Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

6 Nisan 5759 - March 24, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







Chessed Shel Emes Even After Petirah

by M. Halevi

Reb Moshe Kruger, a Lithuanian Jew of the "good old days" who had made aliya 25 years ago, recently passed away in the Bayit Vegan neighborhood of Jerusalem at a ripe old age. At his levaya, a remarkable event occurred.

Reb Moshe Kruger was a Jew who had kept the mitzvos with mesiras nefesh even under the Communist regime. Due to this "crime," various restrictions were imposed on him which made it difficult for him to find work. He was exiled to a small village after being forbidden to live in Vilna. There he suffered from the antisemitism of its illiterate residents, some of whom even perpetrated a blood libel against him.

Despite the persecutions and the efforts to repress him, he remained staunch in his Yiddishkeit, and he bequeathed to his family the Jewish warmth which he had absorbed in the Lithuania of yore. His son, Rav Dovid Kruger, relates that his father was one of the few Jews who was insistent about davening in a minyan even during the Communist regime.

One time, when Reb Dovid was small, he went outside of the shul in order to talk to some children. His father came out and scolded him: "Now they are reciting the bircas hachodesh of Elul. Elul! The fish in the sea are already trembling in fear of yemei hadin. Elul!"

Reb Moshe Kruger was also well known for his acts of chessed. Ever since he came to Eretz Yisroel he made special efforts to recruit money for the Torah institutions in the south of the country, and would generously help whoever needed assistance.

During his levaya, which was held at night, one of the members of the chevra kadisha placed his flashlight beside a nearby tomb. They looked at the unusual inscription on the tombstone which read: "Here lies buried. . . a solitary person, who asks that prayers be recited for the benefit of his soul." When they looked at the date of the petirah they were stunned: "13 Teves, 5758," the same day, a year beforehand.

Reb Moshe Kruger was buried near that lone Jew whose grave no one would have thought of visiting. This occurred precisely on that Jew's first yahrtzeit. From Shomayim the niftar merited that Tehillim and Kaddish were recited beside his grave by a minyan of Jews on his first yahrtzeit.

When the entourage was about to leave, one of the members of the chevra kadisha recalled the levaya of that lone Jew, who had davened in the shtiblach for many years. When he was buried, they wondered if anyone would ever visit his grave. But Reb Moshe Kruger's son resolved that every year, upon visiting his father's grave, he would also recite prayers at the grave of this Jew whose yahrtzeit falls on the same day as that of his father.

This is how a Jew who had so devoted himself to Yiddishkeit and chessed in his life merited even another chessed when passing on to World of Truth.

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