Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

19 Iyar 5760 - May 24, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Rabbi Mordechai Kobre, zt"l

Rabbi Mordechai Kobre, zt"l, was brought to his final rest last week in Jerusalem. Rabbi Kobre, who was 77 at the time of his petirah, was an important figure in Torah education in the United States.

Rabbi Mordechai Kobre, son of Reb Yosef Eliezer, was born in the United States in 5683 (1923). Despite the spiritual poverty prevailing at the time in the United States, his family remained staunch in its faith with a warm, exemplary Torah home. Here Reb Mordechai imbibed the ideals of emunas chachomim and ahavas habriyos.

He studied chemistry in his youth. But when he saw that Jewish children were not receiving pure and proper Torah educations, he left his studies and dedicated himself to rectifying that lack. He was asked to serve as the assistant principal of the large Jewish school of the East Side and he was very successful in that capacity.

When he heard that there was no Jewish education in Rochester, New York, and only a handful of families was interested in genuine Jewish education, he set out to that city to change the this within the framework of Torah Umesorah. He made great efforts to broaden the circle of families interested in giving their children a Torah education, at a time when it was regarded with derision by most of United States Jewry -- most of whom were detached from Torah and mitzvos. He and another young educator arrived in Rochester at the beginning of the summer and went from house to house to "sell" Jewish education. By the beginning of the school year, approximately 120 children had enrolled in the school.

Rabbi Kobre headed Rochester's Jewish educational institutions for four years, by which time its enrollment had swelled to 250 students. At that time he left Rochester in order to assist other budding educational institutions. Due to the school's influence, a spiritual revolution took place in the city, and many Rochester residents became shomrei Torah.

Upon retirement, he decided to devote himself solely to Torah: "What I didn't manage to do in my youth, I will do now," he told his family. He then began to study like a ben yeshiva, with a fixed daily schedule in Shas, halocho and mussar. In that period merited to complete the Shas twice, thanking Hashem for having him granted him the privilege of devoting his life to Torah and the chinuch of Jewish children.

Although he was not in good health for his entire life, his emunah remained staunch. He would constantly tell his family how one must thank Hashem for every moment in which one does not need medical care, and that illnesses were meant to illustrate how grateful we should be to Hashem for our every breath.

He merited to establish a fine family, and to see his sons and offspring continuing along the path he charted for them throughout his life.

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