Rabbi Yosef Goldberg, 92, AH

Rabbi Yosef Goldberg, a respected elder Chabad Chossid from Boro Park who developed a close relationship with the Rebbe and Rebbetzin, passed away on Wednesday, 11 Sivan 5783.

Rabbi Yosef Goldberg, a respected elder Chabad Chossid from Boro Park who developed a close relationship with the Rebbe and Rebbetzin, passed away on Wednesday, 11 Sivan 5783.

He was 92 years old.

Rabbi Goldberg was an early student in the Tomchei Temimim Yeshiva established by the Frierdiker Rebbe. When he was a young child both his parents passed away and he was raised by his uncle Rabbi Yitzchok Dovber Ushpal.

He first met the Rebbe when he was enrolled in the Chabad Yeshiva in Crown Heights, and he would see him from time to time. In an interview with JEM’s Here’s My Story, Rabbi Goldberg shared details about his relationship with the Rebbe and Rebbetzin:

Once a family friend fell into a deep coma and he went to ask the Rebbe for a bracha. The Rebbe instructed him to the hospital and scream in the man’s ear first the Previous Rebbe’s name and mother’s name, and then the man’s name and his mother’s name.

He did exactly as he was told and suddenly the young man began to shake forcefully! Everybody watching was amazed, but the doctors told his family that even if he survived, he would likely live out the rest of his life in a vegetative state.

Each day the Rebbe gave him new instructions on what to do next. One day the Rebbe told him to put a mezuzah on the door to his cubicle in the ICU, another time, he told me to put a book of Chassdus under his pillow. Until he miraculously woke up.

Another fascinating anecdote is about the close relationship he had with Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka.

“In the early 1950s, around the time when I bought myself a new car, a Dodge, for the wild sum (in those days) of $1,500. And seeing me in it, the yeshivah’s driver asked if I would give a few driving lessons to Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka.”

At that time the Rebbetzin had an interim license, which meant she couldn’t just drive anywhere; she needed to practice. So he took her to Canarsie, to a site where people learn motorcycle riding, and she was able to brush up there.

It was at this time that his grandfather fell ill, and the doctors said that he had to have an urgent operation on his eye, or he would go blind. Arrangements were made immediately for an operation at Maimonides Hospital. 

“The day before the surgery was to take place, I saw the Rebbetzin, and I asked her for a favor. I said, “If you don’t mind, could you mention my grandfather’s name to the Rebbe? He’s having an operation tomorrow. He’s in danger of losing his sight, and he needs the Rebbe’s blessing,” he recalled.

She agreed. The next day, when they laid his grandfather on the operating table, they examined him and saw that there was nothing there to operate on. “They sent him home, and he was fine,” he said.

The following story happened in 1988 when he faced his own health crisis, and the Rebbe’s advice saved him.

“It started with a persistent pain in my stomach. I went to Dr. Wolfson, a gastroenterologist, who performed an endoscopy and a colonoscopy, and said he would call me with the results.

“A week later, the phone rang at eight in the morning. It was Dr. Wolfson. Why was he calling so early? As he put it, ‘You’ve got big problems. Your life is in danger. You have to have an operation on your stomach.’

“Immediately I called the Rebbe’s office and spoke with the Rebbe’s secretary. The answer I got was to check the mezuzahs in my home, and also my tefillin.

“We had fourteen mezuzahs on the various doorways of our home, and I took them all down and packed them up, along with my two sets of tefillin. I sent them all to a scribe to be checked, while I went to appointments with various doctors, who all confirmed that surgery was necessary.

“After I returned home I called the scribe, who demanded that I come over. So I did. When I arrived in his workshop, he showed me something that amazed me, especially so because my tefillin had been checked only two months before: Two letters of the tefillin scroll were obliterated by a blot. The letters were zayin and chof, which together spell zach, meaning “clear.” These letters were part of the word u-lezikaron, meaning “and for a reminder.”

“I nearly fell down when I saw this. ‘You can’t use these tefillin,’ the scribe said. Of course, there was no question about that, and I immediately bought new, kosher parchments.

“As soon as I got home I called the Rebbe’s office to thank him. And the message I got back was, ‘That is the real medicine.’ Shortly after, I had the operation, and everything was all right,” he recalled in the interview.

Rabbi Goldberg later served as a teacher for over 15 years, and afterwards worked for the New York City Department for the Aging.

He is survived by his wife Tzuppi Goldberg of Boro Park and children: Menachem Goldberg – Boro Park; Rochel Bukiet – Chicago; Bassie Spalter – Toronto; Devorah Munitz – Monsey; Shmuli Goldberg – Scranton; Yehuda Goldberg – Monsey; grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He is also survived by his siblings Yaspa Werner – Boro Park; Dora Markovitch – Mexico; and Levi Goldberg – Boro Park. He was predeceased by his brother Feivel Goldberg A”H.

The Levaya of Reb Yosef Goldberg will take place 1:00 PM at Shomrei Hadas, 2:00 PM at 770 Eastern Pkwy. Burial 3:30 PM at Wellwood Cemetery, 1400 Wellwood Avenue, West Babylon, NY.

Shiva information will be updated.

Baruch Dayan Haemes.

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