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."

Midnight!

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."

"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