Give the Rebbe a Gift

Thursday, 31 March, 2022 - 11:55 pm

What birthday present would you give to a person who has no need nor appreciation for “stuff?”

When Chassidim considered this question in anticipation of the Rebbe’s birthdays over the years, they concluded that the best present would be the gift of an increase in Torah learning, mitzvah observance, and advancing the Rebbe’s efforts to reach every Jew in love. As the Rebbe’s 70th birthday drew near in 1972, the Rebbe addressed the sentiments of so many who wished to give him a present for that special occasion. He confirmed that resolutions of an increase in personal Torah and Mitzvahs brought him great pleasure. He acknowledged that intensifying the work of Chabad on an individual level as well as movement wide, were gifts that would be greatly welcomed. In fact, he launched an initiative to establish 71 new institutions over the coming year.

This year, we are celebrating the Rebbe’s 120th birthday. In addition to the individual gifts that people who have been touched by the Rebbe’s inspiration and teachings will be offering, we wanted to do something community wide. The Director of Chabad of Louisiana, my father, Rabbi Zelig Rivkin, with the encouragement and support of Richard and Vivian Cahn of the Cahn Family Foundation, resolved to significantly expand the distribution of Shmura Matzah in our community. This is a project that was an initiative of the Rebbe’s in the early 1950s. This year, over 1,100 households in Louisiana will receive a box of this hand baked Shmura Matzah to use at their Seder. Shmura Matzah is Matzah made from flour that was guarded from the time of the grain harvest until the moment it is mixed with water and baked in under 18 minutes. This is the ideal Matzah to be used at the Seder. The Rebbe wanted every Jew to have the benefit of using this special Matzah at their Seder.

We need partnership for this project to be a success. I speak not of financial support. We thank the Cahn family for generously underwriting the project. We need volunteers to help deliver the Matzah between now and Passover. If you would like to be a part of our communal gift to the Rebbe, please let me know that we can count on you to get Matzahs into homes in time for Pesach. You will also be giving yourself the gift of knowing that you enhanced the Pesach of so many in our community. Bringing the joy and meaning of Pesach to another, is the channel for Hashem’s blessing of a meaningful and joyous Pesach. May we all experience the true freedom and liberation from everything that is holding us down as individuals and as a society.

I look forward to hearing from you!
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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