Mrs. Chana Rochel Flam Preschel, wife of the late writer and bibliographer Rabbi Tovia Preschel, and daughter of Rabbi David and Rebbetzin Flam of Montreal, passed away on Friday in Lakewood.
Born in Bobrik, Poland, in 1923, she came to Canada with her parents while still a baby. Her father established a chassidishe shul in what was truly a spiritual desert. Her mother’s father, the renowned Strettiner Rebbe of Toronto, Rabbi Moshe Langner, zt”l, had also immigrated to Canada from Eastern Europe.
Chana Rochel would take two trams, shlepping two pails, to bring home chalav Yisrael milk. Her father would always check the shochet’s knife himself to ensure its sharpness.
Mrs. Preschel was the oldest of seven children. When she was 12, her mother became sick and was unable to take care of her children. Chana Rochel helped her father raise her five younger brothers and a little sister.
Her father, as a chassidishe Rebbe, was visited by many people for advice with their personal problems and for brachos. As a child, Chana Rochel learned much about people’s problems and how her father would advise them.
Years later, when her youngest child turned eight, and was in school all day, she became employed at Maimonides Hospital as a secretary to a psychiatrist in the Mental Health Center. Her job was to listen to the doctor’s assessment of patients and type them for the record. One time, she decided that instead of typing what the doctor had assessed and recorded for her on a tape, she would type her own assessment of the patient as she did not agree with what the doctor had assessed.
When she was called in by the psychiatrist, she was certain she was going to be fired. She was asked who dictated the assessment that was not that of the psychiatrist. She admitted that no one dictated it to her; it was her own assessment. She was then informed that what she had typed was so intuitive that the hospital would pay for her education so she could be of service to the hospital.
Her greatest joy was attending a Rebbishe chasunah and sitting on the dais with her cousin Rebbetzin Trane, the mother of the present Rebbe of Skver and her sister-in-law Rebbetzin Baila Flam, the wife of her late brother, Rabbi Sholom Flam, the Strettiner Rebbe.
Yehi zichrah baruch.