A Chassid of the Amshinover Rebbe

amshinoverRav Twersky once mentioned at a Shabbos seudah that he considers himself a chassid of the Amshinover Rebbe.  “A chassid from a distance;” he would say, “a chassid from my apartment.”  When some of us at the table admitted to never having heard of the Amshinover Rebbi, he said: “What a dor this is that yeshiva bachurim haven’t even heard of the Amshinover!”

Why was he a chassid of the Amshinover?  He told us.

When Yeshivas Toras Moshe was still in the old building on Polanski Street, there was a period of time that Rav Twersky would learn in a Beis Medrash next door during the afternoon.  Sometimes for part of the morning as well.  Once, many years ago, a bris was taking place in that Beis Medrash while Rav Twersky was there.  The sandek had a tallis over his head for something like 45 minutes, apparently deep in concentration.  When he took off the tallis, he was so drenched in perspiration that he looked as though he just came out of a mikveh.  “When I saw that,” Rav Twersky told us, “I thought to myself, nu nu…if I would put a woolen tallis over my head in 90 degree weather for that long, I would also look like that.  Then I asked someone who the sandek is and I was told that it’s the Amshinover Rebbe.

When it was time for the Amshinover to leave, many people wanted to talk to him.  “All too often,” Rav Twersky commented, “people like that have gabbaim who are overprotective and sometimes roughly shove everyone aside to make way for their rebbe to leave.  In fact, I myself have been on the receiving end of such rough treatment on more than one occasion.

“By the Amshinover, however, there were no such gabbaim.  On his way out, a line formed of people who wanted to speak to him.  He went one by one and spoke to each person, for as long as they wanted to speak to him.  Making each person feel that he had all the time in the world for him.

“When I saw that,” Rav Twersky concluded, “I thought to myself, ‘Now that I could not do!”


(From Reb Ari Deifik)