The Grand Rebbetzin: The Life of Rebbetzin Scheinberg A”H

The Grand Rebbetzin: The Life of Rebbetzin Scheinberg A”H

I just finished the newly-released book The Grand Rebbetzin: Vignettes from the Life of Rebbetzin Basha Scheinberg A”H, and I TOTALLY loved it.
This book was written by Rebbetzin Scheinberg’s long-time friend and caretaker, Nechama Switzer, who interviewed dozens of the Rebbetzin’s family members and friends about the Rebbetzin (the wife of Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, the Rosh Yeshiva of Torah Ohr and Jerusalem’s Mattersdorf neighborhood.) What a true inspiration to read about this great woman who 100% dedicated her life to Torah and acts of kindness.
Here’s some of my favorite excerpts:
“On Friday nights, the Rebbetzin would sit in her kitchen greeting the women who passed through. Many women came at that time for Rav Scheinberg’s blessings: the singles for shidduchim, newly married women, women who needed a brachah to have children, or older women with their needs, including those who simply wanted to get out a bit. They would come to the Rebbetzin as well, to hear her encouraging, uplifting words; she was always so positive and joyous. The Rebbetzin made everyone feel special…
The Rebbetzin gave encouraging wisdom by saying, “Observe the mitzvos, help people out, and do the best you can. If you do all that, you have nothing to worry about and everything will be good!”
I once walked in and found the Rebbetzin talking in her sleep. It was astonishing to see that the Rebbetzin lived to help and advise people, awake and asleep! She was saying things like, “Yeah? Sounds good…you can do that, too,” as if she was listening and guiding someone. Giving was such an integral part of her that she even did it in her sleep.”
The Rebbetzin suffered from many difficult health problems throughout her adult life, and “sometimes the pain was so intense that even her [famous] sense of humor left her. It was one such time that I discovered something incredible. While trying to divert her from her pain, I would try to tell her jokes, stories, sing songs. Nothing seemed to help. During that time, a distant Asian country was hit by an earthquake. I knew the Rebbetzin took an interest in the world around her and so, I thought of sharing this tragedy with her. Surprisingly, it worked. She snapped out of her misery and looked at me with sorrow and said, “Oy, what can I do?” She was back in her “Rebbetzin” mode and out of her misery, not even slightly aware of her pain, but instead absorbed in the needs of those around her. It was obvious that this was the solution to all the pain she was enduring. She took an interest in hearing the news so that she could involve herself with the problems constantly facing the world. She was raised, and had it ingrained in her, to believe that what happens in the world around us is our responsibility. Depression came when she no longer felt useful or capable to help the many in need.”
“The most common piece of advice the Rebbetzin would give me was “Have the courage to be yourself.,” and “Do what’s best for you,” meaning know yourself, your needs, and respect them…She always taught, also, “When you give, you get.”

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One comment

  1. Klara LeVine

    I took classes many years with her daughter, Rebbetzin Altusky – the apple does not fall far from the tree. She’s such an inspiration.

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