Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

22 Adar 5759 - March 10, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







Nechama Rivka Pincus -- In memory of a Dear Friend

by L.W.

The sun has set at noon. Far from the limelight, Nechama Rivka Pincus built a splendid Torah home which cast its influence far and wide. She was a great woman, who radiated joie de vivre, and bitochon in the purest sense. Her simchas hachaim was contagious, her laughter uplifted untold scores of neighbors, friends, students and guests. She was a throwback to a previous generation were Toirah was the besta schoira, and a premium was placed on chinuch.

In a firm and gently loving way she imparted true values to all of us. Every meeting with her gave food for thought. She was raised in the great home of HaRav Shraga Grossbard, where all Jews were loved and accepted. Shortly after her father's petirah she related the following story.

As a young girl she once asked her father, "Abba, what type of Jews are we? Are we Sephardim? Ashkenazim? Chassidim? Litvish?" On her own she could not discern the answer to her question because everyone frequented their home, and everyone was received with great honor and love. There were no artificial mechitzos.

She built her own home on these values. She was an ehrlich Jew. Honest, straight, true, authentic. Raised in a home where honesty was a 24 hour a day obligation which did not come automatically but with great sweat and tremendous mesiras nefesh. Klal Yisroel was not an abstract group of people. It was the focus of her family's life.

Her grandparents, HaRav and Rebbetzin Hillel Vitkind were moser nefesh for the preservation of Torah. When the fires of World War II were raging, her grandfather took personal loans to cover the expenses of bringing the maximum number of bnei Torah to Eretz Yisroel from Europe. The yeshivaleit he saved, served as the seed for olom HaTorah in Eretz Yisroel and elsewhere.

Once, HaRav Vitkind traveled to Jaffa to welcome newcomers to Eretz Yisroel. Seeing that the boat was too large to dock safely in Jaffa, Rabbi Vitkind walked into the waters to bring the bochurim ashore. He later explained that he felt like he was carrying sifrei Torah one by one to shore.

Rabbi and Mrs. Vitkind lived a life of great poverty as a result of the tremendous expenses which they incurred for saving the bochurim. As a young girl, Rebbetzin Pincus had noticed that her grandmother always served rice and rice water (the water in which the rice had been cooked) for lunch every day. At a later stage in life she understood the reason for their sparse meals. They had incurred tremendous debts and lived in true modesty.

Rabbi and Rebbetzin Shraga Grossbard followed the path trod by the Rebbetzin's parents and lived for the klal. Rebbetzin Pincus told me the following illuminating story. A distraught taxi driver complained to her that frum Jews were less than honest. He had heard hair raising stories on the radio about corruption within chareidi society. He asked her what she had to say about the matter. She told him that her father (Rabbi Grossbard) had spent his life building up a religious school network in order to educate Israeli youth, both religious and non religious, about their great heritage. This entailed arduous and constant work on his part. Not one penny that passed his way was used for personal benefit. Beyond that, he had invested his own money in the schools in need, and incurred many personal debts on their behalf. In fact he routinely handled millions of dollars on behalf of the Chinuch Atzmai. The cabby was speechless. The story was undeniably authentic.

Nechama Rivka loved the klal, person by person. One morning, I met her in the local grocery store. Her perennial smile was missing. She looked distracted. She explained that she had just heard that Israeli soldiers had been killed in action. The loss was personal and painful.

Her heart was open to all. In like measure she was loved and respected by thousands. May her sudden and untimely passing shock us into action. May we be zoche to emulate her great ways.

Tehei Zichrah Boruch

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