Rabbi Chaim Meir Lieberman, z”l, was a true Lamplighter, and larger-than-life in every way. We were so blessed and privileged to know him and his wife Sarah from 1976 in Cape Town. He immediately struck one with his engaging personality, twinkle in his eye, warm smile and sense of humor. He had the rare talent and capacity to reach out to every individual, no matter their age, religious standing or social status. We, as a newly-married couple, were profoundly influenced by his selfless, caring and sincere example of what it means to be a true mensch.
One moment which stands out indelibly in our memory, is when we hosted Rabbi Chaim Meir & Sara, Rabbi Mendel Popack & Avi in our Sea Point Sukkah, and Rabbi Chaim Meir proceeded to sing the Niggun ‘Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh’, which he told us was a favorite Nigun of his. This Hebrew poem (attributed to Rabbi Eleazar Azkari), explains that every Jew is obligated to build a Beis Hamikdash within his own heart, and only if one’s heart is a fortress of strength brimming with faith and self-sacrifice, can one be propelled and elevated to carry out his divine purpose. How Chaim Meir epitomized this striving and ideal in every single encounter during his lifetime!
When we were en-route to Minnesota in 1981, he was at JF Kennedy Airport to meet us with open arms, and offer us the unique hospitality in his home and family; we were so blessed to attend a children’s rally in the presence of the Rebbe at 770, with Rabbi Lieberman at our side, explaining and enhancing our experience.
A few months later, Stan was blown away by the “Hachnassat Orchim” displayed by Rabbi Chaim Meir, Sara and their family. People were visiting constantly, offered hospitality to sleep over in their home, come for a Shabbos meal etc.
With his passing away this week the world is a darker place. We are acutely aware of how the ‘Heilige Neshoma’ of R. Chaim Meir was instrumental in dispelling much darkness from the world of so, so many individuals whom he nurtured, carrying them under his wing, offering unwavering support, sage guidance and counselling, and igniting their Neshomas.