Two Words

Shalom Aleichem!

Over the past Shabbat (June 28-July 1, 2013), I was privileged to participate in the annual Chabad On Campus International Convention. Chabad, as always, is a family affair, and I was joined by 148 rabbis & rebbetzins, who brought 430 children with us (and 105 childcare staff). There are 190 full-time student centers. Although it was a business conference, anyone who knows Chabad, knows that for us, business is pleasure. Campus Kinus Farbrengen

The day began at 6:30 every morning, and concluded in the wee hours of the morning. Sessions on programming, counseling, fundraising, and everything else relevant to the life of a Chabad rabbi or rebbetzin on campus. There is a full-functioning camp for the kids; my children look forward to it the entire year.

I would like to share with you what was, in my opinion, the highlight of the entire conference — hands down.

Rabbi Shmuel Posner, senior Shliach to Boston University, recounted his experiences in being selected to represent the Rebbe at BU, bringing students to meet the Rebbe during his lifetime, and how his work continues today.

About a year after his marriage, he was approached by a Shliach in Boston, who told him that they were looking for someone to take over the Chabad House at BU. As was common practice, he wrote a note to the Rebbe, indicating three places that had been proposed to them. Rabbi Posner wrote in his note that he felt that two of them were not a good fit for him and his wife, and they felt that BU would work. After writing that he wanted to go to BU, he added the words (in Hebrew), “And my wife agrees with me.”

He awaited the Rebbe’s response.

As the Rebbe often did, he made comments on the original note, and had it returned to Rabbi Posner. The Rebbe wrote two Hebrew words: וכן יעשה – And that’s what you should do. Additionally, the Rebbe underlined the words “And my wife agrees with me.”

Rabbi Shmuel and Chani Posner moved to Boston.

Sruli & Mendel cotton candyA four-hour drive to New York, the Posners often brought college students to meet the Rebbe. Sometimes it was to experience a Farbrengen with the Rebbe; other times, they would come on Sundays to receive a dollar and a blessing from the Rebbe (the Rebbe would distribute dollar bills on Sundays, to be given to charity — the idea was that when two people meet, something good should come out of it for a third).

Each step along the way, the two Hebrew words וכן יעשה – And that’s what you should do — echoed in his mind. Keep your eye on the goal; know what you need to do, and do it.

Things changed when the Rebbe passed away in 1994; but the two words remained.

The emotion was palpable as Rabbi Posner spoke; there was not a dry eye in the room.

19 years after his passing, the Rebbe’s clarion call is louder than ever. Tzipah and I, the Rebbe’s emissaries to Queens College, never even met him.

Shabbat Shalom,