In honor of the Yartzeit of Rabbi Rami Antian, OB”M, on Shmini Azeret we are publishing a memoir written by R’ Rami, about Simchas-Torah by the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach Shlita. Translated and annotated by his son Ovadia Antian.
His family found this memoir – which is full of authentic Chassidic feeling – after his passing. (This memoir was likely written after his first Simchas Torah by the Rebbe, which was probably in year 5737.)
Those were such wonderful moments, which you wanted to bundle and embrace for ever and ever, images that flicker in slow-motion on the screen of your mind, and you want to seize them and become engulfed in them over and over again.
Simchas Torah. Yes, I was there, in Lubavitch, in Beis-Chayenu, and I refuse to part. I sail again and again to those climactic moments to which I feel I belong, aaaach… Rebbe, Rebbe.
Erev Simchas Torah. Rain strikes the streets of Crown Heights and doesn’t skip the thousands of Chassidim rushing to the Beis Medrash . Small streams flow from the hats and within a short period you’re engulfed in a stormy and clamorous crowd of Chassidim. The inhumane congestion is indescribable. Elbows pressed into you threaten to crack you. The crowd of Chassidim hangs in swarms, as though descending from the ceiling to the floor, which is in any event jammed to the point of suffocation …
And in inexplicable phenomenon, a vapor rises from the floor to the ceiling where mighty air-conditioners are installed. Perhaps the air-conditioning vapors are colliding with the sweat of the people and their hats – which are wet to the marrow.
And in one moment the pressure grows sevenfold. The Nassi ascends the Bimah in the Mizrach. Everything is forgotten, the body disappears, only the Neshama observes the Nassi HaDor who, in powerful motions raises the crowd of Chassidim onto a cloud of Simcha that doesn’t stop for the next 48 hours. The roars of Atah Horaisa threaten to shatter the ceiling. Hoshiah Es Amecha … Ufaratzta…
Am I dreaming? – I ask myself, as I sail in a vision that is out of this world. As the Rebbe ascends the central Bimah with the Sefer Torah in his hands, tears well up in my eyes. Suddenly all the stories about the Kohen Gadol coming out of Kodesh HaKodashim come alive; Moshe Rabeinu descending from the mountain; Dovid HaMelech dancing before Hashem. The Rebbe dances with the Sefer Torah, all those holy letters, which in reading turn to tangible vision. Ribbono Shel Olam, how beautiful this vision is.
And this inaudible conversation between the gaze of the Rebbe and the thousands of Chassidim; the Rebbe turns and surveys his children, one by one. I saw the whole world there. [Chassidim from] London, Italy, California and South Africa, and I thought to myself – he already conquered the world! Is there a corner in the world in which the Rebbe hasn’t yet set up a Chabad-House, Pre-Schools, Schools, Yeshivas and towns loyal to Hashem Yisborach. What a revolution he has made in the world.
The crowd’s roars – the Hakafos Niggun being sung by the Chassidim/Soldiers of the Rebbe woke me from this reverie…