A massive throng , both in the United States and Eretz
Yisroel, accompanied the righteous Rebbetzin Tzivia Walkin
o"h, wife of HaRav Shmuel Dovid Walkin, and mother of
HaRav Chaim Walkin, the menahel ruchani of yeshivas
Ateres Yisroel, on her last earthly journey on Chanukah, 29
Kislev. She was 85 at the time of her petirah.
Rebbetzin Walkin was born in Radin. Her father was R' Avrohom
Sachrof, the son-in-law of HaRav Moshe Landinski, the rosh
yeshiva of Radin. In this outstanding Torah home, she
imbibed true Torah values.
As a child she was very close with the family of the Chofetz
Chaim, since her home adjoined his. Her father studied in a
shul in a city near Radin and she made numerous visits
to the home the Chofetz Chaim, where she was received with
warmth. When she came of age, she married HaRav Shmuel Dovid
Walkin, the son of the Beis Aharon. After their marriage they
moved to the city of Trab, where her father officiated as
rav. She lived through the Holocaust and most of the members
of her family were killed by the Nazis. Despite the travails
and the wars, her spirit remained staunch.
She fled with her husband to Vilna, and from there they
escaped to Shanghai along with the thousands of students of
the Mirrer yeshiva. In Shanghai, where the students remained
until the end of the war, she was a mother figure for the
students and many refugees turned to her for succor and
At the end of the war she and her husband arrived in the
United States, where she helped the hundreds of refugees from
China rehabilitate. She made shidduchim for 75 of the
refugees, who for years after their marriages regarded her as
their mother. For a long period, she found little time for
her own personal needs, not even for orderly meals, her sole
concern being to help the refugees find food and shelter.
She was kuloh chessed and let everyone feel like her
only child. She related to everyone, even non-Jews, with
special warmth and consideration. Her home was steeped in the
atmosphere she had brought with her from Radin. It was a home
which teemed with people, a home of hachnosas
Her husband zt"l funded a shul in their
spacious home, and it continued to function vibrantly after
his petirah. Roshei yeshiva in America said
that she was "a walking Shulchan Oruch" of good deeds,
and gedolei haTorah who came to America from Eretz
Yisroel to the United States would stay at her home.
America's eminent roshei yeshiva came to comfort the
family in the United States, among them the rosh yeshiva
of the Mir, HaRav Shmuel Birnbaum, who cried for a long
time. He said that all American Jewry owes her a debt of
gratitude, and that it was she who safeguarded Torah while
the students of the Mir were in China.
Her pleasant disposition was well known. She never raised her
voice, and never displayed anger. Many years ago, one of her
grandchildren slackened a bit in Yiddishkeit, and came
to her home dressed in an un-yeshivishe manner. With a
glowing face, she asked him: "How are you?"
The grandchild who was overcome, fled to one of the rooms and
changed his attire. Today he is a rav in an important
community in the United States.
She was a role model of caution in shemiras haloshon.
She would say that she was so careful about shemiras
haloshon not because she had grown up in the home of the
Chofetz Chaim, but because she simply didn't see anything
wrong in others and thus had no loshon hora to
With the collapse of the Iron Curtain, many of the Russians
who came to the United States found temporary lodgings in her
home. She and her husband adopted many of them. Today, twenty
of those Russian immigrants are currently dayanim, and
many others study in kollelim and yeshivos.
Although she was a healthy person, she suffered a heart
attack a few days before her passing. After she entered the
ambulance, she asked to return home to take a checkbook so
that she could distribute Chanukah gelt to her
grandchildren, and take a special sefer someone had
wanted to borrow. "He might come to the hospital for it," she
At the levaya in America, hespedim were
delivered by HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky, who said that she has
the din of chochom befonov, an eishes
chover whom we are obligated to eulogize even during
Chanukah. Hespedim were also delivered by HaRav Moshe
Ginsberg and her son, HaRav Moshe Yoel Walkin, and two of her
In Jerusalem, her levaya left from Ateres Yisrael.
Hespedim were delivered by HaRav Boruch Mordechai
Ezrachi, the rosh yeshiva of Ateres Yisroel; her son,
HaRav Chaim Walkin, the menahel ruchani of Ateres
Yisroel; her son HaRav Moshe Yoel Walkin; HaRav Shmuel Yaakov
Bornstein, one of the roshei yeshiva of Chevron Geula; HaRav
Boruch Shimon Solomon, the rosh yeshiva of Nachlas
Dovid and the Chief rabbi of Petach Tikvah; and HaRav Benzion
Ezrachi, a ram in Ateres Yisroel.
She is survived by two sons and three daughters, who are
married, respectively, to HaRav Shlomo Pupko, HaRav Yehuda
Kelemer, and HaRav Michel Samuel of Chicago. Her
grandchildren and great-grandchildren are all following along
the path she charted for them.