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It is with profound sorrow that we note the passing - after the first printing of this book - of the beloved, saintly Lakewood Mashgiach, Rav Noson Wachtfogel ZT'L on the second day of Kislev, 5759 (November 21, 1998).

As astounding as it was that Heaven, it would seem, saw fit to show, through the timing of Rav Schneur's passing, his integral place as a talmid and continuation of his great father in the basic development of Lakewood as an established Torah center (for as mentioned earlier, both passed away after heading the yeshiva for exactly ninteen years, seven months and two days!), it is all the more astounding, awe inspiring and yes, Emunoh /faith/ inspiring to see that Hashem, it would seem, saw fit to once again demonstrate for all to see that in heaven the Mashgiach too was considered a worthy talmid and integral component in the development of Lakewood Yeshiva - and through it the Torah world of America, who abetted and furthered the blessed work of Lakewood's great founder, for the second day of Kislev is the exact date of the passing of Rav Aharon Kotler ZT'L - thirty six years earlier. They both share the same yahrtzeit.

Thus the connection is complete; all three are linked together . . . "Vihachut Hamshulosh Lo Bimheiroh Yinotek -- the three stranded rope wont easily tear" . . . Yes, the blessed fruits of their labor continues and expands.

Indeed, as one of the original founding talmidim of Lakewood, and afterwards, as Mashgiach of Lakewood yeshiva for some fifty years, Rav Noson worked together with three generations of Roshei Yeshiva to help build Torah: to be a listening empathic ear, a loving guide and problem solver; to help convey to American students the concept of Torah study as a supreme value and Torah living as life's purpose and goal; to teach and guide in the concept, study and practice of mussar/diligent self improvement; of yiras shomayim/fear of Heaven; to teach character development, empathy, kindness and good deeds.

The Mashgiach taught with his wise words, but above all he served as an example of a true ba'al mussar who fought mightily to perfect himself in every facet of the service of Hashem. He was at once one of the sweetest, most self effacing of men, and at the same time one of the most dynamic of men, who has to his credit a significant share in the development of close to three generations of Bnei Torah, as well as all those individuals and communities who have and will be touched by Lakewood's "Community Kollel" program (see Overview) in which he had a very significant share. Indeed, in his later years, he was the driving force behind the proliferation of Community Kollelim and the founder of "Kollel International" whose goal is to provide communities throughout the Jewish world with centers of high level, in-depth Torah learning.

After his passing, the presidency of Kollel International has been assumed by his son, Rav Eli Ber Wachtfogel, Rosh Yeshiva of South Fallsburg, and Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, Rosh Yeshiva of Lakewood, who together with the Mashgiach's grandchildren, continue his blessed work.


On the last Yom Kippur of the Mashgiach's life, he was so ill and so weak that he was actually not even capable of holding a machzor in his own hands. Rather, a talmid had to hold the Machzor up for the Mashgiach to look at - all the while pointing with his finger to the place that the Mashgiach was up to.

It was the end of Ne'ilah-Shmoneh Esrei (the closing prayer of Yom Kippur) and the talmid heard the Mashgiach whisper - with boundless faith and devotion - his heart's desire: "Please Hashem, let me merit to build a Kollel wherever a community of Jews is to be found."


Amein! May Hashem answer his prayer through his successors.