During the ensuing summer (1976), one hundred so-called “handicapped” Israeli soldiers, who had been injured on duty, competed with remarkable success at the Paraplegic Olympics in Canada. Every one of them was bound to a wheelchair. They expressed the wish to have yechidus with the Rebbe. They needed the Rebbe’s inspiration and spiritual guidance.

The Rebbe’s private study is surprisingly modest and very small and cannot accommodate too many people at one time; but one hundred, all in wheelchairs, would have been impossible.

The Rebbe therefore instructed that this yechidus be held in a temporarily partitioned section of the large shul. Special ramps were to be fixed so that the wheelchairs would be able to negotiate the half-dozen or so steps leading down to the hall.


On Av 23, 5736 (August 19, 1976), they came and the Rebbe addressed the group in Hebrew and the words he said were most impressive, emotional and inspiring and made a strong impact on this group.

Here is a synopsis of what the Rebbe said:

When an individual lacks something (materially or physically) it should not lead to feelings of inferiority or deprivation. G‑d, the benevolent Creator of humanity, provides those who are lacking in one area with compensated strength in other realms, particularly spirituality. In a way, those who are so-called “lacking” have, in fact, much greater power and potential, not only because they need to overcome whatever it is they (presumably) lack, but they will achieve and attain even higher levels than everyone else.

This being so, I disagree with the term “handicapped,” to describe people endowed with extra might, and instead will refer to you as "outstanding ones," for this conveys your true status.

[The Rebbe asked permission to] shake hands with each of the outstanding soldiers as a sign and symbol of unity. Additionally, when shaking hands with a person, five fingers of one individual combine with the five fingers of the other. This combination reminds a person of the Ten Commandments, which were presented as two groups of five (on each of the Two Tablets).

I request that upon your return home you have your mezuzos checked and that you now accept a dollar-bill to be given to tzedokah in Eretz Yisroel.