This past Simchas Torah, Mrs. Freida (Clary) Karfunkel, illustrious and beloved matriarch of a family that is mechazek Torah throughout the world, was taken from us. She was a role model of refinement, dignity, and of a life devoted to what is truly important — Torah, mitzvos, Kiddush shem Shamayim, and helping one’s fellow Jew.
Mrs. Karfunkel was born in Hungary 92 years ago. Her nobility of character and conduct reflected the high caliber of her parents, the Feiler family. She married her esteemed husband, Reb Yisrael Yehuda, z”l, a talmid chacham, yiras Shamayim, and ohev Yisrael.
B’chasdei Hashem, after staying in hiding during the Nazi occupation, Mrs. Karfunkel was reunited with her husband. The couple was blessed with two sons, Yechiel Mechel and Menachem Yitzchak. Ultimately, the family made their way to the United States, where both boys attended Yeshiva Chasam Sofer, becoming loyal talmidim and then devoted baalei batim of the yeshivah.
The Karfunkel home became one of Torah u’gedulah b’makom echad. Torah was their supreme value, their joy and focus. And they used the material resources with which Hashem blessed them to build Torah and help Klal Yisrael in countless ways.
Rebbetzin Ehrenfeld, the Mattersdorfer Rebbetzin, describes the nifteres as “The most wonderful human being, who reflected the old world. Every word she uttered was proper. ” She never spoke lashon hara.
“She was a wonderfully devoted wife and mother in the traditional sense. She and her husband were true partners and lifelong friends.”
Her genteel and genuine ways endeared her to all who knew her. She was a person of intelligent mind, warm heart, and true inner aristocracy.
Reb Yisrael Yehuda, who was niftar 17 years ago, wrote a series of sefarim, entitled Chemdas Yisrael, on Torah Shebichsav and Masechtos of Shas. He learned often with his children, inculcating them with lifelong ahavas haTorah. And when, in the course of his learning, he came upon a peirush, a maamar Chazal, or a machshavah that he felt would be of interest to his wife, he eagerly called her over to share it with her. She was an integral part of every aspect of her husband’s and children’s lives.
Mrs. Karfunkel is survived by her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, who follow the exalted path of their ancestors, learning and building Torah and performing abundant acts of chessed, bringing the Geulah sheleimah ever closer.
Yehi zichrah baruch.
A comprehensive tribute to the nifteres will, iy”H, appear in a future issue of Hamodia.