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Section:  Avodah   Category: Ahavas Yisroel
A Relationship With The Seret Vizhnitz Rebbe Kindled By A Ski Trip
The Makor Baruch once traveled to Switzerland to raise money for the yeshivah which his father, the Seret-Viznitzer, had established in Chaifa. Two Seret-Viznitzer chassidim who lived in Switzerland accompanied him on his fundraising rounds.  

One day, they passed one of the largest and well-established banks in Switzerland, and one of the Swiss chassidim decided they would enter the bank.  “Come, we will try to allow the Jewish bank manager, Dr. Koshland, the merit of tzeddaka and supporting Torah.”  They entered the bank, and the chassid who knew Dr. Koshland introduced the Makor Baruch.  “Please meet the son of the Seret-Viznitzer Rebbe.  He has mosdos in Chaifa and he came to Switzerland to collect money for the yeshivah…”

As soon as the bank manager heard the name of the Seret-Viznitzer Rebbe, he excitedly arose from his chair and said, “You want to tell me about the Seret-Viznitzer Rebbe?!  You want to tell me?  I’ll tell you who he was!”

The three men were shocked.  How in the world did the bank manager know the Seret-Viznitzer Rebbe?  The bank manager sat them down and told them his story.

“Years ago, I traveled on vacation to Davos on a skiing trip.  One morning in Davos, I went to the small shul to daven Shacharis already dressed in my ski clothes, in order to save time.  An elderly man greeted me warmly with ‘Sholom Aleicham’.   

“I was surprised by the warm greeting from a total stranger.  I said, ‘Kavod Harav, I think you’re mistaken.  I don’t recognize you.  Maybe the Rav meant to greet someone else?’

“’I didn’t make a mistake!’ the Rav said, who was none other than the Seret-Viznitzer Rebbe who was in Davos recuperating from an illness.  ‘I’ve been here a long time, and I’ve never seen you.  You must be new here and you deserve a Shalom Aleicham.  No?’

Dr. Koshland continued his story.  “This greeting impressed me greatly.  I thought to myself, ‘When in our generation does an elderly honorable man greet a young man – a total stranger?’ When I returned from my ski outing that day, I saw the Rebbe sitting on a bench.  I approached him and inquired about his welfare, and he answered me warmly, as if I was his closest friend.  From then on, I maintained a close connection to the Rebbe.  I sought his advice often, and from then on I arranged my trips to Davos when I knew the Rebbe would be there as well.”

The two Swiss chassidim were astounded by the bank manager’s story.  However, the Makor Baruch was not surprised by the story.  He was well aware of his father’s habit to greet all Jews warmly, thereby fulfilling the words of Chazal to be the first to greet each person.  One warm greeting to the bank manager had spurred a close relationship with the Rebbe which lasted for decades.
RELATED ARTICLES:Ahavas Yisroel  Seret Vizhnitz Rebbe  skiing  Story

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Visitor Comments: 2

RS, Gateshead UK, 2009-06-28 08:33:27
It seems characteristic of many Gedolim to be warm and open to all Yidden.
A friend of mine once bumped into HaRav Yitzchok Ezrachi Shlita (one of the Ramim in Yeshivas Mir, son in law of Rav Chaim Shmulevitz zt"l) on a plane. Rav Ezrachi asked this stranger to answer Omein to his Bircas Asher Yotzar. They subsequently got talking, and forged a close friendship. Living in the UK, my friend hardly gets to see the Rav, but they keep regular close contact by telephone.
RS, Sydney, 2009-08-03 23:36:10
In which year did this story take place?
My grandfather (alav hashalom) was a chassid of the Ahavas Yisroel (zal)(Vizhnitzer Rebbe) and after arriving in Israel became a chassid of his son the Mekor Baruch (zal) and his son, the current Seret-Vizhniter Rebbe, with whom I was in yechidus twice last year while learning in Israel. It is a wonderful dynasty and I feel privelaged to be connected.

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