Self Discipline

From an article by Chaim Shapiro that originally appeared in the Jewish Observer

GYE Corp. Saturday, 26 November 2011

Rav Elchonon Wasserman practiced Shivisi HaShem L'Negdi Tamid ("I always envisioned G-d before me"). For that reason, he absolutely never laughed or smiled. Or perhaps it was in mourning over the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash: "Then (at its rebuilding) your mouths will be filled with laughter," but not until then. The only exceptions were when a mitzvah called for rejoicing, such as at a wedding; also, when he would quote the Chofetz Chaim, his face would relax into a slight smile. As part of this severe self-discipline, he would never slip a hand into his pockets. During the most biting cold of winter, his hands - red and frozen - would be gripping his coat buttons.