Mrs. Esther Finkel, a”h, Nifteres Suddenly In Yerushalayim

It is with great sorrow that we report the passing of Mrs. Faiga Esther Finkel, a”h, of Boro Park.  Friday night, air-raid sirens sounded in Yerushalayim, where the Finkels were making their annual visit on behalf of Ezer Halbashah (an organization founded and operated by Mrs. Finkel to distribute clothing to needy families throughout Eretz Yisrael). Mrs. Finkel went to a neighbor to wait for her husband, ybl”c, Harav Yitzchok Finkel, shlita (former Menahel of Yeshivas Torah Temimah), to return from shul, but while there, she collapsed. Magen David Adom responded, but were unable to revive her and later reported that she had suffered a heart attack due to the shock of the incident.

Mrs. Finkel was born just before World War II, in Mir, Lithuania, to Rabbi and Mrs. Yosef Dovid Epstein, zt”l.  Her father served as a secretary to Harav Eliezer Yehuda (Reb Leizer Yudel) Finkel, Rosh Yeshivah of Mir. He was noted as a great master of mussar and machshavah works.  The family spent most of the war in Shanghai, before immigrating to America and settling in Williamsburg.  There, young Esther attended Rabbi Newhouse’s Bais Yaakov, where she distinguished herself as a stellar student in limudei kodesh and secular subjects alike.  Even as a girl, her brilliant mind and refined middos were noted by all who knew her.

After their marriage in 1957, the Finkels lived in Lakewood, where Rabbi Finkel learned under the Rosh Yeshivah, Harav Aharon Kotler, zt”l.  In 1962, they relocated to Boro Park, where Rabbi Finkel began his long career in chinuch.

After her parents’ passing, Mrs. Finkel founded Ezer Halbashah, to which she dedicated every fiber of her being.  She sorted all the clothes that she was able to collect by size and season and sewed any small tear, delivering only clothing that would look perfect. Despite being a very naturally reserved, shy person, she personally raised all necessary funds and was in constant contact with stores, factories, and warehouses that could possibly donate clothing to her organization.

Not one for compromises, Mrs. Finkel exerted tremendous strength in all areas of Yiddishkeit, standing for long periods of time while davening in the ezras nashim and never eating outside of her home. At the same time, she was not one to pass judgment on those around her, and was always full of joy and good humor.

Mrs. Finkel had planned to visit the Kosel on Erev Shabbos and the kever of the Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh, Motzoei Shabbos (the eve of his yahrtzeit).  The security situation made the visit to the Kosel impossible. However, the Hashgachah Elyona dictated that her levayah was re-directed by order of the police from the normal route between Shamgar Beis HaLevayos and the burial on Har Hazeisim, to go past both of those mekomos hakedoshim.

Yehi zichrah baruch.