Sunday, February 10, 2013
two VERY short anecdotes about Rav Moshe ben RYG Soloveitchik and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, זצוקללה"ה - take them or leave them
HaRav Reb Moshe Soloveitchik was the Rosh Yeshiva in Lucerne and later lived in Zurich, Switzerland. For some 33 years, from when Rav Kopelman came to Lucerne until his passing in 5755/1995 he held no official position but gave several shiurim daily. He was a son of Reb Yisroel Gershon Soloveitchik, hy"d, eldest son of Reb Chaim. That made him the Brisker Rov's nephew, not that he needed that. You can see more of his bio in the Wiki page that I link to above. If you read any of the Brisker biography books you see him in the pictures from the Rov's visits to Switzerland. So I was speaking to a Rosh Mesivta with very strong Swiss connections today and the discussion turned to Lubavitch, it always does... We discussed Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshiva that visited the Rebbe; people you'd be very surprised to hear came to see him, often times knowing that they'd be scorned by the "establishment." Then he tells me that very often it was the mazkirim that kept more Rebbes, Rabbonim, Roshei Yeshiva, etc. from seeing the Rebbe by giving them the famous Chabad run-around that you very often hear of, that they could only see the Rebbe in 3 weeks/months from now, for whatever reason. Often times they were in New York for a short visit and could not wait that long. They also didn't know that nothing is etched in stone, even in a mazkir's appointment book, and that all it took was a little cajoling to get in sooner. So they turned around and went home without seeing what there was to see in New York. Reb Moshe Soloveitchik was one such "casualty," and he said as much to people he knew would appreciate the story, mainly a Lubavitcher Chossid from a Litvishe background. Ad Kan anecdote # 1.
Photo courtesy of הרב מבריסק - תודה להשולח היקר והנכבד
Number 2 is a bit shorter than # 1. A Schweitzer Yid once returned from a "trip to America." America, means New York for anybody living outside the US. Upon hearing about his trip Reb Moshe asks him if he saw the Lubavitcher Rebbe.... The Yid says no. Reb Moshe is astounded! "You went to America and didn't see the Lubavitcher Rebbe?!" What else is there to see in America?! (Ok, I added that last part.) Ad Kan anecdote #2. What's ironic about this whole story is that Lubavitcher Chassidim always get blamed and labeled as being such PR crazies, always publicizing their Rebbe for the whole world. Yet we see here, and I'm sure there are many such corroborating stories, that at the same time that may have hindered that "campaign." That, and the fact that they didn't care enough about the rest of the Chareidishe world to find about who they are and whether or not a personality like RMS should be accommodated before 3 weeks hence. This is not place the blame solely at the feet of the mazkirus, but is a slightly different angle and should be taken into account somewhat. The Rebbe loved meeting people from the "outside world," and definitely would've made time for Reb Moshe had he known that he wished to see him. But this is life, and the mazkirim, knowing the Rebbe's very hectic schedule and lack of concern for his own physical well-being were afraid that seeing one more person would make hurt his health even more, so they did what they thought was right. Just remember this, the Rebbe saw people at night only, all night, several times a week, and the next day was a regular day of learning and answering letters, so another long meeting like Reb Moshe would've had would only extended his day and shortened the precious resting time that he had.
.....מ'מוז אזוי זאגען