Rebbetzin Esther Fraida Tendler a”h – An Appreciation

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It is with great sadness that Matzav.com reports the passing of Rebbetzin Esther Fraida Tendler, A’H, on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, 10 Kislev, 5778; she was 80 year old.

Rebbitzin Tendler was the wife of Rav Yosef Tendler, ZT’L, the previous Menahel of Mechinas Ner Yisroel – the high school division of the Ner Israel Rabbinical College in (suburban) Baltimore, Maryland.  She was the middle child of Rav Menachem Mendel Perr, ZT’L, and Rebbitzin Leah Perr, A’H.  Rav Perr had been a Talmid of the famed Yeshiva in Slbodka, Lithuania, and was a colleague there of Rav Aharon Kotler, ZT’L, and Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky, ZT’L.  Upon coming to the U.S., he attended Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchok Elchonon, and then, for the next over 50 years, served as the Rov of Congregation Sons of Israel in South Ozone Park, Queens, New York, near the JFK Airport.

Rav Perr was exceptionally devoted to his community and brought astounding numbers of people to Torah.  Each year before Yom Kippur, Rav Aharon Kotler would go to Rav Perr to ask him for a B’racha!   In 1958, Rav Aharon informed Rav Perr that one of his Talmidim at B.M.G. would be a good husband for his daughter Esther Fraida, and thus had him come to Lakewood to meet Rav Yosef Tendler, and the Shidduch was made.

Rav Tendler had been learning at B.M.G. for eight years since 1950 and upon his marriage, continued on in Kollel there for another over three years.  We should remember that in that era, it was not “in style” to be what was called “Orthodox”; the “IN” place of the community was the local Reform Temple!  And to be studying Torah full time in a Yeshiva, was certainly very much not in style!  And to be studying Torah full time in a Yeshiva-Kollel was certainly, certainly very, very, very much not in style!  Yet Rav Tendler and Rebbitzin Esther were not fazed at all by current fads — which anyway come and go; instead, their guidepost was doing what was right.

One Friday afternoon when Rav Tendler arrived home, the Rebbitzin told him that they had no flour left to even just bake Challa for Shabbos and they had no money to purchase more flour or any other food.  Upon this, Rav Aharon looked to locate a Torah teaching position for him and soon placed him at the Mechina High School of Ner Yisroel.  There he taught the twelfth grade for a year, then the first year level of the Yeshiva’s (post high school) Beis Medrosh for two years, and then became the Menahel and, again, a twelfth grade Rebbe for the next 48 years until his Petira in 2012.  (See the Matzav write up of Rav Tendler at http://matzav.com/rav-yosef-tendler-ztl/ and the interview with Rav Tendler in 2011 at https://matzav.com/a-conversation-with-rabbi-yosef-tendler-early-years-and-recollections-of-lakewood-in-the-time-of-rav-aharon-kotler/.)

Throughout Rav Tendler’s Torah career, from being in Kollel at B.M.G. through the many years of teaching and being the Menahel at the Mechina of Ner Yisroel, Rebbitzin Esther TOTALLY encouraged and supported him.  Yea, his entire Torah career accomplishments — including the countless Talmidim he taught and guided and led to their own successes, which thus included his building up of the Mechina which helped make the entire Ner Yisroel Yeshiva into one of the largest and one of the finest Mekomos HaTorah in the world — were all because of her encouragement and support.  She NEVER once wished that he was doing something else or that he had a job that paid more money.  In general, she had ABSOLUTE ZERO interest in Gashmiyus – she had ABSOLUTE ZERO interest in the physical amenities of life.  Boruch Hashem though, her entire family always had plenty of whatever Gashmiyus they needed.

Very tragically, one of the very severely wicked aspects of the deterioration of modern society is the gross denial of the Divinely created sacred value of human life.  One of the many manifestations of this belief is the sinister policy that people should have as few children as possible; preferably, they should not have any at all, but if they do have, they should have as very few as possible.  In total sharp defiance of this “law,” Boruch Hashem, Rav Tendler and Rebbitzin Esther had THIRTEEN CHILDREN!!  When asked how she was able to properly take care of so many children, she simply replied that she always took one thing at a time, and, of course, Hashem helped.  Boruch Hashem, they also did a superb job of properly raising all of their many children, as all of their children today are fine respectable successful people in the field of Harbotzes Torah Chinuch with families of their own.

Along with superbly taking care of her own large family, for 45 years, Rebbitzin Esther greatly helped out at the local Bais Yaakov of Baltimore.  Having graduated nursing school and being a certified licensed nurse, she served as the school nurse and as a guidance counselor.  She also gave special classes for Kallas – girls who were newly engaged and once a week a lecture for those seeking spiritual advancement.

The Levaya was thus held on Tuesday morning at the Bais Yaakov; it was followed by the Kevura in the Agudah Section of the Rosedale Cemetery in Baltimore.

She is survived by her older brother, Rav Yechiel Yitzchak Perr, Sh’lita, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Derech Ayson in Far Rockaway, New York, her younger brother, Rav Eliezer Perr, Sh’lita, her thirteen children, and very many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Yehi Zichra Boruch

(Special appreciation goes to the eldest son, Rav Shmuel Tendler, who, in a telephone interview, gave extensive crucial information for this piece.)

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