Our New Baby’s Namesake

Shalom aleichem!

Mazel tov to QC alum Brian Linder on his engagement to Esther Sosnowik! After Hurricane Sandy, Brian joined me and some other students and alumni to help clean up Oceanside and Long Beach. Click here to read about that experience.

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As you know, we were recently blessed with a baby boy. Thank G-d, everyone is doing great!We named him Shneur Zalman, after the first Chabad Rebbe. So far, we’re calling him Zalmy 🙂

Since Thursday was the yahrzeit of the famed Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (in Chabad circles, we call him the Alter Rebbe, which is Yiddish for “Old Rabbi”), I thought that I would take this opportunity to share a story about our baby Zalmy’s namesake.

When Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk — teacher and mentor of the Alter Rebbe — wanted to move to Israel in 1777, he wanted the Alter Rebbe to join him. Many others were set to join.

When Rabbi Menachem Mendel, the Alter Rebbe and their entourage arrived at the dwelling of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye (a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov), Rabbi Yaakov Yosef asked Rabbi Menachem Mendel where he intended to travel.

“To the Holy Land,” responded Rabbi Menachem Mendel.

“Where is the young man who is destined to illuminate the world from beginning to end?”

Both men looked towards the Alter Rebbe.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel understood from the question and gesture of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, that the Alter Rebbe was to remain behind.

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What is the point of this story?

As far as I understand, the point of this story is that each of us has something to accomplish in life. Nothing happens by happenstance, and we should ask ourselves if we have illuminated our environs, before moving on to another locale (even the Holy Land)!

Shavua tov,