Saturday, July 18, 2015

BD"H Petira of Rebetzin Rishel Kotler A"H

BJL It is with great sadness that we report that passing of Rebbetzin Rishel Kotler, a”h. Rebbetzin Kotler passed away Friday night at her home on Fifth Street in Lakewood, NJ. She was in her low nineties. The Rebbetzin was the wife of Rav Shneur Kotler zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ.  She was a daughter of Rav Aryeh Malkiel Friedman zt”l. In 1940, the Rebbetzin became engaged to Rav Shneur, and the two were able to escape Europe and get to Eretz Yisroel that same year. Her father-in-law, Rav Aharon Kotler, escaped to Japan and from there to America in 1941.  Throughout the war years, the Rebbetzin and Rav Shneur lived in Eretz Yisroel, where Rav Shneur studied at Yeshiva Eitz Chaim led by his grandfather, Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer.

In 1946, the Rebbetzin and Rav Shneur rejoined Rav Aharon Kotler in America, where Rav Shneur joined the kollel of his father’s yeshiva, Beth Medrash Govoha. Sixteen years later, Rav Shneur became rosh yeshiva with his father’s petirah in 1962. Enrollment at the yeshiva grew from less than 200 talmidim in 1962 to over 1,000 by the time of his petirah in 1982.

Throughout all the years, Rebbetzin Kotler stood by her husband as a devoted eizer kenegdo, allowing him to be engaged in harbotzas haTorah and tzorchei tzibbur. Her humility and kindness were well recognized in her own town of Lakewood and beyond. She was viewed as the proverbial “mother” of Beth Medrash Govoha, the largest yeshiva in North America, and served as a source of chizuk for the many n’shei chayil of the community. During the last over 30 years following her husband’s untimely petirah, she continued to inspire and influence the many people who went to her for brachos and counsel.

Friday night, she was feeling unwell. By the time Hatzolah arrived at her home, the Rebbetzin’s neshamah had already ascended to Shomayim.

She is survived by her children, Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, rosh yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood; Rav Aron Kotler, CEO of Beth Medrash Govoha; Rav Shraga Kotler, member of the hanhalah of Beth Medrash Govoha; Rav Isser Zalman Kotler; Rebbetzin Sarah Yehudis Schustal, wife of Rav Dovid Schustal, rosh yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha; Rebbetzin Batsheva Krupenia, wife of Rav Yehoshua Krupenia, rosh kollel of Beth Medrash Govoha; Rebbetzin Reich, wife of Rav Uren Reich, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Gedolah of Woodlake Village in Lakewood; and Rebbetzin Ribner, wife of Rav Gershon Ribner, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Nesivos Hatorah. She was predeceased by her son, Rav Meir Kotler zt”l.

The levayah will take place tomorrow at Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ. Details are still being finalized.

Yehi zichruh boruch.

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