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Truth vs. Darkness in the United Nations

Truth vs. Darkness in the United Nations


I became Israel's ambassador to the United Nations in 1984.

Shortly afterwards, I had a visitor in my office in New York. I was told that there was a young gentleman who wanted to see me. He said he knew me.

He came in and there was this strapping chassid, with a beard and payos [side locks].

I said to him, "Do I know you?"

"Bibi, you don't know me? It's Shmarya!"

Shmarya was a member of Shomer Hatzair. He had been a very fine soldier of mine; I was his commander. As you can understand, I hadn't seen him in a few years.

He said, "Well, you see, I have become a Lubavitcher, and the Rebbe wants to see you."

I tapped him on the shoulder, and he looked like this to the side. I said in English, "Rebbe, I came to see you." And he said, "Just to see, not to talk?" "The Rebbe wants to see me?! Okay, let's go see him."

He said, "It's not so simple."

This was the eve of Simchat Torah.

"We'll go [tomorrow] tonight," he said.

I said, "Seven, eight o'clock?"

"No," he said. "At 12 o'clock I will pick you up."


Alright, he picked me up, and we came to that famous address, 770 Eastern Parkway, a replica of a house that we have near Ben-Gurion airport. [This was said smilingly, tongue-in-cheek. The reference is to the building in Kfar Chabad, near Tel Aviv, which Chabad in Israel have built as a miniature replica of the world headquarters building in Brooklyn. –Ed.]

Right next to that building was a hall, about the size of this room that we are in now. I think smaller.

How many people are in here? A thousand people.

You see, the difference between you and Chabad is that they perform miracles. They had about 4,000 people in a place like this.

How did they accomplish this miracle? By having hills and valleys of chassidim; it was not clear what the structure was.

In this human sea, I was somehow taken by Shmarya and brought to a stage. The stage was tiny, about the size of my outstretched arms. And there was a small book on a podium facing the wall.

Shmarya says, "Wait here."


He says, "Sit down on the stage."

I saw these two old bearded Jews dancing in a circle of light with a Torah. I felt the strength of generations, the power of our traditions, our faith and our people. Suddenly a door opened. You could not see anyone. The Rebbe was of enormous stature, but not of great height.

You saw the sea parting, like the Red Sea. The Rebbe came up and went to the book and he started to read with his back to the crowd. At that point, Shmarya said to me, "Now."

I said, "Now what?"

He said, "Go to the Rebbe now."

I said, "Shmarya, he is reading the Torah."

He said, "Go to the Rebbe now!"

The soldier giving his commander orders. Life has its reversals.

I thought well, this is not Rome, but when in Lubavitchland, do as…

I came to the Rebbe. I tried to get his attention, and I was not successful. I tapped him on the shoulder, and he looked like this to the side. I said in English, "Rebbe, I came to see you."

And he said, "Just to see, not to talk?"

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory. (Photo: Lubavitch Archives)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory. (Photo: Lubavitch Archives)
We started talking. He spoke Hebrew, perfect Hebrew, with a certain Ashkenazi accent, but perfect Hebrew.

And we spoke for five minutes, ten minutes, and the chassidim were getting very restless.

Fifteen minutes, twenty minutes and there was a buzz, a hum, that began to rise.

Thirty minutes, thirty-five minutes, I thought: my physical safety is now in jeopardy.

After forty minutes he stopped. He said what he wanted to say.

He turned to the audience and with his hands, started to get the chassidim to sing and dance.

Then something happened that I will never forget to the end of my life. The Rebbe and his brother-in-law, I think they were both approaching eighty at the time, each took a Sefer Torah, a Torah scroll. They went to the center of the hall, surrounded by all the chassidim.

There was a light shining from the ceiling that bathed them in a pool of light.

I saw these two old bearded Jews dancing in a circle of light with a Torah. I felt the strength of generations, the power of our traditions, our faith and our people.

The Rabbi said many things to me that night. But he said one big thing.

He said, "You will go into a house of lies," that's how he referred to a particular institution.

He said, "Remember that in a hall of perfect darkness, if you light one small candle, its precious light will be seen from afar, by everyone. Your mission is to light a candle for truth and for the Jewish people."

That is what I have tried to do ever since.

This is what we are all asked to do.

From an address at the 92nd St. Y, on Sep. 24th, 2009
Benjamin Netanyahu is the Prime Minister of Israel
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harriette jaffe Phila., Pa.USA February 8, 2011

Truth vs. Darkness I agree with the comment where that person called it beautiful. I feel the same way. I had the pleasure of meeting prime minister Netanyau in person once or twice and I found him an interesting speaker. Someone else and i were discussing the possibility of sending him a message, and the Knesset, and the president, Mr. Shimon Peres, of this article, and a copy of the article....I won a hate crime, in Phila., and I have been trying to overcome the joy of such, while overcoming the trauma of the bad things that happened to me. And I have this neat title called the Legal Jew, and since it came fro the United states Gov't, and maybe some other governments, in other words,it is official, I can sign it as such. Harriette Jaffe/Chana Hinda Jaffa.
The one with the jewish name who had all the trouble. Reply

Anonymous Whittier, CA/USA January 22, 2011

Re: Truth v Darkness How beautiful. thanks for this. Reply

Rivkah Toth Hallandale, Florida January 20, 2011

Lighting a Candle "The Baal Shem Tov once said about a number of His disciples:"They're candles but they need to be lit."
It was not simply that they did not shine out to others; their divine souls were not shining even within themselves. It is possible for everything to be ready - there is a vessel, a candle, a wick - but there is no light. When these rabbis came to the Baal Shem Tov, they were already great scholars, they were men of deeds, they had purified their character - they had prepared the vessel, but there was no light.
The Besht lit up their souls so that they shined."
A Chassid who was able to lit an Icicle! Once being in mikvah one winter night the candle was going out in hand of his disciple.The Besht answered "break an icicle off the roof and light it! He who decreed that the wax burn can also make the icicle burn and give light." The disciple did as he was told and held the flaming icicle in his hand..." Reply

Keren Petaluma, Ca January 20, 2011

I believe every word he says is Truth,

He would be so proud of you. Reply

Bill Kelley Tifton, GA, USA January 20, 2011

Letting our light shine. The light we have to shine with is from our Creator and if it does't radiate from us in our personhood and actions, surely we must be working at hiding that light. Besides it is a great joy when we let Him flow through us to bless others. And we must needs always remember the little childs lesson for us to be tea pots- to be filled by G_d and to let him flow through us without adulterating any of it. Then, and only then, is it is His strength and effect. And I think most of the time we even have no real understanding of how much He uses it to bless others. Just as He has blessed us many times by the effects of others who never knew we existed. Our G_d is an awsome G_d. Reply

Anonymous los angeles January 20, 2011

All I can say is that G-d is beyond amazing. Reply

Noahide Tehran, Iran January 20, 2011

amazing I would have lovedf to know what more Harav told him :) Reply

Judy Resnick Far Rockaway, NY January 16, 2011

Explaining Bibi and his foot soldier Shmarya were Israelis, who observe Simchat Torah on Shemini Atzeret. For them it was no longer Yom Tov, so Shmarya could drive a car in which he and Bibi rode to Eastern Parkway. For the Chabadniks of Brooklyn, it was within the long night of Simchas Torah, when they and the Rebbe would be celebrating for hours with the Torah.

My son-in-law, who is Lubavitch, went to that speech at the 92nd Street Y. It was right after Bibi's famous speech at the United Nations, where he roared against the Holocaust deniers, holding up evidence from the Nazis themselves, telling the delegates how members of his own family had suffered and died. This was two days before Yom Kippur in 2009. Bibi later went to this pre-arranged speech at the Y and spoke to an overflowing crowd telling them how the Rebbe back in 1984 had told him to light a candle for the truth and a candle for the Jewish people. The crowd at the Y gave him a standing ovation. Reply

Rubinoff January 16, 2011

can you explain , the timing of the meeting

If it was after midnight , was it not the holiday? Reply

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