Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

6 Teves 5760 - December 15, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Rebbetzin Zisa Chazan, o"h

by Betzalel Kahn

This past Monday (4 Teves) a large throng, among them thousands of students of the Beis Yaakov Seminary, accompanied the renowned mechaneches, Rebbetzin Zisa Chazan, on her last earthly journey. She was the wife of HaRav Yehoshua Chazan, yibodel lechayim arukim, and was 54 years old at the time of her petirah.

Rebbetzin Chazan was born in Jerusalem, the daughter of HaRav Avrohom Goldshmidt, yibodel lechayim arukim. She grew up in a home steeped in Torah and chessed. Already as a child, mussar study was her daily fare. Even before her marriage, she began to teach. After she married HaRav Yehoshua Chazan, together they built a home of Torah, yirah and chessed.

Women in need of advice would call her nearly all day, and the broken hearted and downcast turned to her for succor. Many of those women wondered, at the levaya, how they would continue to manage without their encouraging conversations with Rebbetzin Chazan.

Her prayer was well known. She would rise at vosikin, and daven, a practice which had a deep impact on her family.

She was identified by many with the monumental efforts to inculcate the importance of shemiras haloshon, and was also very active in kiruv rechokim. Her lectures and classes on loshon hora were avidly attended by women from all over the country, and with her clear presentation and pleasant manner, she guided many onto the Torah path. She was able to present her message in a way that was pleasant but deeply engaging.

She gave lectures all over Israel. She never refused an offer to speak, and would travel long distances in order to arouse women and girls to intensify their shemiras haloshon.

For over thirty years, she was a mechaneches in the Beis Yaakov Seminary in Jerusalem ("Yashan"), where she instilled midos tovos and pure yiras Shomayim in her students. In recent years she also taught in other seminaries that opened up.

She was a role model of an eishes chover, and the epitome of tsnius. She was also very active in helping baalos teshuva in their new path in life.

Five years ago, she underwent urgent medical treatments for two-and-a-half weeks. Due to her situation at that time, it was difficult for her to speak, and her only contact with her surroundings and family was by means of writing and hints. Her situation was grave and she was almost completely incapacitated.

Subsequently, she recorded her impressions of her hospital stay. She wrote that she had tried, throughout her entire life, to give to others, but during her hospital stay she was very much on the receiving end. She said that perhaps she had been placed in such a situation because when a person wants to be a true giver he must, at least once in his life, feel the other side -- that of the recipient. Being a recipient, she explained, enables one to be a better and more complete giver, and teaches one how to empathize with feelings of the recipient without degrading him.

Hundreds of women and girls who had done teshuva as a result of her influence and efforts wept bitterly at her levaya, along with the thousands of Beis Yaakov students she had taught over the years. They mourned the spiritual mother, who passed away in the prime of her life, leaving behind a bereft family, and a bereft community.

The levaya left from the Shamgar funeral home. The entire parking area and driveway was filled with mourners, many of them thousands of Beis Yaakov girls who had been her students. Her husband delivered a hesped, bemoaning the loss to the family and the loss to her students, while relating a number of remarkable incidents in her life of Torah and kedusha. He spoke about her mesiras nefesh for the education of Jewish young women, and described how she would wander from city to city, settlement to settlement, in order stress the importance of shemiras haloshon. He also related how she sanctified Hashem's Name in her conduct.

Afterward, hespedim were delivered by HaRav Michel Zilber, HaRav Yitzchok Ezrachi, one of the roshei yeshiva of the Mirrer yeshiva, HaRav Levi Yitzchok Halperin, HaRav Aryeh Shechter, HaRav Yisroel Gans, one of the roshei yeshiva of Kol Torah, and HaRav Yehuda Yosephi. All spoke about her unique lifestyle, the outstanding role she played as a mechaneches, and her many efforts to inculcate the concept of shemiras haloshon.

The levaya proceeded from Shamgar to the Beis Yaakov Teachers Seminary, where thousands of students from all of the Beis Yaakov seminaries in Jerusalem assembled. Shocked by the great loss of their beloved mechaneches whom they all loved and revered, they wept bitterly. The principal of the seminary, HaRav Bunim Levine and HaRav Binyomin Finkel delivered hespedim, as did her son, HaRav Yosef Chazan.

She is survived by her husband, HaRav Yehoshua, an outstanding talmid chochom, and by her children, sons- in-law and grandchildren, all of whom are pursuing the path she charted for them.

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