The following open letter was written by Rabbi Hirshy Minkowicz, whose wife Rashi tragically and suddenly passed away last week. It is addressed to the global family of Lubavitch Chasidim – and the Crown Heights community in particular:
Tuesday night, March 11, (Yud Adar) at 10 minutes before 8:00pm, my wife Rashi sat at the head of the beautifully set dining room table waiting for the women to arrive for her weekly class in our home called ‘Torah and Tea.’
Ten minutes later, just before the first person arrived, she went to her room to rest due to a bad headache, and my family’s life changed forever.
It changed in the most painful and sad way. Things will never ever be the same and I have no illusions about that.
Yet I am writing to you all today to tell you another, more positive, way that things changed and will never be the same.
It was a necessary yet difficult decision to bring the family to New York for the entire Shiva. We have a very loving, committed and loyal community back home , but I knew we needed to be with our family and friends ‘back home’.
Then came the storm, the storm of sadness and grief yet mixed with the storm of support, sympathy and care. People from all over the world reaching out to us to offer their help. Members of Anash, Lubavitchers from all over expressing their support as if it was their own sister that had passed.
Am Yisrael is one people and that is clear. By us we say ‘Chasidim Ein Mishpacha’ (Chasidim are one family). To me that used to be a slogan, today it is a real life fact.
To every Lubavitcher (and others) that reached out to my family either directly or indirectly I say thank you.
To the people in Crown Heights I say what many of you have said to me this past week: “There are no words” You are the most amazing community of people that I know. Living in the Rebbe’s community really rubbed off on all of you in a very powerful way.
My wife o.b.m. and I both come from large (some would say ‘very’ large) families. My kids have over 100 combined aunts, uncles, and first cousins Bli Ayin Horah.
What I didn’t expect was that on Tuesday night when Rashi left the head of the table to go to rest, she would be supplemented by thousands of instant new family members.
Editors note: To read more about Rashi or to support her family visit www.chabadnf.org/rashi