The blue-tapestry covered walls colored the hall with a rich hue of splendor; the Rebbe’s Farbrengen Bimah adorned with a large, breathtaking photo of the Rebbe transmits an authentic Chassidishe vibe combined with an elegant touch.
The Kapelye singing troup, a band of highly talented Chabad vocalists, infuse attendees with soul-stirring melodies that transport to an older time, to another place; leading the group is orchestral-vindicator and musician R’ Yossi Cohen; to their left, stands the podium, from where speakers and orators will address the esteems invitees.
There’s an aura of suspense in the dimly-lit room that is enveloping all the guests – thousand of Shluchim who by now are being comfortably seated around the square, stylishly bedecked tables.
It’s approximately 9:30 when New Jersey Shliach and Vaad Hakinus member, emcee Rabbi Yosef Carlebach opens the Gala Banquet with a warm Bruchim Haba’im. Large video screens project a Talk of the Rebbe blessing the Shluchim, and expounding on the Mitzva, and Mivtza, of Hakhel, demanding a ceaseless campaign to unite Jews with a message of Yiras Hashem. That was soon followed with the famous Rosh Chodesh Kislev Video of 5753, when the Rebbe affirms and reaffirms, indeed enthusiastically encourages, the Shluchim’s singing Yechi Adoneinu.
After reciting the Rebbe’s Perek of Tehillim and pronouncing Yechi, led by Rabbi Berel Zaltzman, Shliach to Fair Lawn, New Jersey, the emcee invited member of Badatz Rabbi Aharon Yaakov Shwei to the podium.
Rabbi Shwei blessed the Shluchim as a representative of the host community. “One of the Shluchim related”, begins R’ Shwei, “that he comes to the Kinus to recharge his Neshama with spiritual energy, I answered him that simultaneously he imbues the community with renewed spiritual energy, when they see the Shluchim’s Mesiras Nefesh.”
After concluding, Member of Badatz Rabbi Yosef Yeshaya Braun is invited to speak. He reminds the audience the Kinus opening of 5752, when the Rebbe defined Shlichus as preparing the world to greet Moshiach. “At that time I was in Sydney, Australia, and I wrote to the Rebbe for a blessing for success in our activities. The Rebbe replied “I answered them at the Farbrengen on Shabbos Mevarchim Kislev, Azkir Al Hatzion”.
Next, Rabbi Sholom Ber Drizin, chassidic philanthropist and sponsor of the Kinus, gave a short, but rousing address, reminding the assembled of Eliezer’s mindset on his Shlichus: that first and foremost “I am a servant of Avraham!”.
Doctor Zeev Zelanko, a casket-wearing Lubavitchers who practices in Monroe, a Satmar enclave, stressed the importance of working with Ahavas Yisroel, which breaks all boundaries. “Fact is, when we made a Hachnosas Seder Torah to our Shul, thousands of Satmer Chasidim joined in the celebration.”
The emcee then invited to the stage Chassidic cantorial sensation Dudu Fisher, who recounted the miracle story of his mothers birth, through a blessing of the previous Rebbe. After a spirited rendition of Sheyibane Beis Hamikdosh, he recounted a miracle story of himself and the Rebbe. This was followed with a few more Niggunim, and a finale of Yechi.
Shliach Rabbi Yosef Taieb, Rav, Rosh Yeshiva, and Av Beis Din in Vincennes, France, elaborated on the inherent truth there is in Chabad, and therefore, it doesn’t change. ” The Rebbe said that the Geulah is already here, and the Shlichus now is to greet Moshiach, to open our eyes. Those who do this, we see, are successful.”
Rabbi Carlebach reminded the participants that ‘what a Chasidishe Farbrengen can accomplish what the angel Michoel cannot’, and proceeded to mention names of Shluchim who are in need of a blessing. He also mentioned the current situation in Eretz Yisroel.
The grand finale of the banquet was a fiery speech by Cincinnati Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Gershon Avtzon. “We stand at the Kinus of 5776, years after the Kinus of 5752 and 5753” he said,”and the calendar moves on; that’s why we gather here – to the place where the Rebbe entrusted us with a mission, the place where we heard of the Shlichus of our time, the place where we pronounced in front of the Rebbe ‘Yechi’ – year after year, so we don’t forget, and we again declare our undying commitment: ‘Rebbe, we are with you until the Hisgalus!’.
At this time Emcee Rabbi Carlebach began listing names of countries whose Shluchim are winners of the $1,000 grant, to which the audience respond with raucous applause. Shliach to Bologna, Italy, R’ Eli Dovid Hacohen Borenstien was honored with leading the after-blessing.
With the conclusion of the official banquet program, spontaneous Farbrengens commenced, lasting to the wee hours if the morning….
ChabadInfo captured the inspiring moments, uplifting atmosphere, gallant speeches, and Chassidishe Farbrengens throughout the event, and presents a gallery.