Stories & Memories of Rabbi Chaim Meir Lieberman

By: Mitchell Nathanson December 15

My Story

From the moment I met R' Chaim Meir he had the aura of someone strong as an ox, steadfast in his beliefs and unwavering in his principles. He was more. He was a chossid. Chabad started a shul in West Hempstead, almost by accident. This was not a community of lost souls. of people searching for their heritage. West Hempstead is a frum community of over 70 years, with multiple shuls, a yeshiva, kosher food establishments. The shluchim of the Rebbe to West Hempstead, NY (Long Island) Rabbi Yossi and Chaya Rochel Lieberman's (second) home in the community, just happened to be on the way of whatever shul where people regularly davened. So it started as a place to chap a Shabbos afternoon mincha and then Kabbalas Shabbos in the living room, which soon became known as the "shul room". Yossi and CR often had many guests visiting and frequently members of their respective (large) families. Of the lesser frequented guests (in the beginning) were R' Chaim Meir and Sara Lieberman, Yossi's parents. It was a special treat for them to spend a Shabbos or Yom Tov, as they were often busy practicing Hachnosas Orchim in their own home. R' Chaim Meir was very approachable and regaled us with stories of the Rebbe, but more importantly to our community, he joined his son in teaching us Chassidus. He showed us the meaning of "Darchei HaChassidus". He joined and led many fahrbrengen, and led weeknight shiurim on chassidus in the memory of his beloved parents. He gladly attended many, if not all events of Chabad of West Hempstead and took great pride in the growth of an accidental minyan to a blossoming force in the spread of chassidus on Long Island. Every time we caught each other's eye from across the room or down the block, he gave a large smile as if to say, "I've been waiting just for you!" He always had a topical insight to offer. I am also aware of the lengths he would go to help another Jew in area area of difficulty. I know this because I was privileged enough to have been initiated into his circle of community members that was called upon to answer his call for assistance. He did this quietly, and the recipients were ever grateful to him. He had a special way about his choice of words. I believe it was when he was in Aveilus for his mother that he said out loud to no one in particular as we were searching for a tenth man to make a late night ma'ariv minyan, "If my mother had realized what I have to go through to say Kaddish and Mishnayos for her every day, she would never have died!" This struck me as a recognition that his parents would do anything and everything within their power for their children. To the greatest extent possible, R' Chaim Meir was a living example of that dedication to his own children and grandchildren, all throughout the country. It was therefore one of the hardest days of my life when I witnessed R Chaim Meir and Sara suffer the greatest tragedy. I greeted him before the levaya without words, as there were none, but with tears in my eyes and a bear hug. I will never forget his pain as he told me, "Do you know how hard it is to tell your child that they lost their sister? I had to do that 16 times..." Of course I didn't know. He may be the only one ever to have experienced such grief. Yet, his message was that he was strong enough of a believer, a chossid, to actually do that which no one else could even imagine. He continued being there for his family, his community and all of Yiddishkeit, until his last breath. I am not sure how his leaving us could possibly fit into the master plan, as we are at such a deficit without him. But I am sure that he would've believed that it fits. because R' Chaim Meir was strong as an ox, steadfast in his beliefs and unwavering in his principles.

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