‘Defenders of Israel’ Mark 74 Years

It’s been seventy four years since the establishment of a special “defense force” of fearless soldiers whose task was thus defined in a tear-soaked letter: “They will protect the Jewish Nation, striving for the victory of justice and relieving the pangs of Moshiach.”

We’re speaking about the World Wide Tehillim Campaign, which was founded by the Frierdiker Rebbe while the second World War was raging, wreaking havoc and destruction on Jewish communities the world over. One cannot help feeling goosebumps when re-reading that letter which was written with ink and tears; “with their prayers, the praises of the Psalmist of Israel, they will protect the Jewish Nation, striving for the victory of justice and relieving the pangs of Moshiach”.

Twenty six years ago, this campaign once again won the interest of the leader of our generation. On Erev Shavuos 5750, the Rebbe traveled as usual to the Ohel of his father in law, the Frierdiker Rebbe, when suddenly he stepped out and asked his secretary, Rabbi Krinsky, to get in touch immediately with Rabbi Sholom Duchman, director of Colel Chabad, and tell him to renew the minyan for Tehillim in its original format: at the kever of Dovid Hamelech on Har Tzion.  Of course the Rebbe’s request was fulfilled without delay. Since then, this has continued diligently, every single day, no matter what the weather, the entire Tehillim is recited in a minyan at the Kever of Dovid Hamelech “to protect, striving for the victory of justice and relieving the pangs of Moshiach.”

In the rules and regulations that the Frierdiker Rebbe wrote when founding this campaign, he established Isru Chag of Shavuos as the “campaign’s holiday,” as special time for farbrenging together. This year, Colel Chabad’s administration invited the public to take part in the World Wide Tehillim Campaign’s celebration at Dovid Hamelech’s kever once again. This was a very special and moving event, where holiness and happiness could be felt at once. The gathering began with the emotional recital of Tehillim, and continued into a big seudas mitzva “seudasa deDovid Malka Meshicha.”

Present at the head table were Rabbi Zev Dov Slonim of the Bais Din Rabbonei Chabad and Rabbi of central Yerushalaim, along with his sons who are shluchim in Yerushalaim. Rabbi Slonim spoke about the great zchus of all those who are part of this special minyan and Colel Chabad who are keeping the eternal flame burning. In continuation to his remarks, Rabbi Deutch, director of Colel Chabad in Israel, told the story of how it all began. “I shall never forget those awe-inspiring moments when Rabbi Shalom Duchman called me on Erev Shavuos of 5750, relaying the Rebbe’s request that campaign be renewed in its original format on Har Tzion. Indeed, before the sun set that day, I had the great merit to inform the Rebbe that on Isru Chag his request would be fulfilled without any delay. A few weeks later, before going to the Ohel, the Rebbe requested the full names (their name, and mother’s name) of all of the minyan’s participants, as well as the schedule of the World Wide Tehillim Campaign. On erev Yud Shvat 5751, before leaving to the Ohel, the Rebbe once again asked to receive all the details of the World Wide Tehillim Campaign. What a great zchus it is for us to bring the Rebbe nachas from such an important activity. It is well known that on Hoshana Rabba the Rebbe would send a kvittel with the names asking for a bracha, and he would also add his own name as well as the Rebbetzin’s name.”

Rabbi Duetsch praised the memory of the campaign’s rov, Rabbi Shmuel Eliezer Hailperin O.B.M, who made sure to take part in this activity and participated yearly in this momentous occasion on Isru Chag.  As well, renowned lecturer Rabbi Chaim Sasson spoke masterfully about the power of Tehillim, extolling the virtues of all those who devotedly come daily, rain or shine to beseech Hashem’s mercy on behalf of all of us.

The farbrengen continued with many Mashpiim and chasidim around festively set tables.  Later, the crowd was moved by the incredible voice of wonder child Binyamim Bruchim, who sang and had the audience up on their feet dancing. The bentching was led by the campaign’s gabbai, Rabbi Efraim Prus, who devotedly takes attendance and is responsible for the “panim” that are sent daily with names to daven for.

Rabbi Efraim Prus and Rabbi Shmuel Mendelson, who worked tirelessly to make this event a success, were thanked. The crowd stayed on to hear amazing stories about the many miracles and wonders that were linked to the Tehillim campaign, seeing again and again how powerfully the words of Tehillim reach the very heavens bringing salvation to so many.

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