The Photo from the year 5764 (2004)

The following story was already publicized and caused quite a stir around the world.  It involves a child named Hillel Cohen from Yerushalayim, Ir Hakodesh.  Hillel stayed at 770 Bais Mashiach for the month of the festivals of Tishrei 5764 (2004), and on one of the days between Yom Kippur and Sukkot he was photographed beside the bima of the Rebbe, shlita, MH”M, while the chair and the shtender were prepared (this was following one of the minyanim).

When they developed the photo, something astonishing was revealed.

The Photo. On the right appears Hillel Cohen and to the left appears the Rebbe shlita MH”M.

The Rebbe appears in the photo standing next to Hillel with his back to the picture.

Mrs. Malka Ezra of the neighborhood of Gilo in Yerushalayim tells the following about the picture:

During my work taking care of the children of the Cohen family, I was a witness to several wonders that the Rebbe showed in connection with this photo.

Everything began when Hillel returned home after the month, of Tishrei 5764 after spending it in the Rebbe’s daled amos of 770.  Hillel brought with him an important reminder of his trip–a disposable camera with which he took a lot of photos of his special moments of Tishrei in 770.

At his request I developed the film in the camera at a local store.  When the pictures came back, Hillel was very disappointed that only one picture came out clearly, and all the rest were completely blurry.  When we returned home and took a loot at the pictures, we were very surprised when we saw that in the one photo that came out clear, the Rebbe appears standing alongside Hillel with his back to the picture!

I had no doubt that this was him.  I know Hillel and his family and all the children as completely honest and truthful, and I never heard a lie from any of them.  Hillel claimed excitedly that no one had been standing next to him when the picture was taken.  I have no doubt that we are speaking about a photo of the Rebbe from the year 5764 (2004).

I was overjoyed about this special revelation, and I ran to tell all my friends about it.  I publicized it on Chabad websites and I made hundreds of copies of the picture and spread them around Israel.

Here I encountered a response that I hadn’t imagined.  People were actually angry at us and were saying that we were making a mockery of Chabad!  People began to ask questions and to doubt all the details that we said.

On the other hand, there were also many positive responses.  People that accepted the photo told about the encouragement and strength that they received from  it, or about the way the photo influenced their acquaintances and students.

On one Shabbat, I was in a Chabad House in Gilo and I was discussing the photo with R’ Zeev Bentzion, a Chabad Chosid who lives in the neighborhood.  He was doubtful about the whole thing, and in the end he decided to ask the Rebbe through the Igros Kodesh.

Since it was Shabbat he couldn’t write, and instead of this he asked the question verbally.  After he said “Yechi”, he opened the book (volume 7, page 150-51) and when he started to read the answer we were both astonished.  The Rebbe, MH”M,  answered clearly in a way that leaves no room for doubt:

After a lengthy break, his letter was received…in which he informs…that he already sent the photo…and tshuot chen (thanks and appreciation) for the effort in this, and seemingly – this is in continuation of the letter that I sent thorugh him to the brother of R’ Cohen, and certainly also in the future he will make efforts in these ways…and tshuot chen (thanks and appreciation) for the photos and in particular for the good tidings on the matter of their activities…and surely they will make the effort now to continue this matter, after “theplowing and the sowing” they will harvest also the crop and the fruits, and Hashem will bless them with success in all this.

[to be continued, G_d willing]

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Mrs. Chava Cohen

Mrs. Chava Cohen gives Yechi tambourine to the Rebbe

Mrs. Chava Cohen gives Yechi tambourine to the Rebbe

Many are familiar with the famous photo from 5752 (1992), in which we see the Rebbe MH”M receiving in his holy hands a tambourine on which is written “Yechi Adoneinu…”.  Fewer know that the one who was behind this initiative and who gave the tambourine to the Rebbe was Mrs. Chava Cohen, a resident of Crown Heights.  mrs. Cohen merited to see the Rebbe MH”M with her own eyes twice over the course of the last decade.

“The first time was in the year 5756 (1996), in the house of my son Shlomo Zalman, who serves as the Rebbe’s shliach in Sheepshead Bay in New York.  He made a farbrengen for the shalom zachor for the birth of his son, my grandson, and me and my daughter-in-law’s mother were in the house.  The men sat and farbrenged (talking, singing, making lechayim) in the living room to celebrate the joyous occassion, and we sat in the kitchen while she was busy preparing things for the farbrengen.

“Suddenly I lifted my eyes and at a distance of about 3-3.5 meters (9-10 feet) I saw the Rebbe MH”M!  I was completely shocked, and I wasn’t able to move.  I saw the Rebbe for about half a minute.  When I calmed down from the excitement, I gotup and went to the place where I saw the Rebbe, MH”M, but now I already didn’t see anything.

“I decided to tell myself: stop imagining things, you were hallucinating.  I sat down again in my place and didn’t say anything to anyone.

“After about five minutes, my daughter-in-law’s mother came to me with her hands trembling all over and she said to me ‘Chavi! You won’t believe it!’  I asked her ‘what happened?’  She replied: ‘I just saw the Rebbe!’  I asked: ‘Where did you see him?’  She answered: ‘I came from the sink to the refrigerator and from the refrigerator I walked back to the sink, and both times I saw the Rebbe!’  ‘Where exactly did you see the Rebbe’, I asked.  She pointed to exactly the spot where I had seen Rebbe!

“I told her: ‘Leah, yes, I believe you, I saw the Rebbe in the same place five minutes ago!’

“If only I saw the Rebbe, even 1000 times, I would be convinced I was hallucinating.  And if my daughter-in-law’s mother also would see the Rebbe, without confirmation from me afterwards that I also saw, she would think she’s imaginging things.  But we saw, both of us, in the same place, at the shalom zachor in the Chabad House!”

R’ Adam Rozhnik

R’ Adam Rozhnik is was young Yeshiva student living in Melbourne, Australia.

This was at the time that I was learning in the yeshiva Tomchei Temimim Lubavitch in my city of Melbourne.  As is usual in Chabad yeshivas, the students reside in the yeshiva, and that’s what I did too, even though my parents were living in the city.

I spent the month of Tishrei 5755 (1994) at Beis Moshiach 770.  Even though I didn’t see the Rebbe with my own eyes, his presence was very much felt.  It was possible to feel the love and devotion of the Rebbe to all of his chasidim who came from all ends of the earthto spend the festive month of Tisheri by the head of the Jewish people.

At the end of the month I returned to Australia, and I continued my studies at the yeshiva with greater strength after the uplift I got at Bais Hamelech.

It was the night after Shabbat a short time after I returned from 770.  I went to sleep at my usual time, even though I had certain personal problems that troubled me and give let me rest.

At around 1:30 a.m. I awoke suddenly, and when I opened my eyes I was surprised that there was someone standing by my bed.  Right away I looked at this person to see who it is that came into my room at so late an hour, and I was shocked to see this was none other than the Rebbe himself!

The Rebbe stood  by my bed and said in a clear voice: “Don’t worry, the financial situation of your parents will be okay.”  When he finished speaking he disappeared as fast as he had come.

Getting up the next morning, I called my mother to share with her the special “private audience” I had merited.  When I finished telling her my experience, my mother asked me emotionally what time exactly did this occur.  When I answered that this revelation took place at 1:30 a.m., she told me excitedly that at exactly that time she was speaking with my father about the state of his business!

Since that time, his parents have lived tranquilly, with trust that there is someone who helps them with their problems, and today they live comfortably.

From “Miracles” #19.

Mrs. Heidi Amit

Mrs. Heidi Amit  is the wife of R’ Yaron Amit of Bris Yosef Yitzchok from Jerusalem. She tells the following:

This was in one of the years of the 5750s (after 5754=1994).  I was at Yeshivat Hakotel for a Yom Iyun in the Rebbe’s teachings about Moshiach and Geulah organized by Ohr Chaya.  Rav Mendel Wechter explained very well the reason for the special greatness of Bais Rabbeinu SheBeBavel (“the house of our Rebbe in Babylon”), based on the known sicha on this subject.  And we, who were then near the kotel – the remnant of the Holy Temple – identified with the explanations that he offered; so despite the unique quality of “the Divine Presence doesn’t depart from its place” and the holiness of the place of the Temple, the Temple Mount and the Kotel, it doesn’t reach the revelation of the main revelation of the Divine Presence that is found very far from here in New York – in “Bais Moshiach” 770.

I felt a twinge in my heart when I remembered the fact that until now I hadn’t had an opportunity to go travel to the Rebbe, to 770.  So, I only knew the Rebbe from photos and video, but I never visited or saw him physically – in his house in 770.

In the meantime, the next speaker began – Rabbi and Chasid and Kabbalist Yitzchak Ginsburgh, who began to explain the subject of the geulah according to kabbalah.  Suddenly, I felt a special feeling.  I lifted my eyes and I saw the Rebbe standing across from me for real (“mamash”)!

The sight continued for a few seconds and then suddenly I saw a great light that I couldn’t tolerate to look at.  I lowered my eyes and when I raised them back I couldn’t see the Rebbe anymore.

Around this same time I had heard here and there about talk and opinions about the Rebbe having [as Mashiach] eternal life, but it was before I considered myself a dedicated “meshichist”; but this sight influenced me tremendously.

Despite it all, one thing bothered me: the aged appearence of the Rebbe.  In all the photos or videos that I had seen until then, I remembered the Rebbe looking younger, but now I saw him quite aged.

After a few days I had the chance to visit a friend in Jerusalem.  By Divine Providence she showed me a video of the Rebbe giving out dollars at the beginning of the 5750s, and when I watched the video I noticed suddenly that the Rebbe looked older, exactly like I had seen him!

Mrs. Sultana Biton

The wife of Rabbi Yaakov Biton, the shliach of the Rebbe in Sarcelles, France, periodically organizes groups of women to travel to “Beis Moshiach” 770 in New York.  The prefered date is generally the Chof Beit (22nd of) Shevat, the yahrtzeit of the Rabbanit, the tzadkanit Chaya Mushka, of blessed memory, the wife of the Rebbe.

“This was in the year 5763 (2003) that I brought a group of women from my city to 770 in honor of Chof Beit Shevat.  My sister-in-law, Mazal-Tov Ben-Sabo, also came along.  She is a frum woman who grew up with emunat tzaddikim (faith in tzaddikim, which is the reason she came along with us) .  For her this was the first time she was ever by the Rebbe.

“We arrived on Thursday, the 20th of Shevat, in the afternoon.  After we got organized a bit, we went to sit in 770 for a shiur by one of the women in the neighborhood who was explaining very clearly the uniqueness of 770, “Beis Moshiach”, and she emphasized the eternal life of the Rebbe, neshoma in a body.

“Her talk mentioned the “shvil” (pathway) that opens up among the masses of people who fill 770 before and after the davening at the Rebbe’s minyan.  The Chassidim stand on two sides and sing “Yechi” to greet the Rebbe with song and melody.  After the shiur my sister-in-law opened up to me with a lot of anger, complaining that she didn’t want to hear such things.  She had already heard about the emunah of the chassidim that the Rebbe is alive, but to her the “shivl” that was spoken about was just too much.

“She said such insulting things that it’s not right to repeat them, and my attempts to explain it didn’t help.

“Despite everything, she arrived with us to 770 for Kabbalat Shabbat the next night.  She purposely sat in the first seat, opposite the Rebbe’s place.

“A few minutes before the davening she saw how they prepared the Rebbe’s shtender, since it was customary for the Rebbe to daven for the amud on this day in honor of his wife, the Rabbanit Chaya Mushka.  Again she started to ridicule and insult the idea and I wasn’t able to stop her.  A few minutes went by and the “shvil” opened up for the Rebbe with the singing of “Yechi”, meanwhile my sister-in-law was looking around below in the men’s section of the shul.

“The davening began, when suddenly I saw the face of my sister-in-law had changed and turned as white as plaster.  She continued to look like she had been struck by shock, and after a moment she opened up to me with tears in her eyes, and she said “I’m in shock!  You won’t believe it but just now I saw the Rebbe!

“I calmed her down, and she told me that just then she had seen the Rebbe passing through the “shvil” that had opened up for him, with his siddur in his holy hand, and he got to the Aron Kodesh and touched the parochet.  After this she wasn’t able to see anything more.

“Needless to say, this revelation changed her whole outlook and she made the most out of the rest of her visit!”

Rabbi Mordechai Rottenstein

Rabbi Mordechai Rottenstein is a graphologist and a renown educational adviser who lives in the Chabad community of Bnei Brak.

“This was on Simchat Torah 5765 (2004). I merited to spend the month in Beis Mashiach ‘770’, and I davened Shacharit with the Rebbe’s minyan.

“In Chabad the custom is to do Hakafot also on the day of Simchat Torah, although we only do three and a half (instead of the seven we do at night). I danced with the immense crowd in a huge circle going around the bima, which was sweeping everyone into the dancing and the simcha. Thus, at the end of each circuit I found myself back next to the Rebbe’s place in the east of 770.

“On one of the circuits I took a glance in the direction of the Rebbe’s holy place and I felt something like a ‘pinch’ in my heart. Here the Chassidim were so joyous, mamash feeling the Rebbe’s presence. But why doesn’t he reveal himself already?

“This thought passed through my mind briefly, and suddenly I saw the Rebbe, wrapped in a tallit, standing on his elevated bima, leaning on the shtender and his back to the congregation!

“It is difficult to describe my excitement and joy in those moments; this was the first time I had the merit to see the Rebbe with my own eyes. I couldn’t stay in that place because of the huge ‘wave’ of people that drew me along in the dancing, but in that moment I had a fleeting thought: why doesn’t the Rebbe turn his holy face towards the congregation of Chassidim?

“In the next circuit I looked over at his holy place, and I saw that the Rebbe had turned towards the congregation and was even looking towards me!

“Then, as if by some manner of telepathy, it hit me the answer to my question: if the Chassidim will look in his direction, he will also turn around towards them!

“Because the circle was sweeping me along, I wasn’t able to think a lot and so I found myself going around again and again, and at the end of each circuit I saw the Rebbe on his holy bima. I got so accustomed to this, that after some time I already wasn’t looking in that direction every time…

“For me this was a precious revelation, I danced with a deep joy with a feeling like after making kiddush on a cup of mashkeh (even though I had barely managed to make kiddush and taste something). I was on the level of ‘drunk but not from wine’…

“At a certain point I turned to one of the Chassidim and I asked him when the second Hakafa was. His answer was that soon it’s time for Mincha!

“For me there is a message in this story that I would like to emphasize–the more the Chassidim will focus on the Rebbe and look in his direction, the sooner he will reveal himself to them!”

Moshe Toledo

In the mid 1980s Moshe Toledo moved from Israel to New York City, where he established a successful business. While living in New York, he payed numerous visits to “Beis Mashiach” — 770 Eastern Parkway. He tells the following:

“It was on Purim 5764 (2004). I arrived to hear the reading of the Megilla in the Rebbe’s minyan, and for the first time I brought my young daughter Zohar along with me. She was four years old at the time.

“When we entered the synagogue, the minyan was already in the middle of Maariv. It was very crowded, and I stood off to the side and asked myself how I will manage to make my way through this big crowd in order to get to the center of the shul.

“Suddenly, the Tomim (student) Shlomo Segal was in front of me–he was visiting my store every Friday as part of his “mivtzoyim” (outreach to fellow Jews). He immediately understood my dilemma and he managed to bring me further in, making room for me to pass until I reached the center of the shul next to the big bima where they read the Torah. I was carrying my daughter Zohar on my shoulders so that she could breathe and not get trampled by the big crowd, chas veshalom.

“Zohar had remained quiet until this point, by now she turned to me and asked ‘Abba, go closer, I want to see the Rebbe!’

“At first I didn’t understand what she meant, but she asked again: ‘Abba, I want to see the Rebbe up close!’

“I figured that she had seen some aged alter chossid with a long white beard, and she thought he was the Rebbe…I started to explain to her that not everyone who has a long white beard is the Rebbe, but she was insistent: ‘No, Abba, I see the Rebbe! He is sitting there on the bima, go closer!’

“I got closer to the place where the Rebbe sits, meanwhile she is updating me the whole time during the davening and the reading of the Megilla how the Rebbe is sitting and reading his siddur or he got up and is leaning on the shtender, etc.

“Afterwards, when we returned home, I showed Zohar a picture of the a bunch of different tzaddikim and Rebbeim, among them was one picture of the Rebbe, and I asked her who she saw. She immediately pointed to the picture of the Rebbe!”