By Dovid Zaklikowski for COLlive and Hasidic Archives
The home of Rabbi Eliezer and Raisel Zirkind on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn was open to anyone who needed a warm meal or some good, practical advice.
Both the meals and the advice were dispensed at the large dining room table, which was surrounded by an assortment of mismatched chairs. It was a simple arrangement, but it served its purpose, accommodating the large assortment of guests who visited the family each Shabbos.
There was the postal worker; “Charlie Buttons,” a local character known for the hundreds of pins he attached to his overalls and hat; students of the yeshivahs in Crown Heights and Morristown, New Jersey, who had come to Jewish observance as adults. And there was the elderly woman who came each week after the meal to chat with Mrs. Zirkind.
Rabbi Zirkind a well-known scribe (sofer stam) and would study on a daily basis with Rabbi Yehuda Clapman.
Rabbi Clapman once recalls that after he married, he went to a furniture store. The owner, knowing of his connection to the Zirkinds, told him proudly, “Rabbi Zirkind was just here looking for a very exquisite kind of chair.”
Rabbi Clapman was surprised. He knew Rabbi Zirkind to be someone who paid little heed to his own physical comfort. What, then, could he want with an expensive easy chair?
When he inquired about it, Rabbi Zirkind replied that an elderly guest at their Shabbos table likes a certain chair.
“She told my wife she found it to be comfortable, so I went out and purchased one for her,” Rabbi Zirkind commented, and without another word, he returned to their study routine.