Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

19 Adar 5761 - March 14, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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The Righteous Rebbetzin Chana Pfeufer o"h
by S. Baruchi

Last week, thousands accompanied the righteous, modest, G-d- fearing Rebbetzin Chana Pfeufer o"h on her last earthly journey. She was 76 at the time of her petirah.

Rebbetzin Pfeufer was born in Berlin on the second day of Rosh Hashonoh, 5685 (1925). Her father, Reb Mordechai Ber, was one of the most pious Jews in the chareidi Adas Yisroel community of Berlin. Her mother, Yettel, was the granddaughter of HaRav Usher Anschel Stern, the rav of Hamburg and son-in-law of HaRav Nosson Adler, author of Nesina LaGer and Chief Rabbi of Great Britain.

In her childhood, she studied in the community's chareidi elementary school where she was an outstanding student and excelled in her unusual middos.

In 5696 (1936), when the winds of antisemitism began to blow, her family packed its belongings and made aliyah to Eretz Yisroel. The family settled in the Kiryat Shmuel neighborhood of Jerusalem. In Eretz Yisroel, her father became close with Jerusalem's gedolei HaTorah, such as the Maharil Dushinski and the Gaon of Tchebin, and consulted them on every issue.

She completed elementary school, but there was no Bais Yaakov seminary in Jerusalem. Her mother pleaded with rabbonim, teachers and prominent askonim to open such a seminary. As a result of her efforts, a Bais Yaakov seminary was founded in Jerusalem by HaRav Hillel Lieberman. Chana was one of its first students.

Along with her seminary studies, Chana volunteered to serve as a dormitory counselor for immigrant students. She was loved by her students, to whom she dedicated herself with special mesirus nefesh. When she graduated seminary, she was accepted as a teacher in the elementary school of the Bais Yaakov of Jerusalem, and was an outstanding teacher.

In 5708 (1948), in the difficult years in Eretz Hakodesh, she married HaRav Shmuel, zt"l, son of Reb Menachem Pfeufer, one of the prominent members of the Petach Tikvah community and the right hand of the city's gedolei Yisroel.

The couple moved into the well-known Beit Zaks building opposite the Petach Tikvah Lomze yeshiva. The special rischa deOraisa of the yeshiva filled her household. During those years, her husband merited to maintain steady sedorim in his home with the great gedolei haTorah living then in Petach Tikvah, such as HaRav Simcha Kaplan, who became the rav of Tsefas; HaRav Reuven Gershonowitz, who became the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Hanegev; HaRav Yosef Rozofsky, who became the rosh yeshiva of Ohr Yisroel; and HaRav Hillel Goldberg, who became the rav of Kfar Pines. A Chumash shiur was delivered in their home by HaRav Shlomo Wolbe.

When they moved to Petach Tikvah she was offered a teaching job in the local Bais Yaakov school. But when she learned that a wife of one of the city's prominent talmidei chachomim supported her entire family and was out of work, Rebbetzin Pfeufer gave her position to her. She became an akeres bayis in the fullest sense of the word. As the mainstay of her household, she raised her children to Torah, staunchly warding off all foreign ideas and training them in emunas chachomim.

She was meticulous about her mitzvah observance, and would only bring meat into her home that had been slaughtered in the presence of a certain prominent rav. When the bakery run by a chareidi Jew in Petach Tikvah closed down, she bought her daily bread in Bnei Brak.

Her life was one long saga of chesed with the living and the deceased. She helped widows, orphans and unfortunate people, all of whom found an attentive ear in her home. She visited the sick in their homes and in hospital, and every week would tend to elderly women patients in the Beit Arbel nursing home, making special efforts to attend to all of their religious needs and organizing affairs for them on holidays such as Purim and Chanukah.

Her chesed with the deceased was legendary, and she would perform taharos either in the cemetery or in the Beilinson hospital whenever she was summoned, even on arvei Shabbos and arvei yom tov.

When she davened, she would pour out her heart before her Maker with deep longing, and pray for a long list of sick and unfortunate people who had given her their names. She fasted on Yom Kippur Koton and on 7 Adar, as well as on the fast days during the Shovavim period. She took the current bloodshed taking place in Eretz Hakodesh deeply to heart, and was very upset by it.

On Sunday morning, 25 Shevat, she suffered a stroke and was niftar three days later, on the yahrtzeit of her husband, in the presence of a family minyan.

At her levaya, hespedim were delivered by HaRav Boruch Shimon Solomon, the chief rabbi of Petach Tikvah; HaRav Yissochor Meir, the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Hanegev in Netivot; HaRav Mordechai Rabinowitz, the rosh yeshiva of Ohr Yisroel; HaRav Shlomo Miller; her son, HaRav Azriel Pfeufer; her nephew, HaRav Reuven Shapira, a ram in the Tifferes Tzion yeshiva; and HaRav Yitzchok Adler, the rav of the Ahavas Chesed shul in Bnei Brak.

She was buried in the Chelkas HaRabbonim in the Segula cemetery beside her husband, who was niftar seventeen years beforehand also on the 28th of Shevat.


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