Watch: One of the familiar figures from the Rebbe’s Kos Shel Bracha was Russian cantor Zvi Grusha Tsatskis. In a special presentation, he recalls when the Rebbe had him share an old Russian song celebrating Jewish faith and identity.
Of all the special moments the Rebbe would share with the Chassidim, perhaps the most exciting was the distribution of the “Kos Shel Bracha – Cup of Blessing”.
At the conclusion of the major holidays, the Rebbe would stand for hours pouring wine from his havdalah cup to tens of hundreds of Jews filing by.
The event was always marked with great joy and lively singing by the huge crowds who had swelled 770 for the holidays, encouraged by the Rebbe with remarkable vigour.
On many occasions, the Rebbe would even single out individuals to lead the Chassidim in song. One such person was Russian cantor Zvi Grusha Tsatskis.
Born in 1938, Cantor Tsatskis emigrated in 1971 from Tatarstan where he and his family were educated by the underground Lubavitch network.
In this festive JEM presentation, Cantor Tsatskis recalls a post Simchas Torah Kos Shel Bracha where the Rebbe had him share an old Russian song celebrating Jewish faith and identity.
Under normal circumstances such an occasion may have been bittersweet. The reality of having to leave the holidays with the Rebbe and reintegrate with the mundane world could have cloaked the evening in melancholy. Yet for those who were privileged to be present, Kos Shel Bracha was often more lively and joyous than the holiday which preceded it. For in lieu of the Rebbe’s positive gestalt, darkness was transformed to light and bitter replaced by a double portion of sweet.