Bein Hazmanim Tragedy

Rebbetzin Shoshana Glustein and her Two Daughters, A”h, of Ofakim

By R. Daykin

Rebbetzin Shoshana Glustein of Ofakim, and her daughters Chaya Sarah and Chana, a”h, were brought to their final place of rest at Har HaMenuchos last Friday, after perishing in the bus crash outside the Rav Shefa Mall on Shamgar Street in Yerushalayim last Thursday night. Rebbetzin Shoshana was 40 years old. Chaya Sarah was 7 and Chana was 2.

Rebbetzin Shoshana Glustein was born on 19 Shevat 5742/1982 to her father, yblch”t, Harav Yaakov Alexander Ehrenfreund, one of the founders of the chareidi kehillah of Ofakim and one of its leading askanim, founder of a countrywide network of yeshivos bein hazmanim, Mishan LeTalmid. Her mother Esther is the director of the Bais Yaakov school for girls in Be’er Sheva.

The nifteres studied in the Ofakim kehillah’s mosdos — Hadassim elementary school, Neve Yocheved high school, and later in Yerushalayim’s Seminar HaChadash. She grew up in a home that was kulo chessed. The door of the Ehrenfreund family was always open to everyone, and as the eldest daughter in the Ehrenfreund house, she was a keen assistant in the family’s hachnasas orchim.

She married, yblch”t, Harav Dov Glustein, son of Harav Nosson Yisrael Glustein, who was the son-in-law of the Rosh Yeshivah of Mir Harav Binyamin Beinish Finkel, zt”l. Her married life was a continuous demonstration of devotion to Torah. She was careful in all matters to ensure that her husband could pursue his Torah study without interruption. Rav Dov Glustein serves as Rosh Kollel Nachalas Moshe — Mishan LeTalmid. Rebbetzin Shoshana served as special education coordinator at the Seminar HaChadash in Ofakim.

Last Thursday, Rebbetzin Shoshana came with her two daughters on a trip to Yerushalayim. All who spoke at the levayah noted that this was clearly a gezar din from Shamayim, beyond comprehension but at the same time a kapparah for others.

“Sometimes Hashem takes shoshanim, roses, as an atonement for the generation,” commented Deputy Mayor of Ofakim Rabbi Avraham Deutsch, alluding to the nifteres’ name, Shoshana.
The levayah set out from Shamgar Funeral Home and went past the location of the tragic bus crash the night before.

First to speak was the nifteres’ husband, Rav Dov Glustein.

“We all know that Mother had many job offers, but she was only willing to consider those that were a shlichus, to help others,” he said, directing his words to his surviving children.

“There is a concept of tzidduk hadin, of recognizing that all that Hashem does is just. We are all crying now, but inside we know that for every person it is predestined how long he will live. Only we are crying now because we would have wanted Mother and the girls to live longer.

“We received Mother for a limited period of time, we received Sarah for a limited period of time, and we received Chani for a limited period of time. We believe that Hashem will comfort us — we don’t know how, but the same Hashem Who helped us until today will continue to help us. We pray for all of Am Yisrael that the Moshiach will come already.”

Next to speak was Rav of the chareidi kehillah of Ofakim, Harav Yisrael Yaakov Pincus, who noted that since this was Chamishah Asar B’Av, on which one does not say hespeidim, he would try to speak briefly.
“After what we heard from Harav Dov [the bereaved husband], there is nothing to add. Hashem judges the righteous. She is the daughter of Harav Yaakov Ehrenfreund. Do we have anyone greater than him? Mah nomar, mah n’dabeir umah nitztadak? There is nothing to add. I remember my grandfather saying that when there is a difficult ‘Tosafos’ [an allusion to trying times] — we are the ones who don’t understand, but in fact, all is justice and truth.

“The death of the righteous is an ordeal, but it is an atonement. We are offering three korbanos, each an olah temimah, on Tu B’Av.

“Hakadosh Baruch Hu knows what He is doing. Let each of us leave here amid thoughts of teshuvah.
“An avreich came to me and told me that when he moved with his family to Ofakim, she gave them everything, and with such a friendly countenance. Her bein adam lachaveiro was exceptional. May the Master of all nechamah give this family a nechamah.”

Next to speak was the Mashgiach of the Mir Yeshivah in Yerushalayim, Harav Binyamin Finkel, who burst into tears as he cited Megillas Eichah, crying out: “Al shever bas ami, ein menachem lah — there is no comforter for the daughter of my people, how can we console her? Our Father, Merciful Father, what can one say in the face of such a disaster — maybe we should be more careful when in the streets? There is nothing to look for here, it is a decree from Heaven. The Almighty wants us to strengthen ourselves in kedushah, in ahavas Torah. … A new river of tears was shed today; how many Jews wept and cried bitter tears — may these tears come before Hakadosh Baruch Hu.”

Rav Finkel then turned to Rav Dov Glustein: “Doveleh, I want you to know that you have annulled many decrees on Am Yisrael. Whoever knows Doveleh knows that he accepts his lot with love, even as the dead are right before him. The Satan is no match for that. Doveleh, you’ve annulled many decrees on Am Yisrael today. Who can be compared to Your people, Yisrael!”

Rav Finkel mentioned the names of the Glustein children and added: “Yisrael, in whom I will glory — the father is strong, the children are strong, they strengthen others; Mother will pray for you.”

Rav Finkel concluded that “this was a true korban tzibbur — children who never tasted the taste of sin, after chatzos of Erev Shabbos — they ascended directly to Gan Eden. May it be the will of the One Who hears the voice of crying that we should merit to see the redemption soon.”

Next to speak was the father-in-law of the nifteres, Harav Yisrael Glustein, one of the Roshei Yeshivah of the Mir Yeshivah.

“Such shleimus, she raised a family l’tiferes. … Listen, my son, to the mussar of your father and do not forsake Toras Imecha, the Torah of your mother. Mussar avicha — this has a continuation, but Toras Imecha — this will have a continuation as well. Do not forsake this! You’ve all seen what it was to build a family, to lay a foundation and then to build further.

“The children know and feel that it is necessary to continue. She was always ready to take on any sensitive matter with wisdom and experience. The children have a basis upon which to build — everything is ready. The foundation is in place. And they have the power and ability, each on his own, to grow up healthy, with yiras Shamayim, and to continue all that their mother received from the home in which she herself grew up, as the daughter of a talmid chacham. May Hashem help them to find consolation. We have suffered a loss but there is a continuation — may the whole family have strength.”

Next to speak was a brother of the nifteres, Harav Yechiel Ehrenfreund of Elad.

“I am not worthy. … I never thought in my life that I would come to such a situation, to eulogize my sister and take leave in such a way.

“The Torah states, lo tikach ha’eim al habanim, you shall not take the mother away together with the children, and here, you were taken away, with two daughters.

“Oh, how happy she was over the successes of others. They spoke before about kibbud horim, honoring one’s parents — I was jealous of her kibbud horim. I suggested to her to move to a project where she could have a larger apartment. She told me that there, she wouldn’t be able to do proper kibbud horim.
“She would buy sweets for families in Ofakim. She wanted to show people that the home of an avreich is the best place there is.”

Next to speak was Harav Yitzchak Ezrachi, one of the Roshei Yeshivah of Mir.

“These are korbanos tzibbur of Klal Yisrael. No matter how much we’ll explain this and go on and on, it is simply impossible to comprehend. … How hard it is in this period [of bein hazmanim], when there is less Torah being studied and therefore we have less protection. This needs to be strengthened. Bein hazmanim is not a vacation…”

Last to speak was a son of the nifteres, Binyamin, a talmid in the Yeshivah of Tifrach.
“She used to send lots of sweets to the yeshivah. She encouraged everyone — oh, how she cared for us, how devoted she was to everyone around her. How she cared for our grandparents, her kibbud horim.”
Referring to his sister, a”h, Yitzchak said, “Chani, Hashem gave you to us for two and a half years so that you should make us happy. … It’s not that Hashem has taken away, [rather] what He gave was only for this time. Mother, I promise you, in my name, in David’s name, in everyone’s name — we will go on, continuing with full strength.”

The father and four sons then tore kriah.

Since the sons had lost their mother and siblings, they tore kriah on both the right and left side.
After the heartrending recital of Kaddish, the funeral procession passed by the scene of the tragedy, where Kaddish was said as well.

Kevurah was on Har HaMenuchos.

Yehi zichram baruch.

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