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Brick by Brick

Yisroel Besser

When Rabbi Hirshy Minkowicz lost his soul mate, he lost not only a wife and a mother to his children, but a partner in shlichus and a builder of his dreams. But, true to the Rebbe’s words, Hirshy carries on, his smile tinged with sadness, his feet carrying him forward.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The bungalow door slams. A midsummer breeze rustles through the trees; the sound of children laughing, a ball bouncing on pavement. At the kitchen table of the spacious summer home in upstate New York, Rabbi Hirshy Minkowicz speaks. He speaks of his wife, his best friend, his partner in building a haven in the wilderness. He speaks of her sudden passing, how he and their eight children lost the most important person in their lives in a single instant. He doesn’t speak in hushed tones, and he hasn’t ushered me to a quiet corner or private balcony for our conversations. Hirshy Minkowicz is a Chabad shaliach, accustomed to living in the public eye, rarely at a loss for words. His family — parents, siblings, nephews, and nieces — wander in and out, listening as he expresses truths that few other men would be able to articulate. “We’re a close family,” he says, shrugging when I ask him if he wouldn’t prefer privacy, “and everyone knows what I feel.” So we sit in Monticello, drink ice tea, and speak about life. About challenge. And the story I hear is part chassidishe maiseh, part hashkafah lesson — a narrative bursting with resilience, faith, and determination.

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