Habachur Moshe Hersh Deutsch, Hy”d

Moshe Hersh Deutsch, Hy”d, learning in Yeshiva Ateres Shmuel of Waterbury with ybl”c Meir Weiss.

Thousands of peoples braved the frigid winter night, crowding the streets of Williamsburg to attend the levayah of Habachur Moshe Hersh Deutsch, Hy”d. They heard of his dedication to his parents, his she’ifos in avodas Hashem, and how he helped get Mesivta Shvil Hatorah started. They heard how he learned from his parents to perform chessed, internalizing these lessons and integrating them into his own life.

As the last maspid, his father Reb Shulem, began to speak, tears flowed freely as they listened to the father taking leave from his beloved son. The wailing of the crowd rose to a crescendo as Reb Shulem cried out, “A father is accustomed to bagleiten (accompanying) his son on his first day in cheder, and bagleiten him to his chuppah. It’s unusual for a father tzu bagleiten a son, especially a young son, at his levayah,” he cried out. “But we know that everything Hashem does is only good, only good…I plead with Hashem to give me and my family the koach to carry this burden and understand that it is only good.”

Moshe Hersh was a twenty four year old bachur who was beloved by all. Born and raised in Williamsburg to a prominent Satmar family, his home was a known address where the downtrodden could find help, a hot meal and a warm smile. “Reb Shulem and his wife were known to have a house which always welcomed the needy,” said Rabbi Dovid Niederman, President and Executive Director of UJO of Williamsburg, during his hesped. “He spent countless hours helping people with all types of issues. I knew Moshe Hersh quite well, and he, too, was a caring person who always made himself available to help.”

After learning in Satmar mosdos as a child, he attended the Satmar Yeshiva in Flushing, Queens. Many of his friends got married at the age of 20, and those who had not yet found their zivug did not have a yeshiva where to learn, but were not yet ready to join the workforce. Mesivta Shvil Hatorah was opening under the leadership of Harav Avraham Amram Meisels, shlita, the Mihaldi Rav, but there were naysayers who did not hold out much hope for it to succeed.

Yet Moshe Hersh, who knew the need for such a makom Torah, would not hear the negativity. “He was devoted to make it work, and he put it much effort in this endeavor,” a talmid from that era told Hamodia. “With his caring and warm personality, he unified the talmidim under one banner, and today the yeshiva is a place where 150 bachurim can continue to learn and shteig in comfort until they find their zivug.’

Moshe Hersh was the one who would always lend a hand to carry beds for a dormitory room, tables for the beis medrash, and fetch any item that was needed. “He greeted every new bachur with a smile, and made sure he found his place in the yeshiva,” Rav Meisels said.

Moshe Hersh learning with his Rebbi and chaveirim in Waterbury.
A Rebbi of Yeshivah Ateres Shmuel conversing with talmidim Mesivta Shvil HaTorah.

In order to continue their learning during the summer months, for the past three years Mesivta Shvil Hatorah travelled to the campus of Yeshiva Ateres Shmuel of Waterbury, where they spent their time learning and relaxing in a Torah atmosphere. Moshe Hersch bonded with the Rabbeim in the yeshiva, community mispallelim, and even the employees of Kosher World.

“They remember his smile, his understanding demeanor, always having something nice to say,” said Meir Weiss of Waterbury. “The mispallelim in the yeshiva know him best as my chavrusa and friend. This past summer, we learned Masechtah Kedushin every Shabbos, and even during the week depending on our schedules. He was always happy to rearrange his schedule to fit mine. We had many discussions in learning that always seemed to end up including many others people. This helped strengthen the bond between the two yeshivos. From these discussions, I was able to see his true emunas chachamim, his striving for the emes, and drive to seek out the best possible way to facilitate his avodas HaShem.

“I got to see many examples of the tzidkus of Moshe Hersh. When a bachur from Shvil HaTorah got married, he would travel to share in the chassan’s simcha, whether is was relatively close like Toronto, or far away like London, England. He would deliver pre-made food packages to those in need as part of the Bikur Cholim organization. However, I didn’t see how much this meant to him until I myself had undergone surgery. Within a day, he came up from Williamsburg to Waterbury to do the mitzvah of Bikur Cholim himself, and brought along some fresh made pastries.

“When we would speak on the phone, he would always ask how things were in Waterbury, but would not suffice with a general, “How are things?” He asked about people by name, since he genuinely connected to Waterbury and felt that Waterbury was a big part of his life.

“We have lost one of our own,” ended Meir.

Moshe Hersh as he prepared for Chai Lifeline’s Bike4Chai. (Chai Lifeline)

“Moshe Hersh was active in Chai Lifeline as a respite volunteer, often visiting people in hospitals to take care of their needs, and was also a Bike4Chai volunteer,” said Atara Arbesfeld of Chai Lifeline.

“Moshe embodied the very best of Chai Lifeline,” added Rabbi Simcha Scholar, CEO of Chai Lifeline. “He was a dedicated volunteer who always looked for opportunities to help others. This is a devastating loss for our entire community.”

Friends told how he was so taken by the plight of the young patients he visited that upon his return from the hospitals, he would take out a Tehillim and daven that they should merit a speedy refuah sheleimah.

Rabbi Dovid Niederman recalled the acts of chessed he performed, and the dedication he had for the annual Pesach food distribution. “He was extremely kind and generous, and was the go-to person when his peers needed help,” Rabbi Neiderman said. “Moshe’s father is the main force behind the largest food distribution for Pesach feedings thousands upon thousands of people. His kindness knows no bounds, and even though he is occupied with managing a business, individuals needing assistance knock on his door regularly for help. Moshe followed in his father’s footsteps, and devoted his time and energy to help organize the UJO Pesach food distribution and many other acts of kindness.”

One of the many chassodim he was involved in was arranging food for sick people in the Bikur Cholim rooms in local hospitals. Thursday night, he would spend hours making sure the rooms were properly stocked so that any family who had to spend the Shabbos in the hospital would have what they needed for the seudos. “I knew that he was so involved in providing food for those who needed it,” a friend told Hamodia, “and many times he returned home Erev Shabbos with just a few minutes left to the zman. He felt an achrayus to make sure that others had what they needed.”

Moshe Hersh is survived by ybl”c his father and mother, Reb Shulem and Basya Leah Deutsch; his brothers Reb Zev Dov Deutsch, Reb Yoel Deutsch, Habachur Chaim Yankel Deutsch, Habachur Pinchos Deutsch; his sisters Miss Suri Deutsch, Miss Chayala Deutsch, and Miss Chani Deutsch.

Yehi zichro baruch.

Harav Aharon Kaufman, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Ateres Shmuel of Waterbury, during nichum aveilim with Reb Shulem Deutsch. (MASW)

_ _ _

Hamodia would like to thank Rabbi Shimon Yanofsky of Mesivta Ateres Shmuel of Waterbury for his assistance with this post.