Current Issue

 

Share

Search
BeisMoshiach.org
Web
Tags
#1000 #1001 #1002 #1003 #1004 #1005 #1006 #1007 #1008 #1009 #1010 #1011 #1012 #1013 #1014 #1015 #1016 #1017 #1018 #1019 #1020 #1021 #1022 #1023 #1024 #1025 #1026 #1027 #1028 #1029 #1030 #1031 #1032 #1033 #1034 #1035 #1036 #1037 #1038 #1039 #1040 #1041 #1042 #1043 #1044 #1045 #1046 #1047 #1048 #1049 #1050 #1051 #1052 #1053 #1054 #1055 #1056 #1057 #1058 #1059 #1060 #1061 #1062 #1063 #1064 #1065 #1066 #1067 #1068 #1069 #1070 #1071 #1072 #1073 #1074 #1075 #1076 #1077 #1078 #1079 #1080 #1081 #1082 #1083 #1084 #1085 #1086 #1088 #1089 #1090 #1091 #1092 #1093 #1094 #1095 #1096 #1097 #318 #319 #350 #383 #390 #550 #560 #594 #629 #642 #776 #777 #778 #779 #780 #781 #782 #783 #784 #785 #786 #787 #820 #823 #824 #825 #826 #827 #828 #829 #830 #831 #832 #833 #834 #835 #836 #837 #838 #839 #840 #841 #842 #843 #844 #845 #846 #847 #848 #849 #850 #851 #852 #853 #854 #855 #856 #857 #858 #859 #860 #861 #862 #863 #864 #865 #866 #867 #868 #869 #870 #871 #872 #873 #874 #875 #876 #876 #877 #878 #879 #880 #881 #882 #883 #884 #885 #886 #887 #888 #889 #890 #891 #892 #893 #894 #895 #896 #897 #898 #899 #900 #901 #902 #903 #904 #905 #906 #907 #908 #909 #910 #911 #912 #913 #914 #915 #916 #917 #918 #919 #920 #921 #922 #923 #924 #925 #926 #927 #928 #929 #930 #931 #932 #933 #934 #935 #936 #937 #938 #939 #940 #941 #942 #943 #944 #945 #946 #947 #948 #949 #950 #951 #952 #953 #954 #955 #956 #957 #958 #959 #960 #961 #962 #963 #964 #965 #966 #967 #968 #969 #970 #971 #972 #973 #974 #975 #976 #977 #978 #979 #980 #981 #982 #983 #984 #985 #986 #987 #988 #989 #990 #991 #992 #993 #994 #995 #996 #997 #998 #999 1 Kislev 10 Kislev 10 Shvat 10 Shvat 10 Teives 11 11 Nissan 112 Tammuz 12 Tammuz 13 Iyar 13 Tishrei 14 Kislev 15 Elul 15 Menachem-Av 15 Shvat 17 Tammuz 18 Elul 19 Kislev 2 Iyar 20 Av 20 Mar-Cheshvan 20 Menachem-Av 20 Teives 22 Shvat 24 Teives 25 Adar 27 Adar 28 Nissan 28 Teives 29 Elul 3 Tammuz 33 Tammuz 352 5 Teives 6 Tishrei 7 Adar 770 864 865 881 9 Adar 9 Av 9 Kislev 903 Acharei-K'doshim Achdus Adar Ahavas Yisroel Alef-Beis Alter Rebbe Amalek Argentina Arizal army Artwork Aseres HaDibros Australia Avoda Zara B’Chukosai B’Shalach Baal Shem Tov baal t'shuva Balak BaMidbar bar mitzva Basi L'Gani B'Chukosai be Bein HaMeitzarim Beis HaMikdash Beis Nissan Beth Rivkah B'Haalos'cha B'Har B'Har-B'Chukosai Birthday Bitachon Bo B'rachos Brazil brit milah Brussels B'Shalach chai v'kayam Chanuka Chassidic Rabbis Chayei Sara Chevron children chinuch Chitas Choshen Chukas Churban controversy convert Dan Diary of the late R’ Saadya Maatuf Dollars dreams D''varim Editor's Corner Eikev Elul Emor Europe fire France free choice Gaza Gentiles Georgia Gulf War Gush Katif Haazinu Hakhel HaYom Yom Hebron hiskashrus Holy Temple Honoring Parents Hospitality IDF Igrot Kodesh India Intermarriage Internet Iran Iron Curtain Israel Japan Jewish Refugee Crisis Kabbala K'doshim Kfar Chabad Ki Savo Ki Seitzei Ki Sisa KIDDUSH LEVANA Kiryat Gat Kislev kKi Sisa Kohen Gadol Korach korbanos KOS SHEL BRACHA Krias Shma K'vutza Lag B'Omer lashon ha'ra Lech Lecha letter Litvishe maamer Machatzis HaShekel mahn Mar-Cheshvan marriage Massei Matot Mattos Mattos-Massei Menachem Av Metzora Mexico Miami MiKeitz MIkvah Mishkan Mishpatim Mitteler Rebbe Mitzva Tank Mitzvah Tanks Mivtza Kashrus MIvtza Neshek Mivtza T’fillin Mivtza Tefilin Morocco Moshe Rabbeinu Moshiach & Geula Moshiach Seuda music Napoleon Naso niggunim Nissan Nitzavim Nitzavim-VaYeilech Noach Noachide North Africa olive oil painting Parshas Parah parshas re'eh Parshas Zachor Pesach Pesach Sheini Pinchas Pirkei Avos P'kudei prayer Prison Purim R’ Avrohom Schneersohn Rabbi Hillel Zaltzman Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu Rabbi Shlomo Galperin Rambam Ramban Rashbi Rashi Rebbe Rebbe Maharash Rebbe Rashab Rebbe Rayatz Rebbe Rayatz & Joint Rebbetzin Chana Rebbetzin Chaya Muska Red Heifer R'ei Rishon L'Tzion Rosh Chodesh Rosh HaShana Russia Samarkand seifer Torah s'firas ha'omer Shabbos Shabbos Chazon Shabbos Hagadol Shabbos Nachamu shalom bayis Shavuos Shekalim shiduchim Shlach shleimus ha'Aretz shliach shlichus Shmini Shmita Shmos Shoftim shtus Shvat simcha Simchas Torah South Africa Sukkos summer tahalucha Talmud Torah Tanya Tazria-Metzora te Tehilim Teives Terror teshuva Tetzaveh t'fillin the omer the soul tisha b'av Tishrei Toldos Tomchei T'mimim Truma t'shuva tTruma Tzanz Tzav Tzedaka Tzemach Tzedek Tzfas tzimtzum VaEira VaEs'chanan VaYakhel VaYakhel-P’kudei VaYechi VaYeilech VaYeira VaYeishev VaYeitzei VaYigash VaYikra VaYishlach Vocational Schools women Yechidus Yeshiva Yisro Yom Kippur Yom Tov Zohar Zos HaBracha. B'Reishis סיביר
Visitor Feed
Sunday
Oct012017

FILLING HIS FATHER’S LARGE SHOES ON SHLICHUS

Three and a half years have passed since Rabbi Sholom Ber Shmuelevitz took over his father’s position. From day one, it wasn’t easy. * For the first time, he shares the daily challenges of the activities that continue to grow and expand, about the places that he went with his father, where he now goes with his son, and about juggling the intense yearning for what was, along with the ever growing work alongside the team of shluchim of Beit She’an.

By Y. Veknin

Rabbi Yaakov Shmuelevitz receiving a bracha from the Rebbe at “dollars.”At the Beit Shean junction you turn right and see a mountain chain that creates an impressive sight. On the other side of the highway is a beautiful valley. Beyond that is the border with Jordan. Another few kilometers and we have arrived.

It is hard to miss one of the characteristic features of Beit She’an, walls built with black stone. You see them at the entrances to streets and they also surround the ancient archaeological site. Impressive arches alongside ancient buildings that were built in the same conservative style throughout the area. Nearly every street corner provides a breathtaking view of the valley below that seems to beam tranquility.

But don’t allow the still and ancient packaging to confuse you. Little, but growing, Beit She’an is teeming with lively programming which seems to reach every one of its residents.

THE LIGHT DIMMED AND THEN CONTINUED TO SHINE

At the entrance to the Chabad House is a picture of Rabbi Yaakov Shmuelevitz a”h, smiling at everyone. About thirty years have passed since shlichus began in this city with the arrival of Yaakov and Chani Shmuelevitz.

“My parents weren’t sure where to go on shlichus. When they wrote to the Rebbe, the Rebbe circled ‘Beit She’an.’ Without thinking twice, they got up and went in the middle of their week of sheva brachos,” says the shliach today, their son, R’ Sholom Ber.

R’ Yaakov worked with men and boys, and his wife worked with women and girls. Soon after, their circle of acquaintances widened and many residents became aware of Chabad’s activities. They loved the young rabbi who conveyed the Rebbe’s message. They would stop him on the street and call out, “Rabbi Yaakov, Rabbi Yaakov!” and he would stop for each one and give them the feeling that he had all the time in the world.

Decades of hard work produced impressive results. Other kiruv organizations showed up. They all respected R’ Yaakov and his work and asked him for guidance. He was happy to help them.

Then R’ Yaakov became very sick. But it did not stop him from his shlichus work. Even when in pain and going through grueling treatments, he did not stop reaching out to Jews. He even said that it was shlichus that gave him strength.

Tragically, R’ Yaakov passed away, leaving quite a vacuum in Beit She’an. Numerous residents were in shock and mourning. To many of them, he was the only religious person they were connected to. He treated them in his special way, with love for each of them. They were sure that the Chabad House activities would dwindle and eventually fade away. Locals even sadly said, “The light of Beit She’an was extinguished.” The Shmuelevitz family, who were sitting Shiva, sent out an immediate rejoinder, “The light of Beit She’an will continue to shine!” That is their motto.

FERTILE GROUND IN BEIT SHE’AN

“When my father was no longer conscious, we gathered around his bed and I promised him on behalf of us all, that his shlichus would continue, with simcha, ‘Just as you want it to, Abba.’” That is what his oldest son, Sholom Ber, told us.

It wasn’t at all easy.

“At the time, I was on shlichus in Neve Tzedek in Tel Aviv, with the shliach, R’ Avrohom Kali. I was the menahel ruchni of a yeshiva for baalei teshuva. When my father passed away, I moved to Beit She’an to continue the important work he started.

“Following his passing, there was a great awakening in the city, which we utilized to hold various gatherings. In each place, we announced what we promised my father, that the shlichus would continue and grow.

“Since my father had worked hard, it wasn’t like we were starting from nothing. We were actually reaping the results of his work,” said R’ Sholom Ber modestly.

“My father’s friends were inspired and they committed to large monthly financial installments to the Chabad House. R’ Shmuel Reinitz, who worked with my father and was his right-hand man, continued to oversee the activities. He forged warm relationships with businessmen who supported the Chabad House, so we got off to a good start.

“My father prepared the groundwork and my mother is a dominant force in everything related to the Chabad House. She has been a teacher now for many years in the city’s religious school which serves all of the diverse religious groups. Her students, as well as alumnae and women in Beit She’an, consult with her and write to the Rebbe and make good resolutions as she taught them to do.”

A silence fell during the interview. The young Rabbi Shmuelevitz seems lost in thought. One could see that parts of this conversation are not easy for him. At a certain point, he shared:

“It’s not always easy for me. Sometimes, I go to schools in the city or to various meetings, my young son with me, and I remember my father taking me by the hand, at that same age, to those same places. I miss him, but I also feel the continuity of generations.”

Silence.

“I feel that it is something otherworldly that moved me to continue his work, and it continues to move me. My father kept praying that Hashem give him the strength to continue his shlichus. He did not ask for anything else. I think about how, boruch Hashem, I am healthy and young and can do the work, work that he would give millions to be able to do. This thought uplifts me and gives me the strength to work, especially on days when I fall into heavy moods or lack of serenity, or when a large sum of money needed for a payment is nowhere to be found. There are these situations, which the yetzer hara knows how to create, and I say to myself that my father would have given anything to be here, so don’t complain.”

Do you feel that you have really stepped into his shoes?

“Every father wants his son to grow and flourish as he raised him. A father also wants his son to do better than he did. This is what my father wanted and how he raised me. I try to continue what he began and add to it. This is what I will ask of my children too.

“There are times that people approach me and say, ‘Nu, to reach your father’s level …’ They are right. But my job is to make use of the abilities that Hashem gave me, to work and be a success.”

THE SHLICHUS CIRCLES WIDEN

There are five other shlichus couples in Beit She’an who work together with R’ Sholom Ber. The work is divided between them and there is harmony among them.

“It is very different when you are a shliach somewhere and responsible only for yourself, as I was in Neve Tzedek, as opposed to being responsible for other shluchim as well. The work is very challenging, but there’s the possibility of expanding with the strengths and talents that each of the shluchim have.”

And there is a lot of work. The people in Beit She’an are mostly traditional and some are even less than that. The younger generation is starting at an even lower base level of observance than their parents did.

When you got to Beit She’an, what did you do first?

“The first thing was the preschools. Two preschools, one for boys and one for girls, which are known for their high-quality education. They provide a Chabad chinuch in every respect, including Moshiach and Yechi. There were some other religious communities who wanted to join our preschool but asked us to change certain things. We told them, nicely but firmly, that this is the way it is and there’s nothing to discuss.

“The first year they did not join, but the following year they agreed to send their children. The numbers are growing.”

The shliach’s wife, Rochele Shmuelevitz, runs the preschools.

R’ Sholom Ber got new projects underway. One of them is the Shifra u’Puah organization [providing assistance to new mothers], which is also run by his wife and Mrs. Adi Medina. The organization has many women volunteers. Thanks to Shifra U’Puah, they have connected with families that previously had no connection with Chabad.

The education department also expanded and in schools throughout the city they run various extracurricular activities. A bar mitzva prep institute was opened with the goal being to continue and expand outreach with youth.

Rabbi Menachem Lang is the shliach responsible for outreach to children. He also works in other departments of the Chabad House like selling sifrei Chassidus, checking t’fillin and mezuzos, greeting walk-ins, keeping up regular t’fillin routes, and shiurim at businesses.

NOT DIFFICULTIES, CHALLENGES!

A night kollel for the study of Chassidus opened in Beit She’an about a year ago, with the help of Merkaz Chomesh L’Hafatzos Ha’maayanos. Every evening, dozens of men of varying ages learn there. The kollel has a contest for the learning of the Rebbe’s teachings. “We managed to expand the concept so that all the b’nei Torah in Beit She’an learn Chassidus every week as part of the campaign to study the Rebbe’s teachings. Each week they learn a sicha of the Rebbe in various kollelim in the city and at the end of the week there is a test and prizes.

“Of course, the content is studied as is, including Yechi which is written at the end of the study booklets and tests. There is a great interest in this project, with roshei kollelim implementing the program, and there is very positive feedback.”

Aside from this, there are shiurim in Chassidus for men and for women throughout the week. There are shiurim at the shul and shiurim at businesses and offices.

As to the question whether he faces difficulties, R’ Shmuelevitz says, “Difficulties? Challenges! The challenge is to instill the Rebbe’s messages and the image of the Rebbe in every person in Beit She’an. Whether it’s through learning Chassidus, learning the laws of family purity, etc., you have to put a lot into it and do it in a way that draws people in.

“The challenge is also to keep expanding and reaching new people.”

FOR YOUR MIRACLES AND YOUR WONDERS

Of course, there is the major challenge that every shliach has, funding. Especially after expanding the shlichus and bringing in more shluchim.

“At a certain point, we decided to go big, and we believed that things would work out,” says R’ Sholom Ber.

Most of the donations come from people in the city itself and from businessmen who have a relationship with the Chabad House. R’ Shmuel Reinitz is in charge of maintaining these contacts and he works hard and is held in great esteem by hundreds of businessmen.

“Like many other Chabad Houses, big miracles happen on the day when we need to make payments,” R’ Shmuelevitz says with a smile.

“Recently, we urgently needed 18,000 shekels (about $5100) in cash. We spoke to a businessman, one of our mekuravim. We showed him our budget and explained what our burning need was. He was taken aback and said he had never been asked for such a large donation. We ended up leaving with a check for 1000 shekels ($284). As we wondered what we would do about the rest, another businessman contacted us. He is someone from whom we had tried soliciting donations previously, and he gave us the big amount we were missing.

“In this case, and in every situation, the Rebbe takes care of everything.”

MEET THE VETERAN SHLUCHA

At this point, Mrs. Chani Shmuelevitz joined the conversation. She is in charge of the N’shei Chabad in Beit She’an and she doesn’t have a dull moment. She organizes the big gatherings as well as the small ones, operating a team of young shluchos. In addition, she is a mentor to present and former students, as we mentioned.

“There was a woman whose ten-month-old son died and she was devastated. When she spoke to me, I suggested that the next evening planned for women be l’ilui nishmaso. She was happy about this idea and wanted to provide a special memorial gift for the occasion. Out of all the ideas I proposed, she chose to give a Chitas and pushka to each participant, at a cost of thousands of shekels. The story about that evening for women is still ongoing.

“Here is another story. The director of a sports center is a former student of mine. She had contacted me and said she wanted to make an evening of empowerment for women on a certain date, but she couldn’t come up with a suitable idea.

“I said that if she wanted, I would take responsibility for the content portion of the evening. She was very happy. All the advertising went through the sports center which is why many women showed up who wouldn’t necessarily have come to a Chabad event.

“Here is another amazing story. There was a woman with a tumor who needed an operation and treatments. She kept in touch and wrote to the Rebbe. The operation was scheduled close to rosh Chodesh Kislev. My son, Sholom Ber, gave her a dollar of the Rebbe for bracha and hatzlacha. The woman then called and excitedly said that the date for her surgery was postponed and was scheduled for the date written on the dollar! The operation went very well.

“But that isn’t the end of the story. The family has a business. One day, a man walks into the family business and asks for a donation to buy t’fillin for a soldier who needs them. They gave a small donation and he left. A few hours later, they wrote to the Rebbe for a refua for her and opened to an answer connected with t’fillin of a soldier! The Rebbe wrote that there is an American soldier who needs t’fillin. They immediately called that man and gave him the money needed to buy nice t’fillin. Today, boruch Hashem, she is well.”

Mrs. Shmuelevitz has many other stories that show the extent to which the residents of Beit She’an are cognizant of the Rebbe and are connected to him.

“Today, we’ve reached the point where there is nobody who does not know about the Rebbe and the Chabad House.”

TIPS FOR SHLICHUS BY RABBI SHMUELEVITZ

Know where they came from. When working with a Sephardic population, respect their ways while instilling the Rebbe’s messages. As part of this, at the Chabad shul we have the nusach Chabad but with a Sephardic pronunciation.

A shul that is a home. Make the shul into a warm place of Torah and Tefilla. To give people a pleasant feeling about the place, hold farbrengens there, and make sure it is always clean and inviting, a lively place. Not just a place where you go for a short tefilla and then leave.

Choose the shlichus. You need to look for and see which things the shliach naturally is interested in doing, the things he loves to do, what his animal soul loves. This way, he will be very happy to be involved and the results will accrue accordingly.

Live, in order to give life. A shliach needs to fill his own pack in order to influence others. Not to forgo learning Chassidus, the weekly D’var Malchus, and frequent trips to the Rebbe to recharge batteries. In short, not to forgo one’s personal avodas Hashem while busy with shlichus.

Don’t withhold the treasures. The Rebbe gave us treasures and exposed us to such a special period, which we are living in today, as he explained in the sichos of 5751-5752. The Rebbe gave us the strength to deal successfully with the challenges of our time. We cannot withhold this from the people with whom we come in contact. They deserve to hear it and this is our responsibility, that they understand that this is the most potent era of hiskashrus to the Rebbe!

The Rebbe lives. When a shliach presents the Rebbe to a mekurav in such a way that he understands that the Rebbe is not only alive, but he constantly believes in every Jew and knows his abilities, that is when the Rebbe truly lives. There are people who are technically alive, but it is uncertain to what degree, while the Rebbe is literally alive and lives you more than you live yourself. If you don’t introduce the Rebbe who stands behind everything, it is hard to make progress with the mekuravim, because the Rebbe is the main topic.

There was a young man who learned in the kollel here and participated in the learning contest. He came over to me one evening and said that he was really amazed by the Rebbe’s depth. I told him, “You should know that the Rebbe is even more impressed by your depth, by your powers!”

Like in Tomchei T’mimim. The shliach needs to work hard to find a way to connect his mekuravim to the truth that he lives and knows. To farbreng with them as he is used to for himself, to bring them into a genuine Chassidishe atmosphere and not to be satisfied with little. He needs to have faith in people and know that they can hear the Chassidishe truth and want to hear it. I saw this with mekuravim who went to the Rebbe. They mingled with everyone and jumped during the singing with everyone. You see to what extent a Jew naturally connects with the Rebbe.

MIRACLE AT DAY CAMP

There are many miracles in the work they do and amazing Igros Kodesh stories.

R’ Sholom Ber related:

“We recently had a miracle with the day camps. No school in the city agreed to have a day camp on its premises. Even the religious schools, which hosted us every year, told us they couldn’t have us because of renovations they were doing in the summer.

“As a final resort, we tried, without much hope, to get permission from a school in a new neighborhood of Beit She’an. It is an irreligious school located in a beautiful, new building. To our great surprise, the principal said yes, and even let us use whatever we needed. This location attracted many new children from irreligious homes and we already see how the camp has had a positive impact on them.”

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.