Reb Alter Kaufman, z”l

Thousands of residents of Beit Shemesh participated on Thursday morning in the heartrending levayah of the avreich Reb Alter Kaufman, z”l, one of the dominant chessed figures in the community, who passed away tragically in the prime of his life. He was 39 years old. He leaves behind eleven children and thousands of people who considered him a “personal friend.”

Reb Alter supported his family by being neheneh miyegias kapav. On Tuesday morning, he was standing on a ladder that broke under him, and he was seriously injured. All efforts to save his life were in vain, and on Wednesday night he passed away.

He was one of the pillars of chessed in Beit Shemesh. He carried out his work modestly, with no interest in praise or attention. He was also the gabbai of the LeTorah Uletfillah beis medrash.

The levayah departed from his home on Maharil Diskin Street in Beit Shemesh, where thousands had gathered, including the city’s Rabbanim.

Harav Nosson Kopschitz, the Rav of the Nachalah and Menuchah neighborhood, delivered a tearful hesped in which he described the middos of the niftar and the deep respect he accorded kevod talmidei chachamim.

His central middah was that of chessed, the primary focus of his life. When he went to people’s homes to do work, he used to make note of those who seemed to be in financial straits and waived his fee. He would complete his work and disappear before anyone could discuss money.

Other hespedim were delivered by Harav Meir Shimon Ullman, a Rav on the Eidah Hachareidis and Rosh Yeshivah of Knesses Eliyahu, where one of the niftar’s sons learned, and a brother, Reb Shimon Kaufman, a veteran mechanech in Beit Shemesh.

The crowd wept openly as the niftar’s oldest son, Reb Yosef, a chassan who is to be married in five weeks, began to speak. With great emotion, he discussed his father’s devotion to his family, stating that although he helped other families at all hours, he was also a man of chessed for his own family.

“I ask of you, Abba, to continue to be the pillar of our family, and to be a meilitz yosher for Ima so that she can continue to guide the family, and for your many friends who are mourning your passing. I never dreamed this is what my wedding would be like, and I ask you to come from On High to escort me to the chuppah,” the son concluded as listeners wept.

After the hespedim, the young sons tearfully recited Kaddish.

The levayah continued to the LeTorah Uletfillah shul on Chazon Ish Street, of which Reb Alter had been a prominent member, serving as a gabbai. From there it proceeded to Har Hamenuchos, where the niftar was buried.

The chareidi community of Beit Shemesh was plunged into mourning over the passing of one of its finest members. In gratitude for the countless acts of chessed the niftar performed, the community has undertaken to help the family financially.

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