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Wednesday
Jan202016

BEHIND THE SCENES AT BEIS MOSHIACH

The following episode comes to mind every time I meet someone who refuses to understand what Beis Moshiach is about.  Two years ago, after a lengthy process of back and forth with an ad agency, one of the largest health plans in Eretz Yisroel decided to advertise regularly with us.“The ad is on the way,” the media director told me about an hour before the closing of the magazine.

By Oholiav Abutbul

When I got the ad I forwarded it to the vaad ruchni for their approval.  A few minutes later I received their response: The ad cannot appear in our magazine because of a not-kosher animal in it.

“I can’t believe you! We’re talking about tens of thousands of shekels in the long-run, and if you don’t put it in, forget about it all. And you know how much work I put in to get it!” 

The director of the agency was livid.  He was unwilling to hear me out.  “The ad goes into all the religious publications, even in…  How are you different?”

I told him this came from the Lubavitcher Rebbe and therefore we would be forced to give up on the ad, even at the cost of losing our relationship with that agency.  That evening the magazine went to print without the ad and with the feeling that we had lost out big time.

The next morning I got a phone call.  On the line was the religious sector liaison for that health plan.  “Please explain it to me,” he asked.  We arranged to meet and I showed him what the Rebbe says.

“You have no idea how happy I am that we’ve met.  From today on, I will only have ads with kosher animals and naturally I will be happy to advertise with you.”

***

I remember that night in a basement in Crown Heights. On the table were empty plastic cups, half-filled bottles of Smirnoff, and the remains of cookies, evidence of a farbrengen which had taken place a few hours earlier.  At the head of the table sat the mashpia, R’ Yitzchok Springer a”h, known as R’ Itche, along with the members of the editorial board of Beis Moshiach.

That is how the meeting for the 700th issue looked.  Experiences from the previous years were shared and a happy atmosphere prevailed.  Then one of the participants banged on the table and politely asked to be allowed to say a few words.

“I think someone here missed the point.  The celebration is wonderful and all is fine and well, but we did not achieve the goal. Every page, every magazine, every cover that is printed while the Rebbe is still not revealed to us all means we did not yet achieve what we set out to achieve.  The only goal, for which Beis Moshiach was founded, is to achieve the hisgalus.”

To me, that is what Beis Moshiach is about.  There is one, clear goal before all the members of the editorial board.  As long as the goal was not achieved, we are still only on the way.

R’ Mendel Futerfas would mock his mushpaim with the term “reporter.”  If someone got that censure from R’ Mendel it meant that R’ Mendel wanted him to “get into things,” and not merely observe a farbrengen as a reporter would.

Recently, the frum world has turned the concept of “reporter” into a title of respect, someone whom many seek out at the mikva and the coffee corner in shul.  One of the advantages of a staff of writers that are not reporters is that they feel like shluchim, that their writing is a shlichus, and not, G-d forbid, journalism.

So what motivates the writers, editors and publisher to invest so much energy to produce this magazine? A few months ago, a shliach wrote me an email that I’ve saved.  “I must share with you an experience that I have every Shabbos.  The farbrengens and conversation in shul have changed completely.  There are people whom I’ve never heard tell a story about the Rebbe, a Chassidishe vort, etc. but now that I’ve subscribed them to Beis Moshiach, their entire family is connected to the Rebbe!”

The bottom line is that what gives us the strength to continue is another subscriber who connects to the Rebbe and connects his entire family.  For us, it’s not about producing a magazine, but connecting Jews to the Rebbe.

I’ll end on a personal note.  If you have friends from Anash, mekuravim, neighbors, who don’t yet subscribe to the weekly infusion of connection to the Rebbe, now is the time to connect them. 

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