Getting to know G-d, really.


 Number 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, New York, known to thousands as
simply "770", is home to Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters. The building
houses dozens of offices, a study-hall, and of course a large synagogue. It
is the place where Rebbe gave his talks and farbrengens and handed out
dollars. From 770, the Rebbe sent out his emissaries, building the largest
spiritual army in history which today covers a large portion of the globe.
Simply put, 770 is the hub of Chabad.

After studying in Israel for a few years, in the year 2000 I headed to
Brooklyn to study in 770. I vividly recall one evening in particular. The
dormitory where I had been staying temporarily was overcrowded, my friend's
basement apartment was full, and the apartment I would be moving to in a
few days was not yet ready. So what did I do? I went to 770, which is open
and occupied 24 hours a day, pushed a couple of benches together, and went
to sleep. I felt safe. I felt at home.

More than a building or a synagogue, 770 is a magnet, a compass, drawing
people in. I studied in 770 for about 8 years. I spent hundreds of hours
poring over holy texts; hashing out Talmudic debates. I spent many a night
in that study hall, deep in Chassidic discussion, often till the wee hours
of the morning. This is the place I could forget about the rest of the
world and meditate for hours about the greatness of G-d.

Whenever I come to Crown Heights I make a point of bringing my kids into
770 because 770 is such a holy place. It is my spiritual home.

But two days ago, the safety and security we've always felt in our home
away from home, 770, was brutally shattered when a knife-wielding man
violently stabbed 22-year-old Israeli student Levi Rosenblatt* in the neck.
Thank G-d, Levi is recovering and will be ok, but to have a horrific attack
like this in 770 is unimaginable. Understandably, we are all reeling.

Clearly, the spiritual forces of darkness are waging war, desperately
trying to subdue us.

But this week in particular we celebrate the triumph of Chassidism and
light over those who sought to destroy it. The 19th of Kislev is known as
the Rosh Hashanah of Chassidism. On this day, the founder of the Chabad
movement, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, was released from prison (where he
had been imprisoned due to false accusations) and allowed to continue
spreading his teachings. When he returned home, he explained that his
release from prison was not only a personal victory, but a spiritual one as
well. In the heavenly realms, the forces of evil were trying to prevent the
dissemination of Chassidism, and the Rebbe's physical release from prison
represented the victory of holiness, purity and light over darkness.

Today, we stand on the cusp of redemption, ready for Moshiach, and so once
more we battle the evil forces that would like nothing better than to see
us fail. But we cannot be subdued. As we celebrate the 19th of Kislev this
week, and Chanukah next week, we will continue to add light, love, kindness
and generosity to the world, until we manage to vanquish the darkness

*Please continue to pray for Levi Yitzchak ben Raizel. May he have a full
and speedy recovery

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Uriel Vigler

True leadership

 Imagine a true leader. Now ask yourself, what would be an offer he can't refuse? 2:11

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