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The Value of a Farbrengen

Friday, 28 June, 2019 - 12:17 pm

Anyone slightly familiar with the world of Chassidim has encountered the word Farbrengen. Farbrengen literally means a gathering – a coming together of multiple individuals. A gathering could take place for many reasons. A progrom is a gathering of people for a very negative purpose. A protest or demonstration is a gathering for a purpose whose value depends on which side of the issue one is. A sporting event is a gathering of people for a purpose that is useful bot not very lofty. A conference or trade exhibition is a valuable gathering of people for the purpose of advancing the particular field or industry. There are many more examples. What makes a Farbrengen special and why is the Farbrengen so central to Chassidic life?

The Farbrengen seeks to achieve two major goals and along the way also achieves some secondary goals. The first major goal is brotherhood and friendship. In Hayom Yom (a book of aphorisms for daily inspiration) the Rebbe cites the idea that the founding of the Chassidic movement was about love; the mutual love between the Rebbe and Chassidim and the love between the Chassidim themselves. When people gather in love to break bread and say L’chaim, this brings them closer. When you add to that, the dimension of caring for each other that arises from a Farbrengen, you increase the closeness significantly. At the Farbrengen the participants wish each other well. They may offer blessings to their fellow participants in areas of need in their lives. There is usually the signing of melodies that fosters a commonality of purpose as well. If the niggun is a joyous one the people feed off of each other’s joy. If the niggun is an introspective one, the introspection is heightened by being with others who are similarly engaged.

The second major goal is inspiration and growth in the service of Hashem. At a Farbrengen someone or multiple persons share a thought, an idea or a concept, maybe a story or a parable, all for the purpose of uplifting and elevating the participants in their devotion to Hashem through the study of Torah and fulfillment of Mitzvot. Often the speaker will inspire the listeners to seek a greater sense of refinement of character or a broader openness to caring for others. These two major goals feed off of each other, and are dependent on each other. When one senses the love of another, one is receptive to their encouragement for self-betterment. A fringe benefit of a Farbrengen is Simcha – joy. The camaraderie, the singing and the general feeling of elevation results in a deepened sense of happiness for all who partake.

Please join Chabad of Louisiana on Sunday night (June 30) at 7 pm for a Farbrengen to be held at Chabad Metairie. This Farbrengen is open to the entire community as we prepare for Gimmel Tammuz next Shabbat, marking 25 years since the Rebbe’s physical passing. Though the void is painful, the Rebbe’s leadership and inspiration continues to grow and develop as is evident by the growth of Chabad worldwide. A special video presentation entitled Hidden Treasures will be shown. We look forward to “Farbrenging” with you.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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