SIMCHAS TORAH NIGHT: “It was a historic night in Lubavitch"
October 9, 2016
Beis Moshiach in #1041, Chabad History, Simchas Torah, Tishrei

The song of faith, “Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu VRabbeinu, Melech HaMoshiach Lolam Vaed,” has long since becomethesong that expresses the anticipation of the hisgalus of the Rebbe as Moshiach. However, many do not know that this song took off during hakafos, the night of Simchas Torah 5753.

Since 27 Adar 5752, the Chassidim had not seen the Rebbe (except for one time on Shavuos). A balcony was constructed for Rosh HaShana on the far side of the big zal and the congregation was able to daven with the Rebbe for the first time since the stroke. After that, the Rebbe began coming out more and more to the public and the excitement and anticipation grew commensurately.

A crescendo was reached the night of Simchas Torah. Word got out: the Rebbe is coming out for hakafos! At the time, 770 was mostly empty and it was possible to get a spot wherever you wished. At 7:35, the Rebbe came out to the special room. The chazan, R’ Leibel Zajac, went over to the amud and davened quickly and with the special Simchas Torah tune. At 7:45, the Rebbe came out to the balcony that was built especially for Simchas Torah. The crowd sang the Simchas Torah niggun. Two minutes later, they began the hakafos. The Rebbe was honored with all the p’sukim of the first Ata Horeisa and after each verse that he said, he looked at the crowd for them to repeat it. He said the first verse louder and the secretaries were able to hear it.

After the first “Ata Horeisa,” they began singing a Niggun Simcha for hakafos and the Rebbe immediately began nodding encouragingly. All that time he scanned the crowd and encouraged them with his nodding for ten minutes. After the second “Ata Horeisa,” they began singing “Al HaSela.” At this point, the Rebbe surprised the crowd as he moved his entire body in all directions with all his might. The crowd, even with speeding up the singing, could not keep pace and the Rebbe continued with these powerful movements for about four minutes. If you hadn’t seen it for yourself, you wouldn’t believe it.

For the first hakafa, R’ YY Gutnick gave the Rebbe the small Torah scroll and the Rebbe took it in his arm and transferred it to his right hand. Then he began encouraging the singing.

The Rebbe was given the honor, once again, for the seventh hakafa. As the Rebbe read the p’sukim of the hakafa, the children, with the crowd following them, began proclaiming “Yechi.” After they did this three times, the Rebbe suddenly began encouraging them with movements of his head, right and left, forward and back, in an unequivocal manner. There were some who still hesitated about singing this in front of the Rebbe but their hesitation was momentary. The singing rose up and the entire 770 was swept up in the fire of emuna.

The Rebbe continued encouraging the singing by nodding and moving his head quickly from side to side. Nobody could keep up. It was like adding fuel to the fire in any case, and the crowd continued singing Yechi as the Rebbe strongly encouraged it with his body. The Chassidim, who could not believe their eyes, continued singing, and the Rebbe continued encouraging the singing. The song was sung for three to four minutes.

One of the Chassidim who recorded a diary that year wrote, “I looked around and saw them; those many individuals who sobbed. Eyes filled with tears. Bitter tears. Tears of joy. Cries that shook one’s body. The excitement reached the heavens. It was the first time seeing the Rebbe after such a long time since that bitter day. And above all else, such open joy. Then, in the midst of the great excitement, someone began loudly singing Yechi. There was no agenda. It welled up from the core of the soul, which was at peak revelation. Hundreds joined in the singing with ecstasy. Hundreds more waited to see what would happen. In that brief moment in time, a great thing came to pass in the world…

“Later that night, I saw those thousands of Chassidim who gathered for Tishrei dancing excitedly in place. Mashke poured like water and the joy rose up and spilled outside the doors of the shul. The mighty singing made hearts tremble. Now everyone knew – a new era had begun!

“It was a historic night in Lubavitch. It was reminiscent of the description of when the Rebbe said the first maamer and the Chassidim jumped in excitement and said l’chaim. History was repeating itself in my day! All that night the singing continued with tremendous enthusiasm. Chassidim danced until dawn with indescribable joy and put the words Yechi Adoneinu to every niggun.

“The song hasn’t stopped till this day. It has become a set thing that every time the Rebbe comes out to the public, Yechi is sung. Also, since then, they began writing ‘The Rebbe shlita Moshiach Tzidkeinu’ in advertisements.”

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
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