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Unity Among Chassidim
By Menachem Ziegelboim
Photos by Yisroel Ellinson

A crowd so large, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in Kfar Chabad since the chanukas ha’bayis of 770, participated in a gathering for kabbalas ha’Torah and kabbalas pnei Moshiach Tzidkeinu * Over 10,000 people including Rabbanei Chabad, mashpiim, ziknei ha’Chassidim, shluchim, directors of Chabad Houses, educators, and public figures, “as one man with one heart” expressed their fervent belief in the profound benefit of uniting to fulfill the Rebbe’s directives * A tremendous demonstration of emuna


Just a moment before the sun set behind the large dais, the choir of the Talmud Torah Chabad of Rechovot sang an old, inspiring Lubavitcher tune. The voice of Dovid Hertz, one of the children in the choir, rang out powerfully: “At that time, there will be no famine, no war, no jealousy or competition, for the world will be full of knowledge of G-d.”

This was one of the highlights of the kinus of achdus that took place on Monday, the second of Sivan, in front of 770, Beis Agudas Chassidei Chabad in Kfar Chabad. Indeed, this was the message that thousands came to hear: No jealousy, and naturally no competition. Hashem, please heed the prayers of your holy Jewish children!


One after another, dozens of buses and hundreds of vehicles pulled into Kfar Chabad and drove under the festive Bruchim HaBaim signs. They came from all over the country, from Kiryat Malachi, Be’er Sheva, Kiryat Gat, Tzfat, Chaifa, Kiryot, Petach Tikva, Bnei Brak, Ramat Gan, Hertzeliya, Migdal HaEmek, Rechovot, Lud, and Rishon L’Tziyon, for the purpose of gathering in a giant show of unity with all Lubavitcher Chassidim in Eretz Yisroel. They all came to fulfill the Rebbe MH”M’s request that we unite before Shavuos, the time of the giving of our Torah.

Kfar Chabad was in a holiday mood. Thousands of Chassidim met up and greeted each other warmly. Ushers kept order in the traffic, which filled the main streets of Kfar Chabad. It took some time to get the thousands of Chassidim seated, filling up the room.

As the sun set in Kfar Chabad, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Wilschansky, rosh yeshivas Chabad in Tzfat opened the program by explaining the purpose of the huge gathering. “We have all assembled in this holy place for the purpose of fulfilling the Rebbe’s “request of the soul” – to unite in brotherly love. The purpose of this grand kinus, which was announced by Agudas Chassidei Chabad, is to prepare through ahavas Yisroel to receive the Torah and to greet Moshiach.”

There is nothing like joy that flows from the depths of the heart, which has the capacity to bond together hearts and unify souls. This was demonstrated by Avi Piamenta and the children’s choir from Rechovot, who entertained and inspired the crowd with joyous Chabad niggunim.

Rabbi Shalom Dovber Butman, mashpia of the Chabad kehilla in Tel Aviv, was honored with the recitation of the Rebbe’s chapter of Tehillim, which was followed by tens of thousands of people standing and proclaiming “Yechi.”

The gaon and Chassid Rabbi Gedalya Akselrod, av beis din of Chaifa and the Gelilot, was honored by inviting the Rebbe to participate in the kinus. He was wearing his gartel as he read the invitation on behalf of thousands of participants who stood up a second time for this moment. “On behalf of the participants of this kinus of unity in Kfar Chabad, we invite the Rebbe MH”M shlita to join us. At the same time, we accept his malchus by proclaiming “Yechi.”

The band began the “Niggun of Four Movements,” followed by the Rebbe’s niggun, Tzama Lecha Nafshi.”

The giant screens showed excerpts from the sicha of Chaf-Ches Nissan 5751, and the sicha in which the Rebbe urges us to “ker a velt heint!” (turn the world upside-down today) in order to bring Moshiach. 


Rabbi Yehuda Edery, rav of Be’er Sheva and rosh avos batei din, spoke about the greatness of the Rebbe MH”M by comparing him to Moshe Rabbeinu: “The Midrash relates the debate between Noach and Moshe Rabbeinu. Noach said to Moshe, ‘I saved myself and my family from the flood in which the whole world perished, for which reason I am greater than you.’  Moshe Rabbeinu replied, ‘I saved my entire nation from the decree, which is why I am greater than you.’ The Midrash concludes with the pasuk v’at alis al kulana’ (and you have risen above them all).

“Moshe merited this wondrous crown of ‘v’at alis al kulana,’ not because of his great humility, not because of his greatness in Torah, and not even because of his great prophecy, but simply because he saved his generation from the decree. Who more than the Lubavitcher Rebbe merited to save the nation from spiritual calamity and destruction? Furthermore, the Rebbe benefited the nation with the merit of Torah and mitzvos. I do not know of any other movement that has made the Torah as beloved to the masses of Jews around the world as Chabad.

“As we stand facing this holy building in this kinus of unity, we must remember that on Shavuos the Jewish people merited the Torah because of their unity — “And Yisroel camped facing the mountain as one man with one heart.””

A fiery speech was then delivered by Rabbi Mordechai Shmuel Ashkenazi, the Mara D’asra of Kfar Chabad and member of the Beis Din Rabbanei Chabad of Eretz Yisroel:

“It is moving to see so many Chassidim — men, women and children — who made the effort to unite in this national kinus achdus organized by Agudas Chassidei Chabad. I once heard the following story from the mashpia R’ Mendel Futerfas. When R’ Zev Wolf of Zhitomir, one of the students of the Baal Shem Tov, was asked what the generation of Moshiach would look like, he rested his head on the table for a moment and then said: ‘That Yossel that you know as a nobody, will be given Maftir or Shishi. That old Chassid that you know spent his entire life studying Torah and Chassidus will have to put a few pennies in the pushka and ask Hashem: Master of the universe, strengthen me with simple faith in chachomim.’ “

Rabbi Ashkenazi inspired the crowd, saying, “This is the secret to how we will overcome the terrible darkness of ‘I have left you for a brief moment.’ We must strengthen not only our faith in Hashem, but also our emunas chachomim. This is the handle we must grasp in order to get through this most trying of times and to merit to greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

“Whatever we heard the Rebbe state explicitly – this is our emuna, and we will hold on to it tightly and not let go! We must leave this kinus with a call to strengthen our deep and inner faith in the holy words of the Rebbe. If we do so, we are assured that we will merit the coming of Moshiach.”

Rabbi Ashkenazi also shared the following encounter, “When R’ Shlomo Kalisch, the one who initiated and funded this evening, came to me and said that he wanted to organize a kinus achdus for Shavuos, he said that one of the goals of the kinus would be to fortify the baalei teshuva.

“I asked him in surprise, ‘We need to strengthen the baalei teshuva? They can strengthen us!’ As we gather here tonight, we must stress and reiterate: We are children of one father. We are all one family. There are sometimes differences of opinion within families, but regardless they continue to live together. As the Gemara puts it, the right hand cannot separate from the left hand, and the left hand cannot separate from the right. We are all connected, so let us reinforce our unity.”

Rabbi Ashkenazi added, “We all have good intentions for the Rebbe’s sake. Obviously everything must be done according to the Rebbe’s directives, especially when it comes to publicizing ideas outside, regarding which the Rebbe told us to first receive the permission and approval of rabbanim. Let us try to fulfill this directive, and by doing so we will succeed in strengthening the unity in our camp.

“We also heard the Rebbe speak about the eternal life of the Nasi Ha’dor. Despite the fact that we do not understand exactly how this works, we know the Rebbe said these things, so none of us has any doubts. In the merit of this emuna we will soon greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu.”


The choir, conducted by violinist Mordechai Brodsky, sang more Chabad niggunim, while the huge audience listened, clapped along, and were drawn into the great simcha it generated.

Rabbi Shlomo Maidanchik, director of Agudas Chassidei Chabad in Eretz Yisroel and the organizer of the evening, spoke briefly. “Agudas Chassidei Chabad merited to unite Anash and the tremendous crowd who came here tonight. This kinus proves that we are united with brotherly love. May we deepen and expand this, in the merit of which the Rebbe will redeem us from Galus.” Rabbi Maidanchik warmly thanked all those who helped to organize the program, particularly R’ Shlomo Kalisch and Rabbi M.M. Hendel, director of the Chabad World Center to Greet Moshiach.

Rabbi Yisroel Halperin, rav of the Chabad community in Hertzeliya, delivered the main address. He drew a parallel between faith in what the Rebbe said regarding the revelation of Melech HaMoshiach, and the subject of shleimus ha’Aretz:

“There are people who promote the worst and most dangerous actions towards the worst of our enemies under the guise of peace, and they are successful. If they have succeeded in promoting tragedy under a veneer of good, than we, Chassidim of the Rebbe MH”M, can certainly devote ourselves to publicizing the besuras ha’Geula, as the Rebbe requested – that behold Moshiach comes and will be revealed and redeem the Jewish people! This is the truth, the truth the Rebbe asked us to convey. If we publicize the fact that the Rebbe is chai v’kayam, then this will automatically lessen the “oros d’tohu b’keilim d’tikkun” of klipa, which tries, and succeeds, r’l, in promoting a dangerous peace to the Jewish people.”

Rabbi Halperin quoted the Rebbe from the sicha of Yud Shvat 5752 in which the Rebbe states that what separates our generation, the ninth generation, from other generations, is that we merit eternal life with no interruption, souls in bodies. “This is what sets the Rebbe MH”M apart from the other Rebbeim. The Rebbe spoke along similar lines in the sicha of 7 Elul 5752, saying that the Nasi Doreinu is likened to the Even HaShesiya, which endures no changes, not even that of being hidden. These are the Rebbe’s explicit words, and we must focus on them without adding our own explanations. We must also publicize this without being ashamed, for this is what the Rebbe, Nasi Ha’dor, said!”

Emcee Rabbi Wilschansky spoke about shleimus ha’Aretz and called upon everybody to protest the disgraceful actions of people who are bent on handing over our holy land to our enemies. The crowd of thousands rose and declared, “We protest, we protest, we protest.”

Rabbi Yeshaya Hertzel, rav of Natzeret Illit, concluded the Rambam’s book Haflaah and began the book of Z’raim.



It was 10:15 p.m. in Eretz Yisroel, corresponding to the time for Mincha in the Rebbe’s minyan in New York. The giant screens showed footage of the t’filla in beis midrash of 770 — live.

At the conclusion of Mincha, Rabbi Shalom Yaakov Chazan, editor of the Hebrew section of Beis Moshiach, called upon Rabbi Yitzchok Springer to read the Pa’N klali on behalf of all the participants of the kinus achdus in Kfar Chabad.

This was followed by Rabbi Shmuel Butman, director of the Lubavitch Youth Organization and director of the Matteh HaOlami L’Havoas HaMoshiach, addressing the thousands in Eretz Yisroel and New York. Rabbi Butman focused on the Rebbe’s besuras ha’Geula, “humble ones, the time for your redemption has arrived,” and that the Rebbe will lead us towards the final Redemption “with no interruption,” as the Rebbe put it.

The crowd was thrilled at the news that the venerable Kabbalist, Rabbi Yitzchok Kaddouri, had arrived. The lights dimmed and the screen showed the meeting between the Rebbe and Rabbi Kaddouri nearly ten years ago. When the video was over, Rabbi Kaddouri blessed the audience, saying, “May Hashem bless you and may you succeed in all your activities in the merit of unity.”


Despite the late hour, people found it difficult to board the buses and head for home. The wonderful evening ended with a series of Geula songs by Avi Piamenta and his band. Thousands of Chassidim danced in an expression of the Simchas HaGeula.



Unity in preparation for the giving of the Torah

The joy of achdus

The Talmud Torah Chabad of Rechovot performing

Kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchok Kaddouri arrives at the event


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