The Cleveland community was plunged into mourning with the passing one month ago of Reb Chaim Traube z”l at the age of 67.
Reb Chaim was born in a DP camp in Switzerland shortly after the end of World War II to his parents, Moshe Zev and Pessel Traube. Mrs. Traube came from a family of 11 children; she was the sole survivor. Reb Moshe Zev also came from a large family; only he and one brother survived the war.
Shortly after the birth of their son, the Traubes were able to travel to the United States, where they settled in Omaha, Nebraska. Two more daughters were born there. The Traubes raised their children with a strong sense of identity regarding their European roots, primarily as close adherents of the admorim of Ger. Indeed, Reb Chaim lived his entire life as a European type Yid, although he was raised in America.
They took great pride in their newly-built family, as it was virtually all they had left after the war. They sent their children at the tender age of nine across the country to receive proper chinuch in New York. Young Chaim went to Mesivta Torah Vodaas, where his only relative, his uncle Rav Shmuel Yaakov Traube, was a rebbi for close to 50 years. When he reached bais medrash age, Chaim returned to the Midwest, where he attended a relatively new institution, Telshe Yeshiva in Chicago. After his marriage, Reb Chaim settled in Cleveland, where he raised his family.
Reb Chaim was a cheerful person and a people person who got along with everyone. He was never involved in any machlokes or controversy. He had a knack for noticing when a conversation began to head down a negative path and was able to divert it back to a positive direction.
He was a devoted baal chesed, who acted without any fanfare. Reb Chaim’s devotion for many years to Rav Sholom Refoel Yehuda Stein zt”l, son Rav Chaim Stein who suffered from a difficult illness, was indicative of the tremendous ahavas habriyos that he possessed. There were certain matters that only Chaim knew how to handle, and he tended to them almost uninterrupted for years. If he would need to leave town for one reason or another, he would call Mrs. Stein and ask “reshus.” He wanted to be sure that every issue was addressed.
When he retired from the workforce several years ago, he returned to the bais medrash full-time. He devoted himself to the learning of Chumash with Rishonim and became an accomplished expert in the commentaries of Ramban and Rabbeinu Bachya.
A back-up Daf Yomi maggid shiur recalled, “When Reb Chaim came to the shiur, I knew I had to be extra prepared. He would ask penetrating questions, trying to get to the p’shat. We never got the sense that he was trying to catch anyone; his nature was always to stay away from machlokes and confrontation. It was just that he understood the sugya and wanted to get it just right.”
Reb Chaim was a picture of excellent health. He was always in good shape and moved quickly, especially when on the way to shul or the bais medrash. The community was shocked to hear of his sudden illness several months ago. After five months of devoted care from his family and community, he succumbed on Wednesday, 18 Elul/September 21.
He is survived by his wife, his children, Reb Sender, Reb Yisroel, Reb Dovid, Reb Yehuda, Reb Yosef Yitzchok (Itchy), Reb Ephraim, Miss Tamar Traube, Mrs. Tzippora Greenspoon and Mrs. Aliza Inzelbuch, and his sisters, Mrs. Rivka Levitansky of Cleveland and Mrs. Chani Baumol of Lakewood.
Yehi zichro boruch.