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16 Iyar 5761 - May 9, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly
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NEWS
Rebbetzin Ruth Stefansky o"h
by Betzalel Kahn

A large throng headed by roshei yeshiva and rabbonim accompanied Rebbetzin Ruth Stefansky o"h, eishes chover of HaRav Yaakov Stefansky ylct"a on her last early journey. She was 50 years old at the time of her petirah.

Rebbetzin Stefansky, an important figure in the United States, was filled with vitality. Born in Boston, her remarkable character traits were evident at a very early age. At the age of ten she was chosen to represent Bnos Agudas Yisroel before an audience of scores of women who had gathered for a Neshei Agudas Yisroel meeting.

As the daughter of HaRav Mordechai Savitzky, the rav of Boston, she had a great influence on all of the girls and young women of the area. When she was twenty, she married HaRav Yaakov Stefansky, one of the prominent students of Lakewood, and resolved to devote all of her energies to enabling him to pore over his Torah studies day and night without any financial or other concerns.

Alongside this, she dedicated herself to the chinuch of bnos Yisroel in the true Torah way. She first worked as a teacher, and later as principal, of the Bais Yaakov of Flatbush. During the last period of her life she was principal of Bais Yaakov Monsey. The thousands of students she guided over the years, each of whom felt especially close to her, attest to the great love she felt for each and every one of them. The many students who visited her in her final days further confirmed this link.

In addition to managing a home and raising her children in the Torah way, she was a remarkable ba'alas chesed who dedicated herself to helping others in a special, personal manner. She helped scores of sick people, either by driving them to the hospital for treatment or by visiting and encouraging them, although she sometimes had to travel more than five hours to fulfill this mitzvah.

A person who was once critically ill and later recovered felt so indebted to her that he came all the way from Eretz Yisroel in order to encourage her on her sick bed. He told her that he had recovered on her merit and due to the tremendous help she had given him during his difficult times. She made great efforts to be mezakeh horabim by organizing Torah shiurim. When she lived in Ramat Elchonon in Bnei Brak, she founded the Brocho VoChessed organization which helps women after birth and also helps needy families by sending cooked meals and volunteers to help with housework. She built a world of chesed with the thousands of deeds -- both large and small -- that she performed throughout her life, in a humble, modest manner.

When she lived in Ramot Daled in Jerusalem, her husband founded a yeshiva, while through her great love of Torah, she assumed the tremendous burden of seeing to all of its material needs. She organized furniture for the yeshiva and sleeping quarters for its students; arranged for meals every day and even did the laundry for the bochurim, as a mother to every student in the yeshiva.

After a long illness and terrible suffering she returned her pure soul to its Maker in kedushoh and taharoh on erev Shabbos, parshas Tazria-Metzora.

At the large levaya in the United States, hespedim were delivered by HaRav Eliyahu Ber Wachtfogel, one of the prominent roshei yeshiva in the United States, as well as by her husband, HaRav Yaakov Stefansky and her sons. At the levaya in Eretz Yisroel, a hesped was delivered by HaRav Don Segal.

Rebbetzin Stefansky merited that the gedolei hador, headed by the pillar of halachic authority HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, as well as by HaRav Chaim Kanievsky and HaRav Shmuel Auerbach, spoke highly of her and comforted her family.

 

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