It can truly be said that our ancestors Abraham and Sara operated the very first Chabad House. Their tent had doors on every side which were always open to travelers. They fed the hungry, gave guidance and inspiration to those in need and struggled to make their world one of holiness. They ran a true Chabad House, being there for the physical and spiritual needs of their community.

And You gave Abraham ten tests, to determine whether his commitment to You was as strong as it seemed, and You recorded in the Torah how he loyally passed all the tests.

I realize now that You have given virtually these same tests to the Chabad Shluchim (emissaries) in the same manner that You gave them to Abraham.

For example:

Nonetheless, no Shliach has left his post. No Shliach has lost his faithAbraham was told to leave his homeland. Shluchim leave the comfort of their native communities to go to faraway places where there is little or no availability of kosher food or Jewish schooling for their children.

Abraham arrived in Canaan and found a famine-stricken land. The Shluchim arrive to their new homes and must struggle to pay bills, to feed their families and finance programs and events.

You told Abraham to send his son Ishmael away. The Shluchim undergo the pain of sending their children away from home to learn at a young age, or wind up traveling up to two hours in each direction to bring their children to the "local" yeshiva.

Then You gave Abraham the ultimate test—the biggest of them all. You asked him to take Isaac and bring him up as a sacrifice to You. The Shluchim experienced this ultimate test this past week when Gabi and Rivki Holtzberg were taken as sacrifices. Unlike Isaac, however, they were not only brought to the altar, they were in fact sacrificed.

Nonetheless, no Shliach has left his post. No Shliach has lost his faith. On the contrary, the Shluchim are all strengthening themselves and their communities and trying to do more and more.

So, as a Shliach, I ask You: now that we have passed our tests, even to the point of undergoing the seemingly pointless sacrifice of brilliant lives, when will You finally fulfill the promises that you made to Abraham, that his children, as numerous as the stars and sand, should dwell peacefully in the Promised Land?


Rabbi Yitzchok Hecht