It is a long-standing custom in Chabad for a young couple to seek the Rebbe’s approval and blessing before getting engaged. Even once they have decided on marrying, and their families are happy with the match, that blessing from the Rebbe is what couples wait for before making their engagement official.
My father, Rabbi Leibel Posner, often describes how when he and my mother decided to get married in 1950, they first called the Rebbe from a pay phone to ask for his blessing. Of course, when my wife, Zeesy and I got married in 1978, it was important to us to do the same.
Actually, the Rebbe’s involvement in my match started even before then – though I didn’t know it at the time. I was a yeshivah student learning in Crown Heights, and one day my father told me about a potential match for me, and then gave me the name of a young lady, suggesting that I meet her. Of course, I did as I was told, confident that my parents had done their homework.
Only later on, did I find out how the match had come about. My future father-in-law, Rabbi Yisroel Gordon, had written to the Rebbe to ask him about a suitable match for his daughter. In his letter, he included the names of several young men and, although I never learned who my competition was, the Rebbe chose my name.
My wife and I ended up meeting shortly thereafter, and soon we decided that we were ready: We wanted to ask the Rebbe for his blessing for our engagement.
Now, all of this was happening a few weeks after Shmini Atzeret. On that day in 1977, the Rebbe had suffered a serious heart attack, and had been in recovery since. He wa (more…)