It is with great sadness that Matzav.com reports the passing of Rav Shlomo Mordechai Breslauer zt”l, rov of Beth Tefilah in Monsey, the kehillah he led for five decades.
Rav Breslauer was a renowned talmid chochom and one of the senior rabbinic figures of Monsey, where he resided for most of his life, first as a member of the elite chaburah at Bais Medrash Elyon and later as a leading manhig and rov. Rav Breslauer served as a rebbi for many years at Yeshiva of Spring Valley and was a noted kashrus expert, mohel and rav hamachshir.
Rav Breslauer’s wife, Rebbetzin Leah Breslauer a”h, passed away several years ago.
In her youth, Rebbetzin Leah attended the Bais Yaakov in Williamsburg. In 1953, Rav Shlomo and the rebbetzin married. Though Rav Shlomo came from a Yekkishe background – his father was a rov in Washington Heights – and Leah’s family was more chassidish, the adjustment was no big deal for this special couple.
As a relative remarked, “Even in her eighties, Rebbetzin Breslauer referred to her husband, Rav Shlomo, as her chosson. They forever remained a newlywed couple who spent quality time with each other. In fact, we all knew that when the rov and rebbetzin were eating dinner, there was no disturbing them. If the rov needed anything, that always took priority over her other responsibilities. “
In 1954, just a year after their marriage, the Breslauers moved to Monsey, then a rural village out in the middle of nowhere, with just a few bungalows surrounding Bais Medrash Elyon. For a while they lived on Main Street, next to the famous Tabak, Wachsman, Jacobs and Shulman families.
A few years later, when the apartment became too small for their four young children, Rav Shlomo found a lot for sale on Route 306 in Monsey, purchasing it for a mere three thousand dollars. Monsey was so small in those days that his wife didn’t even know where Route 306 was.
Since building a house from scratch was a substantial undertaking, Rav Breslauer purchased an army barracks from Guttemberg, NJ, and arranged for it to be transported in the middle of the night to his newly purchased property. As his daughter, Devorah Wosner, related, “My mother woke up in the middle of the night and heard the rumbling of the truck bringing our house down the street. Bright and early in the morning she ran to our new lot, and there it was!”
The army barracks was laid upon a newly built foundation, and served as the Breslauer home for many years. The home was kept meticulously clean and organized. Every year, another room in the house was renovated and modernized, yet it still retained its historic look. The house is still in existence today, though the Breslauer family later moved to Hilltop Lane.
For 25 years, as Rav Shlomo was marbitz Torah, his wife, while raising her four children, ran a babysitting service and playgroup in her house. For a time, it was the only babysitting service in Monsey. The young children were upstairs, while the preschoolers had a play area in the basement, with their own teachers. The babysitting service was open from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. to accommodate working mothers with varying schedules. Many distinguished rabbonim and talmidei chachomim were educated in the Breslauer playroom. Rav Dovid Schustal, Rav Shlomo Feivel Schustal and Rav Eli Yagod were among her early students. Rebbetzin Leah loved young children, and took care of them with motherly warmth. Eventually Morah Leah was forced to close down her day care, and became the beloved secretary in Bais Rochel School. Two years later, she was invited to run the office at Bais Yaakov High School, a position she kept until just a few months before her petirah.
Rav Shlomo and his rebbetzin raised thousands of dollars for struggling bnei Torah and for families of Bais Yaakov girls who couldn’t afford to pay tuition. They ensured that the girls would continue thriving in school, covering the tuition costs for many years.
Rav Breslauer is survived by his children, Devorah, married to Rav Yochanan Wosner of Monsey; Rav Dovid, rosh kollel in South Fallsburg; Rochie, married to Rav Shlomo Yitzchok Leeb; and Rav Eliezer Lipman, rosh kollel in Passaic. He also leaves numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren who follow in his lofty ways, and thousands of talmidim, mispallelim and admirers whose lives he impacted over the years.
The levayah will be held today at 4 p.m. at Beth Tefillah, located at 2 Maplewood Lane in Monsey.
Yehi zichro boruch.
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