Today is the Yartzeit of a special Chassid, R’ Itche Springer, OB”M. R’ Itche’s daily schedule reflected the sichos and horaos of the Rebbe. For years, he fought the Rebbe’s wars and worked hard to spread the Besuras HaGeula and the identity of the Goel. He was one of the Rebbe’s soldiers, a true mekushar. He had a youthful spirit like a Tamim in Tomchei T’mimim till his final day.
R’ Springer, despite his modesty, held numerous positions. He was the director of the Bedeck HaBayis organization that was commissioned with seeing to the upkeep of 770, chairman of the Shofar Association of America, a member of the Committee for Shleimus Ha’Am and the Movement for Religious Explanation in Israel, as well as a member of the boards of the Matteh HaOlami L’Havoas HaMoshiach and the Matteh HaOlami L’Hatzolas Ha’Am V’HaAretz.
“The Shofar Association was founded not long after the Mihu Yehudi imbroglio in 5730. It was founded after repeated cries from the Rebbe about the tragedy that the law would engender. The Rebbe spoke on this topic for hundreds of hours and one could not remain indifferent.”
The Rebbe said not to involve the name of Chabad, which is why R’ Springer called it the Shofar Association. Its function, like a shofar, was to raise a hue and cry. The organization did numerous things to raise public awareness of the problem of fictitious conversions. He protested through newspaper ads in Eretz Yisroel and the United States (until the prime minister at the time, Shimon Peres, expressed his anger over this). The organization worked to publicize the views of great rabbis from all over the world, arranged demonstrations, t’filla rallies, delegations to Knesset members and ministers who were going to vote on the issue, and publicize painful instances in which gentiles were registered as Jews.
R’ Springer also raised a hue and cry about giving away parts of Eretz Yisroel to our sworn enemies. He was also one of the main supporters of the Mobile Mitzva Tanks in Eretz Yisroel from when it began in 5737. R’ Dovid Nachshon, director of the Mobile Mitzva Tanks, would often consult with him.
In the summer of 5742, in the midst of the Lebanon war, R’ Springer went to Eretz Yisroel, with the Rebbe’s blessing, and joined the tanks’ activities with the Israeli soldiers in Lebanon. He even spent an entire Shabbos with the soldiers on the Syrian-Lebanese border.
During the Gulf War in 5751, the Rebbe spoke firmly about Eretz Yisroel being the safest place. R’ Springer wondered what else could be done to encourage the Jews of Eretz Yisroel. He came up with the idea of arranging a charter flight of hundreds of Chassidim and publicizing what the Rebbe said, all of it covered by the media. He wrote to the Rebbe and received a detailed response: To promote the cause as written in the Torah that the Jews here, in your city – with you at their head should increase in Torah and mitzvos b’pashtus (in actuality). And thanks when he will inform me how much was actually added. I will mention it at the gravesite.
Since the Rebbe told him to propagandize in his own city, he began to do so amongst the thousands of people who came to the Rebbe for a bracha and a dollar. He handed out cards with suggestions for good resolutions.
Over the years, R’ Itche distributed forms and put ads in the biggest newspapers in New York. The ads were designed in such a way that alongside asking everyone to increase in good deeds and mitzvos for the sake of those living in Eretz Yisroel, there was a form on which a person could check what he had committed to doing.
“Over the years, we submitted tens of thousands of good resolutions to the Rebbe (hundreds every week) and received many answers from the Rebbe.”
At a certain point, the headlines of the ads were changed to, “Give a Hand to Melech HaMoshiach,” which was considered quite daring.
“After the T’mimim petitioned me, I decided to revise the wording and with great hesitation I submitted a pile of forms to the Rebbe with the new wording. I received the usual response in which the Rebbe said the notes would be read at the gravesite. Obviously, after that response, I had no more doubts.” (See box)
Since then, R’ Springer was one of the pioneering soldiers in “Moshiach’s army.” He was a role model of a Chassid who lives with Moshiach and publicizes the identity of Moshiach to all. He placed huge ads in New York papers calling upon the public at large to accept the Rebbe’s malchus and to hasten the Geula by increasing in learning Torah and doing mitzvos.