Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, rarely leaves the Beis Midrash. But when his close friend Rav Moshe Gottesman recently passed away, Rav Chaim came to console this special widow. Rabbi Gottesman was a popular cheder Rebbe in Bnei Brak for decades, touching the lives of everyone who met him. He and his wife Leah had 12 kids.
Nine years ago, Moshe got into a bad accident, unable to work his job. Even with his badly damaged body, he considered it his duty to continue supporting his family and marry off his younger kids, so he worked hard to make as much as he could. Although he successfully married off all 12, he went into heavy debt.
On the morning of his grandson’s bar mitzvah party, he went to the Bais Midrash, telling his wife he would meet her at the simcha that evening. The moment he was already one minute late to the simcha, Rebbetzin Gottesman began to panic. Her husband was very punctual and responsible. She tried calling him without success. As the minutes turned into hours, she was beside herself. After trying tens of times, he “picked up” but instead of her husband, she heard a strange voice who said “I’m sorry, your husband passed away”.
After the shiva, the elderly widow began to receive calls at all hours of the day from the bank informing of her husband’s debts and threatening to throw her out on the streets if she didn’t pay everything he owed. When she tearfully explained she was an old, poor widow with nowhere to go, she was made to know that it was her problem, not theirs.
If Rebbetzin Gottesman doesn’t receive help, she will become homeless which at her age would be very dangerous to her well being. She is beginning to lose the will to continue.
The Torah commands all Jews, no less than 12 times, to take care of this widow. According to the Rambam, a person should be more considerate of Mrs. Gottesman’s financial wellbeing than their own, even if Leah Gottesman was rich. Because she is poor, this is all the more true. For those who partake in this Mitzvah, Hashem promises handsome rewards. To learn more, click here.