Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Rav Yitzi Hurwitz, a Chabad emissary in California, suffers from ALS, a neuro-degenerative disease. No longer able to speak or type, he uses his eyes – thanks to an eye-tracking technology developed in Israel – to spell out Torah thoughts by focusing on the letters on a computer keyboard. Last night, at the annual gathering of the Chabad movement, his 13-year-old son Shalom got up and read his father’s message to the Chabad emissaries and to the entire world:
“In this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Toledot, it is told that Yitzchak Avinu dug wells. The Rebbe explains that digging wells is very important work and is, in fact, our mission: to remove the dust and the dirt and go deep until we reach the sweet waters hidden below. He said that this is our objective in relation to every Jew – to dig conscientiously, not to pay attention to the external layers blocking the way, and to find the divine spark within. This is true not only regarding every person, but regarding every situation, too: we need to find the meaning that lies within every difficulty and challenge. During the last few years, I have learned that not a person exists who does not struggle. My struggle is simply more obvious, more visible, but everyone struggles. The goal is to dig wells in order to discover the message from HaShem – that we can reach heights never before imagined and, in so doing, elevate those around us, too. We have no concept of the incredible treasures that are hiding in every one of us.”
Shalom finished speaking and 5,800 attendees from around the world stood up and gave him a rousing round of applause.