When the ninth-grade class parted at lunchtime from their beloved rebbi, they could never have imagined it was the last time they would bask in his golden smile.
Rav Avrohom Brun was more than an illustrious figure known for his warmth and yira’as Shamayim in the southern city of Tifrach. He was a powerful role model for his hundreds of talmidim, who hung onto his every word and action. It wasn’t just that you revered Rav Braun; you loved him with your heart and soul.
“We’re going to stop now,” he announced to his class, “We’ll continue this sugyah tomorrow, or maybe next week, or maybe…” he quipped to his beloved students, “Or maybe we won’t continue it at all. Who knows?”
Prophetic words, though no one could have dreamed how they were about to play out. The Rav took leave of his class and walked briskly home to eat lunch and take a short nap as he did each day before returning for afternoon Seder.
Three o’clock. The Rosh Yeshivah looked up at the talmid who appeared at the open door of his office.
“Slicha, ha’Rosh Yeshivah,” says the boy. “Ha’Rav Brun loh higi’ah.”
The Rosh Yeshivah’s eyebrows dart upwards. In over thirty years of Rav Brun’s shining career, he has never been late even once. But sometimes things happen. Family simchas…unforeseen emergencies… perhaps something urgent had cropped up. Then again, not only was it completely unlike Rav Brun to be late; it was inconceivable that he would not have called to update the Rosh Yeshivah!
When Rebbitzen Braun got the phone call inquiring about her husband’s whereabouts, she felt an immediate, instinctive flash of fear.
“My husband never came back after lunch?” she cried. “That’s very strange! I’ll run home right away and see.” And that’s what she did—quite literally, shaken and gripped by premonition. At the front door of their modest apartment, her fear gave way to dread. The house was locked—from the inside, which could only mean one thing: her husband was still home. With ever-mounting terror, the Rebbitzen looked on as rescue forces battered down the door and she had no choice but to confront the ghastly sight that met her eyes.
Her husband—her precious, regal, pure husband, was lying, face-down on the floor, in a pool of blood.
There is no need to recount the horrifying details—the massive stroke that struck down this adam gadol in an instant, in the prime of his life, and the subsequent 36 hours where he hung between Heaven and Earth. The oceans of tears and tefillos that poured forth, hoping against all hope that the gezeirah would be annulled.
But Hakadosh Baruch Hu wanted this tzaddik by the Kisei HaKavod. The ninth-grade talmidim, who had only just waved a carefree, cheery good-bye to their adored rebbi, were now faced with the nightmarish task of bidding him a final farewell.
The bereft Rebbitzen’s shock and grief have left her shattered beyond belief. She cannot even bear to return to the home she shared with her husband, zt”l for four decades; it now echoes with a palpable emptiness which can never be filled.
But in addition to the horrors that rocked the Braun family, there is another crushing burden that gives them no rest: Rav Braun took on enormous loans to marry off his many daughters, ka”h, to prominent talmidei chachamim. Although he faithfully managed to pay them back each month, his widow is now faced with angry phone calls from banks and Gemachim, harassing her to come up with money from thin air. It is just too much! Her emotional reservoirs are nearly depleted. She is hanging on by a thread!
For forty years, Rebbitzen Braun supported her husband’s harbatzas Torah and changed the lives of thousands in her community and all over Eretz Yisrael and Abroad. Now, Rebbitzen Braun has nowhere else to turn to but YOU. Please, help this pious widow. She beseeches you tearfully: Help pay our bills! Help ease our pain, before it destroys us!
In the zechus of your wonderful generosity, may Hakadosh Baruch Hu bensch you and your loved ones with good health, long life, and special shemirah from On High.