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25 Tishrei, 5779 - October 4, 2018 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Rabbi Dr. Moshe Rothschild zt"l

By M. Berger

Rabbi Dr. Moshe Rothschild zt"l



A crowd of many thousands, headed by the Prince of Torah, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky; Rabbeinu, HaRav Gershon Eidelstein; Torah leaders; Roshei Yeshiva; rabbonim and Jews of all walks, accompanied the remains of Rabbi Dr. Moshe Rothschild to his final rest this past Motzei Shabbos Chol Hamoed Succos, founder and president of the Maayanei Hayeshua Medical Center in Bnei Brak, who passed away after a brief illness in the eighty-ninth year of his life.

The deceased was born in Shevat, 5689, in Switzerland to his father, Reb Yosef, who served as the kehilla's vice president and was one of the leading members of the chareidi community in Zurich, always first and foremost in anything of religious nature. He was renowned for his acts of Kiddush Hashem. His mother, Sara, was the daughter of the revered HaRav Nosson Weil who established Torah educational institutions in the city and later, the famed yeshiva in Aix- les-Bains. It was in this great home, dedicated to Hashem and His Torah, that he was nourished and raised together with his ten siblings to Torah and pure yiras Shomayim.

As a child, he first attended the cheder in Zurich where he absorbed full measures of Torah and yiras Shomayim. From there he went on to the Kaplan yeshiva close to Antwerp which later moved to Lucerne. It was headed by HaRav Yitzchok Dov Koppelman who favored him, as did all of his rabbeim, and who imbued this avid student with full measures of Torah, both in scope and depth amidst piety.

For a short period following, he studied in the Eitz Chaim yeshiva in Monterey, where he made the acquaintance of the future Rashkebehag, HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman and HaRav Moshe Soloveitchik, bonding with them in a relationship of Torah study and deep affection which accompanied him throughout his life. He then went on to study medicine, soon serving as an expert mohel and famed doctor. He made aliya and was privileged to work alongside Dr. Wallach and his devoted work in the Shaarei Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem.

A full, replete adjunct throughout his life was his deep relationship with Torah leaders, beginning at a tender age. He became close to HaRav Yosef Shalom Kahaneman, founder of the Ponovezh yeshiva, even accompanying him on his fundraising travels throughout Europe, and with HaRav Y. Shteif and many others. Upon his move to Eretz Yisroel, he forged strong relationships with the Torah leaders here, which he maintained throughout his life.

When he reached marriageable age, he returned to Switzerland, where he married Reitz, daughter of R' Nosson Lang and with her, established his family there. He delivered shiurim and lectures in Torah and was first and foremost in Torah-related communal matters in his city and country, serving also as a leader in Agudath Israel youth groups, successfully imbuing his charges with a love for Torah and a pure yiras Shomayim. He worked diligently behind the scenes in releasing Jewish children from convents and gentile families where they had been placed for safekeeping during WW II. During these years, he studiously attended the annual Yarchei Kalla in Yeshivas Ponovezh, gaining a reputation as an outstanding figure.

In 5730 he decided to immigrate to Eretz Yisroel, settling in Bnei Brak. Alongside his Torah studies, he began serving as a pediatrician and mohel, gaining much distinction for his expertise. When he noted how difficult it was to reach the various hospitals outside of Bnei Brak, especially in life-threatening cases, he formulated a vision of establishing a major, fully branched hospital within the city, operated purely according to the dictates of Halacha. He consulted, as always, with the Torah leadership, and these gedolim urged him to realize his dream. Indeed, in the summer of 5750, it became factual and the doors of the Maayanei Hayeshua Medical Center were opened to the public, accompanied by the blessings, trust and encouragement of the gedolim. The hospital was immediately put under the very comprehensive guidance of a rabbinical committee headed by HaRav Wosner, and yblcht"a, the supreme halachic authority of this generation, HaRav Nissim Karelitz; Sar HaTorah HaRav Chaim Kanievsky and HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, together with whom he authored the work "Toras Hayoledes", dealing with matters of obstetrics, an outgrowth of their weekly study partnership and a weekly series of shiurim which he attended throughout his life, even until very shortly before his death.

He was privileged to serve as the personal physician of many gedolei Yisroel, including the Baba Sali, the Steipler Rov, HaRav Shach and the Mashgiach, HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein. He also accompanied the medical treatment of HaRav S. Rozovsky and HaRav Berman, even joining them in their trips abroad for medical purposes. In his capacity as doctor, he was able to form very close relationships with Torah leaders from all the varied circles and communities of Judaism.

Upon being asked, many times over, how he succeeded in establishing such a major project in the city of Torah, which so many had regarded as an unrealistic dream, an enterprise of such scope and amazing high standards in every aspect, he would reply, in his inimical humble and forthright manner, that he had taken an example from HaRav Kahaneman, with whom he was very close, that if one nursed a deep-seated vision, one had to dream about it continually and desire it with all of one's might. Some visionaries dream only at night, he added, but those who are totally devoted to their vision must devote their nights to realizing the dream in their waking hours and bringing it to fruition. He was one such person, he admitted, and indeed, devoted his energy constantly towards the establishment, development and success of his medical center, traveling frequently abroad.

A decade ago, he had another vision: seeing the great need for an institute to help the emotionally challenged, he was determined to create a mental health hospital to be maintained alongside the Maayanei Hayeshiva Medical Center, serving the needs of the chareidi public according to the full parameters of the Halacha. He called it "Marbeh Daas". Before doing anything, he went to the Torah leaders to present his project. All of these, across the board, were very enthusiastic and encouraging. This center has been serving thousands of patients through clinics, day hospitalization, and full comprehensive mental health medical care for all types of problems. It was so successful in serving such a dire need, that he once declared that had he known how vital it was, he might have established this hospital even before the general medical center of Maayanei Hayeshua. Apparently, Heaven thought otherwise, requiring that the latter first gain fame and esteem as one of the leading hospitals in the country, in all of its departments and units. Dr. Rothschild was involved very lately in creating an answer to eating disorders amongst the chareidi population: bulimia and anorexia. His simchas hachag, the joy of Succos, expressed itself in the fact that the equipment for this new department had just been delivered, enabling its initial operation to begin for the first time right after Succos. Sadly enough, he did not live to see this dream materialize as well.

He had a very close relationship with the supreme halachic authority, HaRav Nissim Karelitz, with whom he consulted on every matter. He was also in close contact with HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, who serves very actively as the head of the rabbinical committee which brings all medical queries regarding Halacha arising within the hospital before HaRav Chaim Kanievsky and HaRav Nissim Karelitz. He also delivered established halachic shiurim within the medical center in the special beis medrash which was created to maintain the unification of Torah and Halacha with the hospital premises.

Rabbi Dr. Rothschild had a happy disposition. Even when his son-in-law R' Nosson Kessler was killed in a disastrous car accident, he accepted the fact with stoic equanimity. Since then, he made a special effort to toil in his memory and try, more than ever, to relate to every person he came in contact with through high regard and heightened empathy.

On motzei Yom Tov of the first day of Succos, he fell and was rushed to the hospital while still in full consciousness. Prayers escalated for a needed recovery of his precarious condition. He was in critical condition for the following four days. At dawn on Shabbos, surrounded by all of his children, he recited the Shema and the customary pesukim until the departure of his soul at 1:00 that day.

He stated emphatically in his will that no eulogies be said, not even under the guise of chizuk messages. His funeral took place on the eve of Hoshanna Rabba and as he had requested, there were no hespeidim. After the recital of Kaddish, he was buried in the cemetery of Ponovezh dignitaries in Bnei Brak.

The deceased is survived by his wife, who had stood by his side throughout his life, and seventeen children, besides grandchildren and great-grandchildren who continue his outstanding legacy.


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