Reb Moshe Pluczenik, z”l

The Gerrer community in Boro Park was saddened by the passing of Reb Moshe Shaul Pluczenik, who passed away at the age of 84. He was a devoted chassid, well liked by all who knew him, extremely upstanding, and a kovei’a itim.

Reb Moshe was born in Krakow in Sivan 5689/1929 to the renowned philanthropist Reb Shmuel Yosef, z”l, a prominent Radomsker chassid and one of the leading askanim in the city. His mother was Miriam Mirel, a”h, the daughter of Rabbi Moshe Shaul (Meshel) Shmelkish, z”l, a prominent Sanzer chassid who was a nephew of the Rav of Lvov, Harav Yitzchak Shmelkish, zt”l, author of Beis Yitzchak.

Although the war broke out when he was 10 years old, the memories of the Chassidic life of his youth and the Gedolei Yisrael who lived in Krakow remained embedded in Reb Moshe’s mind, and he frequently spoke about them. Among the people he remembered was Harav Yeshaya of Tchechoiv, Hy”d, the son of the Divrei Chaim, zy”a, and Harav Shime’le Zelchover, zt”l. He instilled in his children the impressions he had of these great tzaddikim.

When the war broke out, the family was exiled first to eastern Poland. The Russians then exiled them to Siberia and later to the Asian part of Russia.

Throughout his years in exile, Reb Moshe became close to chassidim and yirei Shamayaim, learning Torah and Chassidus from them. He had the great zechus to be meshamesh Harav Itzikel of Pshevorsk, zy”a, who drew him very close and treated him with great affection. The Rebbe even sent letters to Reb Moshe in America over the years.

After the war the family returned to Krakow and then went to Paris. In 5710/1950, Reb Moshe arrived with his parents in the United States. His father sent him to learn in Yeshivah Torah Vodaas, despite all he had been through and his relatively advanced age.

In Kislev 5712/1952, his father suddenly passed away while davening Shacharis.

In 5712/1954, Reb Moshe married the daughter of Reb Raphael Chaim Freidman, z”l, who had an exceptionally close relationship with the Belzer Rav, zy”a, and together they built a home of Torah, chessed, and remarkable hachnasas orchim.

In 1958, he merited to make his first nesiah to the Beis Yisrael of Ger, zy”a, in Eretz Yisrael. The meshamshim recalled how he traveled each day from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim for Minchah, a two-hour trip in each direction in those days. He remained very close to all the Gerrer Rebbes until his final day.

Reb Moshe was known for his exemplary kibbud eim. His widowed mother came to live in his house, and he and his wife were moser nefesh to care for her. Even in later years, when his mother had to be moved to a nursing home, he learned to drive, despite his age, and went to visit her twice a day, before and after work.

He had set times when he learned in the shtiebel, and even toward the end of his life he was never idle. Whenever one saw him, he was learning from a sefer.

In business he was known to be extremely honest and kept his word scrupulously. He was also very careful never to touch even a penny that was not his own.

When the Lev Simchah of Ger, zy”a, established the Ezer Nisuin Beis Yisrael gemach, the Rebbe asked Reb Moshe to serve on the presidium of the American branch of the gemach and to help expand its activities. For many years, Reb Moshe devoted himself to this cause, investing time and effort modestly and energetically.

In recent years he became ill and grew weaker, but he was always cheerful and his smile never left his face. He continued to maintain his daily schedule as best he could, with the help of his devoted wife.

In recent weeks he grew even weaker, and last Thursday night he was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack. On Friday, 7 Shevat, he passed away.

The levayah departed from Brooklyn on Motzoei Shabbos. Hespedim were delivered by his son-in-law, Harav Avraham Schorr, shlita, Rav of Kehillas Tiferes Yaakov; Harav Eliyahu Fisher, shlita, Rosh Kollel and Rav of Ger; and his relative, Harav Yosef Eichenstein, shlita.

The aron arrived in Eretz Yisrael on Sunday afternoon, where the levayah began at the Shamgar Funeral Home in Yerushalayim and then proceeded past the Gerrer beis medrash on Ralbach Street to Har Hazeisim.

Reb Moshe is survived by his wife, Mrs. Sarah Pluczenik, shetichyeh, and his sons — Reb Shmuel Yosef, Reb Avraham Abish and Reb Aharon of Yerushalayim, and Reb Dovid Nosson of Ashdod, and his daughter, Rebbetzin Faige Schorr, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren who follow in his path.