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Uriel Vigler

30 Years!

Every day I wake up, replete with energy, ready to bound into the day and inspire my fellow Jews and make a positive impact on the world.

And indeed, my wife and I have been able to open and run a Chabad center with a successful preschool program whose graduates now live all over the world. We’ve been privileged to reach and inspire thousands of people through our Hebrew school, day camp, shul, adult education classes, programs and events. We’ve been able to hire 70 employees and provide them with a livelihood. And of course, we have our unique Belev Echad organization, through which we’ve been blessed to restore life and meaning to countless wounded IDF soldiers.

Believe it or not, there are 6,500 families of Chabad shluchim worldwide just like us, operating over 3,500 associations across 110 countries—numbers which continue to grow weekly.

Chabad is in every corner of the world, servicing school children, teenagers, college kids, young professionals, new parents, adults, seniors, and every other demographic you can think of. There is no other organization like it in the world. We are an army, and we all wake up every morning with the same energy, inspired by the mission and vision of the Chabad movement.

What is the secret? How does it work?

The Rebbe

It’s been exactly 30 years since our Rebbe left the world. On the 3rd of Tammuz, 1994, the Rebbe left this physical world after a prolonged illness, but his reach and his teachings continue to motivate and inspire all of us daily.

In the coming days, as we mark the 30-year anniversary of the Rebbe’s passing, tens of thousands of people will go to visit his Ohel in Queens to pray. Some of these will be shluchim like me. Many will be members of Chabad communities and Chabad houses. Some will be there for the first time. Some will be regulars. Some will be secular. Others will be non-Jewish. There will be families, individuals, camps, communities. And then there will be some people who no one knows, who have no apparent connection to Chabad, but who have somehow, sometime, somewhere been touched by the Rebbe’s far-reaching network.

The Rebbe inspired people like no one else in history. Thirty years after his passing, I wake up every morning and study his teachings. It’s part of my life. It’s what makes me tick. It’s the source of my inspiration.

His teachings encompass thousands of pages and tens of thousands of hours of classes and recordings—there’s no way I can even begin to encapsulate all that here, but if I had to pick out three lessons that inspire me the most, here they are:

The Rebbe taught us to believe in ourselves. No matter what challenge or obstacle you are facing, you can persevere and overcome. Whether it’s difficulty procuring a livelihood, or because you’re lonely, or are experiencing marital problems—nothing is too big or too bad. You can prevail and succeed! The Rebbe taught that each of us can change the world. Yes me, small little me, can literally change the universe with my actions. Just do one more act of goodness and kindness today and you will change the entire world

The Rebbe taught us to believe in people. The Rebbe taught us to see only the good inside of every Jew—that no matter how rough people may look on the outside, to love them and judge them favorably, because every Jew is a diamond with a G-dly core. If you can’t find the jewel hidden behind the layers, it just means you need to dig deeper.

The Rebbe taught us to believe in the world. The Rebbe taught us that no matter how bad the situation appears, ultimately it will be good. If it’s not good, then it’s not the end yet!

When we look at the war currently raging in Israel and we see how virulently our enemies hate us, and just how many enemies we have—Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, ISIS, etc—it’s easy to feel fearful and despondent. In fact, it’s only natural.

But the Rebbe taught us otherwise. G-d has a plan and we have to have faith in that plan. If we don’t see the good, it’s still coming. In fact, the Rebbe repeatedly taught that Israel is actually the safest place in the world. It’s where, as Scripture promises, “The eyes of G-d are upon the land from the beginning of the year until the end.”

We are facing the highest rates of antisemitism in almost 100 years. Of course we feel despondent! But the Rebbe told us to hold on tight. The darkest part of the night is just before dawn breaks, and that is where we are right now. The world is in chaos, our brothers and sisters in Israel and across the world are under attack; if ever there was a sign that the dawn—the Final Redemption—is about to materialize, this is it.

The light is shining brightly at the end of the tunnel and we know Hashem will never let us down. Learning and internalizing the Rebbe’s teachings will help us develop the trust and belief we need for the dawn to break through, and Moshiach to arrive, may it happen speedily!

About the Author
Zimbabwean-born Rabbi Uriel Vigler has been directing the Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side of Manhattan together with his wife Shevy since 2005. In addition, he founded Belev Echad which helps wounded IDF soldiers. He has a weekly blog on current events. He is the proud father of eight children (including triplets) and leads a very young, vibrant and dynamic community.
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