With great sadness and deep pain we inform you of the sudden passing of Rabbi Yerachmiel Binyomin HaLevi Klein OBM one of the Rebbe’s Mazkirim. He was 79 years old.
Born in Jerusalem, Rabbi Binyomin Klein was a thorough Jerusalemite when he arrived at the Central Lubavitcher Yeshivah in Brooklyn, New York in 1956. During his time-off from studying, he assisted the chief aide to the Rebbe, Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Aizik Hodakov, with various duties.
After his marriage to Laya Schusterman, the couple moved to Australia to head a small Chabad community. In 1964, the Klein’s returned to the United States. Rabbi Hodakov invited Rabbi Klein to commence work as the Rebbe’s aide, and he soon agreed.
Rabbi Hodakov then told him, “I cannot tell you not to hear anything, because there is no way you won’t hear what is going on. I cannot tell you not to see anything, because there is no way you will not see what is happening. However, one word of advice: do not talk. Do not repeat to others what you have seen here in these offices.”
During the many years that Rabbi Klein worked as the Rebbe’s aide, the Rebbe always introduced a task with a disclaimer, “If it is not too hard for you, please do the following…”
And when Rabbi Klein completed a task, the Rebbe never failed to thank him.
Rabbi Klein served as the Rebbe’s aide for three decades. Throughout that time he continually marveled at the Rebbe’s immense patience, his approaching each person as if he or she were the only person in existence at that moment. The Rebbe’s focus on each individual was steadfast.
Until the early 1980s, hundreds would arrive weekly for private audiences with the Rebbe. Later, thousands would meet with the Rebbe for a few brief moments on Sundays, where the Rebbe would give each visitor a dollar to give to charity. There were no criteria to meet with the Rebbe. The Rebbe seldom interrupted someone mid-sentence. At the summation of the meeting the Rebbe would only slightly indicate that their time had come to a close, and the visitor would understand the cue.
Once, a woman asked if she could speak with the Rebbe last, despite the fact that she’d scheduled an early appointment. When her turn finally arrived, the hour was very late. She spoke to the Rebbe for quite some time, with no indication of finishing. The Rebbe listened patiently. Rabbi Klein entered the room and told her that the audience was ending, yet she continued to speak.
When the conversation seemed to be completed, the Rebbe stood up and prepared to go home. However, the woman continued to speak, and the Rebbe listened as he put his coat on and headed to the doorway. The Rebbe wished her well and headed home.
Upon arriving home, the Rebbe phoned Rabbi Klein, who was still in the office, and said, “Please arrange for two students to escort the woman to her home in a taxi. I will pay for the taxi.”
He is survived by his wife Laya and their children, Mrs. Rochel Gordon (London, England) Mrs. Faigei Sudak (London, England) Mrs. Chani Garelik (Crown Heights), Mrs. Shterna Krinsky (Manchester, NH), Rabbi Levi Klein (Memphis, TN), Mrs. Esti Ciment (Little Rock, AR), Mrs. Rivky Grossbaum (Minnetonka, MN), Mrs. Devorie Schmerling (Far Rockaway, NY) Mrs. Miriam Moscowitz (Chicago, IL), Rabbi Yanky Klein (Moscow, Russia).
The Levaya will take place today, Friday, at 3:00pm at Shomrei Hadas and passing by 770 at around 4:00pm.
Boruch Dayan Hoemes