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Hold onto Your Vision

Aharon Rubin

Even before the Imrei Chaim arrived in Israel after the Holocaust, he made plans for a center of Vizhnitz Chassidus. But who could take it seriously when the Chassidus had been decimated, survivors scattered across the globe? Today, after outgrowing four shuls, the Vitzhnitzer Rebbe is taking his cue from his holy grandfather: Build a huge center — the biggest chassidic complex in the world — and it will fill up.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

While thousands of Vizhnitz chassidim were rejoicing one night last summer over a new Sefer Torah in honor of the Yeshuos Moshe of Vizhnitz ztz”l, the Rebbe honored his father’s memory with a proclamation that shocked the crowd. The Rebbe announced plans to build a massive chassidic center, calling on the entire community to participate.

“I ask the forgiveness of the bochurim, children, and even yungeleit who don’t have room to daven in our beis medrash, which has become too small to contain our large community, bli ayin hara. There is no end to my pain, when I see a guest arriving and it is not possible to show him proper respect. And so we’re going to change the situation — so that no one should say Vizhnitz is too crowded for him.”

A few months later, during the break between Shacharis and Musaf on Rosh HaShanah, one of the gabbaim approached several prominent chassidim and invited them to a closed gathering at the Rebbe’s home on Motzaei Tzom Gedalyah. At the meeting, the Rebbe explained that he had summoned them in order to help make the new beis medrash happen. “I ask every one of you to donate no less than $300,000,” he said.

“Some people will argue that at a time when many Torah institutions are in such dire straits, we should not be collecting money for such a large-scale project,” noted Reb Ezra Avraham Green, director of the building committee that plans to raise tens of millions of dollars for the massive venture. But his answer is rooted in the tzaddikim of Vizhnitz: “The Imrei Chaim used to describe the opening of the yeshivah in Grosswardein in 1940, at the beginning of World War II. At the time, people were appalled. ‘Is this a time to open a yeshivah?’ But the Rebbe decided that as long as it was possible to run a yeshivah, on the contrary — it was imperative to do everything in his power for the sake of the next generation, regardless of the circumstances. Our situation is similar, and perhaps even more so.”


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