This blog is dedicated to our dear friend, Nosson Deitsch OBM, who was tragically torn away from us on Lag B’Omer 5770.

Nosson was a one-of-a kind Bochur who influenced many people, from all ages and backgrounds. He had a perpetual smile on his face and an extremely generous heart. He would do the biggest favor for a friend with only a moment’s notice. All those who knew him feel they had a unique relationship with him.

There are many untold stories of his selflessness, kindness, and the affect he had on countless lives. Please share your story, so that others can get a glimpse into his unique character and towering accomplishments.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Groiseh Hartz!

By Mendy Tzfasman

ב"ה, כ"ה אייר, יום מ' לעומר, ה'תש"ע

לכבוד משפחת דייטש שיחיו

My earliest memories of Nosson are of him sitting in the Sassover Shul for many hours after the Minyan was finished, watching and listening to his father’s Davening. While his father Davened be’arichus, Nosson would learn Tanya Bal Peh, even at that early age, he would often speak about the special geshmak that he had in Tanya Bal Peh.

When we were in shuir beis misivteh we always used to compete in Tanya Bal Peh, we were always discussing “vu halts du? Vu halts du?” But Nosson never told anyone where he was holding. Nosson used to get up every day much earlier than everybody else, he would go to be mashlim a minyan, and that was the time he used to learn Tanya Bal Peh, because no one was around so early in the morning, no one really knew where he was up to. The typical scene every morning when we came to Chassidus was of Nosson standing by a specific pile of chairs in the back of the Shull chazering Tanya Bal Peh. We knew that he was covering ground, but we were never exactly sure and he would never tell us clearly where he was holding. At a certain point we realized that according to our calculations Nosson must have finished all fifty three perokim.

Nosson also had tremendous shkida ve’hasmoda, if I have any sheichus to shkeide ve’hasmosdeh today it’s only because Nosson inspired me. When we were in Yeshivah Ketaneh in Staten Island together he was the biggest masmid by far in the whole Yeshivah. It was a small Yeshivah, and sometimes it was hard to make a shturem, but Nosson used to learn with a huge koch, and his tremendous chayes made a big roishem. At the time, Nosson’s impact on the entire Yeshivah was very nikar, because like I said, there were only a few of us and without him it would have been very quite in Zal. Nosson got up much earlier than anyone else and was the one he really set the tone, creating a real atmosphere of learning and a kol torah. He was the one he brought the whole place alive, and we all looked up to him and tried to emulate his special enthusiasm.

He always had a special Koch in learning Tanya Bal Peh and always used to encourage other people to learn Tanya Bal Peh too. I know that he once offered a certain bochur eighty dollars just to learn one perek Tanya Bal Peh. It wasn’t someone he knew particularly well, but he would do anything to get another guy to learn Tanya Bal Peh. He poshut wanted to share the special geshmak that he himself had with everyone he came into contact with.

Throughout all the years in Yeshivah, by lunch and by supper he always had chavruses with random people: bal habatim, frayer people, people who no one else would have paid attention to. Wherever he went, he would always find different people who would otherwise be left by the wayside, he would make a kesher with them, learn with them, shmooz with them, put on Teffilin with them and generally be a good friend to them.

One of the most obvious and outstanding things about Nosson was that he poshut had a good heart. Usually, when you ask someone to do you a favor, you have to make “a gantze cheshbon” if he will mind doing it for you, if he will be irritated by your request. Even if he’ll do it, you don’t feel comfortable, you are scared to pressure someone to much… But when it came to Nosson, that cheshbon never entered my mind. You knew that whatever you would ask, whatever you needed, you could rely on Nosson do it for you without any pni’yus and with an emeseh geshmak. I always felt comfortable to ask him for a tovah.

When he did a favor for another, he did it with a complete heart. I never heard him complain that people took advantage of him or drove him crazy. Whatever he was asked to do, he would do with a special chayes. I remember when his house would be overflowing with guests during Tishrei, I would ask him, “Doesn’t it tire you out, having so many people on your head?” But by him it was never a question, he never got tired of them and he was always happy to do someone a favor even at his own expense.

Once I asked about one of the many guests who he took in, “Who is this guy sitting in your basement?” it turned out that it bechlal wasn’t someone he knew well, just the friend of a friend of a friend…

Nosson loved to do a toveh a yidden, bein beruchnius bein begashmius, he had a gevaldikeh geshmak in dem. Whenever we needed somewhere for a farbrengen, Nosson would offer his basement, when an idea came up to make a shuir chassidus with Rabbi Yossi Jacobson, they were looking for a location and again Nosson offered his basement, bechlal we used to farbreng there together very often…

There are countless examples of Nosson’s generosity and his willingness to help. I remember that once when some bochurim came as guests to the Yeshivah in Kiryat Gat, Nosson went out of his way to help them out, finding them mattresses or beds, or whatever they needed. I told him not to bother, that they’ll be fine by themselves, that they don’t really need his help. But he never looked at things that way, his Ahvas Yisroel was always boundless and enthusiastic.

Whenever something had to be done or someone needed something, he would run right away to do it. Another small example, which I remember from Kiryat Gat, once some chiloni, Israeli guy came – he needed a sichat hashevua or something, I was standing right there but I wasn’t in the mood, I couldn’t be bothered to in help him out. But Nosson jumped up, and before I knew it, it was already done. There are so many little things which happened the whole time, and it was so natural, that it is hard to remember specific “stories”. These things happened all the time, without anyone taking notice – these where not things which Nosson did, that’s just who Nosson was.

Vos ken men shoin zogin, er hot poshet gehat a groiseh hartz!

A bochur I know needed a loan this past summer for a specific inyan. It wasn’t just a couple of hundred dollars, it was something like two thousand dollars or maybe more. He asked another bochur to help him out, but he told him that he can’t help him because he doesn’t have the required sum of money right now. Instead, he told the first bochur to call Nosson. That was the first thing he thought of, the first thing that entered his mind. When he called Nosson, Nosson didn’t ask him when he’ll be able to pay him back, but right away asked him, “Whats your account number?” so that he could put the money in his account, without any thought or cheshbon. This wasn’t because he had a lot of money, but simply because he poshut had a very generous heart.

It’s hard to put in words or explain with specific stories, but by Nosson this was a nafshiesdike inyen. Nosson was like a father to our entire class, he was the only one who kept in contact with everyone, he always knew where everyone was and what everyone was doing. In every class you can split the guys into different groups, different kvutzes, each guy hangs out and keeps in-touch with his specific chevreh. But by Nosson there was no such thing, he had a sheichus to every kevutza, to every single bochur. Just as you call up your father to find out how your siblings are getting on, if I ever wanted to find out about a bochur who I was out of touch with, I just called Nosson, he knew everything that was going on with everyone.

After Pesach, this year he came over to me mamesh besimchah gedolah, “Mendy!” with the gantze lebidgkeit, he started telling me about a certain bochur who from our class who was coming to Crown Heights. This was a bochur who no one else in our class really had a sheichus with, I hadn’t been in contact with him or even thought about for a long time. But Nosson knew exactly where he was and what he was doing, he really cared and he was all exited, telling me I have to call him and arrange a chavruseh with him in 770. Of course, I followed Nosson’s advice and we ta’ke set up a chavruse’shaft. I remember the way he cared about another bochur, who no one else really cared about, he was mamesh like a father who cared for our whole class. Another bochur – also someone who no one else really had a sheichus to – told me that Nosson used to call him every two weeks.

He was totally non-judgmental and you could always speak openly with him, no one was ever worried that he would take things personally, that he would think bad of you or bear a grudge. I can’t remember him ever saying a bad word or putting down anyone. He just wasn’t like that at all, he wasn’t shiach to feel any kind animosity to another person. With Nosson you always felt comfortable.

I cherish the special relationship that we shared personally. Like I said you never felt shy or embarrassed with Nosson and you felt comfortable expressing yourself to him openly. With most people you can’t open up your heart and express your private thoughts and hergeishim, but with Nosson you could speak openly. I remember him once telling me on the phone that even though he doesn’t necessarily speak with me as often as some others, he feels that he has “a special ‘ofenner’ connection” with me. He used to call me up and tell me “Nu ven vet men onhoiben davenen? ven vet men shoin veren Chassidim fun Rebbin?’ These conversations that we had, where very open conversations, we used to talk about ruchniesdike inyonim, which you don’t usually feel comfortable speaking about. But with Nosson there were no inhibitions, he was a real friend and he really cared.

By him it was opgeliged that he was going on Shlichus, he used to tell me about his plans for the future. I remember him telling me that he’ll bring me down as a bal teffila, for his Chabad-House and he used to joke about paying me, “I’ll give you whatever you need, you’ll come - you’ll see everything will be gevaldik!”

When I came to Kiryat Gat just now, mamesh the Thursday before Lag ‘B’Omer someone came over and told me that Nosson wants to know if I arrived yet, how I’m doing… that’s how he was, Nosson was always looking out for other people and interested in their welfare.
It is really very difficult to fully explain what a special friend Nosson was to me and to so many others, there are no words and no stories that can properly bring out such emeseh friendship and generosity…

המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים,
מנחם מענדל צפתמן

4 comments:

  1. Wow, sounds like a real friend. How lucky you are. Please continue to keep Nosson alive

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  2. wow!
    I just have now words!

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  3. "Our fingerprints don't fade from the lives that we touch"
    I feel this quote really brings out Nosson's Essence!

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  4. Mendy,
    I remember when you came to Yeshivas kayitz in Springfield as Nosson's chavrusa. I know that you had a special yachas with Nosson. Your words are so beautiful, yotsim min halev. I am sure that I speak for others too and thank you for sharing such wonderful, heartfelt insights about such a unique person,friend and chavrusa.

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