The following is a true story shared by veteran educator Rabbi Shalom Avtzon in honor of Lag B’Omer which is synonymous with Ahavas Yisroel – Love for a Fellow Jew. It was related to him by a woman named Malka about one of her incredible interactions with the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
The following is very unclear to me, it took place decades ago, but seems important to share. I will write it to the best of my recollection and understanding. I hesitated to even share this because I might have misunderstood some of the conversation but I am sharing based on my understanding and recollections. For whatever it is worth, here is the third vivid memory: [The previous two stories were about Pesach Sheini and about the power of Music].
The year after the Rebbe added the new Mitzva campaign of Ahavas Yisroel (I do not recall the year) [it was 1976 -SA], I had the nerve of asking him, “Rebbe, all the other Mitzva campaigns are practical mitzvos – a practice of a specific mitzva, but this new campaign of Ahavas Yisroel is basically theoretical and generalization without any specific act in mind?”
The Rebbe looked very surprised and said something like, “Theoretical?! Since the 6-days of Creation Hashem is busy making shidduchim. The practical application of Ahavas Yisroel is to help make shidduchim.” (I am unsure of the exact answer but this is my understanding).
I asked, “Isn’t shidduchim just another among many types of chessed?”
He answered something like, “No, Chazal tell us that the entire reason a man and women must meet before they marry is V’Ahavta L’rayacha Komocha – a shadchan helps facilitate this meeting.” (I am unsure of the exact meaning of his answer, but this is my recollection).
I asked jokingly, “So you want all chassidim to become matchmakers?!”
He became very serious and replied something like, “The first chosid of a “Rebbe” was Eliezer, the servant of Avraham. His defining legacy was being a shadchan, making a shidduch! Making shidduchim is the truest expression of Ahavas Yisroel and of being a chosid. It allows humans to partner with Hashem in His Holy work of making shidduchim. It helps bring down the souls needed to hasten Moshiach. And for the shluchim it will help combat the ravages of intermarriage which does the opposite of hastening Moshiach. Those that involve themselves in this Ahavas Yisroel will be blessed with abundance of success, material and spiritual wealth. That is a practical expression of Ahavas Yisroel that hastens Moshiach, a time when the possuk says: Od yishoma kol chosson v’kol kallah – a refrence to shidduchim” (Again, I am really unsure of the exact words or message but this is my understanding).
I asked/commented, “But not every chosid has the ability to be a shaddchan! Some don’t even know how to do it! They have no experience with making shidduchim! They wouldn’t even know how to begin!”
He responded, “Do you think Eliezer was an experienced shaddchan? Not at all. But he was a chosid and he knew he needed to become a shadchan, so he prayed that Hashem should help him. It worked for him, (Rebbe smiled) and he made a good shidduch for Yitzchok. With prayer, everyone can and must become a shadchan. That is the practical application of Ahavas Yisroel.”
Although I put “quotations” – these were for sure not the EXACT words and I am really unsure if those were the meaning of his words – this is merely what I understood.
My own thoughts: This was well before the concerns over “shidduch crisis” or the current extreme high level of intermarriage. In hindsight we can see from this the far reaching foresight of a true leader who sees and plans ahead and preempts solutions, and it is all part of his master plan to hasten the coming of Moshiach.
We all have the ability to look out for another. In honor of Lag B’Omer, let us all take 5 minutes a day to think of even 1 shidduch suggestion. You may think you don’t have the expertise to present it nor the time to get involved. I therefore am offering anyone who has any credible suggestions to assist in presenting the suggestions and facilitating the shidduch.
5 minutes. That’s all it takes to think of a suggestion!!!
Let us all partake in the greatest mitzvah of all – the mitzvah equivalent to the entire Torah – Ahavas Yisroel – loving a fellow Jew who needs our help.
ARE YOU UP TO THE LAG B’OMER CHALLENGE???
If yes, email me a suggestion for a friend, a friend’s child or a relative with someone who you feel may be a suitable match. We will partner together to reenact Eliezer’s legacy – matchmaking!