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Hadaska {cont.}

[Page 56]

Within a half an hour, she had closed her eyes forever. It was as if an angel descended from heaven and kissed her on the lips. As the angel kissed her, he secretly drew her pure soul from her body. She went to her eternal world without pain, without suffering, and without experiencing death throes. She died with the kiss of death, as all righteous people.

Morning came. The weeping and wailing throughout the entire town were great. The poor felt that they had become even more impoverished with the death of Hadaska. The widows and orphans had become widowed and orphaned once again. All the people of the town felt a searing pain deep in their hearts. All of them came to feel themselves as orphans.

Y. L. Mintz
(“Hayom” from Warsaw, year 1, 1925 / 5685, number 6.)

Woe to Those Who Have Passed Away but are Not Forgotten

The article about the passing of this wonderful person is found in “Hatzefira” 1901 (61) where it says that the head of the rabbinical court of Ruzhany, Rabbi Shabtai Wallach, eulogized her. Reb Yerucham Fishel Pines also eulogized her, among others.

“The deceased was a holy and pure woman, righteous, and a doer of good deeds in the full sense of the term. She was one of the excellent characters of which Israel takes pride. What the Tzadik Reb Nachum the shamash in Grodno[5] was in the world of men, the deceased of blessed memory was in the world of women. Her death is a loss to the entire generation. I state regarding characters such as this, 'The vintage has ended, and the harvest will not come.'”

Since she was so dear to all of the people of the town, all of the baby girls born that year were named Hadassah in her memory.

Leib Wasz [6] and other members of the Pines Family

Litwin's book discusses him a great deal. It is further said about him that there was a storehouse near his house, containing firewood for the winter. The storehouse was shaky and had some breaches. The members of the household felt that the amount of wood was dwindling due to theft. One of his sons then repaired all the breaches. The lad entered the home and announced to his father with joy, “From now on, our firewood will not be stolen again. I have sealed all of the breaches in the storehouse.”

ruz056.jpg [15 KB] - Reiza Pines
Reiza Pines

“You did something bad,” his father scolded him. He said, “You do not realize that the thieves are very poor people, shivering in their houses from the winter cold along with their families. Since they cannot purchase the necessary firewood on their own, and they are embarrassed to ask for their needs, they take a few pieces of wood quietly. Go and open up the breaches once again.”

Abba Leviathan's father [7] was severely ill. Yom Kippur came. Leib Wasz came and asked the wife of the sick man:

[Page 57]

“With what are you feeding the sick man?”

She replied, “With soup I prepared yesterday.” Leib Wasz scolded her, saying that a dangerously ill person must eat fresh food. He got up and chopped wood, lit a fire, and cooked fresh, hot soup.

Indeed, not all members of the Pines family were as charitable as he was. However he, Leib, merited that his wife Reiza was his helpmate in these matters. They also set up a synagogue in their house.

His Brother-in-law Shmuel

His brother-in-law Shmuel[8], who lived in nearby Kossova, followed in his footsteps. He would go out every year after Simchat Torah with a carpenter, glass maker and builder, make the rounds from the home of one widow to the next, and inspect the windows. If he did not see double windows in preparation for the approaching cold winter, he would order them to be fixed. He would tell the glass maker to put panes into the empty frame. He would tell the builder to fix the oven in the house or rebuild it if he found it weakened to the point that it would no longer function. He would also provide potatoes and other such foodstuffs to the destitute. He would do this every year.

ruz057.jpg [25 KB] - Yaakov Shmuel Pines and his wife Tzipa-Minia
Yaakov Shmuel Pines and his wife Tzipa-Minia

Noach Pines

The deeds of fathers are a sign for children. Leib Wasz was indeed similar to his father Noach Pines, who was also a great charitable donor. When Noach Pines built a factory in the town of Kossova, they said that he was unable to complete his building due to a shortage of money, for he spent his money for completely different purposes. What were his purposes? If a Jew came before him and complained about his daughter who had come to marriageable age but had no dowry, he would immediately take out a proper sum and give it to him. If another one came and said that winter was approaching, and his house did not have a roof, Noach would open up his wallet and take out the money needed to fix the roof, and the like. They said about him that instead of establishing a factory in Kossova, he built the city itself, for he had a portion in most of the houses.

[Page 58]

Leib Rishon

Noach Pines inherited this character trait from his father Leib Pines, who was called Leib Rishon, for he was the first (rishon) in this family to arrive in Ruzhany and live there at the beginning of the 19th century. He was numbered among the honorable people of that place due to his good deeds. He established a weaving factory in Ruzhany, which enabled a significant portion of the residents of the city to sustain themselves by working as employees of the factory. The Polish landowner Spicha held him in great esteem and drew him near. When the landowner realized that the battle was lost during the Polish uprising in 1831, he turned to Leib Pines with the request that he purchase his palace and everything around it for a reasonably low price, so that he would be able to support himself in France, where he was going. Then Leib became even wealthier. He used his money not only for the benefit of his family, but also for the benefit of the community. He supported the Yeshiva in Ruzhany. Many of the Torah students of the Yeshiva ate at his table. The sound of Torah was heard in Ruzhany. The Yeshiva students studied Torah from early morning until late at night. They went even further on Thursday nights, when they remained awake all night, so that they would be prepared for the arrival of Leib Rishon, who was a great scholar, and who used to come every Sabbath to examine them and determine their success in Torah throughout the preceding week.

Our mother Tzipa-Minia should also be remembered positively, for she gave charity with a generous hand, and excelled at discrete gifts for those who were in need but were embarrassed to accept gifts in public.

From Sonia and Roza Pines

Yona the Shoemaker

He lived in a 4 by 4 room on Klibaner Street. The ceiling was so low that it almost hung over the heads. His workspace was in the corner of the room. In that corner stood his shoemaker's table with its poor equipment and with the few extras that he needed. However, this corner was empty all day. This was not because the man was lazy. He worked at night, but he dedicated his days to a different task. All day long he would go from door to door collecting monetary gifts, loaves of bread, and the like. This was not for himself, Heaven forbid, for he was able to sustain himself with the toil of his own hands. He was not a miser. He gathered the money and the food for the youths who spent their days, their evenings and most of their nights at the study of Torah in the Aguda[9] building in Ruzhany.

Yona arrived home after the Maariv service. He never returned home alone, for he was always accompanied by poor people whom he invited to his home on a daily basis. He would share his bread with them and give over his bed to them. He himself would sleep on a straw mattress on the floor. His family of five, the poor people and the guests would all sleep in the bedroom. The room was so crowded that nobody could get by. Yona sat in a corner patching the shoes that had been brought to him for repair. He ate a small portion of bread and drank a meager amount of water. He went about in torn, worn out clothing, but was happy with his lot. Why should a person pay attention to himself and his own needs? He must support those who wished to immerse themselves in Torah despite their state of want. However, it was not only they who benefited from his assistance. He concerned himself with every poor, destitute, ill or depressed person. He would bring whatever was needed to every needy mother who had just given birth.

He would run about even more on the eve of the Sabbath. On that day, he had to find places for the poor people in town to eat.

[Page 59]

He made sure that the entire Jewish community in the town would greet the holy Sabbath with the additional soul[10], at a set table and with faith that the ultimate redemption would come.

According to Naftali Kantarovich and others

Yaakov Limon

Yaakov Limon owned a large store for hides and oilcloths. However, his wife always complained that they had no livelihood. Her husband always took any items from the store and gave it to the needy. He did this all discretely, so that is wife would not notice.

Once Yaakov called me when his wife was present in the store, and advised me to purchase a new oilcloth that would be appropriate for my work. I entered the store, and he took me to the cellar ,where the oilcloths were located, according to him. There he filled my pockets: in one pocket he put a bottle of wine, in a second he put sugar, and other items. He took me back up and led me out of the store, thereby smuggling out the provisions that were in my pockets. A few minutes later he also hastily left his store, and went with me to the sick Pinchas “The Yellow” (A wagon driver who would bring people from Ruzhany to the train in Ozernitsa and bring others back in return, who once drank water when he became hot along the way and took ill with tuberculosis) to give him the wine, sugar, and the like.

He helped another sick person, Moshe Dreyfuss the tailor, in the same manner. This was always his custom.

From A. Leviatan

Nimele the Butcher Bulgatz

He was a simple Jew who owned a butcher shop, as his name testifies. He often enjoyed drinking glasses of liquor, so his nose was always red. He did not excel externally at anything. He was a Jew like all the local Jews. However, an incident once occurred that made him greater in my eyes. I was preparing my lessons with my friend Moshe Berman, whose house was adjacent to the house of Nimele the Butcher. A lantern was burning in the house, and we wrote to its light. Then the light went out, and we were left in the dark. There was no match in the house. We decided to go to our neighbor Nimele the Butcher to request a match from his wife Tsharna.

We entered his house and froze in surprise. Nimele and his wife already went to sleep in the nearby bedroom, and there were poor people in their large room. One was sleeping on the table, the second on the bench. Two others were filling up with borscht in the kitchen and two more were heartily eating a loaf of bread. The room was stifling. The smell of the sweat of people who spent their entire day going from door to door, and the smell of their socks gave off a bad odor that filled the air. The snoring of the sleeping people was earthshaking. We asked ourselves: is it possible that among the gentiles of the world there would be a person who would open his house to poor wayfarers, let them do whatever they wished in the house, while he himself was restricted to some remote corner? Certainly not. Such a thing would only take place with us Jews. How great in my eyes at that time was this simple man and his righteous wife. How happy was I that I too belong to the nation that gives rise to such people.

Shabtai Shefem of Pavlova

The spirit of the town of Ruzhany attached itself to its suburbs, the neighboring Jewish settlements. Shabtai Shefem lived in the village of Pavlova. Every Friday, he would come to the bathhouse in town with his wagon hitched to his horse. After his customary bath, Shabtai would make the rounds to every Beis Midrash in the city, searching for poor people who were in need of a Sabbath meal. He invited them to ascend to his wagon, and drove them to his home to be his Sabbath guests. He did this every Sabbath.

From Bulia Chwojnik

Translator's Footnotes

  1. There is a footnote in the text here, as follows: “See the book “Souls of Israel”, by A. Litwin. return
  2. There is a footnote in the text here, as follows: “The brother of Yechiel Michel Pines.” return
  3. There is a footnote in the text here, as follows: “Heard from A. Leviathan.” return
  4. There is a footnote in the text here, as follows: “Heard from A. Leviathan.” return
  5. This house was built by Avraham Yitzchak Chwojniak of blessed memory. return
  6. Jewish lore states that a person gets an additional soul on the Sabbath. return

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