“Are there any other children?” The Rebbe asked, as he was about to enter 770 Eastern Parkway (the Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters).

“No,” my mother replied.

“No more children?” the Rebbe asked again.

“No,” my mother replied again.

The Rebbe motioned with his hand as if to say, “Something appears to be amiss.”

And then my mother finally realized that she had overlooked my seven-month-old brother blissfully asleep in his stroller nearby.

It was the winter of 1987. My family had traveled from Israel to Brooklyn, to spend three weeks with the Rebbe.

For decades, when the Rebbe would enter or exit 770, he’d often reach into his pocket and lovingly hand a coin to every single child for him or her to place into the charity box.

You can imagine the excitement of the children who received a coin from the Rebbe himself!

As guests from Israel, we used every opportunity to receive coins for charity from the Rebbe and be in his holy presence.

During one of those moments, we stood together with another family waiting for the Rebbe to enter 770.

The Rebbe pressed a coin into each of our little hands, and when he finished he looked at my mother and asked in Yiddish:

S’iz faran noch kinder?” (Are there any other children)?

My mother, awed by the encounter with the Rebbe, forgot about her baby sleeping nearby.

She might have forgotten. But the Rebbe? The Rebbe didn’t forget.

Some 25 years earlier the Rebbe shared a story about the First Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, and his son, Rabbi Dovber:

“Rabbi Dov Ber was known for his unusual power of concentration. When he was engaged in study or prayer he was totally oblivious to everything around him.

“On one occasion, when Rabbi Dov Ber was thus engrossed, his baby sleeping in a nearby cot fell out of his cradle and began to cry. Rabbi Dov Ber did not hear the baby’s cries.

“The infant’s grandfather, the Old Rebbe, who was in his study on the upper floor also engrossed in his studies, did hear the baby’s cries. He interrupted his studies, went downstairs, lifted the infant, soothed it and replaced it in its cradle. To all this, the infant’s father remained quite oblivious.

“Subsequently, the Old Rebbe admonished his son: ‘No matter how engrossed one may be in the most lofty occupation, one must never remain insensitive to the cry of a child.’

“This story is transmitted to us from generation to generation for the lasting message which it conveys. In fact, it came to characterize one of the basic tenets of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement—to hearken to the cry of a child.

“The ‘child’ may be an infant in age, a minor or teenager, a Jewish boy or girl attending public school, fallen from the ‘cradle’ of the Jewish religion, heritage and way of life.

“Or it may be an adult in years, yet an ‘infant’ with regard to knowledge and experience of the Jewish religion and heritage and way of life, as so many Jewish students on the campuses of colleges and universities, or other walks of life.

“The souls of these Jewish ‘children’ cry out in anguish, for they live in a spiritual void. They cry out for a guiding hand that would restore to them the security and warmth and comfort of their faith, and give meaning to their empty lives, whether they are conscious of it, or feel it only subconsciously.

“We must hear their cries, no matter how preoccupied we may be with any lofty cause, for to help them back to their Jewish ‘cradle’ takes priority over all else.

“Humanity as a whole seems to have fallen out of its ‘cradle’ too, crying out in fear of nuclear self-destruction, threatened to be engulfed by the dark forces of G‑dlessness and demoralization. Only a return to G‑d and to the Divine Laws of justice and morality can restore peace and security to the human race.

“No one must be so wrapped up in himself as to remain insensitive to the situation around him. Everyone can do something in his own way, beginning with himself, his family and neighborhood. In the final analysis, the whole world is like one organism which, if sick in one part or limb, is sick all over; while contributing to the wholesomeness of one part contributes to the well-being of the whole.”

On that winter day in 1987, my family experienced first-hand the Rebbe’s attentiveness - not only to the crying child, but to the child quietly asleep, too.

This week we commemorate the Rebbe’s yahrzeit.

I believe that the most appropriate way to honor the Rebbe on this special day is by following his example.

We all know children of every age, some crying, and some maybe even fast asleep with no one paying them heed, but all longing for connection (and may I suggest that deep inside we all have our internal crying and sleeping children?).

We need to hug the child. To show him and her love. To help them foster a loving, fulfilling relationship with G‑d that will last a lifetime.

As the Rebbe taught us, we need to listen to their cry - and perhaps even more importantly, to be mindful of them when they are silent.