This is a description of the celebration held by ר‘ לוי יצחק and רביצין חנה on the occasion of the חתונה of the Rebbe and רביצין חי‘ה מושקא . This description was written by רביצין חנה .
The חתן and כלה were not with us, for the חתונה was to take place in Warsaw. We strongly wished to make a celebration of our own on the day of the חתונה , but we had no place in which to do it. The Communists had been fighting very strongly against frumkeit that year, and although there were still a few shuls open in Yekatrinoslav, all activity in the frum community had stopped.
To rent a hall for such an occasion in those unfriendly times was unthinkable. In addition, the government had taken over most of our apartment. We were allowed to use only three rooms, most of it had been given over to other people, who became our new neighbors.
In those days, groups of people still came to our home to learn חסידות and to join in farbrengens on ימים טובים . Our next-door neighbor, an engineer, wasn’t happy about the activities that took place in our home and he would lock himself in his rooms to make sure that he wasn’t connected to us in any way. However, when he heard from someone else that we were trying to arrange something for the occasion of the חתונה , he broke through the outer wall that separated his apartment from ours in order to create a passageway between the two. He then removed all his furniture and allowed us to use his entire house for as long as we needed. This is how we got a big enough space in which to hold our celebration, despite having been forced to give the largest room of our own apartment to our new neighbors.
Now that we had a ’hall’, we sent out invitations. The occasion gave a chance for the people of the town to show their appreciation and respect for my husband, the רב . Remember, this was a time when it was forbidden to have any connection with a religious leader and if someone was found ‘guilty’ of doing so, they could lose their job. It was a time when a Rabbi was afraid to appear in public!
Due to the situation, we were expecting less than thirty guests. Instead, about three hundred came! Among them were close relatives, representatives of the general Jewish community and of the shuls and a large number of doctors and judges.
In addition, telegrams wishing us מזל טוב were pouring in by the hundreds. Special permission was given for two days enabling us to receive telegrams in Hebrew, a language whose use was completely forbidden. Also an order was given that day that all telegrams for the Schneerson family concerning the חתונה would not be censored, so that they could be delivered quickly.
I don’t know how to describe in words the atmosphere in our house that evening. Everyone shared our sorrow that we couldn’t participate in the חתונה of our son, our eldest child. You could sense that there would be no possibility in the immediate future for us to see our son.
For a long time, ר‘ לוי יצחק danced with his father-in-law and his brother. All eyes were on the dancers and not a single person was able to hold back his tears.
As the sun rose, people left, each one going to work. Everyone had been very much affected by the whole occasion and the atmosphere there, that no one was thinking about the heavy price he might have to pay for having joined in the שמחה .
As the guests were leaving, two of them approached me: Dr ברוך Motzkin and a lawyer who was a grandson of the famous ר‘ יצחק אלחנן . They said to me, “What a night! How unique! We will never be able to forget this extraordinary gathering nor the amazing spiritual power of this man (ר‘ לוי יצחק ).”
In a conversation, once she had come to America, רביצין חנה recalled several details about the celebration in Yekatrinoslav which she hadn’t written down.
The well-known חסיד , ר‘ מיכאל Dvorkin played on his violin the famous ניגון of the אלטער רבי . ר‘ זלמן Wilenkin, who had been one of the first teachers of the Rebbe as a child, danced on top of a table, shouting, “אני זכיתי ” (“I had the זכות ” - of having been the teacher of such a person).
The leading members of ר‘ לוי יצחק ’s קהילה brought a gift for the celebration: an enormous cake with the names of all the members of the קהילה written on it.
That night, ר‘ לוי יצחק sent a telegram of 105 words to his son in Warsaw. The רביצין said: “The tablecloth that covered the table where my husband sat to write the telegram was soaked with his tears.”
(Adapted from ‘A Mother in Israel’ and ‘A Day to Recall, A Day to Remember’)