That question, of course, depends on the problem you are faced with. If it is a medical or some other emergency, then of course you would need to phone 911, or the 911 equivalent in the country you are in. But if you are travelling and need help finding kosher food, a Shul or a place to stay for Shabbat, then the number 770, is a very good choice.
The number 770 of course, in Jewish circles, immediately suggests a connection to Chabad Headquarters at the same address on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, NY. There are many other large and small Jewish organizations that also offer help to anyone needing it on short notice. But the reason I chose to focus on 770 in this Blog is the Kinus Hashluchim that took place in Chabad Headquarters during the past week.
According to the schedule posted on-line by Chabad, the week-long Kinus finished on Monday, November 25. Featured were various workshops, a visit to the Rebbe’s Ohel, a group picture showing all the Shluchim that had attended the conference in front of 770 and a Gala Banquet.
So, this past week, if you would have needed help, you actually could have called 770. Because, most probably, the person at the other end would have been able to locate a Rabbi who lives in the town or city that you were calling from. And he could be in touch with anyone of a number of people to help you with your problem.
With the conference over, everything will get back to normal. The Shluchim will go back to resume their duties. But due to the events of the past week, before I continue, I want to give you some background information as follows-
During the course of my becoming Shomer Shabbat, I met a number of Orthodox Rabbi’s who had guided me in the right direction. Before going to Johannesburg for my wedding, we had a vort or as it is known in English, an engagement party, in that same Lubavitch House where Bais Chana began in 1971. Rabbi Moshe Feller, his wife Mindy and Rabbi Manis Friedman opened the doors of Bais Chana in St. Paul, Minnesota to be a place where women with little or no formal Jewish education could rediscover their heritage. And today Bais Chana has expanded internationally and grown exponentially.
Around the time of Tu B’ Shvat, in 1979, I invited those Orthodox Rabbis; who had helped me; to our vort at Lubavitch House, and most came. For many of them, it was the first time they had been there. There was a big smile on the faces of the Fellers to see so many people who had not been there before.
Two Reasons I Needed to Leave My Home – Improve My Learning And Find My Future Wife
Before I was married, there were no Chabad Houses in Minneapolis. Only St. Paul had a Chabad House, and that is where I had to travel before Shabbat if I wanted to spend Shabbat there. Bais Chana did exist for the women but there was nothing like it for men in Minnesota. So in order for me to go to Yeshiva, Rabbi Feller suggested I learn in Crown Height near 770, which I did. And there I met my future wife.
During that same time, the Art Scroll English Gemora Series also did not exist, and it was impossible for me to get a good grasp of Gemora because I simply didn’t have the schooling to understand what a Gemora was in the first place. At that time, Soncino Publishing produced Gemoras with English translation, but it was difficult to understand the full translation of the Gemora from a Soncino published edition.
And now fast forward to today. In the past few days, we have seen two major events in the US and Israel. I wrote about the passing of Rav Malinowitz in my last Blog, who was a major contributor to the Art Scroll Gemora Series. And then the Shluchim Conference I refer to above.
Today, we are fortunate to have Chabad Houses located thoughout the World, and we are also fortunate to have access to the Art Scroll Gemora Series that can be taken to all four corners of the earth. Minnesota has many more options of where to learn and worldwide Jewry is reaping the benefits of these major projects.
But there is something missing, in my humble opinion, and it seems that there must be some message which Hashem is trying to tell us with these two events taking place so close together.
I pointed out that many Orthodox Rabbis who helped me learn, had not stepped foot into Lubavitch House until the day of our Vort. That seemed to me quite strange at the time, since I thought all Orthodox Jews wanted to get along and work with each other, so it would be natural for these Orthodox Rabbis to step into Lubavitch House, and for the Chabad Rabbis to work together with them in their Shuls.
It took me a while to come to the realization, for one reason or another, that was not the “done thing”.
That also seems to be the case in Israeli politics, in a different sort of way, with Israel not being able to settle the elections for Prime Minister, I feel that all parties should find a way to work together to unify the government. So that we can move forward as one unified Jewish nation.
And in a way, that applies to the various divisions with our religion. I am not suggesting Orthodox, Conservative and Reform must suddenly find a way to discuss who is right regarding religious beliefs, because this is a very complicated subject.
But regarding working together as Jews, to stand together against the Anti –Semitism, and various other forms of hate that is getting out of control in many parts of the world, this is an urgent matter which must be addressed immediately. The question is by whom and when will this be accomplished?
The more we strive to work together with each other, the better we will all be for it.
Especially in these challenging times.