Coping with loss and optimism: Chabad rabbi reflects on COVID

Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, at a Lag B'Omer parade in New York in 1987. (Photo by Mordecai Baron/Wikimedia Commons)

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, died on June 13, 1994. Each year, to commemorate his death, his Chabad followers visit Scheerson’s gravesite outside New York—it’s known as the Ohel—where they leave letters and prayer notes for him. This year, a large celebration features guest speaker Elie Wiesel’s son, Elisha, and a musical performance by Itzhak Perlman.

One prominent Canadian Chabad leader yearned to go. But due to COVID restrictions, Rabbi Mendel Kaplan of the Thornhill Flamingo congregation spent the day on this side of the border, teaching and spreading his beloved rebbe’s wisdom—virtually, on YouTube.

Rabbi Kaplan joins today to talk about how the myriad ways the pandemic has affected him and his congregants, including how he and his family caught COVID last year, and how he turns to the Rebbe’s words for inspiration in what will soon be a post-pandemic world.

What we talked about

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