R' Motul - The French Bochur that changed my life

R’ Motul – The French Bochur that changed my life

R’ Menahem 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 etched in my soul, a little story that changed my daily routine and my outlook on life. ” Whole story

Dear Pevzner family,

I am truly sorry to learn of the untimely passing of your father – Motul AH and would like to send you my condolences from the bottom of my heart.

I would like to share with you a little story of your amazing 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 etched in my soul, a little story that changed my daily routine and my outlook on life.

First, a little introduction:

At that time, the observance of the seder in 770 was conducted in such a way that supervision was not a strong point. If someone decided to stick to the seder, they did so understanding the value of it and on their own initiative. (There was someone who occasionally recorded attendance, but not beyond that.)

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

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

All this is a prelude to the next story:

I had the privilege of studying as a full student in the chatzer of Rabbi 770 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, since I was “from the Israeli group” while he was “from the American group”. Usually there isn’t, and there shouldn’t be any connection between the groups, and that was also the case in our case.

It was one morning, the last day of the month of Tèves, at the height of the New York winter. It snowed a lot that morning, I remember waking up to a freezing morning in the dorm at 2:14 p.m. In the bedroom there was a powerful heater, plus we were all covered in thick down blankets , hot inside but cold outside, very cold!

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

Despite everything, I got up and left 1414 in the direction of Union St. mikveh and from there around 770 in order to arrive in time for Seder Hasidus. I remember myself walking through the pile of deep snow, the early morning silence and stillness was clearly visible from every corner of the street.

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

I remember very well that inside I felt a bit strange. I sit here alone, no one is standing, no one is present. The bad instinct took hold of me, maybe it would have been better to stay in bed a little longer…

It’s 7:25 a.m. Lo and behold, I hear the main entrance door of 770 open. I couldn’t see who entered, since I was sitting inside the little zal, I only heard heavy footsteps, feet pounding hard on the ground.

Without seeing who it was, I already knew it was the innocent Frenchman Bochur Mottel Pevzner, his different gait betrayed him, and I knew it was he who was entering now, I saw him panting as if after a supreme effort. to arrive on time.

He entered the little zal, looked for the clock on the wall, turned to the clock and said to himself: Ahhhh… Boruch hashem! Borush Hashem! And a special supreme happiness was visible on her face.

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

He didn’t notice that I saw him exclaim “Ahhhh… Boruch hashem, boruch hashem” he thought to himself. But for me it was enough. before me stood a real soldier. Simple, innocent, inner and God fearing. He does not take into account the cold outside, physical limitations, the greatest happiness for him is to be able to go to the seder on time. This happiness is pure joy!
After 20 minutes a few more bochurim came, then a few more, that seder amounted to maybe 15 bochurim that got up that morning.

I won’t forget what I felt that morning in the little zal – I was thinking here, Motul, a bochur older than you, his walk was hard for him, he had every excuse not to get up this morning. However, he gets up, he walks, he arrives, and his great happiness is to have been able to get to the seder in time without taking into account what is 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 (!) that I had trouble getting up, I remembered the same joy that could be read on Mottel’s face, and I could no longer stay in bed.

Over the years I’ve told this story many times to my students, I haven’t met Mottel since then, as I live in Israel and he lives in France, but I owe him much of the inner influence what his military character had on me, the acceptance of burdens and the inward fear of God of a rare and special genuine Tamim.

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

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

Menahem Mendel Lieberman
Elad – the Holy Land

A fund to support the family, a mother and 7 Yesomim was created. Please open your heart and click here to support the fund.

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