Saturday, September 22, 2012

Reb Aryeh, II

Abraham Axelrod recalled: One day Reb Aryeh came to visit us in the prison camp in Latrun. It was an extremely hot day, and we had been going about dressed almost like Tarzan in the jungle. Suddenly we caught sight of Reb Aryeh approaching the camp, and we scampered to our quarters to get dressed properly, in shirts, trousers and of course, hats or kippoth. His sharp eye however, saw enough signs of our scurry and flurry, and he understood all. First he led us in minha, the afternoon prayer-service. Then he gave each and every one of us personal messages of greeting from families and dear ones. After that he began addressing us in his gentle voice that never chided:

"Today it is very hot, and you were going about dressed comfortably. If you changed your way of dressing because of me, that was not good. Perhaps my visits impose a burden on you."

Not another word did he say about it. He himself was dressed in his usual black coat and hat, and the temperature was surely higher for him than for us. And probably he would have liked to see us clothed according to his own idea of proper dress (like his own children, for example). Yet he was unique in his capacity to understand us, and he accepted us as we were. This was the very main reason why we always had such a boundless love and admiration for him.

This is taken from Simcha Raz's A Tzaddik in our Time.

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