Jews the world over were shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Rabbi Pinchos Menachem Prezwozman Hy”d, a 21-year-old yungerman who was killed as a result of wounds sustained from shrapnel of a missile fired by terrorists in Gaza.
Reb Pinchos Menachem learned in the Gerer Kollel in Ashdod led by Rav Michoel Landau.
Reb Pinchos Menachem was a son of Rabbi and Mrs. Chaim Dov Prezwozman. Reb Chaim Dov grew up in Monsey, where his parents, Rabbi and Mrs. Yaakov Dovid Prezwozman, lived on Albert Drive before making aliyah several years ago. Today, they live in Ashdod as part of the Gerer community there.
After attending yeshivos in Monsey and Brooklyn, Reb Chaim Dov went to learn in Eretz Yisroel. He married and settled in Beit Shemesh, where he serves as a morah horaah today.
His son, Reb Pinchos Menachem, was born 21 years ago during the year of mourning for the Pnei Menachem of Ger, and thus he was named after the rebbe.
Reb Pinchos Menachem was raised in Beit Shemesh and attended Gerer chadorim and yeshivos. About two years ago, he married Hadassah, a daughter of Rabbi and Mrs. Yitzchok Brauner of Ashdod, where he settled, joining a kollel there.
“Although he was so young, he was exceptionally mature and respected,” said a family friend. “Aside from being a tremendous lamdan and masmid, who was careful about his sedorim, he was also a true baal chesed. He would give another Yid the shirt off his back.”
“If you wanted to get something done, you would ask Pinchos Menachem,” said another acquaintance. “His gefeel for someone else’s needs was extraordinary. He would do favors easily, with a smile on his face, and a kind word for everyone.”
A relative recalled how indispensable Reb Pinchos Menachem was when a family member made aliyah several years ago. “He arranged and set up the entire apartment, and went out of his way to ensure that the family had an easy transition. It was so reassuring to know that he had things under control.”
Friends recall the smile that graced his face, his humility and his inner strength. He was an example of a ben Torah and oveid Hashem whose entire life revolved around Torah. He and his wife had exemplary shalom bayis and treated each other with immense respect.
On Sunday evening, Reb Pinchos Menachem went to a bar mitzvah in Rova Vov, a section of Ashdod, to wish the baal simcha mazel tov. Ironically, he and his wife had spent the last few days at the home of her parents for safety reasons, because their fourth floor apartment had no sealed room.
As he was leaving the simcha hall, a siren began wailing. Ashdod residents know that they have about 45 seconds from when the siren begins until a missile hits. A group of yungeleit headed quickly to a nearby shelter, but there was a young woman who was also heading inside and felt uncomfortable pushing her way down the stairs among the men. Always so refined and caring, Reb Pinchos Menachem gestured for her to go first. The young woman reached the shelter safely, while Reb Pinchos Menachem remained outside for an extra second – the second the missile hit.
“In essence, he gave up his life in an act of chesed and sensitivity for that young woman,” said a family friend. “That epitomized him.”
He was rushed to Assusa Hospital in Ashdod with shrapnel in his body, but all efforts to save his life were unsuccessful.
Thousands attended the levayah, held outside the Gerer Bais Medrash in Yerushalayim, with the Gerrer Rebbe in attendance.
At the levayah, his maternal grandfather, Rabbi Dovid Moshe Friedman, said a tearful Kaddish.
The levayah then continued on to the Shamgar chapel, where hespeidim were delivered by his chavrusah, Rabbi Pinchos Eliyohu Ehrenreich, who serves as gabbai of a large Gerer shteibel in Ashdod; Rabbi Simcha Bunim Zeibirt, a good friend; his father-in-law, Rabbi Yitzchok Brauner; his father, Rav Chaim Dov Prezwozman; and Rav Michoel Landau, his rosh kollel.
His father said at the levayah, “We do not know the cheshbonos of Hashem. You were an elevated yungerman. You invested a tremendous amount of effort in learning and now you have gone bemaalos kedoshim utehorim…”
His rosh kollel related that even though he was from the youngest members of the kollel, all of the members of the kollel were inspired by his care regarding shmiras hazemanim and the tremendous yegiah that he invested in Torah. “One could see by the way that your face shined, how much you loved learning,” he said. “Just yesterday, you called me on the phone and said, ‘It is such a pity that the zeman hasn’t started yet…’ Today, however, your zeman is beginning in the Yeshiva Shel Maalah…”
After midnight, Reb Pinchos Menachem was buried on Har Hamenuchos.
He leaves behind his parents, his grandparents on both sides, his wife, Hadassah, and their fourteen-month-old son.
Yehi zichro boruch.