The sixth night of Chanukah was a special one for the Five Towns and Far Rockaway communities, as they were treated to a visit from the renowned Vizhnitzer Rebbe, shlita, of Eretz Yisrael. This was the first visit paid to the community by the Rebbe since he assumed his position as successor to his father, Rav Moshe Yehoshua Hager, zt’l. Hundreds of community members thronged to greet him and take part in the epic public menorah lighting.
The crowd gathered close to the Rebbe as he recited fervent berachos and kindled the menorah, and was visibly moved as the Rebbe sang HaNeiros Halalu, Maoz Tzur, and Vizhnitz niggunim with deep emotion. The Rebbe doled out the customary Chanukah gelt and personally greeted those in attendance, who also enjoyed traditional Chanukah treats such as doughnuts. Many seized the opportunity to deliver kvitlach to the Rebbe and seek his berachah and advice. The evening was an uplifting one for the attendees, who basked in the Rebbe’s presence and in the spirited singing, dancing, and tefillah that marks Chanukah in Vizhnitz.
The Rebbe’s visit was particularly timely, as it provided a much-needed dose of chizuk and comfort on the heels of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated many areas of the community.
The Vizhnitz Rebbe, shlita, is renowned throughout the world as a pillar of Torah and chassidus who continues the legacy of his revered father, zt’l. He has visited the Five Towns community on many past occasions and is well familiar with many of its members. The community at large was delighted and honored by his first visit as Rebbe on the auspicious occasion of Chanukah. v