A few weeks ago Mrs. Tzila Schneerson, wife of Reb Benzion Schneerson (who was Rebetzin Nechama Dina's brother, brother-in-law of the Previous Rebbe and uncle of the Rebbe and Rebetzin Chaya Mushka) passed away. On the last day of the "shiva" a group of Anash, residents of Tel Aviv, met at her home in Tel Aviv in the evening to daven Maariv and learn "mishnayos" in her memory.
Among those that came were veteran chassidim from Tel Aviv who knew Reb Benzion very well. In wake of Reb Benzion's 29th yahrzeit that falls out tonight (16 Teves) Shturem.net is posting some very interesting facts that were disclosed that evening about Reb Benzion and the Rebbe that were unknown until today.
Rabbi Sholom Haskind said that Reb Benzion was "mekushar" to the Rebbe with heart and soul to which Rabbi Yehezkiel Reichman remarked "I can attest to that," and related the following story.
"Some thirty years ago even before the Rebbe introduced the idea of a Kolel Levi Yitzchak for senior citizens, a group of Anash wanted to set up such a Kolel in Tel Aviv. One day they met in my house to discuss the matter and we decided to write a letter to the Rebbe asking for his approval and blessing. We all signed on the letter and sent it away.
"For some unknown reason Reb Benzion was absent at this meeting and therefore his signature did not appear on the latter. Later, when he found out about this, he was visibly very upset, even angry. "And what about me, why was I not notified about this? Why is my name not on that letter, am I not a member of Anash here? Am I not a chosid of the Rebbe? How could you have sent a letter to the Rebbe with all your names and left me out? he asked bitterly.
Reb Benzion immigrated from Romania to Israel in 1956. That following Tishrei he travelled to 770 to meet with his sister Rebetzin Nechama Dina and the rest of the family, with the Rebbe, Rebetzin Chaya Mushka, Rashag and Chana.
Rabbi Sholom Ber Butman related: "I was in 770 that Tishrei and I remember that the Rebbe, Rebetzin Chaya Mushka and Chana, all three entered a taxi that took them to the airport to greet Reb Benzion. The Rebbe even helped him carry his suitcase.
"Incidentally, that day Rebetzin Chaya Mushka asked of Rabbi Sholom Haskind to come along with them to the airport but for some reason Rabbi Haskind came late. When he arrived he saw a note on the door of 770 to him saying "We left." The Rebbe had instructed to post that note so he would not be confused when he sees that no one is there.
"That Simchas Torah," Rabbi Butman continued, "the Rebbe, Rashag and Reb Benzion, all three danced together by Hakafos. The day Reb Benzion returned to Israel the Rebbe and Rebetzin Nechama Dina went out to the sideawalk in front of 770 to see him off.
Rabbi Butman said that Reb Benzion would often recall of the time he was a young lad right after Bar Mitzva, he once came to Lubavitch to visit his sister Rebetzin Nechama Dina. One of the meals he ate together with her, her husband the Previous Rebbe and the Rebbe Rashab on one table. Although he was a young bochur he had the privelage of the Rebbe Rashab asking him to "bentch b'zimun."
"בשמחת-תורה באותה שנה", ממשיך הרב בוטמן, "רקד הרבי יחד עם הרש"ג ור' בן-ציון. בתום תקופת החגים ליווה הרבי את
"בתקופת נערותו", מוסיף לספר הרב בוטמן בשמו של ר' בן-ציון, "נסע לליובאוויטש לבקר את אחותו, ובאותה הזדמנות זכה לסעוד על שולחנו של הרבי הרש"ב יחד עם הרבי הריי"צ ורעייתו הרבנית. באותה סעודה זכה שהרבי הרש"ב יפנה אליו ויבקש ממנו לזמן".