Lieba Rudolph, a well-known writer and longtime member of the Chabad community in Pittsburgh, wrote the following article in advance of the International Kinus Hashluchos, which was published in The Jewish Chronicle:
Today, I hope to be one of thousands of women converging on New York to attend an annual convention. But not just any annual convention. This one breaks the record for being the largest women’s convention in the world. It’s the International Conference of Shluchos; the shluchos are the female emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Who knows how many other records these women have broken? It’s mind-boggling to think how many events they’ve planned, how many classes they’ve taught, how many broken hearts they’ve mended. Just the number of salads they’ve prepared is enough to make your head spin.
I stand in awe of them. I hope to be like them. One thing’s for sure, I can never thank them enough. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try.
Everything I have in my life is thanks to the Rebbe and his shluchim. (Shluchim are emissaries in the plural form, both men and women.) Because life is not about what you have, it’s about how you relate to what you have. You know, like it says in Ethics of Our Fathers: Who is rich? He who is happy with what he has. But it’s more than that. If you think about our lives from G-d’s perspective, we really don’t have anything because, compared to Him, we really aren’t anything.
And yet, we’re here. So, now what?
That’s what attracted me the most to the shluchim of the Rebbe: There’s no question too scary, too unknowable, too irreverent to discuss. There’s an answer for everything, even if it’s, “we don’t know yet.” And here’s what else they taught me: Whatever we do know Jewishly, we are obligated to share with others.
One way I try to do this, of course, is by writing my blog.
Another way is by sharing the story of my journey in person, which I did just recently. I spoke to a women’s group in Monroeville, just outside of Pittsburgh. It was a “full circle” moment for me and Esther Schapiro, the shlucha who invited me. When my husband Zev and I first starting learning with Esther’s parents, Pittsburgh’s Head Shluchim, Rabbi Yisroel and Blumi Rosenfeld, Esther was the baby bouncing on her father’s knee.
Now, almost thirty years later, there I was, sharing with Esther’s ladies the picture of my Chabad family, all grown up. I declared myself a “walking miracle” of the Rebbe and his shluchim.
If G-d would have wanted me to be a shlucha, I would have been a shlucha, I know that. But then I wouldn’t have my story to tell. Which means I wouldn’t be writing and you wouldn’t be reading.
I am grateful for all of this. Really. (It took me almost thirty years to be able to say it, but, really.)
Oh, and by the way, the fact that you’re reading means you’re also involved with Chabad. You, too, have been affected, even if imperceptibly.
They work hard, these shluchos, trying to affect the world.
I hope you’ll share this post as a way to thank them for their unending selflessness on behalf of the Jewish nation and the entire world.
Not sure you’ve been affected? Here are some of the things I know can thank a shlucha for, and some that maybe you can, too.
If you went to a Mega Challah Bake, thank a shlucha. (Or if you almost went, or even just heard about it.)
If you didn’t know how to read Hebrew until she taught you, thank a shlucha.
If you’ve ever taken a Chabad-sponsored class, thank a shlucha. (If her husband taught the class, it means she was home with the kids, so thank her for that. Everyone knows that taking care of kids is harder than teaching a class.)
If you ever needed anything Jewish away from home and Chabad helped you, thank a shlucha.
If you don’t get embarrassed anymore in shul because she taught you how to pray, thank a shlucha.
If your daughter became a shlucha because of the role models she saw, thank a shlucha.
I could go on and on. And so could many of you, I’m sure.
For now, I hope you’ll share in giving our shluchos a blessing for success in fulfilling the Rebbe’s singular goal for our generation: to spread G-dliness everywhere in order to bring Moshiach now, in our time.