Memories

Rabbi Sholom Dov Lubin

The last time I saw Rabbi Daniel Moscowitz was at the Kinus Hashluchim in 2013. It was in the hallway of the Brooklyn Marriot, surrounded by hundreds of people. He gave me a kiss, and a big smile, and said “so how is it going with your chavrusa, Meir Shimon?” That smile, that kiss, and that greeting have stayed with me throughout this most difficult year.

 I knew Rabbi Moscowitz for my entire life. My earliest memories of the Moscowitz’s were in their apartment near Bnei Ruven, where I attended farbrengens, (I remember a Sheva Brachos for Meyer and Lakey Silber?) and children’s rallies in the basement- (led by Baila Kosofsky). And I was one of the kids who came over to the new house North of Devon to say psukim for a Chanukas Habayis many years ago…

I remember so many farbrengens in the house on Whipple, celebrating Chassidish Yomim Tovim, Rabbi Moscowitz’s Shavuos birthday, and, in the later years, Reb Mendel Futerfas and other special guests.. I don’t remember much of what was said at those farbrengens, but I can still hear the lively niguim and the pounding on the tables, and I can still taste the tomato and onion salad that was always a staple at those farbrengens.

The chassidsher lachluchis that I saw in Rabbi Moscowitz has had a profound impact on me.

 

I remember the farbrengin in Rabbi and Rebbetzin Goodmans’ home on Simchas Torah, singing V’yaidu Ki Ata- Don’t be a Shmatta, and everyone ending up at the Hecht’s as YomTov ended in a very Lebedike way and every year farbrenging in Rebbetzin Hecht’s home after the Lubavitch Chabad Purim Seudah in the school gym.

I remember the year of my Bar Mitzvah, when Purim was on a Thursday, and my Bar Mitzvah Melave Malka was that Motzei Shabbos. We got up to leave the farbrengen early, and Rabbi Moscowitz turned to us and said “Why are you leaving so soon?” My father replied, ‘Shalom Dov has to finish learning his Maamer”, to which the response was, “If he doesn’t know it by now, forget about it!” and we stayed at the farbrengen...

Indeed, our annual pilgrimage to Anshei Mottele for the  Shalosh Seudos that Alex Eisenberg made for Rabbi Hecht’s yartzeit every year, was a time of great pride for us- “The Lubavitchers are coming to visit ”, they would  say, and  Rabbi Moscowitz would always deliver a beautiful Dvar Torah…

I remember one farbrengen when Rabbi Moscowitz was encouraging people to use their Jewish names, and one person said, “I just started at a new job, and they just put my (secular) name placard on the door outside my office!”, and without missing a beat, Rabbi Moscowitz said, “So tell them you made a mistake, and this is your real name!”

Rabbi Moscowitz drove my carpool for many years- we loved the “Moscowitz carpool” since it was always on time (8:26 AM at our house), and Rabbi Moscowitz used lo let us listen to fun children’s tapes in the car (the Golden Crown), or Mordechai ben David, unless it was after Pesach when we listened to the tape of the Rebbe’s new niggun being sung over and over.

In 8th grade (1992) he would pick us up from Cheder, and had a car phone that he would often be calling New York on, to find out if the Rebbe was going to say a Sicha, or had just said one.

I remember him laughing when he told us how he was in New York, and his brand new hat blew off in the wind and was run over by a truck.
 

I remember eating over at the Moscowitz’s one Shabbos when I was in 5th grade with my mother and siblings when my father was away.  I knew I would probably be asked to say a Dvar Torah, and that morning I quickly read a few lines from Likutei Pshatim, which I said over at the table. Rabbi Moscowitz looked at me and smiled, and asked, “Maybe you have another Dvar Torah as well? He and I both knew that a 5th grader in Cheder could do better than that.
 

The children’s’ rallies that we had growing up, and the amazing Lag Baomer Parades, were so exciting for us- and gave a feeling that we were part of a larger Lubavitch community worldwide. The hookups of farbrengens -first in Evanston, then in Highland Park, and then at the Posner’s home, and the Chanukah Live videos at Chabad House on Devon, gave me an appreciation and opportunity to see the Rebbe speak live during Farbrengens.

In fact, the only time I merited to receive Kos Shel Bracha from the Rebbe, was when Rabbi Moscowitz took me along with his boys on Motzei Simchas Torah 5746.

I remember walking over to the Moscowitz’s during the first Seder every year to get a piece of the Rebbe’s Matzah for Afikomen.

As a kid, it was so exciting when we would go to Chabad House to stuff envelopes, or pack Mishloach Manos boxes. I still remember how excited we were when the UPS truck would deliver a Happy Purim made out of chocolate from Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois.

I remember the tremendous pride he had when we, the Cheder Alumni, were old enough to participate in the Annual Kinus Torah at Bnei Ruven, and how we felt so important being introduced to the crowd every year and feeling that our participation was appreciated. When I would go with Rabbi Moscowitz to the Evanston Chabad House before Pesach every year to help make the Minyan for the Tannenbaum family, who had Yahrtzeit, he would always ask me, “So, are you ready for the Kinus Torah?”

As a Bochur, being able to help run the Yud Aleph Nissan Tank Parade was an incredible experience, and being at the annual Shvii Shel Pesach farbrengen for bochurim in the Moscowitz home was truly inspiring.

I remember how excited he was when I organized Tahalucha and was able to expand the list of Shul’s where we spoke to include Rabbi Small’s Shul.

I was always impressed with his amazing ability to give over the right message at the right time- something I try to emulate today. When I went to the GA in 2000 to work with him at the Chabad booth, I asked him for advice on how to give a good Shiur. I remember he stressed how important it is to start with a story- a good-sized story- since even if people don’t remember the shiur, a story they’ll remember..

Every year by the Kinus on Friday night he would farbreng, always with a relevant message- I remember him encouraging us to always carry our Tefillin with us- because you never know when you’ll meet a Jew.
 

So much of my chassidisher education came as a direct result of the incredible efforts of Rabbi Moscowitz. When I spoke at the Cheder Dinner two years ago, I thanked Rabbi Moscowitz, and said: “To Rabbi Daniel Moscowitz and Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois, who organized all the children’s rallies, and satellite hookups, and Lag Baomer Parade’s in my youth, I say Thank You.”

In truth, there was so much more to thank him for, more than I can ever express. The fact that I am a Shliach of the Rebbe today, and that I received the incredible education and communal support that I received growing up in the 1980s in  Chicago is a testament to the inspiration that Rabbi Moscowitz was to me, and to countless others throughout Chicago, and throughout the world.

When I saw Rabbi Moscowitz gave me at his last kinus, I felt the tremendous pride that he had in me, in the accomplishments that I’ve been blessed to have, and in the wisdom I’ve shown in choosing a worthy Chavrusa. I hope to continue to make him proud of me always, and that his incredible legacy continues to inspire all those whose lives were enriched by his incredible personality, and his incredible devotion to his Shlichus.

May the entire Moscowitz family know of only Simcha and joy in the future, and may we truly and speedily merit the ultimate Simcha- The Geulah Shlaima NOW!