Man of Chesed: R' Shlomo Zakheim ztz"l

 

An exceptional individual, R' Shlomo Zakheim, may the memory of the righteous be a blessing, has ascended on high at the age of 59 after a difficult illness and great suffering.  It is with the wonders of Divine Providence that this person, who sold medical services and donated millions upon millions to medical organizations was taken on high by such an illness.  Hashem directs the world in His wisdom, and we are unable to understand His secrets.

 

This man who became wealthy through providing medical services and equipment did not contemplate for even a moment of keeping the money for himself.  Rather he generously donated to Torah, medical and Chesed institutions and organizations.  Every person who came in contact with him felt that his kindness was not only on account of the Divine command but rather was his natural character.  The heart of this generous person was open to any distress and human need.  And with his smile and illuminated face, he touched everyone's heart who spoke with him.

 

He possessed a unique trait that he not only answered anyone who came to him for aid, he also went out to help others.  When he heard that the Arabs were bombing Southern Israel, he and others visited Sederot in order to support, strengthen and show solidarity, and he even donated a Sefer Torah there.  When he heard about the hideous murder of the Fogel family, he volunteered to help.  And, in particular, he opened his heart to the suffering of Jonathan Pollard, who has sat in an American prison for 10,155 days.  R' Shlomo employed every possible way to help him and aided anyone who came to visit Jonathan.  I – the lowly – visited R' Shlomo a few years ago when I came to visit Jonathan.  He told me: I will fly you from New York to the prison on my private plane.  When we took off from the small airport, it became clear that there was a problem with his plane.  We returned to the airport.  On the spot, he rented another airplane and flew us to visit Jonathan.  Later, he hosted a friend and me, and when he heard that we were from Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim, he - of his own initiative - wrote a generous check as a donation.  And he offered: "Here is the key to my house.  My house is your house.  Anytime you are in New York, you are welcome to use it" (although we did not need to take him up on his kindness).

 

This pillar of Torah and Chesed was an incredibly humble person.  He had the utmost respect and was submissive to Torah scholars.  And he did not lord over others.  He was quiet, modest and spoke with everyone as a friend with his gentle smile.

 

R' Shlomo built a small Shteibel in his mother's house, so he could visit her often.  After we Davened there, he visited his mother and showed her great honor which flowed from him in a natural and sweet manner.

 

We stand awed before this man who possessed a holy heart, a wholesome fear of Heaven and who always justified himself by perform Chesed: "Hashem is good to me.  I will be good to others".

 

May his soul be bound up with all the other souls of the righteous.