“Noda bashe’arim baalah — her husband is known in the gates (of the city) …”
“The kapitel is describing the characteristics of an eishes chayil. Why does it suddenly mention about her husband? It seems that the praise of an eishes chayil is that she makes her husband what he is. And everything I was able to accomplish is a result of the devotion of my Rebbetzin.”
With those short and poignant words, Harav Moshe Wolfson, shlita, the Mashgiah of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath and Rav of Emunas Yisrael, expressed the praise of Rebbetzin Malka Devorah Wolfson, a”h, who was niftar on Thursday, the first day of Rosh Chodesh Elul.
“It’s appropriate that she was niftar on Rosh Chodesh, because she made the day so special for others,” her daughter told Hamodia. “As a teacher in Pupa for 19 years, she would distribute special chocolates each Rosh Chodesh, impressing on her students the uniqueness of the day. Her talmidos speak of the beauty and clarity of her lessons, how she infused them with emunah peshutah, and how, until today they remember her remarkable lessons.”
Rebbetzin Wolfson was born in Vienna, and came to America with her parents, Reb Eliezer Lipmman, z”l, and Raina Spitzer, a”h, when she was just 12 years old. Her father was the Rosh Hakahal of the Viener kehillah. Although she spoke German and English, when she married her husband and he told her that he wanted her to speak Yiddish, she learned the language. Indeed, it became her main language, as her entire life was devoted to helping her husband in his avodas hakodesh.
Her speech was impeccable, never raising her voice, never speaking sheker, and never speaking lashon hara. “Although she learned Chofetz Chaim each day,” her son-in-law said, “her avoidance of speaking lashon hara would have been the same regardless. She just could not speak ill of another person. She never spent time just talking on the phone, since she was so careful with all that she said.”
Her life was lived on a higher plane than we are used to. She eschewed gashmiyus, yet never wasted anything — in order to avoid bal tashchis. Her tznius was impeccable. [As a member of the masmidim program in Camp Torah Vodaath for three summers, where her husband, the Mashgiach, was the head of the program, I cannot remember ever seeing her, despite the relaxed summer environment.] Nevertheless, Rebbetzin Wolfson had perfected her bein adam lachaveiro and bein adam laMakom, and was seen as a living role model for all who came in contact with her.
Although Rav Wolfson is the leader of a large kehillah, Rebbetzin Wolfson led a humble life, never seeking the limelight. Her life centered around the Ribbono shel Olam, her illustrious husband, and her family.
When the shul and her home were connected, she davened three times each day with the minyan, saying each word as if she were counting diamonds, as she connected with Hashem. She was attached to the members of the tzibbur, but did not expect them to extend her any special honor or status.
Yehi zichrah baruch.