Sunday, March 10, 2013

A 33-Year Story of the Rebbe

About 33 years ago, Rabbi Zalman Gafni was setting up a special Yeshiva in Kfar Chabad to draw Jews closer to religiosity. During a visit to New York, on Simchat Torah 5730, Gafni succeeded in bobbing his way inside the large and packed crowd in 770, to find a place next to where the Rebbe would be praying at his platform.

When the Rebbe began to descend the steps to make his way to accept the sefer Torah, to take the first round of Hakafot, a path among the congregants opened up and the Rebbe walked into it. When he was next to Gafni, the Rebbe stopped, and in a loud voice and with a very broad smile, the Rebbe said to him, "There should be a joyous occasion for the entire Kollel!"

"I thought I didn't hear correctly because of the overcrowding and excitement", said Gafni. "So I asked the people next to me and each one said, 'That's exactly what the Rebbe said.' I myself had no idea what the Rebbe was referring to. At that time I was extremely involved with building up my Yeshiva; I had no other plans at all to think about."

The Rebbe's statement became engraved in Rabbi Gafni's mind. For years he sought to decipher what the Rebbe meant with that mysterious statement.

Six years ago, changes in his life began to materialize. His son, Rabbi Yosef Yitschok, was picked to lead the well-respected Kollel "Ohel Moshe" in the ancient city of Tsfat. "Suddenly", said Rabbi Gafni, "it donned on me what the Rebbe meant." Nonetheless, Rabbi Gafni continued to work as usual in his Yeshiva in Kfar Chabad. Only a few weeks ago did Rabbi Gafni and his wife take their belongings and move to Tsfat. He was to take up the new position at his son's Kollel as a Mashpia there.

He told this story in the 1st celebration at his new post. Things finally came full circle after 33 years.
Story in Hebrew here.

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