Miracles Don’t Happen

Shalom Aleichem!

Last week, my friend Zalman Teitelbaum was driving to Toronto for a wedding, when a drunk driver veered into his lane and crashed into his vehicle head-on.

Zalman is the Chabad rabbi at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. The wedding was a student of his, and he was in the vicinity of Binghamton, NY, at the time of the accident. Teitelbaum car crash

His car was totaled, as you can see in the picture. He was rushed to the hospital, and, thank G-d, only suffered two fractures which will heal in a number of weeks.

Everyone was in agreement that his survival was a miracle.

Rabbis Slonim and Chein of Chabad of Binghamton University were quickly summoned to the hospital. They brought him kosher food (unlike in New York, the Binghamton hospital doesn’t have kosher food), and helped him wrap tefillin for the few days he was there (doctors didn’t want Zalman moving too much until they were certain that he was ok).

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In 1953, someone penned a letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, in which he lamented that miracles don’t happen for individuals.

The Rebbe responded that in fact we have seen miracles happen for individuals, especially in recent years!

Look: after a car crash of such proportions, the Chabad rabbi from Einstein survives it with relatively minor injuries.

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This past Tuesday, the 3rd day of the Jewish month of Tammuz (June 11, 2013), was the Rebbe’s 19th yahrtzeit (anniversary of passing). During his lifetime, the Rebbe dispatched emissaries to communities across the globe, near and far. The Rebbe’s vision of reaching every Jew, whoever they are and wherever they were, was based on the verse, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

While it may not be a miracle, people know that just about everywhere they go, there is a Chabad House. I feel personally privileged to be a part of this great network of emissaries.

Earlier this week, I spent about an hour contacting various Chabad centers across Europe:  Barcelona, Venice, Rome and more. Some Queens College students and alumni will be travelling this summer, and would like to enjoy Shabbat meals with Chabad.

Friends, neither Tzipah nor I were privileged to have met the Rebbe in his lifetime.  We encountered the Rebbe through his worldwide shluchim, his emissaries.  In the spirit of Ahavat Yisrael, love of our fellow, these representatives around the world continue the Rebbe’s work and directives.

When Chassidim speak of a connection to their Rebbe, they are not referring to his beautiful face, sparkling eyes, or smile that embraced the world.  Rather, it is the Rebbe’s neshama, soul, which reaches out to everyone, empowering leaders and initiating a campaign of light.  Before the days of television, phone or the internet, Chassidim maintained deep relationships with their Rebbe, with little or no means of communication.  Even while the Rebbe was still living, he transcended his mere physical being.  For this reason, Chassidim often speak of the Rebbe in the present tense.

Today we do not spend our Sundays — as many did — waiting in line for hours to receive a dollar from the Rebbe to give to tzedakah, charity.  We no longer wait all night for a personal meeting with the Rebbe.  Today, visiting the over 3500 Chabad Houses across the globe, we feel the presence of the Rebbe and yearn to tap into that essential soul connection.

In November 2004, Tzipah and I moved to Kew Gardens Hills to establish another link in this glorious chain at Queens College.  We pray and hope that our campus programming make the Rebbe proud.

In honor of this auspicious day, I invite you to partner with us in this holy work. You can make a secure online donation (credit card or paypal) by clicking here. Alternatively, you can purchase tickets in our $10,000 fundraising raffle at QueensRaffle.com; all proceeds directly benefit the Chabad House.

Shabbat Shalom,