Avraham Rainitz, Beis Moshiach
“I want to share with you [something] that I recently uncovered,” Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Shliach to Poway, California announced from the podium of the General Assembly in the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
“[It’s] a speech from my dear Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who teaches to millions, including myself.
“He penned this speech thirty-two years ago to be read right here at the United Nations, but it didn’t come to fruition.
“I have the great opportunity and am very humbled to share with you some of the words that my dear Rebbe wrote thirty-two years ago, which are so relevant today. The Rebbe writes about the power of the United Nations. All of you here have been given by G-d an opportunity to make a difference in the world.”
A few weeks ago, a special session of the United Nations General Assembly was held on the subject of anti-Semitism. As per UN protocol, the secretary-general and the general assembly president delivered opening remarks, followed by an invitation to Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, the Rebbe MH”M’s shliach in Poway, California, and a survivor of the terrorist attack at the local Chabad House on Acharon Shel Pesach.
He spoke about the struggle against anti-Semitism and the application of various effective methods to combat this growing phenomenon, including harnessing the power of social media as a tool to educate the world about the poisonous messages of hatred and incitement.
At the height of his address, he made the revelation of this rediscovered speech, which the Rebbe prepared 32 years prior.
THE REDISCOVERED SPEECH
In an interview with Beis Moshiach, Rabbi Goldstein told us about the amazing Hashgacha Pratis he saw leading up to the U.N. speech, illustrating how the Rebbe is with us and leads us every step of the way:
“Several weeks ago, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Danny Danon asked me if I would speak before a special session of the General Assembly he was trying to convene. I naturally saw this as a historic opportunity to give over a direct message from the Rebbe before the representatives of the entire international community, and I accepted the invitation. Realizing that this would be a very prominent event, I began to think about what message the Rebbe would want me to convey to the world. In my heart, I knew that I couldn’t let this chance pass me by.
“A few days later, I received a visit from a young shliach named Rabbi Mendel Alperowitz. He had come to see his uncle, the Rebbe’s shliach in S. Diego, Rabbi Boruch Greenberg, and decided to stop by and visit me as well. We met at the entrance to the shul in Poway, the exact location where the miracle took place on Acharon Shel Pesach. I told him that he was standing in the place where the Rebbe had shown me revealed wonders, adding that during the entire period since then, everything that had happened was beyond natural limitations, including my speech at the White House. I then told him that I had even been invited to speak before the United Nations General Assembly.
“When he heard about the UN speech, a spark flashed in his eyes, and he said excitedly, ‘You won’t believe this, but thirty-two years ago, the Rebbe asked his secretary, Rabbi Nissan Mindel, of blessed memory, to prepare a text for a speech to be delivered before the United Nations General Assembly. The subject: education in ethics for the fulfillment of the Seven Noachide Laws.’”
The whole story began with an incident that occurred around that time:
During the farbrengen of Vav Tishrei 5748, the Rebbe spoke very sharply about a shocking incident that took place then, when Jewish leaders met with the pope in Rome and kissed his hand and his ring. The Rebbe announced that we must protest against this vociferously, particularly since we’re talking about idol worship and a tremendous Chilul Hashem. As the farbrengen continued, the Rebbe spoke about the 42nd session of the United Nations General Assembly taking place then in New York, noting that the way to repair the damage caused by the Jewish leaders’ audience with the pope would be for prominent rabbinical figures to address the U.N. in the name of the Torah in which they will represent “true Yiddishkeit.”
Rabbi Yehoshua Hecht, told us what then transpired:
“Two days later, at the lekach distribution in preparation for Yom Kippur, my father, Rabbi Avraham Hecht, then serving also as president of Iggud Harabbanim — the Rabbinical Alliance of America, passed by the Rebbe.
“The Rebbe told him, ‘dir hahb ich gemeint’ – ‘I had you in mind when I spoke at the farbrengen about rabbanim speaking before the United Nations General Assembly’”.
Rabbi Hecht was regarded as one of America’s most articulate Oorthodox rabbis at the time.
“My father responded that ‘you must be sponsored by an ambassador to do that…’”
“The Rebbe said something to the effect of ‘you should nonetheless accomplish the matter.’ Then the Rebbe added with a smile, ‘In case you need chutzpah, you can borrow some from your brother Yankel… ( — Rabbi Yaakov Yehuda Hecht. – Ed.) ’
“My father, as a faithful Chassid, accepted, and immediately began working on the matter.”
According to accepted UN protocol, only a person with a formal invitation from an ambassador of one of the member nations may address the UN. It was understood from the Rebbe that the invitation shouldn’t come from the Israeli delegation, which Lubavitch had close ties with, as not to allow for it to be politicized.
For this reason, Rabbi Hecht, who was the leader of one of America’s richest and most affluent Jewish congregations, contacted the United States ambassador to the UN, Mr. Vernon A. Walters.
“A meeting was set up for Sunday, 25th of Tishrei. On the morning of the meeting, news of the passing and the levaya of Rabbi Mordechai Mentlik, the longtime Rosh Yeshiva of the central Tomchei Tmimim at 770 was announced. My father was very close to Rabbi Mentlik and was torn between attending the levaya and keeping his appointment with the ambassador.
“He told me that he decided to skip the levaya and keep the meeting, thinking that that is what Rabbi Mentlik himself would instruct him to do.
“The ambassador received my father very warmly and cordially but felt it wasn’t accepted protocol to sponsor a rabbi to speak at the General Assembly. Mr. Walters suggested instead that Rabbi Hecht give him material on the Seven Noachide Laws, and he would distribute them among the members of the General Assembly.”
He notified the Rebbe’s secretariat of this option and was given to understand that he must personally speak.
“My father later regretted not seizing that opportunity. He felt it could have been an opening for more in the future. But that’s what happened.”
Rabbi Hecht tried to use other connections with the ambassadors of various countries but to no avail. After considerable effort, through the help of Rabbi Yosef Aharonov from Lubavitch youth Organization in Eretz Yisrael, he managed to make contact with the ambassador of one of the African nations.
“My father went to meet him in a tiny office in Manhattan, and he agreed to invite him to speak before the United Nations General Assembly on his country’s behalf…”
The Rebbe, in the meantime, called in his secretary, Rabbi Nissan Mindel a”h, and dictated to him the main points that the speech before the United Nations General Assembly should include. Rabbi Mindel prepared an address based on these points and submitted it to the Rebbe. (See facsimile, first published in a t’shurah for the Menaker-Shapiro wedding).
The script of the speech, dated 10/21/1987 — 28 Tishrei 5748, went through extensive editing by the Rebbe, and all was set.
“Everything was ready for the speech, but then – the forces of spiritual evil took control. The regime of that distant African country had just been overthrown, and its UN ambassador was recalled before the scheduled address. With the inviting diplomat no longer in office, the speech was removed from the agenda…”
[Editor’s note: While I wasn’t yet able to confirm the exact details, historical sources tell of a coup in a West African state called Burkina Faso which took place on October 15, 1987 — Simchas Torah 5748, in which President Thomas Sankara was shot dead. This coup took place amid the 42nd General Assembly, I haven’t yet found a record of other coups that happened in Africa at the time of the 42nd UN session. It is also unclear if Rabbi Hecht first contacted the US ambassador or the African one.]
“My father continued attempts over the coming years to make this happen, which were unsuccessful. He continued until his health deteriorated, and he was no longer able to get around.”
In any case, the content of the speech, after it had been prepared and edited by the Rebbe, was still waiting for one of the Chabad rabbanim to deliver it proudly from the central podium of the United Nations General Assembly.
Fast-forward 32 years, to Nissan of 5779. A shocking shooting takes place in a Chabad House in California on Achron Shel Pesach, and Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein becomes a nationally known figure. He uses his international media exposure to disseminate the Rebbe’s messages of “a Moment of Silence” and Moshiach in unprecedented ways.
And then he was invited, as an Orthodox rabbi and Shliach of the Rebbe, to address the UN General Assembly at a special session on anti-semitism.
THE REBBE SENT ME A SPEECH
“When I heard the details of this story,” Rabbi Goldstein continued, “I was in shock. I felt that the Rebbe was giving me the greatest encouragement a Chassid could possibly receive – a very clear message. I was deeply moved by the great privilege I had just received to carry out the holy will of the Rebbe and make a tremendous Kiddush Hashem at the United Nations General Assembly. I asked Rabbi Alperowitz to get the speech for me in order that I could finally have the Rebbe’s request fulfilled.
“After I had received the complete speech edited by the Rebbe, my amazement grew sevenfold. Every word that the Rebbe wanted said at that time, thirty-two years ago, was no less relevant and appropriate for the special U.N. meeting I was being asked to address, as if he had just written the speech that very day!
“Since according to the program, my address could not take longer than ten minutes, I realized that I couldn’t read the full text of the Rebbe’s edited speech, I read it thoroughly several times, memorized its content, and summarized its high points. In the main portion of my speech, I gave a detailed description of the tragic terrorist attack I had unwillingly gone through. During the address, I emphasized that I was quoting from a speech the Rebbe had prepared for delivery before the United Nations General Assembly.
“I felt that this was coming as a direct continuation to the miracles and wonders we were privileged to see during the terrorist attack in the Chabad House on Acharon Shel Pesach, the day on which the light of Moshiach illuminates brightly.
“The miracles we experienced then, and the amazing discovery of the Rebbe’s address at that time – aroused and strengthened my faith and the knowledge that despite the hiding and concealment since Gimmel Tammuz 5754, the Rebbe is with each one of us, wherever we may be. He will continue to be with us until the complete hisgalus of Melech HaMoshiach, when we will merit to see our king in all his glory, immediately, mamash.”
THE TERROR ATTACK ON THE DAY WE DESCRIBE THE REDEMPTION
On Wednesday, the twenty-third of Sivan, the United Nations General Assembly convened with more than one hundred ambassadors participating.
At the start of Rabbi Goldstein’s speech, he thanked Ambassador Danny Danon for giving him the unique opportunity to speak directly to the world’s leading international representatives, emphasizing that everything began on the last day of the Pesach holiday, the day connected to the revelation of the Jewish People:
“On the last day of Passover, we read a prophecy from Isaiah, where it talks about a perfect world, the world when Moshiach will come. It talks about a world when the wolf and the lamb will dwell together, a world where everyone will love each other, and the knowledge of G-d will be everywhere. I was excited to read that because the world needs to be a better world. We need to welcome a new era, the one for which we have been praying for two thousand years.”
After describing the terrorist attack on the Chabad House in great detail, during which Mrs. Lori Kaye was murdered and he lost his index finger, as well as the great miracles that took place at the time, Rabbi Goldstein said with deep emotion:
“Anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem; this is a problem for the world and we need to recognize that. Anti-Semitism has been most harmful, not just for the Jewish People, but for the world. Stalin [y”sh] killed Jews, but he killed countless millions of his own. Hitler [y”sh] killed Jews and killed how many millions of his own. The jihadists first kill Jews and then they kill everyone else.
“We need to realize that anti-Semitism is not just about the Jewish People; it’s about the future of civilization. Do we want to live in a world of blood and tears or do we want to live in a world of love and beauty?”
AN APPEAL TO THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD ON THE REBBE’S BEHALF
“The question is: What is the solution?
“I have the great opportunity and am very humbled to share with you some of the words that my dear Rebbe wrote thirty-two years ago, which are so relevant today.
“The Rebbe taught us something very poignant. That indeed when the world was repopulated after the flood with Noach, G-d gave seven laws called the Noachide Laws. This is the bedrock of any civilization that was to exist, and the Rebbe pleaded that if only the United Nations would go back to the basics and empower their [members] to adopt the Seven Noachide Laws, this world would then be a very different world and perhaps we wouldn’t have lost 150,000,000 lives over the last two hundred years.
“I ask every nation listening here to consider taking the Seven Noachide Laws and apply it to real daily life, and we will see a world of difference!
“Our children are our future. We need to truly re-evaluate how we are educating our children. Children need to have a moment of reflection every single day, or perhaps a moment of silence, to think about how they have been created by G-d in His image and realize that there truly is a Supreme Being, an Eye that sees, and an Ear that hears everything that they do.
“If we give children that opportunity, then perhaps they will grow up with more meaning and more responsibility.”
A BILLION GOOD DEEDS
“The Lubavitcher Rebbe has taught us that modern technology is a gift from G-d when it is harnessed to do good and to bring light. This is the duty of all good people capable of using modern technology for positivity. We must remind ourselves and others that we are all inherently good. G-d created all children as they are born to be good and great people – everyone has that within them. The best way to fight the darkness of hate is to do more good acts of love and kindness. We must become proactive ambassadors of light. If Jews are attacked for being Jewish, then we must be more Jewish ever so proudly!”
“…Let us imagine for a moment: What if everyone in the world started their day thinking about doing something positive for someone else? Contemplating about the sanctity of life, fulfilling life’s purpose, and how to help make the world a more loving and peaceful place. What if that person was you? What if that was your neighbor, your boss, your co-worker? If we can imagine it, we can do it!
“Right after the terror attack, I decided that I’m going to use the same technology that inspired the terrorist to launch a great and bright light, conquering the world with a billion good deeds! As the Rebbe taught us, through random acts of goodness and kindness, you create light in the world.
“We may be standing here at the United Nations, there may be a lot of darkness that has gone through this room, but we’re going to bring light – and one way is through action. Not just words, but to do and to make things happen. Therefore, on your behalf, I’m going to begin an act of kindness and goodness by giving charity, right here in the United Nations, in this charity box. Everyone should have a charity box in their home, and every morning you should think about helping others. May this act of charity bring blessing to the whole world.
“As it is engraved on the walls of the United Nations building, may we merit to ‘beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks’, ‘nation shall not take up sword against nation and they shall learn war no more.’ Let us turn the swords of social media, the hate and the ugly divisiveness and intolerance for others, into an overflowing conduit spreading light, love, and peace throughout the entire world.”
OUR STRENGTH TO BRING THE MOSHIACH
At the conclusion of the Beis Moshiach interview with Rabbi Goldstein, he asked if he could underline one important point:
“My personal feeling is that the act of terrorism that took place in the Chabad House is connected with the coming of Moshiach, since it occurred on the day when the illumination of Moshiach shines bright. Therefore, I use this spiritual awakening as an opportunity for practical action designed to hasten the Redemption.
“I gave over this message of the Rebbe in my speech at the United Nations. As we commemorate twenty-five years since Gimmel Tammuz, we all need to wake up and do more in the realm of goodness and kindness to bring the hisgalus of Moshiach in actual deed.”
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