It is with some trepidation that I write this note about my
sister, Mrs. Wolff, who was niftar on 29 Shevat,
because any publicity about her is quite contrary to the
modesty and unobtrusiveness which was so characteristic of
I nevertheless feel an urge to pen a few lines about her, if
only for the purpose that her many friends and admirers learn
one or two middos which were part and parcel of her
What is so peculiar about my sister's lifestyle is that no
one seems to remember her early childhood and her teenage
adolescence. As a lifelong friend remarked at the
shiva: "I have never known her youthfulness, she was
always an adult."
From early childhood she cared infinitely more about the
needs of other people; she acted like a responsible and
caring adult, giving practical help to the old, frail, poor
and underprivileged, before ever taking her own needs or
interests into consideration.
Her modesty was legendary. Although she could well afford all
the luxury in the world, she invariably went out of her way
to shun it. She wouldn't dream of traveling by taxi, but
queued up at a bus stop like everyone else. She refused to
have a dishwasher and other modern gadgets in her kitchen as
she didn't want to enjoy comfort and facilities which others
could not afford. Haughtiness was not a word to be found in
my sister's dictionary. She ran fast from anything that could
remotely be construed as showing off.
Her modesty went hand in hand with her tznius, and her
simplicity of dress -- from childhood right through her adult
life -- was exemplary.
Her hachnosas orchim of gedolei haTorah knew no
bounds -- but not only gedolei haTorah, but poor,
simple and needy people also always found an open door and
open heart at 96 Lordship Park.
My sister was frum in the purest sense of the word.
She was frum long before girls went to seminaries; she
said Tehillim long before Tehillim groups for
ladies were established. She shunned speaking or listening to
loshon hora long before the issur was
highlighted. She inherited this frumkeit from our
parental home, and developed it, together with her husband,
Reb Binyomin zt"l in the wonderful home from which so
many families of bnei Torah and talmidei
chachomim have emerged.
Lest it be thought that a brother's tribute to the memory of
his sister lacks objectivity, I wish to quote extracts from
three of the very many written tributes which reached the
"Your mother epitomized the true beauty of a bas
Yisroel. Her finesse, the gentle way she had of speaking,
and the care she took to do and say the right thing at all
times, was unique.
"She represented to me the ideal of Soroh be'ohel. In
her pleasant ways she made us aware that true strength is in
silence, in speaking softly, in sympathizing with others, in
lending a listening ear to their joys and sorrows . . . She
was behind your father's throne. It is little wonder you
children extended the most exemplary kibbud horim I
have seen to parents such as your own. We have lost a special
friend, but we have also lost a generation, for your parents
lived the life of Torah values typical of a previous time . .
Another friend wrote:
" . . . she showed all, by example, what it really means to
carry the title of a bas melech. But over and above
all else was her ability to deny herself many things (because
she saw no necessity for them) yet give those very things as
a present to others. In this way your mother was quite
extraordinary -- this is an extra ordinary madreigoh
to understand someone else's needs even when they are not
Another friend wrote:
"I remember Mrs. Wolff from my London days. She was my
epitome of a gracious lady, kind and gentle -- always happy
to stay in the background. I remember in particular that she
was always the simplest dressed lady at any gathering, but
she outshone all the others . . . "
"A queen (who together with your late father zt"l)
established a palace of chessed, and was zoche
to set up a royal family of bonim and bnei bonim
oskim baTorah uvemitzvos . . . "
May my sister be a meilitzas yosher for all her family
and for Klal Yisroel.