Wednesday, Jul 24, 2024

The Skverer Rebbetzin a”h

 

 

A pall of sadness descended upon the world of Torah and Chassidus with the news of the passing of the Skverer Rebbetzin, Rebbetzin Chana Chaya Twersky a”h, wife of the Skverer Rebbe, Rav Dovid Twersky.

The rebbetzin was born eighty-one years ago on the fourth of Adar Rishon in the city of Dezh to her parents, Rav Moshe Yehoshua Hager, later known as the Yeshuos Moshe of Vizhnitz, and Rebbetzin Leah Esther, a daughter of the Dezher Rebbe. She was named after her grandmother, Chana Chaya, wife of Rav Moshe of Shiniveh, who was a son of the Divrei Yechezkel of Shiniv.

The rebbetzin was born at a very difficult time for Klal Yisroel. World War II was raging, Yidden in Poland were being killed, and her parents were trying to do whatever was possible to flee the Nazi juggernaut. When she was about a year old and the Nazis were closing in, her parents hired a smuggler to smuggle them across the border to freedom. During the trek through the forests, the baby, Chana Chaya, began crying. The smuggler, scared for his life, wanted to smother her. Her parents begged and begged, and only after they somehow found a candy to calm her was she saved at the last minute.

Her parents were able to board a boat to Eretz Yisroel during the month of Iyar in 1944. As a child, the rebbetzin attended the Bais Yaakov school in Bnei Brak and then studied in the seminary of Rav Wolf. During their early years in Eretz Yisroel, her parents lived in abject poverty. Eventually, in 1949, her grandfather, the Imrei Chaim, joined them in Eretz Yisroel.

The Imrei Chaim had a soft spot for the young child, as she was the oldest child of his son and successor and represented the beginning of the hemshech after the great churban.

After living in Yerushalayim and Tel Aviv, the family eventually moved to Bnei Brak, where the chatzer of Vizhnitz was rebuilt.

The rebbetzin enjoyed a very close relationship with her father, the Yeshuos Moshe, and derived special pleasure upon hearing the niggunim of her youth.

In 1958, she became engaged to Rav Dovid Twersky, the only son of the Skverer Rebbe, Rav Yaakov Yosef Twersky, and his wife, Rebbetzin Trana. (The rebbetzin was a granddaughter of Rav Yissochor Dov Rokeach of Belz.) Their wedding was held in 1959 in Eretz Yisroel and was a milestone event, as two of the greatest surviving admorim, the Imrei Chaim and the Skverer Rebbe, united through the marriage of their children. Thousands of chassidim from Eretz Yisroel and all over the world attended the chasunah, which was the only time that Rav Yaakov Yosef of Skver visited Eretz Yisroel.

After a short stay in Bnei Brak, the young couple moved to America, where the Skverer Rebbe joined his father in the then fledgling Shikun Skver. Upon leaving Eretz Yisroel, her grandfather, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, accompanied the young couple to the airport.

The rebbetzin became an integral and vibrant force in Shikun Skver and was beloved by all the women there.

In 1968, upon the passing of the Skverer Rebbe, Rav Yaakov Yosef Twersky, the current Skverer Rebbe assumed the mantle of leadership of Skverer Chassidus. The rebbetzin stood by his side with remarkable devotion, assisting in so many areas, serving as a role model for the women of the community, all while raising her own children.

She was especially instrumental in assisting kimpeturens during the first period after the birth of a child and spared no effort in subsidizing care for them so that they could recoup their strength and be strong, healthy mothers for their children. She also participated in the founding of numerous organizations for chesed or medical advocacy, including a convalescent home for mothers after birth, and aided her husband in establishing various institutions of their chassidus around the globe.

The way she greeted every person with a smile and a good word of chizuk was legendary.

During the last few years, the rebbetzin weakened and declined considerably. Earlier this month, her health took a drastic turn for the worse and all her siblings went to visit her. Her brothers, the Vizhnitzer Rebbes of Bnei Brak, Rav Yisroel Hager and Rav Mendel Hager, and her sisters, the Belzer Rebbetzin, the Satmar Rebbetzin and Rebbetzin Ernster, all went to New York to visit and stayed by her bedside. The rebbetzin was admitted to a hospital in Manhattan last Monday, spending her last few days in this world there.

On Sunday evening, she passed away after a life suffused with ahavas haTorah and chesed.

She is survived by her husband, the Skverer Rebbe; her children, Rav Aharon Menachem Mendel Twersky, Rav Yitzchok Twersky, Rav Yaakov Yosef Twersky, Rav Chaim Meir Twersky, the Rachmastrivka Rebbetzin of Monsey, and Rebbetzin Hager, wife of Rav Yaakov Yosef Hager, a son of the Vizhnitzer Rebbe of Monsey; and grandchildren. She was pre-deceased by her daughter, Rebbetzin Tzipporah Goldman, the Zvhiller Rebbetzin of Monsey, who passed away at the age of 56 after suffering a heart attack.

The levayah, which was held in Shikun Skver, began at the Aim B’Yisroel convalescent home, over which the rebbetzin had presided with tremendous kindness and dedication. The tefillah of Keil Malei Rachamim was recited by Rav Yaakov Yisroel Eisenberg, the community’s dayan. The mitah was then brought to the bais medrash in Shikun Shver, and the procession continued to the Skverer Bais Hachaim, where the rebbetzin was interred in the rebbetzins’ ohel alongside her mother-in-law and her daughter.

Yehi zichrah boruch.

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