Just sitting down and thinking about Tzion brings a smile to my face. Tzion would walk slowly into the office with his bag of TPN (IV nutrition) running. He was calm, he was quiet and he always came prepared with a sefer to read in the waiting room. Looking at him engrossed in his learning was inspiring. I knew about his pain, his weakness and the toll all of his doctors visits and procedures must have been taking on his life. Despite all of that he never expressed anger. Instead, he exuded optimism and calm. When he closed his sefer and came into the office, the visit was always a mix of medicine and conversation among friends. He would share stories of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and if I ever heard a good story I knew he would enjoy it. Another debt of gratitude I owe to Tzion is for showing me a new beauty of Lubavitch that I hadn’t previously appreciated. In fact, I must admit that I had always been uneasy entering 770. The Beis Midrash seemed old fashioned, and the atmosphere was completely different from anything I was used to. Outside of 770, the Crown Heights community puzzled me. Most similar Jewish communities had dispersed, with people moving to suburbs or other areas, and it was like no other Jewish community I was familiar with. I’ve never judged, but I certainly didn’t understand why this group was different.
I believe that every Jewish Chabad kehilla has its special beauties and, as somewhat of an outsider, I still doubt I appreciate or understand the Crown Heights community completely. However, I do have a greater appreciation now, and Tzion was my window to that appreciation. We all want Moshiach, but the Crown Heights Chabad kehilla is unique in that they are finished with everything else. Their primary focus does not seem to be the most updated Beis Midrash or a nice home in a suburb. The next step forward is Moshiach. Tzion moved forward inch by inch toward that and with that hope. It was constantly on his mind (even on his kippah). He was sure it would happen, and it certainly will, with him and his smile and sefer there to greet us! תהא נשמתו צרורה בצרור החיים