World of Chabad Lubavitch Chabad of Central New Jersey
Wednesday, September 27, 2023 - 12 Tishrei 5784
About us | Donate | Contact us
The Rebbe
News & Events
Weekly Torah Portion
Torah Study
Ask The Rabbi
Jewish Calendar
Upcoming Events
Birthday & Yartzeit
Find a Chabad Center
Photo Gallery
Event Hall
Campus Housing
Kosher Dining Service
Camp Gan Israel
Arrange for Kaddish
About Us
Contact Us
Join our e-mail list
& get all the latest news & updates
5:24 PM in New Brunswick, NJ
Shabbat Ends 6:22 PM
Friday, 29 Sep 2023
»   Get Shabbat Times for your area
Help support Chabad of Central New Jersey by making a donation. Donate today!


















Share |
A Tanya in Arizona

Late one morning, a rented car pulled up in the center of the small mining town of Kingman, Arizona. The two passengers who emerged were an unusual sight – young, fully bearded men in black fedora hats.

The passersby slowed down and did a double-take, when the two young men did something even more strange — they opened the trunk and lifted out a portable printing press. They set it up right in middle of the city square, and hung a sign over their vehicle: “We are now printing a book of Tanya—the fundamental work of Chassidut—on the instructions of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.”

In the 1970’s, the Rebbe began a campaign to print an edition of Tanya in every city in the world. His directive was based on a teaching of the Baal Shem Tov, that Moshiach would come when “the wellsprings” of Chassidic teachings would spread worldwide. A spring, the Rebbe explained, is a source of living water. Printing the Tanya in every location would transform that place into a source and bastion of Chassidic teachings.

The Rebbe’s emissaries dispersed throughout the globe took up the Rebbe’s call and traveled from town to town in their region, printing Tanyas in every stop along the way. The two young men in Arizona, Rabbi Zalman Levertov and Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Shemtov, were in Kingman on that very mission.

The portable press was set up and connected to a generator; the printing plates were put in place, the rolls of paper were threaded through the machine, and the printer was ready to go. Many curious bystanders listened intently to the rabbis’ explanation of the strange goings-on. “No, we have not come here to open up a printing shop,” they joked. They told the listeners of the Rebbe’s mission to spread the light of Torah and Chassidut worldwise. Some of the observers were Jewish themselves, and the rabbis gave them the opportunity to put on tefillin.

At a certain point a large crowd gathered, including several Jews, and the rabbis decided to use the opportune moment. They took the fresh sheets of paper that had just come out of the printer, and began to teach a short lecture on Tanya. Both the Jews and non-Jews who had gathered listened to the teachings of Rabbi Shneur Zalmen of Liadi, who counseled us in his writings to strive for the highest spiritual purpose and follow the dictates of our G-dly soul rather than our animal soul.

By noon the printing was almost finished. The sun was beating down strongly and few people roamed the streets. One elderly gentleman with a wizened face crossed the street and out of the corner of his eye, noticed the car with the unusual sign. He was about to continue on his way when for some reason, Rabbi Levertov went over to him and engaged him in conversation.

Suddenly the old man took in the appearance of the two rabbis. His eyes widened in surprise, and his expression looked so startled that the rabbis themselves became confused. He continued to stare at them with open curiosity in his eyes, until Rabbi Shemtov asked the man where he was from. “Germany,” he answered.

Rabbi Shemtov had a strong feeling that the man was Jewish, but was reluctant to ask him outright. Instead he asked, “Have you ever had a bar mitzvah?”

The man swallowed hard. He took a step forward towards the two rabbis and answered softly, “Yes, I am Jewish, if that is what you meant.”

Emotionally, he told the two rabbis that he was a Holocaust survivor, the only remnant of his entire family. After the war he had gone to live in the United States, and had never again encountered Jews like the type he had known before the war; the ones he saw standing in front of him now.

For a long while he stood there sharing his life experiences with the rabbis, of the evils done to him and his family by the Germans. The rabbis listened to him with patience and understanding, and allowed him to unload the burden that had lain on his heart for so many years.

The printing press extruded its last sheet of paper; the Kingman, Arizona, edition of Tanya was complete. The sun was about to set, and the man rolled up his sleeve and with the help of the two rabbis, he lay tefillin for the first time in his life. When he said the words of Shma, all his pent up emotions burst out and he wept all the tears he had not cried for years.

Before they parted, the two rabbis gave him a copy of Tanya translated into English, as well as the telephone number of Rabbi Levertov’s office in Phoenix. This was the beginning of his road home. The following Passover holiday he spent in Phoenix as a guest of the Levertovs, and slowly made a complete return to his Jewish roots.


About us | Donate | Contact us | The Rebbe | News | Parsha | Magazine | Holidays | Questions & Answers | Audio | Video | See mobile site

© 2007 Chabad of Central New Jersey. All rights reserved.
site designed & powered by