Several communities are bringing groups to spend shabbos at the ohel. The impact of the environment has led to the inspiration for real change for those who attend.
On Erev Shabbos, Tes Kislev, the Ohel was bustling with activity as dozens of Anash from Florida arrived to share special Shabbos with members of their communities. It was an uplifting marathon of learning, davening and farbrenging. Participants bonded together and deepened their Hiskashrus to the Rebbe.
While traveling to the Rebbe was always a vital element of Hiskashrus, this special weekend was uniquely appropriate during this year of Hakhel, in which bringing Yidden together under the banner of Torah and Chassidus is the call of the hour. The unique value these gatherings have are especially potent when experienced in the Rebbe’s presence.
Composed of members of the blossoming Anash community of Inverrary, FL, it was the culmination of a process that began several years before. “Prior to Covid, I used to farbreng with yungeleit here very frequently about the importance of spending time by the Rebbe, and the idea of making a community trip for a Shabbos came up. As it was being planned, the pandemic hit, and this project was temporarily shelved” says Rabbi Chezky Unsdorfer, who spearheaded the trip “After one uplifting Sukkos farbrengen this Tishrei, I decided that it was time to make this dream a reality, so we decided on a date and got the ball rolling”
After settling into the comfortable quarters prepared for them and getting ready for Shabbos, the visitors were helped to absorb the immense spiritual energy of special guest speakers and farbrengens. With Shiurim from Rabbis Menachem Shechter and Binyomin Perlstien of the Lubavitch Mesivta of Chicago-which also came to spend this Shabbos with the Rebbe- on Friday night and Shabbos morning respectively, and two marathon farbrengens with Rabbi Yossel Katzman of Crown Heights, the audience came out of Shabbos on a spiritual high. Its impact pronounced, Rabbi Unsdorfer shared with us some of the feedback he has gotten “I’ve heard from several households of the participants conveying the general change they see in their husbands and fathers, of the practical family hachlatos that resulted from the trip, and the general increase of the primacy of Hiskashrus and Chassidishkeit in their lives. People are already talking about making this trip an annual event and encouraging others to make the trip themselves”.
The following Shabbos (Vayishlach) saw yet another Anash group from Florida who came to spend Shabbos with the Rebbe, this time from North Miami Beach. The group was led in its learning and farbrengens by Rabbi Velvel Lipsker, and was the fourth annual trip from that community. It grew from 12 participants in its first year to 42 this year “This trip provides an incredible opportunity for the balebatim to disconnect from the distractions of Olam Hazeh for a full 24 hours and tap into the reservoirs of kedusha available in the Rebbe’s daled amos. The warmth of the farbrengens and the hachlatos they make carry them from one trip to the next. Additionally, it strengthens the bonds of achdus and community between those who join in a truly remarkable way” said Rabbi Eli Laufer, organizer of the trip “It has become a highlight of the year for so many of our Yungeleit. The increasing number of participants each year attests to the power. It’s a whirlwind of inspiration and growth that continues to attract”.
GroupsToOhel.com is a project of Vaad Or Vechom Hahiskashrus and is geared to aid groups in arranging visits to the Ohel.