I read with interest and nostalgia a letter to the editor in last week’s Community section by Reb Chaim Lerner. He reminisced about the trip to Novominsk and kivrei tzaddikim in Poland with the Novominsker Rebbe, zt”l, in 1997.
To my knowledge this was the only organized trip with a large group of baalei batim. Over the years, there were a few occasions where the Rebbe went with individuals or family members.
The Rebbe was very involved in all aspects of the trip, and I acted as the liaison between the Rebbe and Reb Nachman Elbaum, z”l, of Ideal Tours.
The Rebbe chose which cities and kevarim to visit and set the seder of the trip, making sure to be in Gur the night of 5 Shevat, the yahrtzeit of the Sfas Emes, zy”a.
The Rebbe personally compiled a sefer for the visit which included one or more divrei Torah of the tzaddikim we would be visiting, as well as maps and historical background of the towns and villages we visited.
It was a truly uplifting, spiritual trip and is still remembered today by the participants.
About five years later, some of the baalei batim asked me to approach the Rebbe with the idea of making another visit. When I asked, the Rebbe’s response was, “Vi ken ich zich baveizen far’n Zeides noch a mol? Vi kim ich tzu zei!” Of course, the trip never happened.
This was just another example of the Rebbe’s sincerity and total emes in all he did. We wanted to bask in the Rebbe’s lofty ruchniyus during the trip, but the Rebbe sincerely felt himself unworthy of davening in front of his Zeides.
There is no doubt that in the Olam HaEmes the Zeides have welcomed the Rebbe, zt”l.
Yehi zichro baruch.
Rabbi Lipa Brennan