The 11 Nissan farbrengen of 1982 marked the occasion of the Rebbe's 80th
birthday. At that farbrengen, the Rebbe addressed the question of retirement that some people had posed to him by revealing the secret to actually growing stronger with age. After four hours of talks in which he expounded on topics including the importance of "The Moment of Silence," a lesson in time management from the Counting of the Omer, and the need to provide shmurah matzah and holiday needs to all Jews, the Rebbe then personally distributed a copy of a new printing of Tanya to each and every man and woman in attendance. The Rebbe finished handing out Tanyas at 6:15 AM.
The satellite feed of the entire event, which occurred at the time through the hard work and foresight of Jewish Educational Media's founder Rabbi Hillel Dovid Krinsky, was recorded live. The original broadcast, which was a huge - and innovative effort - was funded by Count and Countess Maklouf Elkaim. Now, decades later, as 11 Nissan approaches, tens of thousands of Jews are re-watching, or watching for the first time, these precious moments
Last month, a special Jewish.TV webcast of the Rebbe's Purim 1973 farbrengen garnered 35,000 online viewers. In addition, tens of thousands more viewed the full-length version on DVD at screenings hosted in private homes, Chabad Houses, shuls and yeshivas all over the world. This success spurred the "Farbrengen Challenge," a pledge by Ben Federman to provide a million dollars funding for Farebrengen Club production if one million people view the Purim, 11 Nissan, Lag B'Omer, 12 Sivan and 3 Tammuz farbrengens combined.
Project director, Mendel Gourarie, noted that the Farbrengen Club started on 10 Kislev of this year as "something we did because Vaad Talmidei Hatmimim and a group of Yeshiva students said they would get twenty yeshivas to watch. In just a few months, this has grown into something so much bigger."