Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Nissan 5762 - April 11, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Home and Family
Twin Tower Victim R' Shimon Dovid Biegeleisen, Hy"d, Buried
by A. Cohen

On Sunday, 18 Nisan (chol hamoed Pesach), Rav Shimon Dovid Biegeleisen Hy"d was buried in New York. He was a prominent Belzer chossid, who was killed in the treacherous terrorist attack on the World Trade Center last September 11 just before Rosh Hashonoh. He was 42 years old at the time of his petiroh. The authorities informed the Biegeleisen family on Yom Tov Sheini that the niftar's body had been found.

Reb Shimon Dovid Biegeleisen, the son of R' Yaakov Shlomo Biegeleisen, a prominent Belzer chassid, was born in Brooklyn. In his parents' home, he learned his love of Torah and chesed.

He studied in the Rabbenu Chaim Berlin yeshiva in America, and married the daughter of R' Yaakov Stern of Flatbush. She is an eishes chayil who helped her husband raise their children to Torah and yiras Shomayim. After his marriage he continued to study in kollel and later began to work. He was an expert in property deeds, and the vice president of a large financial firm which dealt in this field. He also continued his Torah studies, maintaining shiurim in the mornings and in the evenings until his final day. He was known as a very fine avreich, outstanding in his yiras Shomayim and good middos. All regarded him as a genuine friend, and a very kindhearted person, who was especially devoted to his family, his parents, his in-laws, and to the chinuch of his children.

The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center occurred on Tuesday, the 23rd of Elul. After the first plane crashed into the first building, Reb Shimon Dovid called his home and told his wife that something very serious had occurred in the other building, and that if she heard reports about it, she should know that they weren't referring to the building in which he was located, where everything was under control. Afterwards, he called his parents with the same message. His mother asked him to leave the building, and he replied that the rescue forces had asked everyone to remain in their offices in order not to arouse a panic.

His mother once more asked him to try to leave the building which, sadly, he didn't manage to do, since a second plane crashed into the building in which he was located. The plane crashed around the 74th floor, and his office was on the 97th floor. While the fire raged and the suffocating and heavy smoke billowed, the telephone system still worked. He and his friends took a heavy table and broke a window in order to let in air. He called his family and described his situation. They in turn arranged a conference call with a doctor, who recommended that he lie on the floor and put a wet rag on his face, since the smoke rises.

Later on, he also spoke with his friends and told them: "I see that I won't be able to leave here," and asked them to recite "Mizmor leDovid Hashem ro'i lo echsor," which he himself was reciting at that point. His son also recited that kapitle beside the niftar's mitoh at the levaya.

As Reb Shimon Dovid was speaking and reciting the kapitle, he told them about the horrors and said that pieces of the ceiling were falling. Then a scream was heard and the connection was broken. Later on it was learned that the building had collapsed at that moment.

As directed by the rabbonim, his family began to sit shiva on Tzom Gedaliah, about ten days after the event. Recently, the Belzer chassidim began to build a new beis medrash on Fifth Avenue in Boro Park, and it will be called Binyan Shimon Dovid.

The levaya left the funeral home on Sunday, and passed the construction site of the beis medrash, where the foundations have already been dug. Then it continued to Beis Dovid cemetery of the Shomrei Hadas community.

Hespedim were not delivered because it was chol hamoed. The dayan of the Belzer community, HaRav Shlomo Gross, recited chapters of Tehillim and said: "We must be grateful to Hashem that we live in a country which spends millions of dollars in order to locate the remains of the kedoshim and doesn't say that it is a lost cause."

R' Shimon Dovid Biegeleisen is survived by his father, his mother, his mother-in-law, his wife and five children. His three sons study in Yeshivas Rabbenu Chaim Berlin. The oldest, Elkonoh Mordechai, is 19. The other two are Yisroel Yaakov and Moshe Yehuda. His youngest daughter is nine.


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