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The Lens: Issue 874

“People are on vacation,” he said, “they didn’t come here for this”


I’ve taken many rebbishe vacation pictures over the years, but this summer in Austria with the Seret-Vizhnitz Rebbe was special, largely because of how “un-rebbish” he conducts himself. The Rebbe spent nearly all his time in the company of his grandchildren, learning, walking, and speaking with them, enjoying the quiet moments denied to him throughout the year. They reveled in the chance to spend time with him as well, clearly enjoying every moment.

On Leil Shabbos, the many chassidic vacationers asked the Rebbe to conduct a tish, but the Rebbe refused. “People are on vacation,” he said, “they didn’t come here for this.” Only for Seudah Shlishis did the Rebbe agree, that, if the guests ate with their families first, he would join them afterward — but only until the scheduled time for Maariv, so that the other guests shouldn’t have to wait.

Without leading a tish, the Rebbe spoke volumes about what chassidus means.

(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 874)

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