Most of the years, the Lubavitcher Rebbitzin herself
arranged the seudah hamafseket (the customary meal eaten late afternoon
before the fast) for her husband. In the last years, when she was not strong
enough to continue this, the responsibility fell to Rabbi Chesed Halberstam, a
chasid who already for many years had been the main one to help them at home.
...the Rebbe...asked, "There aren’t any bagels?"
One year, to start the meal, he set out two small
challahs. When the Rebbe came to sit down for the meal, he looked at the two
loaves, and asked, "There aren’t any bagels?"
Halberstam looked at the Rebbe, not comprehending.
The Rebbe looked back at him: "In Sanz no one eats
bagels on erev Tisha B’Av?" [Chesed Halberstam is from the family of the
"I didn’t see," he answered.
He said that at the final meal before the Tisha
B’Av fast, one should eat bagels in place of the customary bread. Halberstam
turned back at once to the kitchen, rapidly calculating if there were still
enough time to call the bakery and order bagels. But, before he could finish
dialing, he saw the Rebbe standing with a knife, cutting a hole in the middle of
"Nu," he said, "I’ve already got a bagel."
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