[Levaya updates below.] It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rebbetzin Esther Musha Epstein a”h, wife of Maran Rav Chaim Epstein, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Zichron Meilich in Brooklyn, NY.
Rebbetzin Epstein was a daughter of the legendary Torah and chinuch pioneers, Rav Dovid and Rebbetzin Basya Bender. Rav Bender, who was born in Slonim and came to America as a young child, went overseas at age 20 to learn in the Mirrer Yeshiva in Poland. Rebbetzin Bender was born in Poland and became one of the first students of Sarah Schenirer in Cracow. They married shortly before the war and managed to escape the carnage in Europe and settle in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Rav Bender became a master mechanech and a menahel in Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, while Rebbetzin Bender became one of the pioneers of the American Bais Yaakov movement and a surrogate mother to generations of students. It was in this home imbued with Torah, yiras Shomayim and unwavering emunah and bitachon that Rebbetzin Eptsein was raised.
Rebbetzin Epstein mirrored the values of her parents, who were indescribably rich in everything but money, who were wealthy in everything that matters, and who lived for everyone who needed them, without neglecting their own children.
Rebbetzin Epstein carried on their legacy of inspiring people and dedicating her life to Torah and Yiddishkeit. She was a humble woman and an ish tzonuah.
She was supremely devoted to her illustrious husband, one of the leading gedolim of the Olam Hatorah and one of the foremost talmidim of Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l. Her devotion to him allowed him to devote himself to limud haTorah and harbotzas haTorah for decades.
The Rebbetzin passed away early this morning at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
Rebbetzin Epstein leaves behind children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who follow in her ways. She is also survived by her brothers, Rav Yaakov Bender, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Darchei Torah in Far Rockaway; Rav Paltiel Bender of Boro Park, R”M at Yeshiva Darchei Torah; Rav Shmuel Sholom Bender of Lakewood, R”M at Yeshiva Darchei Torah; and Rav Michoel Bender, R”M Yeshiva Bais Binyomin of Stamford; and her sister, Rebbetzin Nechama Blumie Shapiro of Lakewood, wife of Rav Moshe Shimon Shapiro, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Yam Hatalmud in Brooklyn.
The levaya will be held today, at 10:30, at Bais Yaakov of Boro Park, located at 15th Avenue and 45th Street in Boro Park, Brooklyn.
Yehi zichrah boruch.
Update: Kevurah will take place at the Seventh Street Bais Hakevaros in Lakewood next to the Holocaust Memorial Chapel of Congregation Sons of Israel.
Update, 1:30 p.m.: The levaya will pass Beth Medrash Govoah at 3:45 p.m. en route to the bais hakevaros.