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The Great Woman Behind the Great Man: A tribute to Rebbetzin Sarah Pam, a”h

Zehava Kaner

It’s often said that behind every great man is great woman. “My grandmother exemplified that saying,” says Rabbi Mordechai Pam of Rebbetzin Sarah Pam, a”h. “She was with my grandfather in all his endeavors, supporting him in everything he did. When they got married they made an agreement, he would deal with the ruchniyus, and she would take care of the gashmiyus. Sometimes they would joke about a particular topic, whether it was his domain or hers. But that agreement really did stand.”

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I only saw Rebbetzin Sarah Pam, a”h, once. It was about ten years ago, at the last Chag HaSmichah for Yeshiva Torah Vodaath. My husband, along with the other musmachim, were being honored, and my grandmother, Mrs. Celia Friedman, a”h, attended the dinner. She was very excited to be there because she wanted to see Rav Pam, ztz”l, and his rebbetzin, a”h, whom she knew well from their early married life.

At the end of the dinner, my grandmother waited at the elevator for Rav Pam and his rebbetzin. They soon came, along with their entourage. My grandmother greeted them, and they returned her greeting with great warmth. For a short while the many years fell away as they spoke nostalgically of the past. Those few minutes became one of my grandmother’s most cherished memories.

And that is the mental picture I have, the waiting entourage, and the Rosh Yeshivah and his rebbetzin taking the time to speak with my grandmother. In that is the simplicity of greatness and the greatness of simplicity.


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