Thursday, December 11, 2008
The following is a part two of the encounter that took place in the front of 770 where a group of Bachurim (yeshiva students) saw a young man in long hair and boots approach the Rebbe, who waved his finger around and then pointed at this man's chest.
What happened there? What did the Rebbe say? The encounter is retold by the former "young man" himself. Also attached, is a first time released picture of the Rebbe. Special thanks to the RebbeArchive@Gmail.com for the picture.
Mr. Elliot Relates:
It was January 1973. I was a law student at SUNY Buffalo and at the time had two serious questions on Judaism that were bothering me. So I called up Rabbi Nosson Gurary, director of the campus Chabad house, and asked him the questions. His reply to me was: "The only one who can answer you is the Rebbe. He is based in Brooklyn, New York. Go to him and he will help you."
Rabbi Gurari told me that the Rebbe came to 770 to daven mincha every afternoon at about 3:00, so this was the time I could possibly meet him.
I arrived at 770 from Manhattan, where I was staying with a group of friends. Rabbi Hendel, a relative of Rabbi Gurary, helped me out by lending me a kippah (skullcap).
I glanced around 770. Suddenly hearing it was the time for the Rebbe to appear, I hurried to the front of 770 outside.
There I was, decked in jeans, snakeskin boots, with hair down my back and a couple of earrings. The Rebbe, meanwhile, emerged from his car. Immediately I approached him, and we stood there, in front of the steps leading to 770.
"Excuse me," I asked, "are you the Lubavitcher Rebbe?"
"Yes," the Rebbe answered. Then he asked, "What is your name, and where are you from?"
So I told the Rebbe my name and family name. Then I said, "Can I ask you a question?"
"Ask," the Rebbe replied.
"Where is G-d?"
"I know, but where?"
This time the Rebbe replied with his finger. "Everywhere. He is in a rock. He is in a tree . . . ."
"I know, but where?" I pressed. "I really want to know where."
The Rebbe pointed directly at me. "In your heart. If this is how you ask."
I then asked the Rebbe, "Can I speak to you in English?"
I continued, "When we say 'Shema Yisroel' [Hear O Israel], whether it is a Black person saying it or an Indian saying it, there is one G-d for all of us. But does it have the same meaning for them as for us?"
The Rebbe answered, "The essence of a Black man is to be what he is; the essence of an Indian is to be what he is. But the essence of a yid [Jew] is tied to G-d through the fulfillment of Torah and mitzvoth. So for us it has a different meaning."
The Rebbe concluded that I should learn the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch [Abridged Code of Jewish Law] and begin laying tefillin [phylacteries] every day.
During our conversation, my contact with the Rebbe was so powerful that it left me virtually transported. After he said goodbye and entered 770, I began to cry. I felt that the truth I was looking for had come at last.
Posted by The Avner Institute / Menachem M Kirschenbaum at 6:42 PM