My mother-in-law, the Rebbetzin a"h, was born in
1916. Her parents were HaRav Zev Wolf Tirnauer zt"l
of Shotz, Romania, and Rebbetzin Hentshe a"h,
daughter of Rav Moshe Chaim Deitsch zt"l. She grew up
in a home steeped in ahavas haTorah, meticulous
shemiras hamitzvos and gemilus chassodim.
She was very close to her great father from whom she learned
most of her Torah and general knowledge. From her mother she
learned midos tovos and home management, both on a
very high standard; her tznius and strict observance
of minhagim befitted a true bas melech.
In her hometown, there was no Bais Yaakov and Jewish
children were obliged to attend the government schools. All
her expert knowledge in Yiddishkeit she received from
her parents and from reading Tsenno Ur'enno and other
books in Yiddish.
During the terrible war years, the Rebbetzin, then a young
girl, fled, together with her parents, sister and brother-in-
law, from town to town and from village to village, escaping
from the Germans y"s. During their escape, due to
lack of sufficient nutrition and medication, her sister, who
had only recently become a mother, passed away from
pneumonia and the baby boy followed her soon after. Libbe
repaid her brother-in-law for his devotion to her parents by
agreeing to marry him soon after the war.
Together they wandered from one Displaced Persons camp to
another until Hashem helped them to arrive in Eretz Yisroel
in 1950. They went to Tzfas, joining the Rebbetzin's parents
who had arrived a year earlier. Her husband zt"l had
many relatives in the U.S. who had advised them to immigrate
to America where it would be easier to settle with young
children (by then they had two sons). However, the Rebbetzin
a"h preferred to accept the advice of her parents who
had begged the young couple to join them in Eretz Yisroel.
Her husband relied on her bino yeseiro and agreed
In the first years they suffered from extremely difficult
living conditions, as did all new immigrants in those days,
until eventually they were offered a large, half-ruined Arab
house in the city.
The Rebbetzin's parents a"h were then old and frail
and my mother-in-law cared for them, sharing her house with
them and attending to their needs with great devotion,
despite the fact that she had a growing family of small
children. My mother-in-law had a knack for using old, cast-
off objects and making good use of them. She managed to
transform the half-ruined Arab house into a pleasant home,
always bright and clean, decorated with items, curtains,
furniture and drapery that she personally sewed and
She was a real eizer kenegdo to her husband, the
Rebbe zt"l, when he set up his Beis Hamedrash
adjoining their house and through the years she personally
When the Tsanz-Klausenberger Rebbe zt"l established
his yeshiva in Kiryat Tsanz, Netanya, in 1957 (5717), the
oldest class of the cheder in Tzfas formed the first
class of the yeshiva. The Tzfaser Rebbe zt"l sent his
sons from the age of 9 or 10 to learn in Kiryat Tsanz. This
was no easy step to take especially as in those years they
had no telephone. Because travel was difficult and
expensive, the boys rarely came home for a Shabbos or Yom
Tov. However, the Rebbetzin overcame her motherly instincts
and sent them off happily to yeshiva, accompanied by her
prayers and blessings that they should succeed in their
learning, chassidus and yiras Shomayim This
was always her greatest ambition.
Hachnosas orchim in the Rebbe's home was famous.
Anyone arriving in Tzfas knew that he had a place to eat and
sleep. Sometimes even without notice, very late at night or
on Shabbos after davening, yeshiva bochurim
would knock at the door and ask if they could eat at the
Rebbe's house, as if it was natural and taken for granted.
Of course, the Rebbetzin never asked or even hinted for
payment and many times the guests were not aware that she
divided up her own family's portions so that the unexpected
guests would have enough to eat. This was always done with a
smile and a good word.
Beds were always readily made up for guests and no guest was
ever turned away with the excuse that there wasn't room or a
spare bed. The children were used to giving up their privacy
and happily participated in the mitzva of hachnosas
orchim, following the example of their parents.
My mother-in-law, the Rebbetzin a"h, symbolized the
posuk, "Tzofioh halichos beisoh" in all its aspects.
She was extremely well-organized, neat and tidy. Everyone
who entered the house felt pleasantly welcome. Even the most
downtrodden wayfarers, drunkards, homeless and emotionally
or mentally disturbed found their place in her home and she
cared for their needs, often doing their washing and other
unpleasant tasks. Dozens of baalei teshuva owe their
way into the Torah community to her warmth and personal
example. She always showed an interest in their welfare,
inquired about their parnossoh, children's education,
etc., and always offered her good advice and encouragement.
She helped many of them find shidduchim and many a
chuppah, bris mila and bar mitzva was
celebrated at her home and with her help.
Many families of baalei teshuva have very little
knowledge of customs and special recipes connected with the
Holy Festivals, so the Rebbetzin taught the wives how to
prepare Yom Tov meals and often sent them portions of
delicacies like stuffed cabbage for Simchas Torah, cheese
pastries for Shavuos, latkes for Chanukah,
charoses for Seder night and candied esrog for Tu
BeShevat. This was all besides plates of her famous
cholent and kugel that she sent home with many
of the men who davened at the Rebbe's shul. Every
Shabbos she served cholent and kugel to all
the mispalelim. Many saw in her a mother figure, who
gave advice and encouragement, and cared for them in times
of joy or chas vecholila, mourning or illness. Now
that she has passed away, they feel lost and orphaned.
The Rebbetzin radiated nobility in all her actions. She was
a queen in her home-kingdom and her children and
grandchildren honored and loved her greatly. She gave each
of her grandchildren the feeling that he was her "special
one." Even in her last weeks when the suffering increased,
her mind was still clear. She took interest in all the
family news and events and rejoiced with every
simchah and success in her grandsons' learning.
Her preparation for Shabbos was a mitzva to which she
devoted a lot of energy, so that by Friday midday the house
was ready to receive the guest--the Shabbos Queen. She
always was so well organized that long before candle-
lighting time she was dressed in her Shabbos clothes, a
white tichel and white apron, seated at the Shabbos
table, reading the Tsenno Ur'enno and saying the
techinos. Her prayers and her tears while lighting
the Shabbos candles attracted members of the family and
guests to stand and watch, and aroused them also to tears
and awakening a longing to be elevated in the holiness of
Shabbos. The Rebbetzin always lit more candles than is the
custom and added two more especially in honor of her parents
In the last three years of her life, the Rebbetzin suffered
greatly and became extremely weak. The housekeeping and
hachnosas orchim were taken over by her only
daughter, Esther, with the help of her children, but from
her chair or bed the Rebbetzin still took control of all the
arrangements. She was aware of all details and of each guest
and ensured that no one or nothing was lacking.
We learned a lot of wisdom from my mother-in-law, the
Rebbetzin, besides her example of tefilla bekavono
(she was particular to daven three times a day in the
shul, even when she was ill), love of Torah and
gemilus chassodim. We learned a lot about
housekeeping, education of children and good
I would like to add that as a young mother when I was still
quite new in the family, I considered myself more learned
and "well-informed" than my mother-in-law "from the old
generation." But looking back, I realize that there is
really no substitute for the old Yiddishe way. The
young generation has much to learn from their elders, if
they will only have enough sense to use the opportunity!
Dear Shviger, many you be a melitzah yeshoroh
for your sons, the Admorim (whom you spoke of as your
`'diamonds'), your grandchildren, your only daughter who
attended to you devotedly until your very last moments and
attempted to ease your suffering, for your son-in-law and
daughters-in-law, and all Am Yisroel.
Approach, with all your many merits, the Heavenly Throne and
entreat Hashem Yisborach, as you knew so well to do
during your lifetime, that He should have mercy on His
people and speedily bring the geula sheleimo and may
we be zoche to the coming of Moshiach, speedily in
our days, Omein.