Got Farbrengen? Chabad Club Organizes Shabbaton
On February 20 and 21, Shabbat Parshat Terumah, over 70 students from Yeshiva University, Lander College, and Queens College gathered in Crown Heights for the annual YU Chabad Club Crown Heights Shabbaton. Upon arriving in Crown Heights, the students were split up into two groups. Each group experienced a tour of 770 Eastern Parkway, the world headquarters of Chabad, and of the Rebbe’s library. The tour of the library was given by the Rebbe’s chief librarian, Rabbi Shalom Ber Levine. After the tours, the students went to the house of Rabbi Moshe Rubashkin who graciously housed all of the students and most of the shabbaton. The group davened Mincha and Kabbalat Shabbat at Kollel Menachem, where Rabbi Zalman Goldberg gave a chassidus shiur before Maariv. After davening, the guys were divided into groups of five to eat dinner at different houses in the community. The entire group then came back together in the basement Rubashkin home for a spiritually uplifting post-dinner farbrengen. Together with tens of bochurim from Yeshivas Ohelei Torah in Crown Heights, the YU students heard a brief but in-depth introduction to chassidus from Rabbi Yossi Paltiel, founder and director of InsideChassidus.org. Over 100 people attended the farbrengen that ended past two in the morning.
Shacharit was again held at the Kollel and the group came together for lunch at the Rubashkin home. There, the students heard from the world renowned author and educator, Rabbi Simon Jacobson, author of the best-selling book, Towards a Meaningful Life. Rabbi Jacobson spoke about the tactics he used to memorize the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s sichos (discourses) that would go on for hours. The Rebbe would give a sichah of Shabbat afternoon that would many times last well after the end of Shabbat. He would then write down the whole sicha word-for-word after Shabbat and then send it to the Rebbe for approval. Even more challenging, he said, were the three-day holidays where he would have to memorize three days’ worth of discourses and remember which information was said in which. The trick, Rabbi Jacobson said, was to clear the mind of all thoughts. The human mind naturally processes information upon hearing it. However, once it begins processing the new information, the listener is busy relating the information to information he heard in the past and less attention is left for remembering the words. Therefore, he said, the trick is train the mind not to process any information and to only take in the words at face-value. After hearing from Rabbi Jacobson, the students sang and heard from the well-known speaker and educator, Rabbi Chaim Schochet, while Rabbi Rubashkin lead a beautiful Havdalah to end off an amazing Shabbat.
After the students packed their bags, the group headed towards the Levi Yitzchok Library for a kumzits lead by Reb Shlomo Katz. After countless niggunim (songs), stories, and dancing, the bus returned back to YU filled with spiritually uplifted and rejuvenated students. The whole Shabbaton would not have been possible without the tireless work of the Chabad Club of YU and especially its head, Danny Fordham.