The daughter of Hasidic leader Rabbi Yitzhak Rosenberg only found out about his untimely death via a WhatsApp message, haredi outlet Kikar HaShabbat reports Wednesday.
‘My day yesterday began like any other – nothing out of the ordinary,” she said. “At work I usually leave my phone on ‘silent,’ so I can concentrate and work more easily.”
“At 11:30 am yesterday, I saw people in the office gathering quietly off to the side and speaking softly,” she continued.
“I didn’t think it was anything unusual. But then I looked down at my phone at 11:45 and saw that there were 68 messages from 9 WhatsApp groups waiting for me.”
“I opened the first group, and in that instant my heart skipped a beat,” she recounted. “My fingers froze. I saw stars. All messages called Baruch Dayan Haemet to people who allegedly died in an accident in Florida.”
Rosenberg’s daughter realized that that moment that she was an orphan, she said.
“I lost my father,” she said. “I didn’t know anything about it and only found out because of WhatsApp. I tried to call my mother, but didn’t get through – [so] I went out of the office to call my brother. He confirmed the news, and my blood froze.”
“I want to discuss with you the recklessness of spreading the messages in WhatsApp groups,” she said, in a message sent to her own groups.
She warned of false messages, too, about the sick or dying. “Instead of saying Tehilim for recovery, people have entered a competition to see who could spread the bad news more quickly.”
Rosenberg and businessman Rabbi Haim Parnes drowned Tuesday after being pulled into a riptide along a North Miami Beach beachfront. Three others sustained serious injuries.
Wednesday morning, a private plane transported their bodies to Orange County, where they will be buried; thousands of people are expected at the funeral, according to local news reports.
Earlier Wednesday, it was revealed that Rosenberg had donated $50,000 to Satmar yeshivas in Israel hours before his death.