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12 Kislev 5768 - November 22, 2007 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Rebbetzin Esther Leah Shiner o"h

By Yechiel Sever

On Erev Shabbos parshas VaYeitze, 6 Kislev, Rebbetzin Esther Leah Shiner o"h, wife of HaRav Yitzchok Shiner, was laid to rest after succumbing to a difficult illness at the age of 82 on Friday afternoon.

The deceased was born in 5685 in Vilna to HaRav Moshe Bernstein and Rebbetzin Nechama Liba, the daughter of HaRav Boruch Ber Leibowitz, zt"l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Kamenitz.

When she was still a child her family moved to Kamenitz, where they lived in the home of her grandfather HaRav Boruch Ber. Later she would often describe how he would recite brochos with his holy mouth and how he trembled with yir'oh while accepting the yoke of Heaven as he recited Krias Shema.

She also recalled how he would sit her on his lap and, with a wag of his finger, say with a special sort of niggun, "Leika zolst zein a tzadekes!" ("Liba, be a tzadekes.") She would often watch from afar as her grandfather gave shiurim in his home and while he spoke with the yeshiva students about the material they were learning. For years she recounted to her family how he would speak with love, and praise bochurim who came to speak with him about their learning, with remarks like, "Du redst vi a fiddle" ("You speak like a violin"), and she would express her joy at seeing her offspring talk about their gemora studies.

In 5700 (1940), when all of the yeshivas moved to Vilna to flee the perils of war, her family joined Rav Boruch Ber and the yeshiva when they moved. On 5 Kislev of that same year (which also fell on Erev Shabbos Parshas VaYeitze), HaRav Boruch Ber passed away, and the family moved to Eretz Yisroel where her father re-founded Yeshivas Kamenitz in Jerusalem.

In 5709 (1949) she married HaRav Yitzchok Shiner. The young couple spent their first year in Bnei Brak, in close contact with the Chazon Ish and the Steipler.

Following this period they moved to Jerusalem to help boost the harbotzas Torah at the yeshiva. In 5715 (1955) her father grew ill and traveled to Switzerland to recover his health. She soon went with her family to help take care of him with mesirus nefesh.

Her husband ylct"a was asked by HaRav Moshe Botchko to teach at Yeshivas Eitz Chaim in Montreux, Switzerland. During this period the deceased took care of the yeshiva students as if they were her own sons.

A few days before Rosh Hashana 5767 she grew ill and had to undergo an operation. Her health improved, but this summer diseased tissue was found in her body once again, and her health had been in decline since then. Until her dying day she remained clear-headed, offering her family members chizuk in Torah and yiras Shomayim.

During the past several months she barely had the strength to eat, but when her family members would implore her to eat, she would agree to eat in order to fulfill the mitzvah of safeguarding her health.

A few weeks ago her condition took a turn for the worse and she had to be hospitalized at Maayanei Hayeshua in Bnei Brak, where she was well cared for until the end. Her soul departed on Erev Shabbos Parshas VaYeitze shortly after midday, during Kabbolas Ol Malchus Shomayim.

The mittoh was rushed to Yeshivas Kamenitz in Jerusalem, where the levaya set out. Due to the lack of time, only her husband, HaRav Yitzchok Shiner, delivered a eulogy, and she was buried at Har Hamenuchos before candlelighting time.

In his remarks HaRav Shiner said that until Rav Boruch Ber passed away when the Rebbetzin was 15 years old, she absorbed tremendous ahavas haTorah, yiras Shomayim and middos tovos from her grandfather. "All her life, nothing in the world interested her except for ahavas Hashem and doing His will and doing chessed and ahavas chessed with all her heart and soul, and this is what she passed on to and rooted in all of the family members.

"Throughout her lifetime she engaged in great endeavors for Hashem and His Torah. All of the Torah and chinuch institutions set up at Yeshivas Kamenitz were in her merit. The 5th of Kislev was the yahrtzeit of her illustrious grandfather, Maran HaRav Boruch Ber zt"l, and it is said that before his petiroh, which was also on Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas VaYeitze, he said the verse from the parshoh, `Veshavti besholom el beis ovi' (Bereishis 28:21). This verse can also be said of the Rebbetzin, who strove to increase kovod Shomayim all her life through ahavas Hashem, ahavas Torah, the fabulous ahavas chessed she had, and without a doubt now she is going up in peace to Gan Eden, to her great father and grandfather zt"l."


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