Earlier this week, on August 3, a few Lubavicher Chassidim Rabbi Shlomo Vorovitch from Toronto, Rabbi Mendel Dechter from Miami and Isroel Nemanov joined cyclists from all over America and Israel in a 180 miles (300 km) bike ride to raise money for Chai Lifeline.
Over 500 cyclists fundraised an astonishing $7,000,000! The organization, which provides support for children with varying illnesses, arranged for a two day event of cycling through New Jersey and Connecticut to the World’s Greatest Finish Line, Camp Simcha.
The overnight camp gives the Chai Lifeline kids a chance to have their own Jewish summer experience and as the cyclists arrived, the kids were there waiting for them. While that in itself was a sight to behold, there was something else that stood out.
There was one boy who, like many other Lubavitch teens, who was helping and encouraging people to put on tefilin. The only difference was that this boy, Arie Leib A., had very limited use of his hands. Despite this, however, he was smiling and helping as eagerly as everyone else. He could have searched for an easier task, but this was what he wanted to do and he was eager to do it.
With Tisha B’Av nearing and our thoughts turning to all the suffering we’ve endured, something like this is inspiring to see. This boy had pain and challenges and could have let that be the deciding factor, but he disregarded that to help out and do so with a smile.
The fact that he did so despite the pain is all the more encouraging that while our past is full of grief and loss, we can still greet the day with a smile and do what we can to help out, no matter how hard it is for us to ‘move our hands’.