Tuesday, May 31, 2011 Reb Berel Weiss - relating his first encounter with the Rebbe.
Reb Berel Weiss, noted Chossid and philanthropist passed away today.
JEM's My Encounter with the Rebbe team had the Zchus of interviewing him at his home in Los Angeles, on 11 Elul, 5768, September 9, 2008 about his encounters with the Rebbe.
This is a raw excerpt of his interview - no subtitles, etc. - relating his first encounter with the Rebbe.
It was Shmini Atzeres of 5722, and through his relationship with Rabbi Raichik, he was encouraged to come to NY for Tishrei.
Rabbi Raichik told him to go up and say Lichaim to the Rebbe, and if he wants he can mention that he will give a donation. He did just that, and told the Rebbe - i'm pledging $100,000 to the Mosdos! The Rebbe calmly replied his usual response L'chaim V'livracha! He was stunned! "I realized then how great the Rebbe was. He was not fazed by my donation. Had I been by a different Rebbe, he would told the Gabbai to quickly pull up a chair for me, and seat me at the front..."
After Yom Tov when he went into Yechidus, and the Rebbe addressed the donation.
Then at a subsequent meeting, he told the Rebbe that he wants to take his business public. The Rebbe discouraged him, "who needs more baalei batim on themselves?" He said, "What do you mean? I'll make millions, and I'll give a million dollars for the Mosdos!" To which the Rebbe replied "And what will you bring me?'" He was a little confused... The Rebbe continued, "How many Blatt Gemara will you bring me??" The Rebbe wanted him to learn a thousand Blatt by the end of the year!
He was not expecting that. But the Rebbe wouldn't let up. The Rebbe even shared with him a vort that Rashi writes about Zevulun, and concluded, "When Zevulun would go out on their ships, they would take with them a Tanya, a Tehillim'l, a Chumash'l, and learn in their free time! Its time you sat down and learned!!"