.' And here, in my own neighborhood, was a precious Jew who might not have heard the shofar blown. I ran home and got our shofar. I ran back to the corner where the dry cleaning store was and stopped the first man I found. 'Do you know how to blow shofar,' I asked him. He answered affirmatively. 'The owner of that shop is an elderly Jew, a Holocaust survivor. I am almost certain he has not heard shofar yet. Will you blow shofar for him?' Again, the response was affirmative. I called to the elderly Jew in the store, 'Did you hear shofar?' He shook his head 'no' and came out of his store. Right there on the street corner the man blew the shofar. I glanced at the elderly man. His face was quivering. Tears were streaming down his cheeks. When the sounding of the shofar was over, he bent over and placed his hand near his knees, saying, 'I haven't heard the shofar since I was this young in Europe.'"
"My mother was diagnosed with a serious illness," the woman told Shterna Zirkind in explaining her decision to make her home kosher. "I made this deal with G-d that I would start lighting Shabbat candles so that my mother would get better. When my mother started improving one of my relatives said, 'It's because you started lighting Shabbat candles.' That got me thinking. I grew up in a religious home. Everyone else in my family is religious. I started thinking about making my kitchen kosher. I threw out a question on the internet in a section that I had logged onto that had kosher recipes: 'How does one kosher a kitchen?' The overwhelming response I got was, 'Contact your local Chabad House.'"
The woman's sister had been at the Rebbe's Ohel, had seen a brochure about keeping kosher and had given it to her. The brochure gave her decision a concrete shape. "My rabbi told me to call Lubavitch," says Shterna, "is one of the most common responses we get from people when we ask them how they found out about our kashering service."
"I was in Madison Square Gardens a few years ago," begins Frayda Sossonko, "at a massive Jewish gathering there. I had prepared two big shopping bags filled with packets of brochures in English and packets in Russian. The English packages went very fast but at the end of the afternoon I was left with almost all of my brochures in the Russian language. I was very upset. I would have rather gone to Brighton Beach where I could have spoken with the Russian Jewish people there. As I got ready to step into the awaiting bus, a group of 10 to 15 middle- age men surrounded me and smiled at me. They began to talk to me in Russian. They had met one of the women with whom I had come that afternoon who told them that I speak Russian. They were all Jewish men who held government positions in Kiev and had come to visit America. They did not speak any English. They were eager to take all of the brochures I had with me in Russian: a brochure about Moshiach; a candle lighting brochure; a talk from the Rebbe to Jews in Russian about faith; a brochure about brit mila and more. They thanked me profusely. As they were leaving, I, too, showed some appreciation. 'Thank you, Master of the Universe, for so clearly showing me your Divine Providence. '"
"The Mitzva Tank was parked on 37th Street," begins Rabbi Levi Baumgarten. "A gentleman was passing by and I asked him if he would like to put on tefilin. He didn't want to. I explained some of the significance of putting on tefilin and he told me, 'O.k., you won.' He came into the Tank, put on tefilin and left. The following week, same time, same place, the man was waiting for me. 'Rabbi, I gotta talk to you.' he said excitedly. 'Do you remember I was here last week and I put on tefilin ? Right when I got back to my office my son-in-law called to say that my wife, my daughter and my granddaughter had been in a head on collision. My son-in-law came to pick me up and we rushed to the hospital. When we got there I saw that my granddaughter and daughter were fine. "Where's Mama?" I asked my daughter. She told me my wife had broken her wrist and was having it set. The policeman said that it was a miracle that everyone was o.k. The car was totalled. When I saw it later I couldn't even recognize it. 'When did this happen?' I asked my wife. She said 4:00 p.m. and I let out such a shriek. Rabbi,' the man told me emotionally, 'that was exactly the time that I was putting on tefilin with you. I know because I was late for an appointment and I was watching the clock. Rabbi, you saved my family. Since that day I haven't missed a day of putting on tefilin.'"
"It was pouring with rain that Sunday," remembers Chaya Goldstein, "but that didn't stop us from going to Brighton Beach to speak with the Jews there about Torah and mitzvot. Purim was coming and many of the Russian Jews didn't even know that such a holiday exists. I met an older woman and asked if she is Jewish. She told me she is. Then she told me that the only Jewish thing she remembers from her childhood was her mother lighting Shabbat candles. 'Why don't you go to shul on Purim to hear the Megila?' I suggested to her, and gave her a flyer with times of services especially for Russian Jews. She thought for a minute and said, 'If you're asking me, then I'll go.'"
"What do you want most for your wedding day," Chaya Sara Zarchi, coordinator of the Campaign for Taharat HaMishpacha (Family Purity) remembers asking the young woman sitting in front of her. "I want my mother (who was no longer alive) to be at my wedding." "Jewish tradition teaches," explained Chaya Sara, "that three generations back of ancestors are at one's wedding. You mother will surely be there. But if you go to the mikva you will make your mother, and all of your ancesters, especially happy.
"'But will I be able to see my mother?" the woman asked. 'I don't know if you'll be able to see her,' answered Chaya Sara, 'but she will be there, and she will be happy.' The young woman learned the laws regarding immersing in a mikva and went before her wedding day. "She told the mikva attendant," concludes Chaya Sara, "that she felt her mother was there with her."
If we multiply these stories by millions of encounters that the Rebbe's Chasidim and admirers have each year, and multiply that by the 48 years of the Rebbe's leadership, then we begin to appreciate the Rebbe's impact on world Jewry in particular and the world in general.