Rabbi Meir Harlig, 86, AH

Rabbi Meir Harlig, an elder chossid who merited to serve as the Rebbe’s mashbak and a gabbai in 770, passed away on Sunday, 29 Sivan, 5783.

By Anash.org reporter
Based on an article by A Chassidisher Derher

Rabbi Meir Harlig, an elder chossid who merited to serve as the Rebbe’s mashbak and a gabbai in 770, passed away on Sunday, 29 Sivan, 5783.

Reb Meir Harlig was born on 6 Elul 5696 in Zurich, Switzerland. His father, Rabbi Mordechai Harlig, served as a rav in Vienna before World War II. The elder Rabbi Harlig’s uncle was the famous Reb Meir Shapiro of Lublin whom Reb Meir was named after.

In Vienna, he became acquainted with the Frierdiker Rebbe, who would periodically visit the city. During those trips, he had the merit to assist the Frierdiker Rebbe in various ways.

Rabbi Mordechai Harlig arrived in the United States with his family in 5700, and took up a position as a rav of a shul in Crown Heights. The close proximity to 770 led to further encounters with the Frierdiker Rebbe.

“The Frierdiker Rebbe once called a meeting of rabbonim, and my father was one of the attendees. I came along with my father to 770 and waited in the hallway while the meeting took place in the Frierdiker Rebbe’s room. At the conclusion of the meeting, my father requested permission to remain in yechidus for a moment. He used the opportunity to ask for a bracha for my mother, who was not feeling well at the time,” Reb Meir recalled in his interview with Derher.

“My father then mentioned my name to the Frierdiker Rebbe, and Rabbi Eliyahu Simpson, the mazkir, (or maybe the Frierdiker Rebbe himself) said ‘er iz doh—he is here,’ so the Frierdiker Rebbe told me to come in. He picked up the right side of his kapota, and gave me his tzitzis to kiss. I was about seven or eight years old,” he recalled.

Another time Reb Meir saw the Frierdiker Rebbe was at a farbrengen in the small zal, on Yud Beis Tammuz 5706 or 5707.

When the Harligs arrived in America, there were two religious schools: Torah Vadaas and Lubavitch Yeshiva. Being that he was a Chossid, Rabbi Harlig sent his son Meir to Lubavitch.

Years passed, and on Yud Shevat 5710 the Frierdiker Rebbe was nistalek. Reb Meir was among those attending the levaya. A year later, he was also present at the farbrengen of Yud Shevat 5711 where the Rebbe formally accepted the nesius.

As a bochur in the early 5710s, Reb Meir was a beneficiary of the particularly close attention that the Rebbe accorded the bochurim during those years. The Rebbe would be regularly apprised of each bochur’s situation in frequent duchos submitted by the hanhala, and every bochur would enter yechidus twice each year.

Once, the rosh yeshiva Rabbi Mordechai Mentlik submitted a list of bochurim and inquired as to which subjects the different bochurim should be learning. For some, it was Yoreh De’ah, for others shechita or something else. The Rebbe reacted with surprise about Reb Meir learning shechita. “The son of a rov learning shechita?” the Rebbe asked.

Together with this close attention came personal horaos, sometimes on the topic of keeping sidrei hayeshiva.

“Once I came down with hay fever. The doctor first prescribed me some pill, then a different pill, and then he said that I need an injection. I received the injection in his office, and while I was waiting for the bus to take me home, the nurse came running after me saying that the doctor had given me the wrong injection, so he called me back. My hand had already gotten a bit swollen so he gave me an antidote, and sent me home in a taxi,” Reb Meir recalled.

“A few weeks later I went into yechidus before my birthday, and I wrote the whole story in my tzetel. The Rebbe looked up at me, and told me as follows: ‘Es iz doh a naye erfindung—There is a new invention for all of this; if you will be careful not to miss the morning seder Chassidus and the night seder Chassidus, all of the issues will go away.’ Over the next two or three years, I didn’t miss a single seder,” he said.

Over the years, Reb Meir was given numerous jobs and tasks, and ultimately, he took care of many functions at 770—buying the cake and wine for the Rebbe’s farbrengen, setting up the Rebbe’s place, and many other roles. Reb Meir also had the merit to help the Rebbe personally in a variety of ways.

To anyone visiting 770 for close to forty years, Reb Meir was a constant part of the scene. Every farbrengen, every davening, every krias haTorah, Reb Meir was loath to miss an opportunity to be in the Rebbe’s presence. When his children were still young, he would bring them along as well to take part in the Rebbe’s minyan and farbrengen.

When Reb Meir got married, his father planned to host a large kiddush and sheva brachos at his shul on Shabbos. But Reb Meir soon broke the news to him that he would not be able to attend—that week was Shabbos Mevorchim and the Rebbe would be holding a farbrengen.

Hearing that, his father went into yechidus. He told the Rebbe, that he understands that the aufruf will obviously take place in 770, but his balebatim are expecting that the Shabbos sheva brachos celebration take place in his shul, with their participation. The Rebbe told him that he shouldn’t try to change Meir’s mind. Instead, the Rebbe suggested that my father should make a large sheva brachos on Motzei Shabbos, with all of the balebatim, and that way they would be satisfied.

Starting from 5722, Reb Meir was assigned to receive the Rebbe’s daled minim after the Rebbe had bentched on them and hold them as the chassidim would line up to use them. Each year, he would go to the Rebbe’s sukkah each day of Sukkos, take the daled minim that the Rebbe had just used and stand for hours, giving each chossid the chance to say the bracha on them.

For a number of years, Reb Meir was responsible for inviting the distinguished guests who would join the Yomtov meals in the Frierdiker Rebbe’s apartment.

One of the most common roles that Reb Meir filled was the organizer and master of ceremonies at many farbrengens that Chassidim held in 770. For decades, he would host the farbrengen and seudas hoda’a on Rosh Chodesh Kislev in 770, celebrating the Rebbe’s recovery and return home on Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5738. Reb Meir organized this farbrengen since the very first anniversary, in 5739.

In recent years he served as Gabbai responsible for the tefillos and aliyos in the Rebbe’s room.

He is survived by his wife Mrs. Tzipporah Harlig, and children Rabbi Sholom Harlig – Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Rabbi Shea Harlig – Las Vegas, NV; Rabbi Yossi Harlig – Kendell, FL; Mrs. Chaya Sarah Dalfin – Miami, FL: Rabbi Mendy Harlig – Henderson, NV, Mrs. Toby Baron – Sunny Isles, FL, and Mrs. Binie Holtzberg – Monterrey, CA.

The levaya will take place on Monday, passing 770 at 2:00 PM and continuing on to Old Montefiore Cemetery.

Location: 442 Crown Street

Visitors: Shachris-12:00PM; 4:00PM-Ma’ariv


Shachris-8:30AM (1 Minyan needed)

Shachris-7:30AM, 8:00AM, 8:30AM, 9:00AM
Mincha-8:00PM (4 Minyanim needed)

Shachris-7:30AM, 8:00AM, 8:30AM, 9:00AM
Mincha-8:00PM (4 Minyanim needed)

Shachris-7:30AM, 8:00AM, 8:30AM, 9:00AM
Mincha-1:45PM (2 Minyanim), 2:15PM (2 Minyanim)

Motzei Shabbos:
Ma’ariv-B’Zman (4 Minyanim)

Shachris-7:30AM (2 Minyanim), 8:30AM (2 Minyanim)

Baruch Dayan Haemes.

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  1. Rabbi Shea Harlig
    I am so sorry for your lose of you beloved father What a wonderful blessing to the entire Jewish community He was.
    Sincerely, Michela Las Vegas

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