Apr 23, 2012
How Can I Thank You Now?
The Levaya for Rabbi Schtroks at 770 on Monday

Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum writes about his beloved teacher Rabbi Yeshaya Schtroks obm: "I always thought that I would somehow be able to repay you for all you taught me, and the imagined repayment was always in staggering levels."

By Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum, Shliach to Albert Einstein College of

I remember the first day that Rabbi Schtroks walked into our classroom. It was the room with the large multi-paned windows facing the circle, and he sat in a chair in the back of the room observing Rabbi Haller teaching. I remember afterwards discussing excitedly how he didn't see Rabbi Haller put a "freeze" on our points, and indeed, that part of Rabbi Haller's point system did not make it into Rabbi Schtroks' classroom.

Rabbi Schtroks came into a fledgling community school, staffed primarily by parents of students and faculty of the local yeshiva who were guilted into offering time to keep the cheder running. Each teacher and staff member gave a special character and added a unique aspect to our education, but it is safe to say that our rowdiness was a good study in the value of hiring professional educators. In one year, no less than eight teachers walked out on us. (not counting Rabbi Haller, whom we loved dearly, who moved to a shlichus position in South Africa). All of this changed with Rabbi Schtroks' entry into the school, and into our lives.

It's humbling to write about a teacher as influential as Rabbi Schtroks, because the more I write the more I realize how much I owe him. Rabbi Schtroks was much more than a teacher, Rabbi Schtroks was an educator - par excellence. What Rabbi Schtroks gave us was above and beyond information, it was seder, respect, diligence, chassidishkeit and above all, mentchlikeit. We learned more from the way that Rabbi Schtroks taught then from the lessons themselves. The comprehensive 'teitch' sheets with perfect lines and meticulous handwriting. the endless diagrams on the board (and Rabbi Schtroks blowing the chalk dust off of his finger tips after each entry :). I can still list to the quarter tefach every item in the mishkan and the details of their construction. When I sit down with my son to teach him trup, I make sure to find the notes listed in the order as Rabbi Schtroks taught us, and as I read them, his voice sings along with me in the background.

Likely the most difficult element to describe is his blend of strict discipline with a warm smile. I remember a conversation with a fellow classmate, Dov Greenberg, now a Shliach in Stanford University and a world renowned lecturer and writer. It was summer and we were talking about how much we liked having Rabbi Schtroks as a teacher. The conversation was focused on how now in the summer we were thinking about how much we liked him, but just watch, as soon as school starts we are going to remember how strict he is and we'll quickly forget. Looking back I know that it wasn't that way. It is hard to remember him teaching without seeing his warm smile or a light laugh that he would let escape from time to time. Yes, he 'controlled the classroom' but he used that as a platform to lovingly open our hearts and minds to reach a potential he saw reaching well above the goals we had set for ourselves.

Rabbi Schtroks would join us by recess and often join our games. He was a phenomenal pitcher. We grew up with a pitcher qualifying by facilitating hits, not preventing them, and Rabbi Schtroks could lob a ball so precisely that even the most challenged batter could make contact. Perhaps most relevant to a group of young boys playing sports during recess, he was a consistently fair referee.

Rounding out our education were the many extra-curricular topics that Rabbi Schtroks not only taught, but imbued in us. The beautiful sidrei nigunnim, the stories of the Rebbe told with true feeling, the lessons about minhagim and mostly the underlying element of actual chassidishkeit which came accross between the lines - a gift that he gave us which became part of us that is impossible to ever truly thank him for. Rabbi Schtroks taught our class for four or five years. I've always seen him not as a teacher but as a founding element in who and what I am.

As I write this, the reality of his passing is slowly sinking in. There is a knot in my stomach when I think that he will never read these words, that the next time he will smile and extend his rock-solid handshake will be with Moshiach, but at the same time there is a certain respect to the knowledge that he worked tirelessly, invested endless effort, and saw time and again and again the fruit of his labor. His students, who often entered his class bouncing off the walls, are now shluchim in every corner of the globe. He saw them when they came back to Morristown for the Yomim Tovim with their children around them and they, acting as he taught them, as devoted husbands and fathers.

Rabbi Schtroks, it is difficult to thank someone for a meaningful gift, but I now face the impossible: How can I thank you for giving me everything that I am proud of about myself? This is a moment of truth, a time to honestly think where I would be without your influence, and I must say that I find your impact in every aspect of my life. To find words to express this is impossible so instead I pray with all my heart that hashem repay you for your efforts with us, and give your children the strength to continue in your ways. To give you the joy and the nachas, as you watch from Heaven, to see them follow in your footsteps and to make you, the Rebbe and the entire Jewish nation proud.

I always thought, in the back of my mind that I would somehow be able to repay you, and the imagined repayment was always in staggering levels. Some life-saving act, some truly life-altering introduction or something along those lines. Sadly I will never be able to even tell this to you personally, however, as I sign this with great difficulty, I commit, as I'm sure do all of your talmidim across the globe, that should your children ever need anything, if there should ever be a way that we can help, we will jump to the opportunity to give back a tiny bit of what we owe to you.

With love and heartfelt appreciation,
Your talmid,
Zalman Teitelbaum

Shiva Information for the Schtroks family:

Mrs. Suri Schtroks and his children Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schtroks, Mrs. Tzippora Klyne, Mendel, Sholom Ber, Shneur Zalman, Shmulik, and Levi
and siblings: Rabbi Falik Schtroks, Mrs. Bluma Perl, Mrs. Sheindel Levertov, and Mrs. Nechama Reinitz will be sitting at 12 Tikvah Way, Morristown NJ

Shacharis: 6:45, 8:15, two minyanim at 9:15, two minyanim at 9:45
Mincha: two minyanim at 2:00pm, two minyanim at 3:00pm and two at 7:30pm
Mariv bezmano

Mrs. Sheindel Levertov and Nechama Reinitz will be sitting in Crown Heights at 1572 President street on Friday and Motzei Shabbos until 10:30 pm.

Mrs. Bluma Perl will be sitting in her home - Chabad of Mineola, 261 Willis ave, Mineola Friday and Motzei Shabbos: until 10:30pm

Rabbi Yossell and Mendel Schtroks and Mrs. Fruma Weg will be sitting in London, England
call 44 208 806 1674 for location

As of now his mother and parents-in-law have not been informed yet. Please use caution when speaking with the family

For nichum aveilim or to share stories please email: schtroksfamily@gmail.com

Most Read Most Comments

Opinions and Comments
This is a most profoundly beautiful article about a profoundly beautiful person - someone I have known since before his Bar Mitzvah, and who knew me way before that. Thank you for sharing these heartfelt words.
(4/23/2012 9:28:41 AM)
very nice!
(4/23/2012 9:39:34 AM)
zalman, are we related?
I started writing about rabbi schtroks then seeing this letter that you (my brother) wrote it looks like you took the words of my page, only, without ever seeing it.

The same goes for everyone I spoke to. This is a testament to his consistancy and commitment.

- choni
(4/23/2012 9:41:47 AM)
Yasher Koach!!
What a masterpiece!! Many thanks for sharing. You're eloquently written article has moved me to tears! May this tragedy be the last of it's kind! Surely the heavens are overcrowded by now ! May we all be reunited with our loved ones with Moshiach NOW!!!!!!!!!
(4/23/2012 9:44:54 AM)
True Chassidim!
(4/23/2012 9:54:44 AM)
Perhaps it would be a good lesson for the rest of us, to express our appreciation and gratitude to our melamdim and mechanchos while we can. It's an under appreciated position and definitely, under paid! Thank you teachers and principal for all you do for our children!! They would not be who they are today, without you.
A Mother
(4/23/2012 10:11:29 AM)
condolences, i remember when was in tiferes, moshiach now
(4/23/2012 10:18:35 AM)
brought a tear to my eye
although i'm not a student, i know rabbi shtrocks as my fathers best friend.
(4/23/2012 10:23:08 AM)
Just to add

Have no doubts,
your letter has been read already by Rabbi Schtroks obm

(4/23/2012 10:33:06 AM)
Moved to tears
I read this article , tears pouring down my face; What an amazing piece of writing, and how eloquently put. The writer speaks for all of us , whose lives he touched as students or friends,who are truly devastated by his passing, still reeling from shock;
Boruch dayan Hoemess
(4/23/2012 10:33:45 AM)
Alumni Morristown bochur
I have lots of friends that went through Rabbi Shctorks's class and they always praised him to the high heavens.
Very imotional article.
(4/23/2012 10:37:12 AM)
My feelings exactly
When I think of everything that Rabbi Schtroks tought me in my 2 years with him, I realize what an impact he had on my life. But it's not just the mishnayos that he tought, or gemara for the first time, or trup, or teaching me yiddish (and English too, for that matter!), or the nigunim that I'll have forever, most of all, he tought me to be a mentch.
There's not question that he was able to accomplish more in his short opportunity here than many people are able to in a much longer time span.
He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten.
(4/23/2012 11:17:44 AM)
Thank you
to #12: "There's no question that he was able to accomplish more in his short opportunity here than many people are able to in a much longer time span." How true. And that is a little bit of comfort.
Every year the boys in his class would make him a "surprise" birthday party on 24 Adar. And every year, he would be "wowed" again. He cared so deeply about each individual child. May we all learn from him.
(4/23/2012 11:32:08 AM)
One author speaks for hundreds of hearts

I had started writing a letter to explain to the world the caliber of the soul that it had lost, and the void that his passing left.

Your letter is identical to mine, although by the time he taught me he had already perfected his craft.

Thank you for so eloquently sharing my thoughts and emotions, and thank you Rabbi Schtroks for everything you taught me, both in and out of the classroom....
(4/23/2012 11:33:38 AM)
very saddened father
I was so looking forward to my son being taught by him next year. What a great loss for Klall Yisroel and many generations of students and teachers learning from him as well. G-d willing Moshiach come now so this can happen.
(4/23/2012 11:33:50 AM)
A Former Talmid
I am a Talmid of Rabbi Schtroks. I learnt by him for two years. The amazing thing is how all of his Talmidim, from 24 years of teaching, all have the exact same feelings towards him!

What a loss! He was such a special man, and even young children were able to sense this! The fact I will never see him until Moshiach makes me cry out in pain.

We always kept a Kesher, for he meant so much to my life. The beautiful years I had sitting in his classroom will never be forgotten.

If only all teachers today would come to the 'piyates' of Rabbi Schtroks, our children would look very different.

May the Oibershter have Rachmanus on his special children, some which are of my best friends. From the most Eidel. I watched them mourn for their mother (a true Tzadeikes in her own merit), and now seeing them mourn their father..... Only the Oibershter knows what kind of pain they are going through!

Even his students which drifted off the path always knew that Rabbi Schtroks is someone which will listen to them and give them his warm smile.

Baruch Dayan Haemes.

May the Oibershter wipe away our tears. Umocho Hashem Dimoh Meial Kol Ponim.
(4/23/2012 11:58:31 AM)
oy mendel i fell tereible for you
(4/23/2012 12:22:56 PM)
To #6
As a Mechanech who works day and night for the Chinuch of Der Rebbe's Kinder I want to second what you said. Besides being under appreciated and definitely under paid, Mechanchim constantly get phone calls from parents that have complaints and almost never for recognition for what they have done and continue to do for the Heiliker Kinderlach...Der Ikar Moshiach Zol Kumen NOW!
(4/23/2012 1:09:07 PM)
"How Can I Thank You Now?"
Maybe the best way for us to thank him is to go to someone we see NOW, someone who has done goodness for us or our children, to call him/her TODAY and thank them! Why wait?
(4/23/2012 1:49:38 PM)
to # 18
we need alot more mechanchim like Rabbi Schtroks
(4/23/2012 1:59:58 PM)
My years with Rabbi Schtrocks were the best years of my life.
Aside for him being my teacher in the classroom, he was the perfect man to know as a person, with so much love and care for everyone, he loved every child as of they were his own and he taught them to care for peoples feelings and have an appreciation for Yiddishkeit and Chassidishkeit, I remember how every day after ravening he would ask us, so what's special about today, because for everyday he would have another reason why it was special, (either it was the day that the tanna reb yossi was born or the 4th day of creation) whatever the case he had a reason to hold that day special and he gave us that appreciation for Jewish history like noone else, I will truly miss him and I wish for Moshoach to come right now so we can be reunited with him the Rebbe and all our loved ones.

To the family this article sheds a tiny bit of light on a truly large and special man, there is not enough words to describe him in and no words can do justice to tell all about his personality and life.
(4/23/2012 2:03:45 PM)
Tchiyas hameisim should be inminently....
our dear nephews, we accompany you in this time of such pain, thank you Zalmen (and Chony) for writting as specially as you did....may you continue to go in the ways of Rabbi Schtrocks, mechail el choyil and we wish you and all those that miss him so much already, to meet inminently once again with Moshaich Now
Feter Nosn and mume Rivka
(4/23/2012 2:40:00 PM)
beautifully written, zalman. thank you.
(4/23/2012 3:00:05 PM)
Hamokom Yinachem
I never met Rabbi Schtroks but somehow his tziyur tells one that he was a special person.
I join the community in mourning this great loss and wish his family comfort and blessings for our immediate redemption, vhaykitzu vranninu...
(4/23/2012 3:04:05 PM)
NO words can describe the breath of this chosid
Bit by bit, like a water dripping on a stone, made lasting impressions to all his talmidim... a shining example of what a rebbe / student relationship should be.
(4/23/2012 3:27:20 PM)
A teacher
Today I walked into Rabbi Schtrocks' classroom. On the board was the date and other information about the day,(as he always does) from Friday, written by Rabbi Schtrocks. Under, was a long line and "Do not erase, A $1000 fine and suspension if you do!" written by the students.
They are holding onto everything they can!
(4/23/2012 4:50:44 PM)
beautiful written Reb Zalman Teitelbaum
I feel really sad for the out lost. I did not know Rabbi Schtocks personally but I herd about his excellent methods and love for the talmidim. Thank you for sharing with us your letter.

Pinchas Margolis
(4/23/2012 5:04:51 PM)
Perhaps someone in the US can start a URGENT fund for he's wife and children which 2 of them are to be married next month.

Perhaps this would be hakoras hatov for all he has done.
(4/23/2012 5:35:48 PM)
Thank You Zalmen
As someone who was there seeing so many cheder alumni come to pay respects to their Rebbi I was touched to tears from your article. Rabbi Schtrocks had a way of making every child in the Cheder, every year, even when they were not in his official class, that he was their Rebbi and that he loved them. We will all miss him greatly and we wish all his children Koach to continue on, and with the coming of GEulah right now may you be Zoche to be reunited with both your parents again.
(4/23/2012 6:22:42 PM)
I met him only once, but
Sometimes, there are Chassidim who I only meet once, and for a few minutes at that. I hardly remember most of them, but one of those whom I do remember was Rabbi Shtroks AH. I did not even catch his first name, as I met him at a loud simcha. Nevertheless, we spoke for a few minutes, and there was something special about him that made me remember him over five years after that one meeting. Now, I join everyone in shouting Ad Mosai and hoping for vehekitzu...vehu besoicham.
(4/23/2012 7:11:23 PM)
beautiffully written
what a beautiful piece written from the heart. May all of us only have Simchas to share from now on!
(4/23/2012 8:16:42 PM)
Tears reading this. Heart breaking. I never met him and I feel the loss.....
(4/23/2012 8:44:06 PM)
To his kids
I am so sorry for the pain u r going through. I knew your father personally and respected him very much and after reading all these beautiful messages realise how special he truly was. We are all in shock and saddened and we wish you all our love, May moshiach come now to ease all our suffering x
(4/23/2012 8:48:32 PM)
Gershon beck
A few months ago rabbi struchs was visiting oak park michigan and told me the following. Before coming to morristown He wrote to the Rebbe , " should I go on shelichas in Chicago or be a teacher in morristown ?". The rebbes reply " you should go to morristown on shelichas".
He is sorely missed. We need moshiach.
(4/23/2012 9:21:01 PM)
thank you for sharing
from a family member
(4/23/2012 9:49:06 PM)
We will miss him
I am in tears and fill ill writing this, just cannot beleave this,Theirs really no words to describe rabbi schtroks, a man who cared so much for not only his children but for his students and his friends and family, he was such an amazing guy to be around, he's smile / company will be missed forever from so many across the world...
All his family I wish only simchas from now and on untill moshiach...we will miss you so much rabbi schtroks
(4/23/2012 10:15:17 PM)
to all alumni
lets get together to make a fund. i am sure that this is desperately needed.
zalman, sholem, shneur, yossi, mendy, are you ready?
(4/23/2012 10:29:15 PM)
What a touching letter and connection you had with r schtrocks
(4/23/2012 11:36:28 PM)
Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum
Rabbi Zalman: Now I can thank you publicly.

This is the moment to tell the story. This will just confirm the Chinuch that you got in Cheder from my dear Chaver Shaye.

On a flight from Minnesota, a couple of summers ago with one of my children who spent his summer in YKM, we made a stopover in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Apparently the airline overbooked, and while on stopover they started allowing new passengers onto the airplane, and one by one they were looking to make more place for new passengers, and at the last minute they decided to bump me (or my son) off from the second leg of the flight.

I tried to explain to the flight crew that we were a father and son flying together to no avail, and I started getting up from my seat to deplane.

Suddenly a Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum boards the plane and he notices what was happening, so quietly and unassumingly, he asks the stewardess if he can give me his place on the flight so I can stay on with my son, and he will fly on another flight a couple of hours later.

After the flight attendant agreed, despite my protestations, Rabbi Zalman walked right off the plane just to allow me to stay on with my son to complete the flight.

Rabbi Zalman: After reading your heartfelt letter of thanks to Shaye, I now know where you got your Chinuch.

Thank you Zalman, you added to my pride of the Rebbe's Shluchim.

Thank you Shaye for bringing up such upstanding Shluchim.

A grieving Chaver,
Yosef Katzman
(4/24/2012 12:36:15 AM)
Oy Chaval Al Deavdin vlo Mishtachin!
I didn't know Rabbi Strocks personally. When I was a bochur in Tomechi though I could sense from just observing him he was a special person.
What stands out in my mind I was in 770 for Rosh Hashanah I remember the impression he made on me. Just looking at him I could see he was totally absorbed in this holy day.
(4/24/2012 1:54:03 AM)
Has alreadyset up a fund for the family and in the midst of raising funds.
Please contribute and coordinate any efforts with them
(4/24/2012 6:57:41 AM)
Donate to the Schtroks family
Help the family by donating to them at -http://www.theshluchimfund.com/ -
(4/24/2012 7:53:21 AM)
Dont talk about helping just help!!!!
Unfortunately me and my family have gone through difficult times. People seem to be very busy after originally telling you "if you need anything, I mean anything give me a call' .I did not write this intending on being negative I am writing this in hope that people actually help the Shtroks family. For all that help the family out whether its financial or just to be there for the mother and kids when they need may you be blessed with only simchas in your families.
(4/24/2012 10:12:40 AM)
Bear in mind what the needs are
There are ka"h 5 boys who will need to get married down the line, and by then most of us will have forgotten of their existence.

And lets not overlook the 2 Kalla's, daughters of his wife, who will be getting married in the next few months as well as some of her other children who will get married eventually.

There are 4 boys who have a nice few years in yeshiva for which a lot of tuition has to be paid.

Reb Shaye lived in the Morristown Yeshiva complex all his life, how long will they be able to continue living there, so new living facilities or a new home will be needed, and that will cost a lot more than what rent cost in Morristown.

The bottom line is, now when we are in pain over the loss and we contemplate the magnitude of the tragedy, lets dig deep into our hearts and our pockets to insure that there will be funds for at least another 10 years until the entire family goes on to build their own families with G-d's help.

Until then, its up to us and what we do now!
(4/24/2012 11:26:03 AM)
Let's care for someone who always cared for others
Let's make sure that one thing shuld not lack and that is $
As tuff as times are for most of those who left comments and are coming back to read more,this family needs more then our
Tears fund has been set up for them give 5$ or$ 5,000 or more! contribute something! So the family should not have to ask
His pride can still remain intact

Another soul changed by rabbi shtruks
(4/24/2012 1:17:45 PM)
Act now!
Donate to the Schtroks family
Help the family by donating to them at -http://www.theshluchimfund.com/ -
100 percent of the proceeds go to the family
(4/24/2012 1:45:54 PM)
to comment # 26
Which teacher are you? I,Lippy, wrote it on the board, who are you?
(4/24/2012 7:13:02 PM)
True Strength


Thank you for putting our feelings into words, well written words. I can picture myself in the classroom just to the right of the Cheder entrance, and the precise scene our first day with Rabbi Schtroks.

He called me the Zaide of the class. On a recent visit to Morristown, we reminisced about those days, with the distinction of; Rabbi Schtroks referring to me as Reb Shmuel, versus Shmuly. While I did not have Rabbi Schtroks as a Rebbi for the 5 years you mention, the time I spent in his class before our family moved was significant.

As I read and reread your letter, you helped me understand a scene from Rosh Hashono Nun Alef.

From day one in the classroom, Rabbi Schtroks stood tall and firm. That was my first impression and it was a lasting impression.

RH Nun Alef was my first RH by the Rebbe. I had a place to the side of the washing machine for Davening and Tekios. The scene of Bochurim getting to their places was quite the spectacle for a 14 year old first timer.

From the get go, I took notice of Rabbi Schtroks, clearly identified by his Tallis, standing in the front rows, just about as close to the Rebbe as one could get. As the physical challenges set in, not everyone was able to maintain their ground and some were even hoisted out (not by choice). Rabbi Schtroks stood strong. As a former talmid, I was proud to see him up there.

Tekios were over, the Rebbe returned to the front of 770, and I was surveying the aftermath of the washing machine. Thats when I noticed our Rebbi. He was sitting on a crate, his face was more red than red, he looked worn and defeated. I remember thinking to myself, Rabbi Schtroks is tall and strong, this cant be my Rebbi.

I now look back and recognize the true strength of that moment.

Rabbi Schtoks was a model, he did not preach, he practiced. He lead the way by demonstrating. On RH, Rabbi Schtroks has the inner strength to take a physical beating in order to stand strong with his eternal Hiskashrus to the Rebbe.

I approached him to see if I can get him some water. Too weak to talk, he signaled that he was ok. And he was! He just heard the Rebbe blow Shofar and was internally strengthened!

Zalman, Binyomin, Avi, Yossi, Dov, Bumi...we were given the gift of a Mechanech. Rabbi schtroks was not our teacher, he was the Rebbes Shliach to our class to be mekarev us. He cared enough to not be chased away.

Vhachai Yiten El Libo.

(4/25/2012 2:17:24 AM)
you took the words out my mouth! please please donate now whatever you are able to. Definitely a worthy cause to put your maaser money
(4/26/2012 10:58:22 PM)
Hamokom yenachem...
Suri...thinking of you...
(4/28/2012 8:44:29 PM)
To Shmuly from number 48
Wow. Yasher Koach for this powerful lesson!
(4/29/2012 1:43:41 AM)

(5/3/2012 9:02:07 PM)
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