Menachem Weiss, a “special” teen with CP, reports every week to Merkaz Ha’inyanim on an angle of life that he alone can talk about

Shalom dear readers!

I’ve already told you in the past that Lelover Chassidim go to Meron every year on the Shabbat of parashat B’haalotcha. Many years, we went to these Shabbat events with the whole family.

 My brothers and one of my sisters decided to go this year and organized an apartment for themselves. The truth is that I really envied them, because I love these Shabbatot. But what can I do? My siblings can just hop in a car and go. For me, going anywhere is a major undertaking. I wasn’t complaining, just feeling bad…until the surprise. 

Two days before Shabbat parashat B’haalotcha, my brother came and told Ima not to cook for Shabbat, because they decided to surprise us and ordered a room for us too. My face lit up like a light bulb. It’s only because of Ezer Mizion that I ever get to go anywhere. They’ve got the vehicles that make traveling with a wheelchair possible. And they are so nice. Every single driver is that way! Sometimes they have a good joke that they saved for me or ask me what I think about the latest happening at the Knesset. They make me feel just like everyone else. After all, just because I can’t walk normally, doesn’t mean I don’t have good ideas and things to say. Not everyone realizes that  but the Ezer Mizion staff certainly does. 

Well, the whole Shabbos was fantastic, starting from the first moment that I got picked up. My siblings revealed the surprise to me just one day before the trip. On Friday, we started getting organized early in the morning, because we wanted to set out early. But in the end, we left only in the afternoon.

We arrived early enough to get organized in the room. The building was fantastic. My brothers and sister and their families were on the lower level of the building and we were on the upper level, which has a flat and easy entrance from the outside. Our room was also very comfortable and accessible to every place, including the bathrooms, which I often have a problem getting into because of the narrow doorway. This time, it was perfect. We did eat our meals on the lower level, but my brothers and nephews brought me down and took me back up each time.

When it was almost Shabbat, we started walking towards the gravesite of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, because that is where the tefillot were being held. Here too, my brothers and brother-in-law and nephews took turns pushing my wheelchair up the tough ascents to the gravesite. For Minchah, my father was the chazzan, since he had yahrtzeit. For Kabbalat Shabbat, we prayed together with the chassidim, and the chazzan sang a medley of tunes for “Lecha Dodi.” We did not daven with the Rebbe, because it was too crowded there. After Maariv, we went back to the apartment and had our Shabbat meal, prepared by my sister’s and brothers’ families. It was a really special, joyous seudah. We went to sleep quite late, and in the morning I heard that my brother also went to the Rebbe’s tisch.

In the morning, we went to daven later than we are used to, because the chassidim start the tefillah later. Again, everyone took turns doing the hard work of getting me up to the gravesite, and I really appreciate their effort, because the climb is tough, and they did it with a determined, joint effort. Thanks for a job well done!

At first, I couldn’t get in to the building of the gravesite because it was very crowded, but for Tefillat Mussaf, they were already able to bring me in. The tefillah in this holy place is very moving. After the tefillah, we returned for the Shabbat meal. Around the building, there is a field with rocks, and there were very cute rabbits scampering around among the rocks. The kids had a great time watching them – and so did I. After havdalah, everyone started packing and getting ready to go home. Of course, Ezer Mizion was there right on time. They asked me how everything went and looked like they really wanted to know.  Without Ezer Mizion, I would have missed out on a beautiful, exciting Shabbat,   I hope that we will be able to keep up this tradition, with Hashem’s help.

Until next time,

Menachem Weiss

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