What Two Bochurim Did When Offered a Tour of Europe

Ever since the Rebbe requested that the Tanya be printed wherever Yidden live, thousands of editions have been printed around the globe. One more country was just checked off the list, thanks to two dynamic bochurim.

By Anash.org reporter

When offered a chance to take a tour of Europe, two bochurim simply saw it as a chance to spread Yiddishkeit. They ended up printing a Tanya in one of the only countries where it had yet to be done.

The two bochurim Mendel Bleich of Wellesley Weston, Massachusetts, and his cousin Menachem Schapiro of Hoboken NJ, traveled to Irshava, Ukraine, to bring the Yom Tov of Pesach to refugees who had escaped their homes due to the ongoing Russian invasion.

The refugee camp was being run by the official Kyiv Jewish community, headed by Rabbi Yaakov Bleich of Kyiv. Yet despite the camp not being run by Chabad, the organizers decided to bring down two Lubavitcher bochurim to run the seder, as most of the refugees only exposure to Yiddishkeit was through the Chabad Houses in their home towns.

The two bochurim originally planned to stay for only the first two days of Pesach. But after seeing the response they got, they decided to remain for the entire Yom Tov. During Chol Hamoed, a farbrengen was held to mark 120 years since the Rebbe’s bris with over 30 attendees, and Yom Tov concluded with a grand Moshiach’s Seudah which saw over 250 people attend!

After the conclusion of Pesach, there remained two days until the bochurim’s flight back home to USA. The administrators of the refugee camp, assuming that the bochurim would want to tour Europe, arranged a trip for them.

“As chassidim, we know that every move can, and does, affect the imminent arrival of Moshaich. So if we had two days, we had to find an activity that would help spread Yiddishkeit and Chassidus,” Bleich told Anash.org.

What they found was an opportunity to fulfill the Rebbe’s request in one of the few countries where it had yet to be completed.

Throughout the year, Bleich is involved in printing Tanyas around the USA, and other locations as well. The printings are in line with the Rebbe’s directive to print the holy sefer wherever Yidden can be found.

At first, in 5738, the Rebbe asked for Tanya to be printed in every country. A number of years later, the Rebbe asked that it be printed in every city where Yidden live. Since then, thousands of editions of Tanya have been printed, and the number keeps on growing.

As one who has been involved in numerous printings, including most recently the 8,000th edition of Tanya printed in 770, Bleich keeps a list of locations where Tanya was printed, and locations that have yet to be “conquered”. While on their trip through Europe, he decided to take a glance at the list. He found that the country of Slovenia never had a Tanya printed in it.

“With no flights to or from Ukraine since the war started, we were flying through Budapest. Slovenia is a neighboring country, so we had the perfect opportunity to visit and print a Tanya,” Bleich said.

Slovenia has a few hundred Jews living in the country, but does not have a shliach of their own. Instead, they are served by the Shliach to Trieste, Italy. It would take a 10 hour drive, as well as a search for a printing press to fulfill their mission, but that was not nearly enough to deter the bochurim, and they set off.

After arriving and speaking to four printers, they finally found one who was able to do it, and the printing began. After the printing concluded, the bochurim took the freshly printed galleys, packed them into boxes and immediately headed back to catch their flight to New York.

The boxes continued with them to New York, where they were sent to a binder to be bound. A number of copies will be sent back to the community, to allow them to study from locally printed Tanyas.

So instead of enjoying themselves and touring Europe, the bochurim were zoche to fulfill a request from the Rebbe, which had waited from 5738 for two bochurim to keep their eyes open for an opportunity…

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