Remarks that the Rebbe said exactly 40 years ago about the Yarchei Kallah has moved the rabbis currently participating.
By COLlive reporter
Photos by Shimi Kutner
A sicha said by the Rebbe exactly 40 years ago this Shabbos was received with reverence and excitement by the 60 rabbis attending the Global Yarchei Kallah in Upstate New York.
The Rebbe’s reference to the annual gathering of Torah learning made during a Farbrengen on Shabbos Parshas Ekev, 22 Menachem Av 5737, was largely unknown.
A copy of the sicha was found by a Shliach on Friday morning and sent to Rabbi Avraham Shemtov, Chairman of Agudas Chassidei Chabad International who began organizing the Yarchei Kallah in 5734.
The Yarchei Kallah was founded and is annually held in honor of Chof Av, yartzeit of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Schneerson OBM, the father of the Rebbe who passed away following Soviet exile.
The Rebbe viewed the Yarchei Kallah gathering, hosted by Camp Gan Israel in Parksville, NY, as his personal fulfillment of the positive Mitzvah of the Torah of Kibud Av, honoring one’s parents.
When Mexico’s Chief Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Hirschberg mentioned the Yarchei Kallah, the Rebbe said the mitzvah of honoring one’s parents continues even after their passing and that the ultimate honor that can be paid is the study of the Torah.
The Rebbe said that it was hashgacha protis that the chassidim weren’t told that the Rebbe would be holding a farbrengen that Shabbos so that they wouldn’t be held back from participating in the Yarchei Kallah.
Yarchei Kallah is sponsored by Mr. Ronald Perelman, a person whose efforts to preserve, perpetuate, and enhance our Jewish heritage led to the Lubavitcher Rebbe recognizing to him as “my partner.”
What an exciting day it was, as campers packed up their sleeping bags, tents, flashlights, and anything else you need to spend the night camping out. They were headed towards the camp site when all of the sudden the bus driver had to make an emergency detour- BOWLING!!!!- Continue reading “Bowling/Bevouak!!!”
With drones, rappelling off buildings, and jumping through fire how much better can you ask for?! For days this play was being worked on all day and all night, whether it was building, painting, planning, writing, or sewing every staff member was involved to give the campers the show of a lifetime. Continue reading “Staff Play!!”
In preparation for the awesome day of Chof Av campers partook in a rally in camp where there was an animated video about the important significance and meaning of the day, as well as what should be done and how. They also heard a few sichos from the Rebbe regarding his father- R’ Levi Yitzchak’s yartzheit. Later that evening campers were given pens and papers to write a פ”נ to the Rebbe, after a short talk by Rabbi Barris on his personal experiences with the Rebbe by Chof Av. Continue reading “-Chof Av-“
Wow was it crazy! Eli Marcus came to camp for a crazy concert. With a smoke machine and lights campers and staff alike were dancing like they’ve never danced before. It started with a few camp songs but picked up to everyone’s favorite songs. Everyone had an amazing time and was exhausted when it was over.
Among the Chabad rabbis attending the Global Yarchei Kallah was one Rosh Yeshiva whose journey was particularly challenging…
Photos by Shimi Kutner
He was given a mere two-hours’ notice to prepare for an upcoming flight, but Rabbi Leibel Shuchat—Rosh Yeshiva Guedola de Venezuela in Caracas—managed to pack up and take off.
His destination: the Catskill Mountains in New York, site of the annual scholarly international summit known as Yarchei Kallah.
What was previously a five-hour nonstop flight from the Simón Bolívar International Airport to any one of New York City’s major airports has now become a lengthy ordeal. A growing number of air carriers, including Delta, United and Colombia’s flagship Avianca, have recently suspended service to Venezuela.
Nevertheless, the rabbi insisted on joining his colleagues from around the world at Camp Gan Israel in Parksville, N.Y., for the high-level annual conference, which includes intense study and scholarly discussion.
After days of uncertainty, it seemed that his only option would be to fly across the Atlantic to Madrid, Spain, from where he would again traverse the ocean by plane to New York, a staggering 17-hour journey.
But just before midnight on Monday, a flight was found on Copa Airlines that would take him to New York via Panama.
The catch was that it was leaving the following morning at 6 a.m. Since Venezuela has more than five separate security checkpoints at the airport, the rabbi would need to be there four hours beforehand. He was left with little time to pack his tallis, tefillin and other essentials before zipping off to the airport.
Speaking from New York, the rabbi says he plans to utilize the time for study and preparation for his presentation at the conference on the specific legalities of “writing a ketubah [marriage contract] for a Friday wedding.”
“This is a time of year when I get to speak to people about subjects that are close to me,” explains the Brooklyn-born rabbi, who has lived in Venezuela since 1985 and has made it a point to attend the Yarchei Kallah event at Camp Gan Yisroel Parksville NY.
“Every conversation is centered around Torah texts, Talmud, Jewish law and Chassidic teachings. It’s something I really enjoy and look forward to—and I wouldn’t want to miss it.”
Rabbi Shuchat’s dedication seems fitting for an annual conference held in observance of the yahrtzeit, or anniversary of passing, of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, who served as chief rabbi of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, during some of the harshest periods of Soviet-era conditions.
Rabbi Schneerson, father of the Lubavitcher Rebbe was known for being a fearless leader of the Jewish people and a champion of Judaism during that trying time, as well as an extraordinary scholar of Kabbalah and Talmud.
“The Rebbe seemed to consider Yarchei Kallah to be an actual part of his fulfillment of the mitzvah to honor his father on the day of his passing,” says Rabbi Abraham Shemtov, chairman of Agudas Chassidei Chabad and spiritual director of Camp Gan Israel, where this gathering was initiated 43 years ago.
Rabbi Shemtov pointed to the Rebbe’s words of appreciation to participant Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Hershberg, the chief rabbi of Mexico, stating that this is related to the commandment to “honor your father,” also in the afterlife, as stated in the book of Zohar.
He added that he was moved by the resolve of Rabbi Shuchat to attend.
“The esteemed guests of the Yarchei Kallah also embody the everlasting example set forth by the Rebbe’s father,” said Rabbi Shemtov. “While most may not face the same life-threatening dangers as he did, their commitment to education and Torah remains steadfast.”
This year nearly 60 participants are expected for the extended weekend conference, hailing from the United States, Canada, Israel, France, England, Argentina, South Africa and Russia.
Open to the wider public is the festive melaveh malka meal that follows Shabbat and concludes the conference. The program will include remarks by Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Segal, renowned mashpia in Jerusalem, and Rabbi Eliezer Shemtov, author and Shliach in Uruguay.
It will take place Motzoei Shabbos, Aug. 12, at 10:30 p.m., at the main shul in Camp Gan Israel, 487 Parksville Road, Parksville, NY 12768.