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Tuesday
Oct172017

IN THE SHADOW OF WAR  

Many events took place in 770 related to the Yom Kippur War, even after the ceasefire went into effect. * During that time, the Rebbe began to speak openly about the war, “and spoke in sharp tones against the ceasefire.” * Fascinating reports and memories from the month of Cheshvan 5734 with the Rebbe, published for the very first time from the diary of the late R’ Saadya Maatuf.

The Rebbe escorts a group of guests on their way to Eretz Yisroel.WHY DOESN’T ISRAEL WANT TO CONQUER DAMASCUS?

Shabbos Parshas Noach, 1 Cheshvan 5734

The farbrengen was a bit more contained than those of Tishrei. It was apparent that many of the chevra had gone and the guests had returned home. There are still some guests who need to travel next week but postponed their trip to the week after because of the [Yom Kippur] war, and because there were no seats on flights leaving New York for Eretz Yisroel. The Rebbe gave mashke to the guests and they all approached the Rebbe. The Rebbe said that the askanim should approach but in the end, also those who were not askanim approached, and the Rebbe gave everyone mashke. Those who received mashke stood around the Rebbe, across the table, so they blocked the Rebbe from us and we only heard the Rebbe bless them.

In the final sicha, the Rebbe spoke sharply against the ceasefire and included the subjects of Mihu Yehudi and returning the territories and the Old City of Yerushalayim. The sicha was frightening and the Rebbe asked again why they don’t want to conquer Damascus. He explained that the truth of the matter is that the government does not want to conquer it and the entire fear of America is not real, for America only says it’s opposed but even Russia is not opposed. Only the government delays and gives all sorts of excuses, that there is rocky terrain etc. At this point, the Rebbe’s voice changed and he spoke with pain.

The Rashi sicha was so sweet it was a delight to hear.

As usual, after the farbrengen we escorted the Rebbe to his home and we went to eat the Shabbos meal.

Sunday, 2 Cheshvan

Today another group left for Eretz Yisroel. Before they left, all the askanim, led by R’ Zushe Wilyamowsky and including R’ Yisroel Glitzenstein, had yechidus. This was according to the Rebbe’s instruction at the farbrengen this past Shabbos, when he said they should come to his room on the day of their departure.

They went in after Mincha and when they left, they said the Rebbe gave mashke for them to distribute to soldiers, and he even gave them a nice amount of money and said they should hold gatherings and farbrengens for the soldiers and make a farbrengen in Kfar Chabad, Lud, the Old City, and Nachalat Har Chabad. After they left the yechidus, they held a gathering in the women’s section and divided the locations among themselves.

When the Rebbe came out to escort the group traveling to Eretz Yisroel, he motioned to ask where is the violin. R’ Shmuel Kattan immediately ran to bring his violin and stood and played it. The Rebbe stood in the doorway of 770 until the bus disappeared from sight. When he turned to go back in, he said “yashar ko’ach” to the violinist.

A second group leaving for Eretz Yisroel left later but the Rebbe did not go out to escort them.

THE REBBE REACTED SHARPLY TO THE BACHURIM’S CONDITION

Monday, 3 Cheshvan

Today, after learning Chassidus [in the evening] there was a farbrengen with the mashpia, R’ Mendel Futerfas since he is going tomorrow on shlichus to England. He called the farbrengen, “half an asifa [gathering, as the Rebbe had instructed] and half a farbrengen.”

At first he spoke about going back to Eretz Yisroel [i.e. T’mimim who finished K’vutza]. He said that he submitted a note to the Rebbe which said that he spoke with some bachurim who told him that if there would be an instruction from the Rebbe, they were willing to return to Eretz Yisroel as shluchim of the Rebbe. The Rebbe responded as follows:

“When a talmid of Tomchei T’mimim carries out horaos of his mashpia as stated explicitly in the sichos of the Rebbe [Rashab], in all such situations the entire concept of shlichus does not apply. Either way, if he is a talmid of Tomchei T’mimim as the Rebbe wishes, he does not need shlichus. If, G-d forbid, he is not according to his will etc., it is not appropriate to suggest to me that I say about him that the shliach of a person is like himself.”

The chevra were all in shock. They had not expected such a direct response. R’ Mendel appointed R’ Yosef Yitzchok Levkivker, Shlomo Vigler and Shabtai Slavatitzky to write down who was already here for an entire year, and to give him the list tomorrow. I don’t remember exactly what he said they should do with the list, but it is clear that they need to return to Eretz Yisroel, even the veterans who are learning in Oholei Torah or Morristown. Afterward, there was a farbrengen until two in the morning.

Tuesday, 4 Cheshvan

Today there was a woman’s funeral. At about two in the afternoon, the Rebbe came from his home, went to his room, and fifteen minutes later came out to the funeral. The car belonging to the chevra kadisha drove slowly on Eastern Parkway until Kingston Avenue where the Rebbe stopped and watched the car until it disappeared from sight.

The Rebbe asked R’ Yisroel Jacobson, “Where are the sons?” He responded that R’ Groner said there is a horaa from the Rebbe that children need not attend the funeral. The Rebbe said there is no such horaa, only for a father but not for a mother. In the meantime, some other cars passed by and the Rebbe waited until the last of the cars disappeared. It is not known whether in the end the children went or not (but see the Rebbe’s response to the secretary, R’ Leibel Groner, which was printed in Otzar HaMelech vol. 1, page 249).

The Rebbe turned back and a path immediately opened and the Rebbe walked to 770, with us following. He washed his hands and went into the small zal where he said, “Yosheiv b’seiser elyon,” as is customary and then went to his office.

Today at 9:30 another group of guests left for Eretz Yisroel and the Rebbe came out to escort them.

Thursday, 6 Cheshvan

When the Rebbe had an aliya, after saying the second bracha he stood on the side and looked in the direction of the Torah and motioned lightly with his hand. R’ Meir Harlig looked at the Torah which was being rolled up and thought the Rebbe meant to make certain that the seam was in the center but he saw it was fine. The Rebbe again motioned about something behind the Torah but they did not know what he meant.

Then the Rebbe went over and took t’fillin bags, Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam, that were in one plastic case. They were just bags with no t’fillin inside and they were lying on a Tanya and other s’farim. The Rebbe removed the bags from off the s’farim and looked for a place on the table to put the case. Since the table was full of s’farim, three bachurim immediately held out their hands and took the case from the Rebbe.

Motzaei Shabbos Kodesh, Parshas VaYeira

As it seemed to us would be the case in advance, there was no farbrengen today. On Motzaei Shabbos the Rebbe came out for kiddush levana and I stood very close to the Rebbe.

THE SHOCKING NEWS

Sunday, 9 Cheshvan

Today we received the shocking news that R’ Dovid Mizrachi is listed as missing in action. [R’ Dovid Mizrachi was drafted into reserve service at the outset of the Yom Kippur War, and served in an armored division on the Syrian front. Already in the early days of the war, his tank took a direct hit and exploded, and he was listed as missing in action from that point. A few weeks later, his body was discovered by his father R’ (member of Knesset) Yaakov Mizrachi, who had gone personally to search for his remains. A brother of his, R’ Nochum Mizrachi (currently the owner of the “770 restaurant” in Kfar Chabad) was learning in 770 at the time and was a close friend of the author of the diary – SZB]. We are still hoping that the report is wrong and that we will hear good news.

His brother, Nochum Mizrachi, sent in a note to the Rebbe, and the Rebbe answered “I will mention it at the Tziyun.” Nochum planned on calling home today, but for some reason pushed it off.

Monday, 10 Cheshvan

After the Torah reading, the Rebbe read the T’hillim as usual, starting with chapter 72 [the Rebbe’s chapter] and closed the T’hillim. Then he opened it again and said chapter 72 again.

At noon, Nachum Mizrachi called home to report the Rebbe’s answer, but they informed him of the terrible news [that his brother had been located, killed, and identified because he wore Chabad tzitzis, among other signs]. He immediately went to sit Shiva in the room of Chaim Mesharki.

There was a goodbye party today for the Rebbe’s shluchim, six bachurim going to Miami to learn there for the rest of the year. They thought the Rebbe would come out to escort them but he did not.

This evening, the Rebbe davened Maariv in a small minyan in Gan Eden HaTachton (the hallway outside the Rebbe’s room), since the Rebbe fasts bahab, and as this was during seder I wasn’t there.

Tuesday, 11 Cheshvan

Mincha was late today, around 3:45, because R’ Binyamin Gorodetzky [the Rebbe’s representative in Europe and North Africa] had a special yechidus and gave the Rebbe a report. It was only when the yechidus was over that the Rebbe came out for Mincha.

Shabbos Kodesh, Parshas VaYeira

Shabbos morning, the Rebbe came from his house earlier than usual and stood in the small zal and looked in [at the Chassidus seder] and I think there weren’t many bachurim. Unfortunately, I too had not yet arrived.

Sunday, 16 Cheshvan

Today we arranged a minyan in Chaim Mesharki’s room because Nachum Mizrachi concludes Shiva today. We hope there will be no more tragedy.

Today the Rebbe went to the Ohel early, before 3:00, because the days are short now. The Rebbe left early and returned early. Mincha was around 5:30 and it was dark already. Maariv was at 6:20.

Monday, 17 Cheshvan

Today, at the Torah reading, I put a Chumash B’Reishis and a T’hillim down for the Rebbe. The Chumash is for me and the T’hillim is for Saadya Dahan, which is something he had asked me to do for him long ago.

When the Rebbe returned to his room, R’ Bentzion Shemtov was standing in Gan Eden HaTachton and he spoke with the Rebbe. R’ Groner wasn’t there to chase everybody away and everyone stood in Gan Eden HaTachton to hear what the Rebbe was saying to him; but then suddenly, one of the T’mimim closed the door of Gan Eden HaTachton.

TO REMAIN IN 770 ECAUSE OF RESPECT FOR PARENTS

Tuesday, 18 Cheshvan

At Maariv there were some little boys, brothers, who said Kaddish for their mother. The one who went over as shliach tzibbur was apparently their father. The Rebbe looked at them when they said the kaddeishim; I think they are French.

Today a letter arrived for a bachur named Yisroel Kruwani of Kfar Saba who came just for Tishrei but had stayed on until now. He wrote to the Rebbe that he is traveling tomorrow and the Rebbe responded, “In a good time, etc.” Today he received a letter from home which said he should stay on in 770 and not go home. Apparently, his parents were fearful that the war might start up again [because a few weeks ago they agreed on a ceasefire]. Yisroel Kruwani submitted a note to the Rebbe and the Rebbe told him to ask the rav [Rabbi Dworkin, rav of Crown Heights]. R’ Dworkin told him he should stay because of kibbud av v’eim. He remained in 770 in a definitely high mood.

Wednesday, 19 Cheshvan

This evening [20 Cheshvan, the yahrtzait of the Rebbe Rashab] there was a farbrengen with the mashpia, R’ Shlomo Zarchi. It was in Margolin’s room on the corner of Kingston and the chevra said a lot of l’chaim. In 770, the American chevra farbrenged and said a lot of l’chaim until about four in the morning.

Thursday, 20 Cheshvan

R’ Mendel Futerfas arrived yesterday and we saw him during the Torah reading with the Rebbe.

Today the Rebbe showed up suddenly at the mikva on the corner of Brooklyn Avenue. Since it was a surprise, a few of the T’mimim were there. I don’t know who they were or what they did. The Rebbe went to the Ohel. When he returned, he davened Mincha at 5:30 and Maariv was at 6:20.

Tonight there was a meeting of the hanhala of the yeshiva with the mashpia, R’ Mendel Futerfas, regarding the bachurim who had to return to Eretz Yisroel. We did not hear any conclusions but those meant to return are despondent and tense.

Tonight there was a farbrengen with R’ Mendel Morosov and at about one in the morning, R’ Mendel Futerfas joined the farbrengen.

Motzaei Shabbos Kodesh, Parshas Chayei Sarah

Since Thursday, details have come out about the decisions made during the meeting of the hanhala, to send only six bachurim to Eretz Yisroel, who are all older. It is surprising why they don’t send more of the younger ones.

Sunday, 23 Cheshvan

Today, R’ Mendel Futerfas apparently returned to Eretz Yisroel.

Tonight the Rebbe received people for yechidus, including those bachurim who are returning to Eretz Yisroel, but each one went in individually.

Monday, 24 Cheshvan

We heard a report from those who went in for yechidus, six of them, who are going back to Eretz Yisroel: Moishele Orenstein, Moshe Rosenfeld, Zalman Pariz, Eliezer Gurowitz, Yosef Yitzchok Segal, and Yosef Yitzchok Levkivker.

In yechidus, the Rebbe stressed that going back to Eretz Yisroel has to be with simcha.

Aside from the six, Yitzchok Gruzman also went in. The Rebbe asked him questions: How old are you? When are you going?

He said, this week. The Rebbe asked why not after Shabbos Mevarchim and he said he was told to return right after yechidus. The Rebbe asked why, when all those returning were going after Shabbos Mevarchim. He remained silent.

Thursday, 27 Cheshvan

The Rebbe went to the Ohel and Mincha was late, around 5:30. After Maariv, the Rebbe went out to go home – this is the usual practice for the Rebbe to go home at an earlier time on the day he goes to the Ohel, since he is fasting. Before he got into the car, someone not Lubavitch, apparently a rav, spoke to the Rebbe. The Rebbe stood near the open door of the car and talked to him. When the conversation ended, the Rebbe went on his way. The chevra went over to him to ask what the Rebbe said, but he said it was a private matter.

THE WOMAN
SNUCK INTO YECHIDUS

Shabbos Kodesh, Parshas Toldos, Mevarchim Chodesh Kislev. The gabbai, Rabbi Katz, went over to serve as the chazzan for Musaf and after the davening he announced a Melaveh Malka, but he forgot to announce about mivtza t’fillin [to arrange to go on Sundays when many men are off from work]. When the Rebbe passed by him, he reminded him to announce about mivtza t’fillin and he did.

At the farbrengen which began as usual at 1:30, the Rebbe spoke about the war and said there were greater miracles than in the Six Day War, because in the first three days of the war they practically did not respond at all, and miraculously, the enemy did not reach Tel Aviv.

Toward the end of the farbrengen, about nine chassanim went over to the Rebbe and Rashag also went over to get mashke, apparently for the yeshiva’s fundraiser. The Rebbe motioned to a young man who sat among the seniors behind him and we found out later that he is a mathematics professor from Australia and he was going to visit Eretz Yisroel. The Rebbe gave him mashke and told him to wear military clothes and speak to the soldiers there and give out mashke to the soldiers.

At the end of the farbrengen, he sang, “Nyet, nyet, nikavo,” and the same happened after Mincha, the Rebbe began this niggun. The farbrengen ended at 4:15.

After Mincha, the Rebbe went up to his room and we had not yet put on our coats when he already left for home. It was drizzling outside but we followed the Rebbe anyway.

Sunday, 30 Cheshvan, first day of Rosh Chodesh Kislev

The professor, mentioned earlier, had yechidus at night, along with his wife. Both are baalei t’shuva and both served in the Israeli army.

During yechidus, a woman from a Chassidic, though not Lubavitch, home, asked R’ Groner to let her have yechidus. He told her there is a line and he would write her information down and let her know which day to come. But she wanted yechidus that same night. She stood on the side and when R’ Groner was not standing near the Rebbe’s door, right after someone went out, she went in without permission.

When R’ Groner came, she was already in the Rebbe’s room and it was too late to get her back out. R’ Groner wrote on a note that she entered without permission and he went in and gave the note to the Rebbe. The Rebbe continued to speak to her and she left with a happy face. Of course, this was late at night.

At four in the morning, when yechidus was over, the Rebbe came out and of course, everyone [the T’mimim who waited to hear what people heard from the Rebbe in yechidus – SZB] fled and looked for cover [because they were afraid the Rebbe would not be pleased that they were up so late which would make learning the next day difficult – SZB]. One of the bachurim suddenly peeked out and the Rebbe asked him why he didn’t go to sleep. Of course, he did not answer but turned colors and was very discombobulated.

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