Stories & Memories of Rabbi Wagner

By: Sholom Ber Munitz May 10


This story took place before Shavuos during one of the (3) years that I had the Zechus of learning in Toronto. I approached Rabbi Wagner and asked him if I could get permission to go home (across the border to Buffalo) for Shavous, as it was my father's birthday and I wanted to celebrate with him and my family. Rabbi Wagner felt that it was important for me to be in Yeshiva for Yom Tov and did not give me permission. Although I was sad, I understood and respected his decision. During our discussion he had jokingly asked me if the reason I wanted to go home was because of my mother's cheesecake. After he told me the no he offered to bring me (and my friends) cheesecake for Shavuos.

Sure enough, on Erev Shavuos Rabbi Wagner came into the Zal carrying a stack of many cheesecakes that his amazing Rebbetzin (may Hashem continue to give her strength and good health) had lovingly prepared for us. That year I didn't get to celebrate Shavuos with my father, but I was indeed blessed to celebrate it as a Tamim together with my spiritual father.

Someone recently wrote that 24,000 students lost Rabbi Akiva. It was a meaningful sentiment but I would like to add that Rabbi Wagner is not the type of Rabbi and father that could ever truly be lost from us. (Even now, I can clearly hear him saying דעת עליון etc.). We will always carry him with us, and very soon we will merit to walk together with him as we go to greet our Rebbe!

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