28 Mar Shloshim for Mrs. Breindy Reiss, a”h
The tragic sudden passing on 9 Adar, 5777 of our sister, mother, aunt, sister in law, and bubby, Breindel Yocheved bas R’ Aharon (Mrs. Breindy [nee Gelbtuch] Reiss a”h) is heartbreaking!
Breindy embodied so many difficult life challenges and tried her utmost to rise above them. She was an isha chashuva who impacted so many people, old and young, from all different walks of life and influenced them. She never stopped learning and growing.
Breindy was a prolific writer and speaker. She was an esteemed writer for Hamodia, the Jewish Press, the Jewish Connection, The Schmuz, etc., often under a pseudonym. She wrote on various topics such as the Torah’s source for covering one’s hair, texting on Shabbos, and book reviews such as one for her brother in-law’s “Power Bentching.” On many occasions she addressed the crowd who came to partake in a Chinese auction for the benefit of the Zichron Shlomo Fund held annually in Staten Island and was a guest speaker in various Bais Yaakov high schools.
Breindy started her teaching career after graduating in 1973 from Reb. B. David’s Seminary Program on the lower east side of Manhattan where she and her Gelbtuch sisters grew up. She began teaching at Breuer’s High School and then went on to teach at T.A.G., Yeshiva of Brooklyn (for over two decades) , Tomer Devora, Bais Yaakov of Brooklyn, Ohel Sarah, and then onto Bais Rochel of Williamsburg where she taught creative English writing.
She was incredibly affectionate and truly respected by all her talmidos. Breindy was a great admirer of Rav Avigdor Miller, Zt”l, and enjoyed listening to his tapes on so many varied topics. Breindy was on an exceedingly high level in her emunah in Hakadosh Baruch Hu and her love of Torah was boundless.
For over 40 years, she would prepare her lessons and was asked by so many people, “Didn’t you prepare enough all these years? Why are you still preparing your lessons?” Her answer was, “I need to refresh my memory and delve into the topic even further so as to be better prepared to answer any new questions that may arise from my students.”
For many years, Breindy gave shiurim on Shabbosim on the Parsha/Navi in many shuls. For a span of 20 years, she held a weekly class in her home and taught Tanach and every year a different sefer was reviewed. A trained grants researcher, she was also licensed taharas hamishapacha teacher. She was an artist, as well, and painted in her free time. Breindy always approached daas Torah for her sheilos, always wanting to do the correct thing. She had such tremendous yiras shamayim.
When Breindy taught the 39 melachos, she brought the classes to life to her students by bringing in all kinds of paraphernalia from her kitchen so the students would have a “hands on” experience in studying what was permitted or prohibited on Shabbos and Yom Tov.
Even in the darkest of times throughout the generations, Klal Yisrael has turned to reciting tehillim and so, too, Breindy always reached out to recite perakim in Tehillim. What is so beautiful about this Sefer Tehillim that Klal Yisrael has turned to it throughout the doros/generations? Dovid HaMelech sings “Mizmor L’David…Hashem roi lo echsar.” In the midst of his songs and praise to Hashem, Dovid alludes to his own suffering. “Gam ki eilech bigei tzalmaves lo ira ra, ki Ata imadi – Even if I walk in the shadow of death I will not fear because You are with me.” “Shivtacha umishantecha heima yinachamuni – Your rod and staff shall comfort me.” Says Rashi – shivticha: the suffering that I endured, is from You. That is a nechama/comfort in itself knowing that my suffering is from Hakadosh Baruch Hu and not from any outside source.
That is the nechama that Dovid HaMelech believed. That was his bitachon/trust in Hashem. The other part of his nechama was umishanetecha. Says the Radak: Lulei Sorasacha shaashua az avaditi bioni.” That is the Torah that Dovid HaMelech acquired. His Torah was his toy just as children love to play with toys. These were the two aspects that gave comfort to him in those years of darkness. “Shivitacha umishantecha heima yinachamuni.”
Dovid Hamelech absorbed the shivticha no matter how much the pain was and at the same time was able to immerse himself in mishantecha – the world of Torah upon which the universe continues to exist.
Knowing that she suffered and had difficulties in life but always had the Torah alongside her, Breindy was able to continue to serve Hashem until He decided to take her neshama to a higher level.
Breindy will be sorely missed by her family and the thousands of talmidos she taught and dedicated herself to for a span of over 40 years.
May she be a melitzas yosher for the family and for Klal Yisrael.
Yihi Zichra Baruch!
Mrs. Hindie Rosenfeld (Har Nof, Yerushalayim)
Rebbetzin Miriam Libby Weiss (Staten Island, NY)
Please learn and daven for the refuah sheleima of Miriam Liba bas Devorah, b’soch shaar cholei Yisroel.