Do You Believe In Young People?

Friday, 5 July, 2019 - 8:03 am


Dear Friends,


I am only 42 years old, and I admit that I don’t listen very seriously to young people, say, 22-year-olds. That is, I do listen but I don’t consider their opinions and abilities to be very important. Something in me says, “Well, when you grow up, you’ll understand.”

I admit that I was also on the other side – more than once. When I was much younger, people who were older than me – double my age – didn’t always take me and my abilities seriously. The truth is, looking down from the height of my 42 years of being on this earth, I rather understand them.

My mother, may she live, was 22 years old when she went into a yechidut (personal meeting with the Rebbe) for the first time. She came for a visit that included her older brother’s wedding, and went into the Rebbe to be blessed. But the Rebbe, who was over sixty years old, saw this little 22-year-old girl and said to her: “You have strengths, you have abilities. Go speak to girls in the summer camps: you can influence them. Do it.” She tried to object, perhaps argue with him. After all, a young woman from a small settlement in Israel that has one car, a few telephone lines and many horses and cars can travel all over the United States and speak in public? And influence people?

My mother didn’t believe at the time in herself and her abilities, but the Rebbe believed in her. And whoever knows her today knows that he was right – very right. Today there are hundreds and perhaps thousands of women who have been influenced by her. It may be right to say that Rebbe not only believed in her: he actually revealed her, revealed her to herself, revealed to her what her true abilities are.

I didn’t come to write about my mother, but about the Rebbe. Because what the Rebbe did with my mother he did with everyone he was in contact with. He told all of them: “You don’t really know yourselves; you can do more.” And actually, he didn’t only say it in the past – he’s still saying it. Whoever is willing to open his heart and mind will know to go to the books and the recordings and there he (or she) will hear that the Lubavitcher Rebbe believes in him much more than he believes in himself.

This Shabbat is the 3 rd of Tammuz, the day that the Rebbe left this material world and moved on to the spiritual one. And as strange as this might sound, and as surprising as this may be, the Rebbe is present in our world more and more every year. But this recognition is the lot only of those who are willing, as mentioned, to open their hearts and minds.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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