Rebbetzin Nechama Rochel Savitzky, who was content with her low-key focus on her daily tefillos and extensive hachnasas orchim while her husband traveled frequently to New York where he served as Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivah Torah Vodaath, passed away Tuesday morning following a lengthy illness. She was 71.
Rebbetzin Savitzky had been ill for awhile, but her situation took a drastic turn for the worse on Monday, and her husband, Harav Yosef Savitzky, shlita, hurriedly left New York for their home in Kiryat Mattersdorf. He arrived hours before her petirah.
Rabbi Henoch Savitzky, the nifteres’s brother-in-law, said that Rebbetzin Savitzky was the matriarch of her extended family when they visited Eretz Yisrael.
“She was the home in Eretz Yisrael for all the nieces and nephews, who numbered more than 150,” said Rabbi Savitzky, a Rav in central Queens. “She had about 20 guests at every seudah.”
Born in 1942 in New York to the famed Pincus family — her brother was Harav Shimshon Pincus, zt”l — Nechama Rochel grew up in a house of greatness.
Her father, Harav Chaim Avraham Pincus, was the Mashigiach in Torah Vodaath and a talmid of Mir in Kamenetz, and her mother Chava Leah was a sister of Harav Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg, Rosh Yeshivah of Ner Yisroel of Baltimore, and Harav Noach Weinberg, Rosh Yeshivah of Aish HaTorah.
Nechama Rochel eventually married Reb Yosef Savitzky, a talmid of Harav Berel Soloveitchik and a budding talmid chacham from a prestigious family, and the couple decided to build their home in Eretz Yisrael.
In 1967, they moved into an apartment in Kiryat Mattersdorf, newly established by Harav Akiva Ehrenfeld, zt”l, and home to Torah Ore, the yeshivah of Harav Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg, zt”l. Rebbetzin Savitzky made the yeshivah her home, davening there and raising her children in its shadow.
When Harav Reuven Fine was niftar in 1993, the hanhalah of Torah Vodaath asked Harav Savitzky to replace him as Rosh Yeshivah. As it would entail him being away from home for months at a time, it was the Rebbetzin’s decision to make. She was raising a houseful of young children at the time — only four were married — but recognizing her husband’s potential, she agreed.
While her husband was in New York giving shiurim, Rebbetzin Savitzky played host to dozens of guests, including family members and talmidim of the Brisker yeshivos.
She davened three times a day, went often to the Kosel and Kever Rochel, and, until her parents’ passing ten years ago, visited them every night.
Rebbetzin Savitzky was expert in all six chalakim of the Mishnah Berurah — along with the Biur Halachah — and frequently quoted the Ramban al haTorah.
“She was a hechere mentch — a whole person,” Rabbi Henoch Savitzky said.
Rebbetzin Savitzky took ill a while back. This past Monday, her husband was contemplating whether to return home on Tuesday or wait for the last shiur on Wednesday. He ultimately decided that he did not want to give up on saying shiur.
An urgent phone call late Monday morning changed his plans. He returned to Eretz Yisrael, arriving early Tuesday morning, hours before his wife’s passing.
The levayah took place in front of the Savitzky home in Kiryat Mattersdorf, followed by kevurah on Har Hazeisim.
The Rosh Yeshivah and the children will be sitting shivah at 12 Panim Meiros Street and may be reached at 011-972-2-537-3937.
The Rebbetzin’s siblings — Reb Mattis Pincus, Mrs. Surkey Rabinowitz, Mrs. Elky Braun, Mrs. Chaya Swerdloff and Mrs. Esty Tendler — will be observing shivah at 877 East 23rd Street in Flatbush, until Monday morning.
Yehi zichrah baruch.