By Hershel Rosenbluh for Anash.org
Reb Berel Chaskind passed away on 26 Elul, 5718/1958.
Reb Berel, born in 5657/1897, was a chossid and yerei shomayim who was totally immersed in the ways of Chassidus. A true example of what Tomchei Tmimim accomplished.
In the 5690s/1930s he was banished from Riga by the Government for working to obtain food packages for his brother Chasssidim, and the Frierdiker Rebbe advised him to go to Eretz Yisroel. Rashag was in Eretz Yisroel at the time and arranged for a certificate for him and several others to go to Eretz Yisroel.
He was one of two people that the Frierdiker Rebbe dubbed “my close friends.” The other being Reb Yochanon Gordon. His son Reb Sholom remembers being a ben-bayis at the Frierdiker Rebbe’s house, as a child even showing the Rebbetzin his new suit that he got for Yomtov.
When Reb Berel arrived in New York from Eretz Yisroel in 5698/1938, The Frierdiker Rebbe wrote a letter to Reb Berel, where he writes about the dawn of Torah is rising in America and the sun of Chassidus is beginning to shine there. And so it was; Reb Berel would farbreng with the bochurim and was a link for them to the old world of Lubavitch; he had a great sense of being able to describe the ways of the old Chassidim.
Reb Berel has the zechus of being the first one to approach the Rebbe and ask if the Rebbe can review the notes that were made of the Rebbe’s farbrengens. Reb Berel approached the Rebbe and said that anash in other cities want to know what the Rebbe is saying so we make reshimos for them. Can the Rebbe review them? The Rebbe agreed, and so it began.
He also was the first one to call up the Rebbe to the Rebbe with the title of Adoneinu Moreinu V’Rabeinu, on Simchas Torah 5711/1950, in the year after the histalkus of the Frierdiker Rebbe, when the Rebbe received the aliya of Choson Bereishis in the shul in 770.
For Rosh Hashonoh 5714/1953, Reb Berel got stuck on the way back to the US in Brunoy. Reb Sholom Ber Butman, who was then a talmid in Brunoy, remembers his davening on Rosh Hashonoh, the copious tears, and the nigunim.
He passed away on this day, 61 years ago, at the age of 61. He was interred very close to the Ohel, as is fitting for a mekurev like he was.