Harav Moshe Eilenberg, z”l

The Gerrer community in Eretz Yisrael and New York was stunned and grieved to hear of the sudden passing in the prime of his life of the mashpia and mechanech Harav Moshe Mordechai Eilenberg, z”l. He was an eminent Torah and spiritual figure who left a deep impression among countless bachurim and young married men, as well as being a baal chessed and prominent member of the Gerrer community. He was 59 at his passing.

He invested tireless efforts in helping others establish Torah- true homes and serve Hashem. He did everything he could for another person, and it never entered his mind to receive remuneration or recognition for what he did.

Masses of his talmidim in Eretz Yisrael and abroad saw him as a figure that illuminated their world. He was always at the right place at the right time, appearing just when he was needed and disappearing as soon as he had done what he had to. He was a master at understanding others, and was granted with a gift for saying just the right words in every situation.

His heartbroken talmidim said that they owe their spiritual world and path in Torah to his personal guidance.

Reb Moshe was born in Germany to his father, Reb Avraham Shimon, a Sochatchover chassid. His father lost a wife and children, Hy”d, in the Holocaust, and with great fortitude reestablished his home with Esther, a”h, the daughter of Reb Yaakov Schnul, a Radomsker chassid.

In 5718/1958 the family came to America, where Reb Avraham Shimon was moser nefesh for his children’s chinuch. Moshe studied in Karliner cheder. At that time, a special class was formed under Harav Meir Pilchik, z”l, and young Moshe was among the students chosen to join this class. At a young age he went to Eretz Yisrael to learn in Yeshivas Chiddushei Harim.

In yeshivah he was known for his diligence, yiras Shamayim and sterling middos. He always drew others close and loved every Jew. He would become part of a group of bachurim that had come from America, and were among the best boys of the yeshivah. Reb Moshe’s davening was also known to be exceptional in its warmth and fervency.

He became especially close to the Mashgiach, Harav Gad’l Eisner, zt”l, and was one of his confidants. After Reb Gad’l’s passing, Reb Moshe devoted himself to publishing the sefarim B’Mechitzas Reb Gad’l and Mesilos Gad.

He married, tbl”c, the daughter of Reb Avraham Frankel; his wife was a supportive partner in all of his endeavors, especially when he was ill, and their home was one of Torah and yiras Shamayim.

Initially, he learned in kollel in Yerushalayim. Later he became one of the first to move his family to Ashdod, in order to fulfill the wishes of the Lev Simchah, zy”a, in establishing a community there. He was one of the pillars of the city and a confidant of the Lev Simchah in matters relating to the establishment and upkeep of the community.

After some 10 years he returned to Yerushalayim, where he learned in Kollel Ner Yehudah Aryeh, founded by Harav Yehudah Aryeh Alter, zt”l, the son of the Pnei Menachem. The Pnei Menachem praised Reb Moshe as a man of discretion, who put on an appearance of knowing nothing but was actually an expert in providing guidance and in chinuch.

Reb Moshe was a diligent scholar, and also invited bachurim and avreichim to learn with him, and thus would influence them. In general, he devoted himself with great mesirus nefesh to matters of chinuch and spiritual aspiration on all levels, from young children, to married couples. His time was not his own, and he could go without food or sleep for long periods when he was busy helping others. Everyone knew that they could call him at any time of day or night, literally.

He had talmidim all over the world. He maintained phone contact with avreichim and with mechanchim in Europe and America, and would adapt his schedule to their time zones.

He was a master pedagogue; he had endless patience and was able to adapt himself to the person he was speaking to, no matter the age or the problem. He was also an expert at training young mechanchim, and he was available for their questions at any time. Reb Moshe taught them how to feel the pain of another person, what real patience was, and how to listen to and truly understand another person.

Anyone who tried to thank Reb Moshe found himself talking to the wall. It wasn’t a matter of saying thank you. It was avodas Hashem. He had groups of avreichim who consulted him every step of the way. Even in his final few months, when he was weak, he would sit at seudos with them, dancing and rejoicing with them.

With all his devotion to others, he was still a family man. When his brother Harav Yehoshua Heshel, a renowned melamed in Yeshivah Yagdil Torah of Boro Park, passed away many years ago, he stepped in and became a father and grandfather figure to his nieces and nephews.

Several years ago he felt unwell and doctors diagnosed a heart condition. Even from his hospital bed he didn’t rest for a moment. He was busy on the phone until 4:30 in the morning, at which time the doctors told him that he was in the middle of a cardiac incident and connected to machines, and had to rest. Reb Moshe told them, “Thank you for your concern,” and went back to his work.

Recently, his heart problems recurred and he had a pacemaker implanted. His recovery was slow and he felt like he was not regaining his strength. He was also very pained by the plight of the Torah world in Eretz Yisrael. This past Friday night he was very weak, but insisted that all the zemiros be sung as usual. At dawn on Shabbos his son heard him walking around the house, and at six o’clock he found his father on a chair, unconscious. All efforts to resuscitate him failed.

The levayah departed on Motzoei Shabbos from the Shamger Funeral Home, where hespeidim were delivered by Harav Avraham Yeshayah Goldflam, a mashgiach in Yeshivas Imrei Emes; Harav Avraham Yehosuha Lazenga, a Rav in Yerushalayim; and a son-in-law, Reb Yisrael Weiss.

The levayah continued past the Gerrer beis medrash on Ralbach Street, where parting words were said by Harav Yisrael Aryeh Reiss, one of the Roshei Kollel of Pe’er Yisrael. He noted that Reb Moshe was instrumental in the establishment of the kollel where hundreds of avreichim learn today — and he himself had chavrusos there daily.

The levayah then headed to Har Hazeisim, where he was buried near his father.
Reb Moshe is survived by his esteemed wife, Mrs. Frieda Eilenberg; his sons, Reb Yehoshua Heshel; Pinchas Menachem, a bachur in Yeshivas Tiferes Moshe Betzalel; and Avraham Shimon, a talmid in the Gerrer Mesivta; his daughters, Mrs. Nechami Mendelson; Mrs. Chavi Weiss, Mrs. Sima Teitelbaum, Mrs. Sarah Meirantz, Mrs. Temi Pollak and Mrs. Faigy Gershtenkorn, and grandchildren who follow in his path. He is also survived by a brother, Reb Yaakov, and a sister, Mrs. Temi Newman, both of Boro Park.

Yehi zichro baruch.