A line for tzedakah in the NY State Assembly

117 special days for education announced in state assembly, in honor of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's birthday.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Lining up for tzedakah in state assembly
Lining up for tzedakah in state assembly
Courtesy of Chabad

The scene seemed unusual: a parade of American politicians in the legislature passing in front of a Hasidic rabbi and giving coins for tzedakah (charity). Who is the Hasidic rabbi and what was the tzedakah box doing there?

In honor of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's birthday, a special meeting was held at the New York State Assembly, where 117 special days of education were announced in honor of the Rebbe. The fact that Chabad is located in New York, in the famous Crown Heights neighborhood, gives members of the legislature pride and connection.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio announced the days of education in honor of the Rebbe. The governor also sent to the party his personal representative, Richard Senau, who serves as the governor's representative to the Jewish community in New York State, who gave to Rabbi Butman the official declaration signed by the governor. He also declared proudly that "until now the Rebbe has a great role in my life."

"It is a privilege and honor for me to be the chairman of this festive session," said Assemblyman David Weprin and invited Rabbi Shmuel Menachem Mendel Butman, director of the Lubavitch Youth Organization, to deliver the speech of honor. “When the Rebbe spoke of education, he spoke of the education of all children, regardless of race, religion, color or nationality," said Rabbi Butman, who accompanies the traditional ceremony every year:

“Today, the Rebbe has more than 5,000 institutions in more than 1,000 cities, 102 countries in the world. "

The festive ceremony in the legislature has been going on for more than thirty years. At the end of Rabbi Butman's speech, he invited the members of the legislature to place a dollar bill in the tzedakah box.

It turns out that this custom was born following a directive that Rabbi Butman received from the Rebbe in those days, in the year Taf Shin Nun Alef. Rabbi Butman was supposed to go to Washington to open the Senate of the United States. When he went to the Rebbe during the distribution of dollars on Sunday, before the trip to Washington, the Rebbe gave him an explicit order: “Take a tzedakah box with you and everyone will see what you do and know what money needs to go to."

"It is not an attempt to collect money," Rabbi Butman reassured the members of the legislature. "Otherwise we would have asked you for more than one dollar, it is only a matter of doing tzedakah, good and kindness in actual practice."

And the members of the legislature responded in droves. It was exciting to see them standing in line to put the dollar in the charity box. "Look, they stand in line to fulfill the will of the Rebbe," said Assemblyman David Weprin with great satisfaction.

From there, Rabbi Butman turned to his annual custom, also by the Rebbe's order: distributing shmura matzot to the Israeli mission in New York, headed by Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon and Consul General Danny Dayan, and thousands of official Israeli workers. "The Rebbe wants every Jew to have shmura matzah,” Concluded Rabbi Butman.