To Live with the Rebbe in 770 - 770Live!
By Shneur Zalman Berger
Picture a shliach in Alaska or Katmandu, tired after a long day. Suddenly he feels a longing for 770. Presto! – with a few clicks of his mouse he’s in 770, seeing and hearing what’s doing – participating in a farbrengen, hearing the speakers, lectures, and stories that go on into the night – satisfying his longing for Beis Chayeinu. * It’s not a dream; it’s the website called * Rabbi Yaakov Linchner and Rabbi Reuven Blau describe how it happened.

[Disclaimer Regarding Using the Internet: The directors of the site say that the site is for those who, for whatever reasons, are already connected to the Internet, but a chassid who wants to go on the Internet should consult with his rav or mashpia.]

Avremele Reinitz and Shmuel Kraus have been friends for years, but they went their different ways after they married. Shmuel moved to Antwerp, and Avremele lived in Eretz Yisroel for a short time after he married.

During that brief period of time, Avremele thought a lot about 770, and went to the 770Live website regularly to see what was happening there. One Monday afternoon, Avremele was watching the Rebbe’s minyan that began davening at 10 a.m. They were up to Krias ha’Torah, and Avremele watched as the gabbai, R’ Menachem Gerlitzky, said Mi SheBeirach for a new mother.

Avremele saw that R’ Gerlitsky had a cellular phone in his hand. He said the Mi SheBeirach and gave the name for someone who lived far away, yet wanted his daughter to be named in the Rebbe’s minyan. When Avremele heard the name Chaya Mushka bas Shmuel, he suddenly remembered that his friend in Antwerp had a newborn baby girl. He knew who was calling the gabbai!

Less than a minute later, Avremele called Belgium and wished Shmuel mazel tov on the birth of Chaya Mushka. Then he quickly enlightened his friend as to how he knew the baby’s name so fast!

This true story accentuates the uniqueness of 770Live: the instantaneous ability to "live with the Rebbe," with 770, at all times.

It began as a joint dream of two Chassidim, one in Eretz Yisroel and one in the U.S. Their dream was realized by setting up a website that broadcasts live from 770 around the clock. This was made possible only through a tremendous amount of work and resources.

It actually began twelve years ago, when Rabbi Yaakov Linchner from Rechovot founded "N’chayeg v’nishma" (Dial and Listen), a computerized telephone system that people around the world call and hear sichos, niggunim, shiurim, lectures, etc.

Back then, Linchner was dreaming of a "Dial and See." "It was a dream, because at that time the technology didn’t exist, not even among wealthy or high-tech people," Linchner explains. "The Internet was in its infancy, and the concept of broadband, which is needed to transmit a voice and live video, was unheard of.

"Only two and a half years ago, when the technology sped up tremendously, I was able to set up a test site which would transmit only sound. I connected the site to Dial and Listen and many people listened to the Rebbe’s sichos and classes on chassidus. These were the first attempts to create a live connection to 770. They had a certain measure of success, and we hoped to make further progress.

"You know, technology doesn’t stand still. Every day new high-tech inventions appear in the marketplace, so a year ago it was possible to get the most advanced components needed to broadcast video on-line."

At first R’ Linchner wanted to go to 770 to set up a camera in order to broadcast the video live, but after asking the Rebbe through the Igros Kodesh, he got a negative response. In the meantime he fundraised for the new project. When he had the money he needed, he asked again and received a positive answer. That night he was on the plane to 770.

"I arrived at 770 and discovered that things were far more complicated than I had thought. The technology is not simple. While I was fretting about what I was supposed to do, I became acquainted with R’ Reuven Blau, who has a lot of experience with communications via computer for hafatzas ha’Chassidus. Back in 5742 he was involved in spreading the wellsprings over computer bulletin boards, which was known as KosherNet. Later on, in 5748, he and his brother Meir put up the Crown Heights News Line, which used telephone lines. I was surprised to hear that he had been thinking for a long time about live broadcasting from 770 to the whole world via the Internet.

"It was a few hours before the banquet at the Kinus HaShluchim in 770 last year, and we really wanted it broadcast live. Since it was only a few hours before the event, we decided on an audio broadcast only. The first speech was that of Rabbi Shneur Zalman Gurary. Shortly before the broadcast, R’ Linchner called a few Lubavitch centers around the world to inform them that the banquet would be broadcast live.

None of the listeners in their homes could imagine how many obstacles there were for Blau. "I had many complicated technical problems," he says. "You can count on your fingers the number of people in the world who know how to build a website that constantly broadcasts video live. There was nobody to consult with, so I was forced to put together equipment and invent solutions almost from ayin to yesh, and all in less than three hours! Despite my previous experience in computer communications I can attest that the live broadcast took place in a supernatural manner, only with the ko’ach of the Rebbe MH"M."

Four months later, in Adar of 5760, Linchner came to 770 to celebrate the bar mitzva of his son. He came with a state-of-the-art camera and new equipment, but he soon realized that developing a site like this would cost tens of thousands of dollars. The one who gave the principle sum to complete stage one of the site was Rabbi Meir Gutnick, who had heard about the original idea and donated the sum on the spot.

On Yud-Alef Nissan 5760, the first live video broadcast of 770 could be seen via Internet. Hundreds of net surfers went online and watched the live broadcast of the Yud-Alef Nissan farbrengen. The first live broadcast was a success, and those who ran the new site began working energetically on upgrading the technology so that any chassid anywhere in the world could watch what was going in 770 day or night. Naturally, the site was named 770Live.

Since then the camera has been in the center of the large zal, facing the farbrengen dais, and it operates 24-hours a day (except Shabbos and Yom Tov, of course). There are microphones in the beis midrash recording the goings on, operating during t’fillos, shiurim, farbrengens, and special events.

The site has two bases of transmission - one in Manhattan and the other in New Jersey. What if there’s a problem? What if the camera doesn’t work properly, or the computer in 770 is down? Blau immediately heads for 770, even if he’s in the middle of working or it’s late at night. He locates the source of the problem and opens the lines. "Any good thing has problems," he says modestly, "and the more important something is, the bigger the problems. I’m happy that my wife and eleven children, bli ayin ha’ra, feel like partners in this important project and understand the need to drop everything and run to 770.

"We’ve improved the quality many times over compared to when we started, and today we are definitely close to the highest level of technology available in the entire world, so that anybody can watch and feel like he’s in 770."

Word has gotten out about Linchner and Blau’s expertise; even non-Chabad groups have asked them to broadcast their events over the Internet.

During Sukkos the camera was brought out to Kingston Avenue for the Simchas Beis HaShoeiva, and anyone who couldn’t make it to 770 for Tishrei was able to join in the traditional, huge Simchas Beis HaShoeiva celebration.

"Just imagine," says Yaakov Linchner with sparkling eyes, "a shliach in Alaska or Katmandu, tired at the end of the day, suddenly yearns for 770. With a few clicks of the mouse he can go to 770, and see and hear what’s going on and even participate in a farbrengen in honor of a special date, or a siyum in Rambam, and hear the speeches, the lectures and the stories that last into the night."

Feedback is enthusiastic. The directors of the site happily relate that there are anash around the world who go online to watch the Rebbe’s minyan three times a day. "Chassidim and shluchim all over the world who long to be in 770 can do it easily now," says Blau.

Where are the people from?

"Everywhere! Japan, Argentina, England, France, India, Eretz Yisroel, Brazil, etc. Sometimes I’m surprised to get an e-mail from shluchim from places I didn’t know Chabad had a presence. They all thank us for the z’chus to be able to be in 770 at any time."

Here’s one e-mail they got: "Hello, I want to thank you for your hard work in getting the website up. I am 13 years old and I’m a shliach in Calgary, Alberta in Canada. We don’t have a school here, and 770Live helps me tremendously. I hear shiurim, sichos, etc. It’s great! I wish you success, and that you keep up the good work. Yechi HaMelech, Chani Matusof."

Another e-mail message: "Yashar ko’ach! Yashar cheila, this past year I davened (when possible) nearly every t’filla with the Rebbe’s minyan and learned the weekly D’var Malchus... "

There are also requests like: "Hello. I have a very important request. My name is Devora and I’m the mother of ... I haven’t seen him for two years already since he left for the Rebbe on 25 Elul. Tomorrow could you aim the camera in his direction so that I can see him? He recently arrived in 770 from shlichus in Japan, and will be there for a few days, and maybe I can see him with your help. Thanks a lot!"

The website also operates as a tremendous force for hafatzas Yahadus and Yiddishkeit in the world. Here’s an e-mail that arrived a month ago: "I am a Bobover chassid and I have a Rebbe who is a great tzaddik like R’ Shlomo, zt’l, but I learned a little bit about your Rebbe and his sichos through this site. This website has given me a different perspective about the entire movement (Chabad), which I had looked upon negatively. Take care of the site, thanks."

A Jewish man from somewhere in Italy asked whether he could be assisted in finding a shidduch because there are no Jews where he lives.

A young man from Cholon wrote: "I wouldn’t describe myself as religious the way you define it, but I still enjoy learning Tanya through your website."

How many hits do you get a month?

Yaakov Linchner: "Over 40,000 hits in an ordinary month. During Tishrei the number doubles. During holidays or on days with special events, like the banquet for the Kinus HaShluchim, we had 1,873 hits. During the Congress and the farbrengen on Gimmel Tammuz we had over 20,000 hits!"

The site operates 24-hours a day, with the focus during davening and farbrengens on the bimas ha’t’filla or the farbrengen. The rest of the day the camera is aimed around the Rebbe’s shtender.

Why do you broadcast 24-hours a day and not just during davening and farbrengens?

"I’ll answer you with a story. A Jew from France who didn’t understand Hebrew or English heard that you can see 770 through our website. He went online when it wasn’t during davening and saw where the Rebbe davens. He was very moved and stood in front of the computer in tears and asked for the Rebbe’s bracha for something. Soon afterwards, he sent us an e-mail telling us what had happened, and said that he felt the Rebbe was listening. His answer came and he had a great yeshua."

As we related in the beginning of this article, the live broadcasting enables family to unite at simchos. Yaakov Linchner related, "Three months ago we celebrated the bar mitzva of our third son, Shalom Dov Ber, in Kfar Chabad. At the time, our oldest son was in 770. Being far away took away a bit of the simcha, until we found a solution. At the bar mitzva we connected a large screen to the computer and saw 770 live. It was after Mincha. With "Yechi" sung in the background, our oldest son gave his brother a heartfelt bracha.

"The next day it was the opposite. That night I flew with the bar mitzva boy to 770 so he could have his aliya l’Torah in the Rebbe’s minyan. The rest of our family and friends watched the aliya, the reviewing of the maamer, and the farbrengen from Eretz Yisroel."

I know families of shluchim scattered around the world who, when there’s an aliya l’Torah, etc., announce it ahead of time, and everybody watches it while it happens.

This website is used not only to broadcast the goings on in 770, but also for hafatzas ha’maayanos. There’s a long list of shiurim, lectures, and farbrengens on Torah and chassidus. These shiurim are connected with Dial and Listen, which R’ Linchner started 12 years ago.

Now if a chassid in some forsaken part of the world wants to learn from a text and hear the Rebbe simultaneously, he can download the Rebbe’s sichos from 5748 and on. You can select and click on the sicha you want, and you can get a tape of the sicha along with a photocopy of the hanacha provided by the "Otzro Shel Moshiach" site run by Rabbi Gidi Sharon.

Why from 5748 and on? Linchner explains: "We started from the latter sichos of 5752, and we’ve slowly made our way backwards. Don’t worry, we plan to add more."

The site also contains shiurim on all of Tanya divided into the daily Chitas portion. You just select the day you want (regular or leap year) and you hear the shiur in Hebrew, English, or Yiddish. This is presented along with the page of Tanya.

You can listen as well to shiurim in Rambam: three chapters a day, a chapter a day, and the Seifer HaMitzvos. There’s a section for niggunim (presently on the English site), and whoever wants to enjoy Chabad niggunim can listen to one of 560 niggunei Chabad!

You can watch videos of a few of the Rebbe’s sichos. Linchner’s dream is to have all the sichos available, but this is a huge project and will take time.

Then, of course, there are shiurim in inyanei Moshiach and Geula, from which you can select an array of titles. Included here as well are live broadcasts from the kinusim and Moshiach Congress held in Eretz Yisroel and 770, and videos of previous kinusim.

Regarding hafatza of Judaism and chassidus via the Internet, Blau has plans. "The Rebbe always said to use every development for hafatzas ha’Yahadus, thus conquering the world. Today, the Internet is the easiest, most efficient, and practical way of literally conquering the world, because through this medium you can reach the entire globe at once."

"We are the only ones anywhere on this planet," Blau points out, "who broadcast live from a shul or beis midrash. There’s no other shul that is covered 24-hours a day and broadcast live to the homes of thousands of people at any given time."

Blau believes that in a few years nearly everyone will be connected to this medium, just as phone and fax have become ubiquitous. In the near future people will communicate with each other on live video through the Internet, as they already do for trans-Atlantic business meetings. "If this is done in business, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be used to transmit live shiurei Torah to thousands, and theoretically, to millions of people."

What are your plans for the future?

Linchner: "The site is constantly developing. We are putting in a great deal of work to include a number of new projects.

"We hope to dedicate different sections for Chabad mosdos around the world so they can broadcast audio shiurim on a regular basis. If, for example, the Chabad yeshiva in Tzfas wants to broadcast a shiur on inyanei Moshiach and Geula, we will help them with the appropriate equipment at a minimal price."

Currently, a new, modernized version of the site is in the final stages of construction by website developer Mr. Elrom Lulai. Among the changes: tapes of hundreds of Chabad niggunim from Seifer HaNiggunim, archives of video tapes produced by Liros es Malkeinu, and a plan to broadcast classes around the clock on Moshiach and Geula that are given all over the world. Wherever there’s a need, equipment can be installed to allow viewers to ask the lecturer questions.

Where’s the money coming from?

You would think that such an advanced website needs lots of money, but the directors of the site don’t elaborate, except to say, "The budget works on miracles. Hashem gives the daily budget, with each day having its own miracle," says Linchner. Blau adds, "Despite the miracles we’d be happy to get some help in order to expand our work."

Where do you get the kochos to work on such complicated projects?

The two directors of the site give the identical answer: "From the answers and encouragement we get from the Rebbe MH"M. This is what gives us the kochos to carry on. The feedback we get from around the world encourages us, like the shliach who wrote, "In your z’chus I participated in the Rebbe MH"M’s farbrengen and it gives me the strength to go on.""

In conclusion, Reuven Blau says, "Our main goal in setting up the site is to bring every Jew to the Rebbe, and to bring the Rebbe to every Jew. The site is called 770Live because everybody can see 770 live. Through the site, you can draw chayus from 770 to anywhere in the world."

* * *

Surviving on Miracles

"The site survives on miracles," say the directors, with stories to back them up. Reuven Blau relates, "When the Twin Towers collapsed, our site was down. The phone lines for the Internet company we are connected to were in the building next to the Twin Towers. You’ll remember this was one week before Rosh HaShana and there was great interest in what was going on in 770 since it was before Tishrei.

"We couldn’t fix the problems since tens of thousands of lines were down, and technicians weren’t allowed in the area. I decided to do whatever I could to allow Chassidim to be able to see what was going on in 770 during Tishrei.

"We had an unbelievable miracle happen (the details of which can’t be publicized yet), and one day later the site was back to broadcasting."

* * *

Thanks 770Live

Dear Directors of 770Live,

I use your site a lot. I love the live broadcasts, and the broadcasts from the women’s section. I learn a lot from them. The niggunei Chabad are nice and I listen to them as I work on my computer.

I was so surprised to see the classes on Tanya, and I learn them nearly every day, but I was even more surprised to see the shiurim on Rambam. I was very disappointed when the Rambam classes weren’t updated. Please update them as soon as possible. Thanks! Chaya


R’ Yaakov Linchner and R’ Reuven Blau and the new and improved broadcasting center which enables thousands of people to simultaneously connect to the site.


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