The Rebbe’s Letter Arrived 54 Years Late…Right on Time

In 5728, the Rebbe sent a letter to Rabbi Shimon Elituv, but due to a change of address, the letter was returned to sender. 54 years later, during the shloshim after his passing, the letter finally arrived, with a timely message. 

By reporter

Right on time, after 54 years.

Three weeks after the passing of Rabbi Shimon Elituv, while his family was still in the shloshim period, a letter that the Rebbe had sent him finally arrived, with a message more relevant than ever.

The Rebbe’s letter, written on Hey Av, 5728, was addressed to Rabbi Elituv, then a young mechanech and shochet. The Rebbe first acknowledges his letter and pan, writing that the pan would be read by the tziyon of the Frierdiker Rebbe. The letter then continues with a “standard” text, the michtov kloli-proti for that month, which was sent to many individuals with slight variations.

Drawing on the name of the month – Menachem Av, the Rebbe writes his fervent hope that Hashem, our merciful father – אב הרחמן ואב הרחמים, will comfort the Jewish people a double comfort.

While the letter was dispatched at the time to Rabbi Elituv’s address in Yerushalayim, it never arrived. At the time, Rabbi Elituv had already immigrated to Romania, where he would spend the next couple of years serving as a shochet. The letter was stamped “return to sender,” and made its way back to 770 in New York.

Over five decades passed, and on Gimmel Shevat 5783, Rabbi Elituv passed away, after having served for decades as an educator in Argentina and Eretz Yisroel, a Chabad rov, and a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council of Israel.

Three weeks later, on Tuesday, 23 Shevat, his son, Rabbi Yossi Elituv, editor of the ‘Mishpacha’ magazine, received a phone call.

“Just a short while ago, an individual who was close to the Rebbe called me with some news: He had chanced upon a letter of the Rebbe to my father, which had never arrived,” the junior Elituv wrote.

The letter was the same letter from 5728, which discusses the comfort that comes from Hashem, a message that could not be more timely than for when the family so desperately needed comfort.

“It seems like the time has finally arrived for the letter to reach its destination,” the voice on the other end of the line told him. “I am sending you the letter with shaking hands. Or, more accurately, the Rebbe is sending your family a letter of consolation.”

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