Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

24 Shevat 5759 - Feb. 10, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







Rebbetzin Miriam Sofer of Erloi, o"h

by Betzalel Kahn

Last Wednesday night, the 18th of Shevat, a large thong, headed by rabbonim, roshei yeshiva, admorim, dayanim and public figures, accompanied the righteous Rebbetzin Miriam Sofer, o"h, on her last earthly journey. She was the wife of the Admor of Erloi, yibodel lechaim tovim ve'aruchim, the rosh yeshiva and president of Yeshivas Ohel Shimon, and a member of the presidium of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudas Yisroel in Eretz Yisroel. She was 75 years old at the time of her sudden petirah.

Rebbetzin Sofer was born in Tzheilim, on the sixth of Nisan, 5684 (1924). Her father, R' Yaakov Palel, Hy'd, one of the heads of that city's Jewish community, came from an illustrious family and was a great-grandson, of R' Meir Palel, the av beis din of Tat, who is mentioned a number of times in the responsa of his mechutan, the Chasam Sofer.

With the outbreak of the Holocaust, Rebbetzin Sofer was trapped in the jaws of the Nazis. She was transferred from camp to camp, and underwent all of the horrors of the period, losing her entire family in Auschwitz. In Auschwitz she had siyata diShmaya and was assigned to work in the kitchen. Thus she was able, at great self-sacrifice, to provide her parents with nourishment while they were in the camp.

Nonetheless, she and her sister were the only ones of the family to survive. After the liberation, she married the gaavad of Erloi, and from that time until her last day, she assisted him in all of his efforts to spread Torah and Chassidus and to strengthen Yiddishkeit.

After their marriage, the couple resided in the city of Erloi, where her husband assembled survivors of the death camps and continued to the perpetuate the legacy of his sacred fathers, leading the community and presiding as its rav. In 5706, he founded a yeshiva for refugees in the city of Pest.

When the yeshiva was transferred to Erloi, the rebbetzin served as its mother. Nearly all of the bnei yeshiva were orphans: Holocaust survivors, broken in body and spirit. As their merciful mother, she was a source of succor and strength to them, while her illustrious husband was their father.

She and her husband arrived in Eretz Yisroel in Elul 5710 (1950) and settled in the Katamon neighborhood of Yerushalayim. For the first three years, the newly established yeshiva was located in their home, where the students actually slept. Her husband delivered shiurim and inspired them to grow in ruchniyus, while she assumed the burden of the yeshiva's material upkeep, even cooking the students' meals. There, too, she became their mother.

Later, after the yeshiva grew and moved to new, spacious quarters, the Rebbetzin continued to supervise each student's needs. She was an especially pious woman, who was known for the emotion-filled prayers she recited three times a day. With profuse tears, she would pray for the sick, for the welfare of the yeshiva students and for her offspring. She would rise early in the morning in order to daven in the ezras noshim, and often even before a minyan had assembled, she was already in her place.

She was outstanding in her acts of chessed and bikur cholim, and made certain that gedolei haTorah and other people who lived alone lacked nothing.

She was cherished by her family and was a model of mesiras nefesh toward her husband. She devoted her entire life to him, and attended to the needs of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren with outstanding kindness and devotion.

On Wednesday, while in Tiveriya for medical reasons, she suffered a sudden heart arrest. Her levaya proceeded from the study hall of the Ohel Shimon-Erloi yeshiva in Katamon, where her bier was accompanied by hundreds of bereft students and avreichim.

A bitter hesped was delivered by her husband, the gaavad of Erloi, who bitterly wept the great loss, and referred to her as a genuine eishes chayil, praising her unique concern for the yeshiva and her many activities on behalf of Torah.

Afterward, hespedim were delivered by her illustrious son, and, in the name of the yeshiva students, by R' Shlomo Weinberger, the rav of Tshaba.

She was buried on Har Hamenuchos near the grave the Admor of Belz, R' Aharon Rokach. Her son, R' Moshe, who had arrived from London, delivered a stirring hesped.

She is survived by her sons, R' Moshe, a rav and ram in London; R' Yaakov, the rav of the Ksav Sofer community of Katamon; R' Avrohom Shmuel Binyomin, the rosh yeshiva of Ohel Shimon-Erloi; R' Shimon, a rosh mesivta in the Erloi yeshiva; R' Akiva Menachem, a rav in the beis medrash Yad Sofer of Bnei Brak; R' Zalman, a rav in the Yad Sofer beis medrash of Boro Park; R' Aharon, the rosh kollel of Yad Sofer of Bnei Brak, and by grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.