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Last Word – From a Student’s Eyes

by Dina Eliezrie

KIEV, Ukraine — Many times in life you may find yourself with opportunities that spark your interest. When a spiritual pilgrimage to Ukraine was presented to our school, the response was filled with enthusiasm and excitement. This trip would include a variety of Lubavitch girls from all corners of the earth and together returning to their Chassidic roots. The trip too, would consist of visits to all the holy Tzadikim from the small city of Haditch, Kiev, and the small town of Mezibush, the resting place and synagogue of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov.

To qualify for this trek, we needed to increase our studies and deeds. About half the students qualified after excelling in a rigorous program. This included a extra hours of Torah study and a commitment on a personal level to daily davening, including morning, afternoon, and evening prayers. In doing these things we prepared ourselves for the holiness we were about to encounter. We looked forward to traveling to see our roots and went to see how Rebbeim and holy Tzaddikim changed Judaism for eternity.

As we landed in Ukraine, the inspiration started immediately. While waiting in the airport in Ukraine, we began to study the teachings of the Alter Rebbe, the great scholar who wrote the Tanya and thus prepared ourselves spiritually and mentally to go see the area. After 5 hours of traveling we arrived in a small city called Haditch. The Alter Rebbe had passed away nearby in 1812 fleeing from Napoleon’s invasion of Russia.

It was as if we had taken a time machine back two centuries. There as we walked through the 25-below-degree weather we imagined the life of an everyday chassid, a follower of the Rebbe, hundreds of years ago. It opened our eyes to see the mesirat nefesh, self-sacrifice, that the Chassidim in that generation had. Walking into the main hall we saw many people, observant and non-observant, standing together commemorating the Yahrtzeit of a man who uplifted our generation and the generations to follow.

Standing in front of his tombstone in this holy site, many things came to mind. Who am I in this world? So small in the big scheme of things yet G-d, Hashem, has chosen me to be here on this day, at this specific time and now what do I do? This question as an impressionable young woman comes up quite often. So, yes, I have the things I need in life as far as material that is, but really what is my purpose here, and how do I reach my fullest potential? The Alter Rebbe, along with the other Rebbeim we saw in Ukraine, instilled in us that as Jews and as moral people that we have the ability to transform ourselves, imbuing our lives with holiness and purpose. To educate others in the ideals of the Torah. Even though we are just one person, it’s up to us to use the teachings of these powerful and holy individuals to empower us to live life with greater meaning and to spread the light of Torah to every Jew. Although at times we may personally feel insignificant with regard to our place in the world, the truth is that we have an unbelievable power to make the world a better place.

Dina Eliezrie is a graduate of the Hebrew Academy who is studying this year at a seminary in Israel. As part of the their academic efforts to gain a greater appreciation of the teachings of the great Chassidic Rebbes, in particular Rabbi Schneur Zalmen of Liadi-The Alter Rebbe, founder of Chabad and the holy Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, they traveled to Ukraine to the resting places of these rebbes. Jewish tradition teaches us that there is great merit to pray at the graves of the holy. Dina is the daughter of Rabbi David Eliezrie, who has relinquished his space this month in order to present this view from a student, and Stella Eliezrie.


17 Comments (Open | Close)

17 Comments To "Last Word – From a Student’s Eyes"

#1 Comment By Chani, Nomi-s cousin On February 1, 2008 @ 7:33 pm

Your article is pure inspiration, and I am sure u accomplished your goals as well as giving the Rebbe and your parents, and now us the public much nachas! As a fellow Californian these days, I must say your pics are gorgeous, but I for one, love the picture of the snow covered tree, more than anything else!
May you go mechayil el choyil.

#2 Comment By lubavitcher On February 2, 2008 @ 1:17 pm

how did the girls change after coming back from this inpiring trip? where they inspired?

#3 Comment By mushkie On February 2, 2008 @ 5:38 pm

dina your article is amazing, really inspirational
we love you
you and cs look beautiful

#4 Comment By Shmuel On February 2, 2008 @ 5:39 pm

your article was unbelievable and inspiring..I am moved to tears by your words. please continue everything you have been doing until now…great pictures..

#5 Comment By Mushky On February 2, 2008 @ 5:45 pm

This looks like an unbelievable trip…..it really looks like the girls grew tremendously in Ukraine….keep up the good work….

#6 Comment By Been there. Done that On February 2, 2008 @ 7:05 pm

I went with my seminary as well a couple of years ago. It is the best experience a person can have – going to these k’varim and really feeling what it meant for them to have mesiras nefesh! I think every seminary should do it!!!

#7 Comment By shnay gen way gen On February 2, 2008 @ 5:41 pm

OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH SNAP……….get completely………..your amazing dina……

#8 Comment By THE SEMINARY YOUR IN. ( HLS) On February 2, 2008 @ 5:40 pm

GO DINA GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU LOOK GR8888888888888888888888888888888

#9 Comment By Shainy On February 3, 2008 @ 10:29 am

Hey Dina, all I can say is wow. I’m really glad you are enjoying your first year away and growing tremendously at the same time. Thinking of you here in Crown Heights.

#10 Comment By yours TRULY On February 3, 2008 @ 9:31 am


#11 Comment By the yeshiva in talpiyoy On February 3, 2008 @ 6:59 am

yooooo this is a mad good article ….. DD! this is great straight from the heart

#12 Comment By chabad seminary in Israel On February 3, 2008 @ 11:35 am

This article was verry inspiring, kol hakavod.

#13 Comment By we love you dina!!!!! On February 3, 2008 @ 12:06 pm

mushky since when do you go to yeshiva in talpiyot?? ;) DD were soo proud of ya keep up the good work xox we love ay and miss ya…

#14 Comment By SeminaryCM On February 3, 2008 @ 12:17 pm

It really was an AWESOME trip… Eveyone should go !!!

#15 Comment By A student who went on the trip On February 3, 2008 @ 2:31 pm

to lubavitcher who asked how the girls changed after the trip:
What can I say? all my life I was told stories of how chassidim braved all challenges to come to their Rebbe. Now, after going on this trip, everything took a new meaning. If I, traveling on a bus, wearing warm winter clothes, barely felt my feet, look what kind of Mesiras nefesh they had. ever since I returned, everything I do has a different meaning, I am forever telling myself, “ It’s too hard for me to say my chitas? it is impossible for me to do something extra to improve my hiskashrus? These chassidim sacrificed so much more than this, I can certainly do something more!”
I also feel much more mekushar to the Rebbe after visiting almost all of chabad Rabbeim – all links of the same neshama.
A special thanks to Harav and Mrs. Jurkowicz of Lod seminary for making this triip a reality, and for Rabbi Duber and Cherna Goldberg who brought every place we visited to life.

#16 Comment By Great article, Well written! On February 3, 2008 @ 4:41 pm

go dina nb

#17 Comment By yeshiva myanot On February 3, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

wonderful artical DD