By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Yehoshua Wilansky, a kindhearted Lubavitcher chossid who has been a long time resident of Crown Heights, passed away on Shabbos, 20 Shevat, 5779.
He was 87.
Raised in Brooklyn, R’ Shea was an only child to his parents. When his father passed away at a young age, his mother enrolled him in Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim Lubavitch in New York, making him one of its first students.
When he turned 13, his Bar Mitzvah celebration was hosted for him in 770 Eastern Parkway by Mrs. Chana Gurary, daughter of the Frierdiker Rebbe and wife of the Rashag.
As a bochur, Wilansky delivered meat for local kosher butchers and one of his delivery stops was the home of the Ramash, as the Rebbe was then known, and Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson. With the tips that he got, Wilansky would purchase food for Shabbos.
To expand his income, Wilansky later started a car service in the neighborhood and had the merit of personally driving the Rebbe on three different occasions.
After the passing of the Frierdiker Rebbe in 1950, Wilansky was one of the chassidim worldwide who signed the petition urging the Rebbe to take on the leadership of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement which eventually happened on the 10th of Shvat (5711) 1951.
As a bochur, he was sent to Rochester, NY to study shechita and he later also learned to be a mohel.
After his marriage to his wife Nechama, the couple moved on Shlichus to Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he served as a teacher of the Jewish school.
On the advice of the Rebbe, the couple moved back to Crown Heights to provide adequate chinuch for their children. The chinuch he provided was later reflected in his descendants becoming Shluchim themselves.
Family members described him as the embodiment of ahavas yisroel, with his home always open and welcoming to family and strangers alike.
“His family meant the world to him and he made sure to be at all their simchas,” COLlive.com was told. “He always had a friendly smile and was loved by everyone who knew him.”
In 2009, at the age of 78, “Zaidy Wilansky” completed learning the entire Shas and held a Siyum celebration participated in by family and members of Kollel Tiferes Zkeinim Levi Yitzchok at 770.
He said that the decision came at the age of 59 when he wondered what he would answer when asked in Heaven after his passing, ‘Shea, what did you learn in this world?’ He went on to decide to “get through Shas, even though I didn’t know if I would be able to do it.”
He was predeceased by his wife Mrs. Nechama Wilansky on 1 Teves 5771.
He is survived by his children, Rabbi Yossi Wilansky – Montreal, Canada; Rabbi Dovid Wilansky – Elizabeth, NJ; Rabbi Moshe Wilansky – Portland, Maine; Rabbi Chaim Wilansky – Crown Heights; Mrs. Toby Halon – Crown Heights; grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The levaya will take place tomorrow, Sunday, at Shomrei Hadas at 10am and passing by 770 at 11am.
Shiva will be at 1455 Carroll Street.
Mincha and maariv bzman
4 Minyanim needed.
Baruch Dayan Ha’emes: Yehoshua ben Dovid Leib