The howling winds and drenching rain didn’t deter the crowd from participating in the annual Yud Tes Kislev seudah and farbrengen arranged by Chabad of Far Rockaway under the leadership of Rabbi Pesach Schmerling. The event was generously sponsored by Russo’s Pharmacy.
The 19th of Kislev marks the yahrzeit of Rabbi Dovber, the Maggid of Mezritch and successor of the Ba’al Shem Tov, and the day on which his student, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the author of Tanya and Shulchan Aruch HaRav, founder of Chabad chassidus, was liberated from Czarist imprisonment.
This day was referred to by Rabbi Shalom Dovber of Lubavitch (the fifth Rebbe of Chabad) as the “Rosh Hashanah of Chassidus,” a day on which thousands of Jews all over the world get together and focus on the teachings of chassidus and how they enhance and enliven all aspects of avodas Hashem, and take on to join an existing, or start a new, shiur in the teachings of chassidus.
This year’s guest speaker was Rabbi Chaim Schochet, the rav of K’hal Anshei Sefard in Wesley Hills, New York. Rabbi Schochet is a much sought-after lecturer, who speaks on a variety of Torah topics, halachah, as well as machshavah and chassidus. He captivated the crowd with words of Torah and inspirational stories for three hours, concluding with encouraging the participants to translate the inspiration into practice, to learn chassidus, and serve Hashem with the fire of their G-dly souls.