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Tuesday
Nov082016

HAKHEL EPILOGUE

Hundreds of families went to the Rebbe this past Hakhel year. Some of them shared their experiences with us. * These are the stories of the Ceitlin and Sukhaik families.

By Yaron Tzvi


TRAVELING WITH FAITH

What better way to start the Hakhel year than by spending Tishrei (5776) with the Rebbe? But what do you do when you want to take everyone along and there are ten children?

This is the story of R’ Rachamim (Rami) and his wife, Deganit, Sukhaik from Even Yehuda, who went to the Rebbe for Tishrei with their entire family, twelve people!

The couple became involved with Chabad years ago in South Africa and continued their spiritual journey in Eretz Yisroel. They are close with the shluchim in Even Yehuda, Menachem and Chaya Neuman. They told us about their Tishrei with the Rebbe in a Hakhel year with their family.

“The idea of going to the Rebbe was postponed several times. The original plan was to fly for our daughter’s bas mitzva around Gimmel Tammuz, but it was postponed because of our son’s upsheren that we did at Miron. We went through a number of life situations and finally began thinking of flying for last Tishrei,” said R’ Rami. “It was difficult logistically and financially and required a generous dose of daring too.”

Mrs S: “For me, it was very important that we find a decent place to stay for the month. As a woman and mother who would be going with all her children, that was the most important thing. Previously, I had had unpleasant accommodations when I went to 770. We were less prepared that time and I slept on a thin mattress in a moldy basement. I did not want to go through that again. I told my husband we had to find a normal place.

“A few days before our flight, we found a terrific place opposite 770 for our entire stay. That was a sign to me that our plan was well received.”

R’ Rami: “For my wife, our accommodations were the key, while for me, the main thing was being able to buy tickets and that the trip be financially feasible.

“Things worked out, little by little. The two older ones, Netanel and Binyanim, learn in Chabad yeshivos in Tzfas and Netanya. They got tickets for themselves through the ‘Dor Deia’ contest. My bas mitzva age daughter got a ticket as a gift for her bas mitzva and I got a ticket from El-Al through their miles program. We had to buy six tickets, which cost about 30,000 shekels. I had no idea where that money was coming from.

“One day, we were surprised to get a new credit card in the mail. I called a travel agent and asked him to try to charge the full amount but it did not work. I told him to try 29,500 shekels and it went through! That is how I bought the tickets. We paid for the rest of the expenses with our money and with money from a gemach, the main thing being to travel to the Rebbe.”

“We ended up coming for Sukkos and stayed until after Shabbos B’Reishis. The experience was incredible. I thought we were coming as guests but in the end, we ended up hosting quite a bit in the apartment we stayed in. The older ones were on their own in what to them was familiar territory. We managed to get the most out of every moment materially and spiritually and absorbed G-dliness. Even the budget we made was just enough. At first, we were under pressure because of the sheer amount of hosting we did, but heaven directed things so there were identical expenses every day and we were able to plan and cover the costs. We didn’t even leave Crown Heights to go shopping. We had everything we needed and there was no reason to distance ourselves from 770, nor did we want to.

“It was a terrific experience. I felt how the Rebbe was, so to say, patting me on the back with the gesture I received from him when they honored me with hagba with the Torah of Moshiach on Hoshana Rabba. I felt it was a sign of affection from the Rebbe.”

Mrs. S: “My message to those who go is don’t be afraid! If you see brachos from the Rebbe that the Rebbe wants you to go to him then things will definitely work out well. We live Moshiach and the Rebbe is here. The trip to 770 shakes things up in life and puts them on a truer and more proper plane. Don’t skip it. Get up and go and the Rebbe will take you on eagles’ wings.”

R’ Rami: “I second what my wife says and want to add that it’s a fantastic experience for a family to go together for yom tov. It is educational and builds family unity. The Rebbe takes care of all the details. We spent tens of thousands of shekels and don’t regret it for a moment. We know that the Rebbe pays it back big time. He already paid us so much when he brought us to Chabad.”

THE TRAVEL AGENT CONFIRMS

R’ Uri and Mrs. Inbal Ceitlin live in Petach Tikva, where they moved a few months ago to be closer to Inbal’s parents. R’ Uri comes from an irreligious family in Ramat Gan and became a baal t’shuva seven years ago, thanks to the shliach in India, R’ Shimi Goldstein. His wife is from a traditional family and she came to Chabad from the knitted yarmulke crowd. She learned in P’nimiut in Ramat Aviv for a few years before she married.

When they flew to the Rebbe for Chanuka, they were living in Rechovot. We asked them to tell us a bit about their decision to fly for Chanuka in a Hakhel year with their seven-month old daughter and another on the way.

“We decided to fly for Chanuka because it is a very special time. We felt that we wanted to thank the Rebbe, ‘to thank and praise … for your miracles and your wonders …’ because we both became Chabad. We found one another and married and we also received a wonderful little girl. We felt we needed to thank Hashem and the Rebbe for what we got and Chanuka is an appropriate time to give thanks for the miracles.

“We also wanted our daughter to absorb 770 from a young age,” said Uri.

“The truth is, we were nervous about the cold during that time of year,” said Inbal. “But when we arrived, it wasn’t as cold as we thought it would be. We were able to stay with a lovely family who hosted us and everything worked out well. Even the long trip with a six-hour stopover in Turkey went smoothly. We divided the costs of the tickets and our stay through a payment plan and we managed.

“We felt it was an enormous z’chus to go to the Rebbe for Chanuka. Our daughter was at the rally, along with hundreds of other children, in 770, and did not stop smiling.

“I was used to flying alone and would stand in the front row at every one of the Rebbe’s minyanim. I was afraid that this time, traveling as a mother of a baby, that I would have to make changes in my priorities due to circumstances and needs. But I saw that it actually wasn’t necessary. I did whatever I had done previously and my daughter cooperated. Hashem helps, after you take the first steps. You just need to decide to go and start making inquiries and it all works out. Whoever flew to the Rebbe saw the divine providence involved. The Chanuka atmosphere so captivated us that we didn’t even feel like going shopping.”

We asked the Ceitlins for their message:

“We brought bikkurim to the Rebbe. That is how we felt when we brought our daughter. Of course, everything needs to be done with ‘vessels of tikkun,’ by consulting with a mashpia, etc. But you need to go to the Rebbe, especially in a Hakhel year. Whoever went saw that it worked out and all their apprehensions vanished. Our specific feeling was gratitude and we came to say thank you to the Rebbe. It is healthy for body and soul to go to the Rebbe. It’s a wonderful experience for children and parents and the family unit.

“Why would someone spend thousands of dollars to travel to a beis midrash in New York? Are we lacking battei midrash in Eretz Yisroel?

“There is only one Beis Rabbeinu Sh’B’Bavel until it flies on clouds to Yerushalayim. Until then, we all fly to the Rebbe!”

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