Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Remembering the Rebbetzin

Chana Sorele Teitelbaum

Before the Bobover Rebbetzin a”h passed away, she gave a rare personal interview for Family First, opening up about everything from her mishpachah to her thoughts about the klal today. At the time, I had no idea that my article would serve as a tribute to this wise and selfless woman, the esteemed Rebbetzin Hessie Halberstam a”h.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

It feels like yesterday that I was welcomed into the Rebbetzin’s lovely house. Elegantly dressed for her nightly simchah drop-ins, the Rebbetzin added some finishing touches to an array of fresh pastries and drinks neatly prepared on the table.

I was graciously invited to take a seat, but I hesitated — I knew that these immaculate dining room chairs each had a history. The Rebbetzin proceeded to show me which one belonged to her much-admired late husband, Grand Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Halberstam the fourth Bobover Rebbe (1931–2005).

While the Rebbetzin took a phone call, my gaze fell upon the pretty framed tapestries and paintings that adorned the walls. Tucked into the corners of each one were photos of the Rebbe ztz”l. His gentle expression and smiling eyes cloaked the home in serenity.

When the Rebbetzin married into the noble Bobover dynasty, she was known to have embraced her husband’s minhagim and lifestyle, faithfully following the Bobover kehillah with every move — from West Side Manhattan to Crown Heights to Boro Park. She returned to her parents’ (Rav Yosef Paneth and Rebbetzin Lifsha of Dej, Transylvania) home in Williamsburg for only one or two Pesach Sedarim. She recognized that her marriage to a husband with a role heavily involved in rabbanus required an eishes chayil with unwavering dedication. She remained tremendously supportive of all his work for the klal, standing at his side until his last day.

After the Rebbetzin finished her phone call, she sat down for the interview. But when she noticed my voice-recording gadget, her warm smile momentarily faded — she didn’t want her words “on record.” I assured her that the sound clip would be deleted as soon as the conversation was transcribed. As she eyed the device, she told me a story about a close friend who didn’t have her wedding professionally photographed because her father, Rabbi Yosef Paneth, the Ileander Rav, and a well-known personality, would not allow the modern day icon to disrupt what was meant to be a pure, untainted event. His wish was unbeknownst to some guests, who came to the wedding equipped with cameras and spent the evening snapping away. When the kallah later received one of these scarce wedding photos, she was very grateful — the picture ended up becoming one of her most treasured keepsakes.

“So although something is prohibited, this story shows that prohibitions are limited when it comes to what people hide in their pockets; cameras, recorders ...!” the Rebbetzin concluded with a laugh.


To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"