BY NY State Assemblyman Dov Hikind
I was terribly saddened to learn of the passing of the Vizhnitzer Rebbe of Monsey, who I have known all my life. When I was a boy growing up in Williamsburg, Reb Motele, as he was known to us, was already a giant and beloved by our community and beyond.
I learned my love of Vishnitz from my father, obm, whose whole life revolved around Vishnitz. My father enjoyed nothing more than a dinner honoring Vishnitz, a Vishnitz tish, a Vishnitz Melave Malke. He had a fruit store on Bedford Avenue between Hewes and Penn streets and was so pleased to supply the Rebbe’s Friday night tish with fresh fruit, which he refused to take payment for. Serving the Rebbe, serving Vishnitz, serving the klal—I saw this all from my father.
I have such fond memories of the Rebbe from the time I was a small boy, when I was a talmid in Vishnitz in Williamsburg. The school buses from our yeshiva proudly proclaimed “Yeshiva Ahavas Yisroel” on the side of the bus and I remember being proud that my father and his father were defined by this precise philosophy—love of ones fellow Jews.
Even after the Rebbe moved to Monsey, I continued to visit and enjoy the Rebbe’s warmth and wisdom. I am deeply sorry to say goodbye to him. May his soul rest in Gan Eden and be an eternal advocate for Klal Yisroel.