Elie Wiesel on a particular Simchat Torah conversation he had with the Rebbe. Bold has been added for the Dispatch email.
"At my first visit to the [the Rebbe's] court .. I had informed him at the outset that I was a Chasid of Vishnitz, not Lubavitch, and that I had no intention of switching allegiance. 'The important thing is to be a chasid,' he replied. 'It matters little whose." ..
"One year, during Simchas Torah, I visited Lubavitch, as was my custom .. 'Welcome,' he said. 'It's nice of a chasid of Vishnitz to come and greet us in Lubavitch. But is this how they celebrate Simchas Torah in Vishnitz?'
'Rebbe,' I said faintly, 'we are not in Vishnitz, but in Lubavitch.' 'Then do as we do in Lubavitch,' he said. 'And what do you do in Lubavitch?' 'In Lubavitch we drink and say lechayim.' 'In Vishnitz, too.' 'Very well. Then say lechayim.'
He handed me a glass filled to the brim with vodka. 'Rebbe,' I said, 'in Vishnitz a chasid does not drink alone.'
'Nor in Lubavitch,' the Rebbe replied. He emptied his glass in one gulp. I followed suit. 'Is one enough in Vishnitz?' the Rebbe asked. 'In Vishnitz,' I said bravely, 'one is but a drop in the sea.' 'In Lubavitch as well.' He handed me a second glass and refilled his own. He said lechaim, I replied lechaim, and we emptied our glasses. After all, I had to uphold the honor of Vishnitz. But as I was unaccustomed to drink, I felt my head begin to spin. I was not sure where or who I was, nor why I had come to this place, why I had been drawn into this strange scene. My brain was on fire.
'In Lubavitch we do not stop midway,' the Rebbe said. 'We continue. And in Vishnitz?' 'In Vishnitz, too,' I said, 'we go all the way.' The Rebbe struck a solemn pose. He handed me a third glass and refilled his own. My hand trembled; his did not.
'You deserve a brocha,' he said, his face beaming with happiness. 'Name it.' I wasn't sure what to say. I was, in fact, in a stupor. 'Would you like me to bless you so you can begin again?' Drunk as I was, I appreciated his wisdom .. 'Yes, Rebbe,' I said. 'Give me your brocha.' He blessed me and downed his vodka. I swallowed mine -- and passed out."
("All Rivers Run to the Sea", Elie Wiesel, pp. 402-4)
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