Menachem Weiss, a special needs teen, reports every week to Merkaz Ha’inyanim on an angle of life that he alone can talk about
Shalom dear readers!
Every year, a group of Lelover Chassidim go up to Meron for a Shabbat together with the Rebbe. This custom began a few decades ago, about sixty years back, when the previous Lelover Rebbe, Rabbi Moshe zt”l, traveled on a Friday, erev Shabbat B’ha’alotcha, to harvest the wheat for the following year’s matzoh-baking. The wheat harvest took place at Rosh Pinah in the North. When the harvesting was completed , they began traveling home to the center of the country. On the way, the Rebbe became concerned that they would not get back in time, and so he decided to remain in Meron for Shabbat. Since that incident, Shabbat B’ha’alotcha became the annual Shabbat of the Lelover Chassidim in Meron.
For many years, my Saba z”l went with all the Chassidim to Meron for this Shabbat, and my father and his brothers would go along with him. A few years ago, we started going to Meron for Shabbat B’ha’alotcha with the entire family, including the women and children, and it was a very exciting experience. After a few years, my parents decided to take a break from these trips, and even though every year we begged to go, they did not agree.
This year, once again, we tried to persuade them, and baruch Hashem, it worked! My brother went to Meron to arrange rooms for us, and the rest of the family got organized with food and shopping. It really was a bit hard, but everyone did it happily.
On Friday afternoon, the whole family got organized – my parents, sisters, brother, and all the nieces and nephews – and we traveled in a “convoy” to Meron. I went in an Ezer Mizion ambulance, because it’s a very long trip and it is safer and more comfortable to travel by ambulance. If not for Ezer Mizion, I don’t think I would have been able to participate at all.
We got to Meron pretty early, and everybody went to get organized in their rooms. We were on the ground floor, and that was excellent. But the place where we ate was one flight up, and at every meal, my nephews or my brother had to carry me up the steps in my wheelchair. It was hard and a little scary, but baruch Hashem, passed uneventfully.
The tefillot, of course, were up at Rabbi Shimon’s gravesite. For ma’ariv of Friday night, my nephew was the chazzan. At the Torah reading, another nephew of mine read the haftarah, and then my brother led the tefillat Mussaf.
Getting up to the gravesite was extremely tough. It is a very steep climb and kind of frightening, but my nephews, the tzaddikim, took me devotedly to all three tefillot, without fail. When we came out of tefillat Minchah on Shabbat afternoon, the Rebbe was just coming to daven Minchah. When he saw me, he stopped and shook my hand. I was very, very moved.
All the meals were very tasty and lively. We sang zemirot and people said divrei Torah. After seudah shlishit, we didn’t go back up to the gravesite to daven; we davened in our apartment, because we had a minyan on our own. Abba led the tefillah, because his father, my grandfather, passed away precisely nineteen years earlier on Shabbat Parashat B’ha’alotcha.
All in all, it was an amazing Shabbat. I enjoyed every minute, and kept thinking to myself: Just imagine – if it were not for Ezer Mizion and their dedicated ambulance fleet, I would have missed it all – being with the Rebbe, the uplifting tefillot, the special family experience. Ezer Mizion, thank you, thank you, thank you!