R’ Motul – The French Bochur That Changed My Life

R’ Menachem Mendel Lieberman shares with the Pevzner family after the death of their husband and father R’ Motul Pevzner obm: “It happened 20 years ago when I was a yeshiva student in 770. But for me this story remains burned into my soul , a little story that changed my daily routine and outlook on life.” Full story

Dear Pevzner Family,

I am very sorry to hear about the untimely passing of your father – Motul AH and I would like to extend my deepest condolences to you.

I would like to share with you a little story of your wonderful father. It is indeed a “little story” that happened 20 years ago when I was a yeshiva student in 770. But for me, this story remains burned into my soul, a little story that changed my daily routine and outlook on life.

First a short introduction:

At the time, keeping seder in 770 was done in such a way that surveillance was not a strong point. If someone decided to stay with seder, he did so with an understanding of its value and on his own initiative. (There was someone who occasionally recorded attendance, but no more than that.)

Needless to say, without a strict attendance policy, seder chasidus was often quiet in the morning.

As is known, in 770 there were two groups of bochurim. The larger group is Israeli Kvutza bochurim who does 770 shiur gimel. And the second group is the American Bochurim. These are the guys who completed their yeshiva studies, also completed shlichus in yeshivas around the world, and now they are in their final year for their chasunah, in this year they usually study smicha. If keeping seder with the Israeli bochurim is very difficult, then it is even more difficult with the American bochurim, as these bochurim have already finished their training and are “eltere bochurim” for all that entails.

All this is a prelude to the next story:

I had the privilege of studying as a full student in the 770 Rabbi’s Chatzer in the years 5753-5754, among the hundreds of young bochurim who studied in 770 was also your late father Mottel Pevzner.

I didn’t know him, as I was “of the group of Israelis” while he was “of the group of Americans”. Usually there isn’t, and there shouldn’t be any connection between the groups, and there was in our case.

It was one morning, the last day of the month of Teves, at the height of winter in New York. It snowed heavily that morning, I remember waking up at 1414 on a frigid morning in the dorm. There was a powerful heater in the room, besides we were all covered with thick duvets, warm inside but cold outside, very cold!

From the dorm room window, you could see all of Kingston Avenue covered in black snow. In the room where I slept, the boys were sleeping and no one even thought of getting up that morning. And what could be nicer than staying in bed a little longer on such a snowy morning.

Despite everything, I got up and left 1414 for Union St. mikveh and from there to 770 to arrive in time for Seder Chassidus. I remember making my way through the pile of heavy snow, the stillness and stillness of the early morning clearly visible from every street corner.

When I arrived at the small will it was already 7:20. In just 10 minutes, seder chassidus will officially begin, but the little will was empty, only I sat there on my own saying the brochos and finding my chasidus sefer to study in.

I remember very well that I had a strange feeling inside. I sit here alone, no one is on, no one is present. Bad instincts crept over me, maybe it would have been better to stay in bed a little longer…

It’s 7:25 AM. And look, I hear the front door of 770 open. I couldn’t see who was coming in, as I was in the small hall, all I heard was heavy footsteps, feet kicking hard on the floor.

Without seeing who it was, I already knew it was the innocent French Bochur Mottel Pevzner, his different gait betrayed him, and I knew he was the one who came in now, I saw him panting as if after a great effort he time.

He entered the little will, looked for the clock on the wall, turned to the clock and said to himself: Ahhhh… Boruch hashem! Boruch hashem! And a particularly supreme happiness was visible on his face.

He went to the library, took a Chasidus sefer and began to study diligently and persistently.

He didn’t notice I saw him exclaim the “Ahhh… Boruch hashem, boruch hashem,” he told himself. But for me it was enough. in front of me stood a real soldier. Straightforward, innocent, inward and God-fearing. He does not take into account the cold outside, the physical limitations, the greatest happiness for him is to be able to get to the seder on time. This happiness is pure joy! After 20 minutes a few more bochurim arrived, and then a few more, this seder amounted to maybe 15 bochurim getting up that morning.

I will not forget what I felt that morning in the little one – I said to myself here, Motul, an older bochur than you, his walking was hard on him, he had every excuse not to get up this morning. Yet he gets up, he walks, he arrives, and his great fortune is that he was able to get to seder in time without considering what was happening around him. This event gave me a big boost, and from that day until the end of my school year in 770, every morning (!) when I had a hard time getting up, I remembered the same joy that was on Mottel’s face, and I couldn’t stay in bed any longer. .

Over the years I have told this story to my students many times. I have not met Mottel since then, as I live in Israel and he in France, but I owe him much of the inner influence his soldier character had on me, the acceptance of burdens and the inner fear of God of a rare and special real Tamim.

When I received the news of his passing this week, I remembered the same event again and for the first time I put things in writing in memory of him and for the uplifting of his pure soul.

May we see him again soon with the Rebbe. Vhikitzu Vranenu Shochnei Ofor vhu broshom.

Menachem Mendel LiebermanElad – The Holy Land

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