The Rebbetzin was the wife of Rav Shneur Kotler zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ. She was a daughter of Rav Aryeh Malkiel Friedman zt”l.
The shidduch between the Rebbetzin and Rav Shneur, it has been said, came about following a bracha from Rav Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe and thanks to the intervention of Rav Meir Ashkenazi, known as “the Shanghaier Rov.” Their vort was held in the town of Slabodka. Rebbetzin Kotler was in the infamous 7th Fort of Kovna and was an eyewitness to the murder of Rav Elchonon Wasserman Hy”d. She hid in a ceiling with her sister, Rebbetzin Wolpe (wife of Rav Yaakov Volpe of Yerushalayim).
Friday night, she was feeling unwell. By the time Hatzolah arrived at her home, the Rebbetzin’s Neshamah had already ascended Heavenward.
The levayah took place Sunday July 19 at Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ, and left to Eretz Yisroel for burial, Sunday evening.
Yehi zichro boruch.
Levaya of Rebbetzin Rishel Kotler A"H Lakewood NJ
Rav Shmuel Auerbach and other Gedolim being Menachem Avel Rav Malkiel Kotler
The Rebbetzin escaped to Shanghai, China, at the start of World War II, where she remained with the Mir Yeshiva. She was separated from her chosson, Rav Shneur, for about six years. Throughout the war years, Rav Shneur was in Eretz Yisroel, where he studied at Yeshiva Eitz Chaim led by his grandfather, Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer. The Rebbetzin’s father-in-law, Rav Aharon Kotler, had escaped to Japan and from there to America in 1941.
In approximately 1946, the Rebbetzin and Rav Shneur reunited and got married in New York. Rav Shneur joined the kollel of his father’s yeshiva, Beth Medrash Govoha. Sixteen years later, Rav Shneur became rosh yeshiva upon his father’s petirah in 1962. Enrollment at the yeshiva grew from less than 200 talmidim in 1962 to over 1,000 by the time of his petirah in 1982.
Throughout all the years, Rebbetzin Kotler stood by her husband as a devoted eizer kenegdo, allowing him to be engaged in harbotzas haTorah and tzorchei tzibbur. Her humility and kindness were well recognized in her own town of Lakewood and beyond. She was viewed as the proverbial “mother” of Beth Medrash Govoha, the largest yeshiva in North America, and served as a source of chizuk for the many n’shei chayil of the community. During the last over 30 years following her husband’s untimely petirah, she continued to inspire and influence the many people who went to her for brachos and counsel.
She is survived by her children, Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, rosh yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood; Rav Isser Zalman Kotler; Rav Yitzchok Shraga Kotler, member of the hanhalah of Beth Medrash Govoha; Rav Aron Kotler, CEO of Beth Medrash Govoha; Rebbetzin Sarah Yehudis Schustal, wife of Rav Dovid Schustal, rosh yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha; Rebbetzin Batsheva Krupenia, wife of Rav Yehoshua Krupenia, rosh kollel of Beth Medrash Govoha; Rebbetzin Esther Reich, wife of Rav Uren Reich, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Gedolah of Woodlake Village in Lakewood; and Rebbetzin Baila Hinda Ribner, wife of Rav Gershon Ribner, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Nesivos Hatorah. She was predeceased by her son, Hagaon Rav Meir Kotler zt”l.
Aron Arriving at Levaya of Rebbetzin Rishel Kotler
Levayah of Rebbitzen Rishel Kotler A"H at Mir Yeshiva Yerusahalayim
Levayah in Israel
Levayah in Israel
Initial Video: Levayah of Rebbitzen Rishel Kotler A"H