The Brooklyn Jewish community mourned the petirah of Rebbetzin Chasya Erlanger, a”h, 67, the wife of ybl”c Harav Ezriel Erlanger, Mashgiach of Yeshivas Mir, Flatbush, and daughter of renowned baal mussar Harav Shlomo Wolbe, zt”l.
Having spent her entire life steeped in the hallowed traditions of Torah and mussar, the Rebbetzin was widely sought after by women in the community for her wise counsel on a myriad of issues. Despite suffering from debilitating illness for many years, she drew on her deep inner strength and emunah to accept her difficult situation with ahavah.
The Rebbetzin was born in 1948 in Eretz Yisrael, where her father, Rav Wolbe, was already in the midst of his lifelong avodah as a marbitz Torah and mashgiach. The home was one permeated with the lofty ideals of the mussar of the Slabodka school. Her mother, Rebbetzin Rifka, shetichyeh, is the daughter of Harav Avrohom Grodzinski, zt”l, a prized talmid of Harav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, zt”l, the Alter of Slabodka.
As a teenager, young Chasya traveled to England, where she attended the Gateshead seminary. In 1968, she married Ezriel Erlanger, who was then studying in Be’er Yaakov Yeshivah, where he had become a close talmid of his future father-in-law, Rav Wolbe, who led the yeshivah together with Harav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro, zt”l.
The couple settled in Yerushalayim, where Rav Erlanger studied first in Yeshivas Mir before going on to assume positions in a number of yeshivos. Rebbetzin Erlanger, with her innate sense of ahavas haTorah, did all that she could to support and further her husband’s own growth in Torah, as well as his ability to teach and inspire others.
In 1987, at the advice of her father, the family relocated to America, where Rav Erlanger had been asked to serve as mashgiach of the Mir Yeshivah in Flatbush. The change was a very difficult one for the Rebbetzin, especially in light of the fact that she and her children had all been raised in Eretz Yisrael and were not at all familiar with the culture, let alone the English language. Nevertheless, with her signature deference to her father’s counsel and her own realization that the move would further her husband’s harbotzas haTorah, she wholeheartedly accepted the challenge without question.
Many flocked to the Rebbetzin for advice on issues of chinuch, shalom bayis and other complicated family and personal matters. Drawing on the wellsprings of wisdom she had absorbed from her parents and her husband, as well as her own keen intelligence, the Rebbetzin helped countless families and individuals.
Despite her noble lineage and her position in the community, the Rebbitzen’s humility was such, that when called “rebbetzin,” she rarely realized that the speaker could have possibly been referring to her.
She is survived by her husband, ybl”c, Harav Ezriel Erlanger; sons Reb Yisroel, Reb Yechiel, Reb Eliezer, Reb Asher, Reb Sholom, Reb Aryeh, Reb Moshe Dov, Reb Nechemia, and Reb Elchonon; daughter, Mrs. Shifra Privalsky; brothers, Reb Avrohom Wolbe and Reb Yaakov Wolbe; sisters, Rebbetzin Esther Schwartzman and Rebbetzin Raiza Bamberger, as well as by many grandchildren.
Yehi zichrah baruch.