Article by Rabbi Mendel Greisman: I was standing at the Kosel, surrounded by many thousands of fellow chassidim, dressed in Shabbos clothes. Here’s why it was incredibly inspiring, and what it meant to me.
By Rabbi Mendel Greisman
I have just gotten back to Arkansas from a quick visit to Eretz Yisroel, where I had the incredible zchus to participate in the Siyum of the 8th Children’s Sefer Torah.
If you don’t know me, my father, R’ Shmuel Greisman, was appointed in 5741, just a few days after the launch of Mivtzah Oís BiSefer Torah to run the Va’ad of the Children’s Sefer Torah with all that it entails: Manage the office, send out the certificates, arrange the actual writing and of course organize the actual Siyum.
As my father’s son, this Mivtzah has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. There were always forms, certificates, publications and conversations about the Sefer Torah campaign in our home; and until this day, I will routinely help out with something that needs to be done. Yet, for whatever reason, I was not able to attend any Siyum since 5746 and this was my first time at a Siyum in 37 years.
A lot has been said and written about this Mivtzah since the renewed hisorerus to finish it in Shnas Hakhel, and I’m sure you saw the pictures and read the coverage of the incredible Siyum celebration at the Kosel. I would like to share with you a thought that has been on my mind over the last few days, one I couldn’t stop thinking about.
I was standing at the Kosel, surrounded by many thousands of fellow Chasidim. The majority of them were dressed in Bigdei Shabbos and it was obvious that everyone felt a part of the Simcha, it was ‘their’ Simcha.
I can’t think past the amazing “Hu Bachayim” moment that took place over here. Think about it: Forty-two years after the campaign was started, close to thirty years since Gimmel Tammuz, and thousands upon thousands of chassidim – most of whom were born long after this Mivtzah has started – feel that the Siyum of this Sefer Torah is their Simcha – only because this was something that is dear to the Rebbe. No one forced them to come and stand for hours in the summer heat. They felt that this was something they wanted to do and somewhere they wanted to be, because as Chassidim, what is dear to their Rebbe is dear to them.
But what is so special about this particular Mivtzah that has brought out such a powerful show of Hiskashrus in such a beautiful way? We’re always involved in the Rebbe’s activities, yet such a show of Hiskashrus and achdus is rarely seen. What is the uniqueness of this Mivtzah?
What follows are my feelings only, and I share them with you with the hopes that you will be inspired as well.
I believe that there is something unique about this Mivtzah that we don’t find, at least overtly, in most other mivtzoim.
This Mivtzah is unique because it is ‘Kuloi Rebbe’. The Rebbe didn’t just pick something we should learn or a Mitzvah we should focus on; in this Mivtzah – the idea, the initiative, the execution, the design and the process were all done entirely by the Rebbe. The Rebbe’s involvement in this Sefer Torah campaign during its formative months – and the years that followed – was down to the detail in every part of the campaign. He told us how it should be done, where it should be written, how to buy the letters, what pictures should be on the certificate and he even drew out the design of the Mantle in his holy handwriting. And this is just a short sample of the many instructions of the Rebbe, some of which are detailed in the beautiful album that was published about this campaign a few years ago.
I don’t claim to know everything, but I cannot recall another Mivtzah where the Rebbe was involved with such a level of detail.
Did you know that the Rebbe wanted a report every single Friday from Pesach 5741 onwards, how many children were registered in the Sefer Torah, down to the individual child?
The Rebbe has invested so much of himself into this Mivtzah and perhaps this is why this Mivtzah was able to bring out such a unity amongst Anash and such a strong show of Hiskasrush, the likes of which we don’t see too often these days.
As my father’s son, I see firsthand how meticulously and how carefully every detail of the Rebbe’s instructions and horo’os are carried out to this day. It is no surprise that a Mivtzah that is Kuloi Rebbe has brought out such a thirst and yearning amongst the Chassidim. I can only imagine how much Nachas the Rebbe will have when these eight Sifrei Torah will be there, right outside the Har Habayis, when Moshiach comes speedily in our days.
On a practical note: One of the horo’os the Rebbe gave – that is carried out until this very day – is that each child should pay just one dollar for their letter. Even back then, the Rebbe said that the cost of the writing, correspondence, certificates and postage is at least two or three times that amount and you can only imagine what the costs are – per letter – 42 years later. Let me just say that the postage alone for mailing the certificate is often more than one dollar. Nevertheless, the Rebbe’s words are kept and the price remains one dollar to this day, necessitating the need for the va’ad to fundraise the remaining expenses to be able to carry out this campaign as the Rebbe wanted.
In the days leading up to the 2nd Siyum, the Rebbe requested that every chossid should participate in the Siyum physically, and if they cannot attend, they should support it financially. A campaign is underway to help raise the needed funds to cover the expenses of the Siyum and the mailing of the tens of thousands of certificates for the children that registered in the last few months. Please, open your heart for a campaign that is Kuloi Rebbe, and donate generously so you can fulfill the Rebbe’s request to participate גם בממונו, with your financial support.
Thank you very much.