By COLlive reporter
A new piece of information was revealed this week about the historic visit of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe in Israel 80 years ago.
COL reporter Mendy Rizel contacted Aviv Keller, a 91 year-old Jew living in the northern Israeli town of Rosh Pina.
Keller, whose memory appears to be crystal clear and remains on the go, said he was witness to an unknown episode of the visit.
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, was on his way to the holy city of Tzfas, for the yahrtzeit of the Arizal – Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, when the car had a mechanical problem.
The Rebbe’s entourage turned to Rosh Pina and arrived at the home of Keller’s uncle, who ran a guest house in those days.
“They came in this large car, a Mercedes-Benz that we’ve never seen before. It had 3 benches and 5 people sitting on each one,” Keller recalled.
“He (the Rebbe) presented himself and asked if this house belonged to Jews. My grandfather felt something is outstanding here and hurried over and said ‘sure, we have a Mezuzah and we are Jews’.”
Keller said the Rebbe asked to daven Mincha while mechanics fixed the problem.
“We joined (Mincha) and my uncle gave him a glass of tea… the Rebbe smiled to me,” he recalled.
Before departing, Keller added, the Rebbe blessed them in Yiddish: “Lang leben and gezunt zein.” (Live long and be well).
Keller points out that his uncle lived until 96, his grandfather until 92 and grandmother “even longer then that.”
Rabbi Shlomo Berkowitz, the Chabad Shliach in Rosh Pina, said Keller was a reliable source and that his uncle also told him the story.