Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

17 Shevat 5759 - Feb. 3, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







Rebbetzin Soro Pesha Ben-Menachem o"h

by B. Rabinowitz

Last Tuesday, the 9th of Shevat, Rebbetzin Soro Pesha Ben- Menachem, o"h, daughter of HaRav Isser Zalman Meltzer author of Even Haezel, and wife of R' Yitzchok Meir, zt"l, author of Parshas Hamelech, returned her pure soul to its Maker. The petirah occurred in the Negev settlement of Tifrach.

Rebbetzin Ben-Menachem was born in Slutzk on Simchas Torah, 92 years ago (5667-1907). She was the daughter of HaRav Isser Zalman Meltzer and Beila Hinda, daughter of HaRav Shraga Feivel Frank. In 5685 (1925), her family left Slutzk and settled in Yerushalayim. In 5690 (1930) she married HaRav Yitzchok Meir Ben-Menachem.

Her entire life was one long saga of mesiras nefesh to her husband and parents. From her youth she was known for her perception, and many sought her advice. In her insightful manner, she knew how to benefit others graciously, while seeking nothing for herself. She especially excelled in kibbud ov vo'eim.

As the daughter of a great talmid chochom, she had great spiritual capacities and was deeply sensitive to the needs of her fellows. She was a model bas Yisroel who personified the words of Shlomo Hamelech, "Kol kvuda bas melech penimo."

At the age of 72, she went to live in Tifrach with her son-in- law and her son. She regarded this step in her life as a mission of helping strengthen a mokom Torah, and paid no heed to the difficulties involved. For twenty-three years she merited to accompany the yeshiva kedoshah of Tushia- Tifrach, where her son-in-law, HaRav Aviezer Piltz, is rosh yeshiva, and her son is an eminent ram.

On Tuesday morning, the bitter news of the petirah of the righteous Rebbetzin Soro Pesha spread quickly throughout the settlement. Residents and bnei yeshiva, along with all of the chareidi communities of the Negev, were cast into a deep pall of mourning.

The levaya proceeded from the courtyard beside the yeshiva's study hall, where hundreds of bnei yeshiva and avreichim, as well as residents of Tifrach and the nearby communities, had gathered. The procession was headed by gedolei haTorah, roshei yeshiva, roshei kollel and rabbonim of the Negev chareidi communities, who bemoaned the great loss.

Her son-in-law, HaRav Aviezer Piltz, the rosh yeshiva of the famed Tushia-Tifrach yeshiva, delivered a stirring hesped, in which he dwelled at length upon his mother- in-law's remarkable character. He stressed her deep concern for her fellows and her willingness to live in the Negev under the most Spartan conditions: all for the sake of Torah. He spoke about her dedication to her parents, and her dedication to her own children.

"Today, we are accompanying the embodiment of shimusha shel Torah -- one who merited to literally pour water over the hands of the her illustrious father and her illustrious husband, throughout her life," HaRav Piltz cried out.

"Your sole concern was for the welfare of others. . . You did not live for yourself, but for us. . . . Even though you prayed that you would never need the help of other people, Hashem wanted us to merit to live within your shadow. You pleaded and warned me not to keep you at home during your old age, so that you wouldn't be a burden on us. Throughout your life, you took care of so many people, but requested that you not be a burden on others. Nonetheless, Hakodosh Boruch Hu wanted you to do a kindness by your very presence. You did not live for yourself, but for us, so that we could merit to be in your presence and to be of help to you. You lived for Klal Yisroel so that they would be able to see a model of a genuine eishes chover and a bas talmid chochom and see one whose very bones were saturated with Torah. We have come here to accompany Torah. . .

"It is difficult, but necessary to appraise the value of the empire of Torah which we are accompanying, the shimusha shel Torah which we are accompanying. So many merits. May you be a meilitzas yosher for your son and daughter who cared for you with unparalleled mesiras nefesh. May you be a meilitzas yosher for the entire family and for this sacred place, so that it remain in its purity and shleimus. . . . May you be a meilitzas yosher for Klal Yisroel. . . and may we merit to inherit [all of your outstanding traits]."

Similarly stirring hespedim were delivered by HaRav Yaakov Friedman, rosh yeshiva of Tushia-Tifrach and HaRav M. Ben-Menachem, her son, who stressed her illustrious character traits and the wisdom and yirah she had imbibed in her father's and husband's great homes.

She was laid to rest prior to dusk on Har Hamenuchos in Yerushalayim, near the graves of her husband and her father. After the burial, HaRav Dan Segal delivered moving words of parting and a hesped, in which he weepingly described the great loss of a woman who could leave the world without fear, because her days had been the days of a daughter of gedolim, days of the wife of a godol, and days of genuine support of avodas Hashem.

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