In a virtual shiur to Mir Yeshiva students around the world, Rabbi Yitzchok Meir Sternbuch eulogized shliach Rabbi Benny Wolff a”h and his selfless desire to spread Yiddishkeit.
By Anash.org reporter
In a virtual shiur to bochurim in the Mir Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, leading rosh chabura in the Mir Rabbi Yitzchok Meir Sternbuch, eulogized shliach Rabbi Benny Wolff of Hanover, Germany, who passed away on Shabbos.
Rabbi Sternbuch had traveled to Hannover in 5767/2007 to accompany a bochur for treatment. His destination as the world-famous International Neuroscience Institute as arranged by renowned medical askan Rabbi Elimelech Fierer. Before traveling to Hanover, he got in touch with Rabbi Wolff who promised to help him with all of his all needs.
When sharing the story during his daily shiur via telephone hookup, Rabbi Sternbuch prefaced by saying that “I’m not a big Lubavitcher chossid, but I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude to Rabbi Wolff, and, in a certain sense, he made me aware of my duty in this world.”
Rabbi Sternbuch spoke with wonder how difficult it was for him for the short period that he stayed in Hanover with the prevalent antisemitism, and how in awe he was of Rabbi Wolff, who was there to stay.
On some nights, Rabbi Wolff would come to pick him and take him back to the Beis Chabad, where the two would learn and farbreng together. “I could not stop being impressed with how a young man had come to a complete wasteland,” Rabbi Sternbuch says.
The 13-plus minute speech goes on to sing the praises of Rabbi Wolff and tblcht”a his Rebbetzin who work “day and night, with young and old” to bring Yiddishkeit to the Jews of Hanover. But there was one particular interaction that blew him away more than all.
Before he returned to Eretz Yisroel, Rabbi Sternbuch took Rabbi Wolff aside and said to him:
“I see from my interaction with you and your Rebbetzin that the two of you are extremely ambitious and hardworking people that would be successful in any venture that you take on. Why then did you choose to come here where chinuch and parnasah are so difficult and where even the physical day-to-day existence is so difficult? You have no gashmiyus and no self ruchniyus here!”
His response shook Rabbi Sternbuch to the core:
“Reb Itche Meir, you know why I’m here? Because of Yisgadal V’Yiskadash Shmei Rabboh – that Hashem’s holy name be glorified! There are Jews in Germany who don’t know about one Hashem. That’s why I’m here, to teach them about Hashem and to help them learn about his Torah and Mitzvos!”
Rabbi Sternbuch went on to tell the Mirrer bochurim how blown away he was by Rabbi Wolff’s simple and true wish to spread the knowledge of Hashem and his Torah among those that many not now it.
He did not seek success in business.
He did not seek self gratification even in ruchniyus.
He was not living just to have ruchniyus’dikke nachas from his own children.
ער וויל נאר אז דיך אליין ——
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Listen to a recording of Rabbi Sternbuch in Yiddish: