Rabbi Simcha Krauss
Rabbi Simcha Krauss zt”l was the founding Av Beit Din of the IBD. A true throwback to great Rabbis of prior generations, he possessed a breadth of scholarship and sagacious perspective that was matched only by his deep, religiously rooted compassion and zealous drive to right injustices. His legacy continues to inspire us as we carry on the crucial work of fighting iggun.
On this page, please find obituaries, reflections, and articles written in the shadow of his passing
An Aguna’s Tribute in Memory Of Rabbi Simcha Krauss Original Av Beit Din, International Beit Din
רב דוד ביגמןרב דוד ביגמן
וְאַתָּ֣ה תֶחֱזֶ֣ה מִכָּל־הָ֠עָם אַנְשֵׁי־חַ֜יִל יִרְאֵ֧י אֱלֹהִ֛ים אַנְשֵׁ֥י אֱמֶ֖ת שֹׂ֣נְאֵי בָ֑צַע
וְשַׂמְתָּ֣ עֲלֵהֶ֗ם שָׂרֵ֤י אֲלָפִים֙ שָׂרֵ֣י מֵא֔וֹת שָׂרֵ֥י חֲמִשִּׁ֖ים וְשָׂרֵ֥י עֲשָׂרֹֽת:
וְשָׁפְט֣וּ אֶת־הָעָם֘ בְּכָל־עֵת֒ וְהָיָ֞ה כָּל־הַדָּבָ֤ר הַגָּדֹל֙ יָבִ֣יאוּ אֵלֶ֔יךָ
וְכָל־הַדָּבָ֥ר הַקָּטֹ֖ן יִשְׁפְּטוּ־הֵ֑ם וְהָקֵל֙ מֵֽעָלֶ֔יךָ וְנָשְׂא֖וּ אִתָּֽךְ:
אִ֣ם אֶת־הַדָּבָ֤ר הַזֶּה֙ תַּעֲשֶׂ֔ה וְצִוְּךָ֣ אֱלֹהִ֔ים וְיָֽכָלְתָּ֖ עֲמֹ֑ד
וְגַם֙ כָּל־הָעָ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה עַל־מְקֹמ֖וֹ יָבֹ֥א בְשָׁלֽוֹם:
וַיִּשְׁמַ֥ע מֹשֶׁ֖ה לְק֣וֹל חֹתְנ֑וֹ וַיַּ֕עַשׂ כֹּ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר אָמָֽר:
וַיִּבְחַ֨ר מֹשֶׁ֤ה אַנְשֵׁי־חַ֙יִל֙ מִכָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וַיִּתֵּ֥ן אֹתָ֛ם רָאשִׁ֖ים עַל־הָעָ֑ם
שָׂרֵ֤י אֲלָפִים֙ שָׂרֵ֣י מֵא֔וֹת שָׂרֵ֥י חֲמִשִּׁ֖ים וְשָׂרֵ֥י עֲשָׂרֹֽת:
וְשָׁפְט֥וּ אֶת־הָעָ֖ם בְּכָל־עֵ֑ת
אֶת־הַדָּבָ֤ר הַקָּשֶׁה֙ יְבִיא֣וּן אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה וְכָל־הַדָּבָ֥ר הַקָּטֹ֖ן יִשְׁפּוּט֥וּ הֵֽם:1
וָאֲצַוֶּה֙ אֶת־שֹׁ֣פְטֵיכֶ֔ם בָּעֵ֥ת הַהִ֖וא לֵאמֹ֑ר שָׁמֹ֤עַ בֵּין־אֲחֵיכֶם֙
וּשְׁפַטְתֶּ֣ם צֶ֔דֶק בֵּֽין־אִ֥ישׁ וּבֵין־ אָחִ֖יו וּבֵ֥ין גֵּרֽוֹ:
לֹֽא־תַכִּ֨ירוּ פָנִ֜ים בַּמִּשְׁפָּ֗ט כַּקָּטֹ֤ן כַּגָּדֹל֙ תִּשְׁמָע֔וּן
לֹ֤א תָג֙וּרוּ֙ מִפְּנֵי־אִ֔ישׁ
כִּ֥י הַמִּשְׁפָּ֖ט לֵאלֹהִ֣ים ה֑וּא
וְהַדָּבָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִקְשֶׁ֣ה מִכֶּ֔ם תַּקְרִב֥וּן אֵלַ֖י וּשְׁמַעְתִּֽיו:2
ונפסק להלכה במשנה תורה:
וכן תלמיד שהיה יושב לפני רבו וראה זכות לעני וחובה לעשיר אם שתק הרי זה עובר משום “לא
תגורו מפני איש”, ועל זה נאמר “מדבר שקר תרחק”.4
בכך פעל הרב קראוס ברוח המבוא של הטור לחושן משפט:
2 דברים א, יג–יח.
3תוספתא סנהדרין א, ח; הובא גם בבבלי שם ו ע”ב ובירושלמי א, א.
4רמב”ם הלכות סנהדרין כב, ב.
To the blessed family of R’ Simcha HaKohen Krauss, A”H:
During this painful Shiva period, I offer you my most sincere words of eternal praise and gratitude for your illustrious patriarch;
(And as I write, I muse upon my choice of the word ‘patriarch’…. indeed, would a man whose unique life mission was to defend the Jewish woman be comfortable with such a title? Then again, who could be considered more of a true and worthy ‘patriarch’ than one who valiantly fought for the honor of the women & mothers of Israel!)
Pirkei Avot 2:6 – “In a place where there are no men… be a man.”
I can think of no better words to encapsulate my admiration for Rav Krauss.
Fearing nothing but the One Above, and refusing to yield to any politics nor social pressures, he took the lead where Klal Yisrael needed it so desperately.
At a young age, I found myself in a terrifying, abusive “marriage.”
After a few tormenting years, I managed to escape, fleeing with my toddler son, and leaving behind all of our possessions.
But freedom was far from mine, as I painfully began to discover.
At the ripe age of 25, I was an Aguna.
My recalcitrant ‘husband’ has spent the last number of years devoting himself to the cause of Get-refusal.
All along, I had assumed that Rabbis would surely stand for justice and come to my aid …yet this was the antithesis of the bitter reality which I confronted …..
Without expounding upon the inaction which I was offered by the 60 rabbis from whom I sought aid, I will attempt to depict for you the life-saving relief which R’ Krauss’ Beis Din & bravery provided;
As an Aguna, the thought of remaining alone and withheld the blessing of bearing children haunted me every moment of the day. Like a perpetual migraine, I couldn’t shake the pain of my reality, and fright of my future.
If not for R’ Krauss’ heroic application of Halacha, my fears would have come to fruition…. I would have remained an Aguna.
During that time, I grasped at faith and the belief that Hashem would orchestrate the necessary miracles…but every time I approached yet another rabbi who offered no answers, a dagger was plunged into my already- wounded heart.
Hence, I remember vividly the night when I learned of Rav Krauss’ Beit Din.
I was infused with a newfound hope! What solace to learn that not only did Halacha care for my well-being , but more so, that there existed a rabbi who cared, too!!
It was several months later and after a thorough investigation of my case, that I received notice of the Psak; my ‘sentence’ was terminated, I was to go free!!!
The day I received this news, I called my mother, and we cried.
Since that glorious, fateful day, I have taken much interest in this topic and the verdict becomes ever more clear – any opposition to the Torah’s of the IBD are unfounded; any critique is political and not Halachic.
R’ Krauss, a visionary in his own right, had the discernment to know this well.
But what amazes me most in his focused pursuit of Emet, was the degree of total selflessness with which he led his cause. Not only did he not receive (the rightfully deserved!) gain or acclaim, but he was confronted with criticism. And yet, responding sensitively to the tears of the Agunot, he carried on, unrelentingly.
When I first heard of this incredible rabbi, I was told a tale of a humble but persistent Jew who had served his people devotedly for many years. Finally, he made his way across the ocean to settle on the holy soil of Israel, and spend his final years amidst peace and Torah. But, alas, word of the raging Aguna pandemic reached his years. Unable to relax, this rabbi made a U-Turn straight back to the US to take up a mantle of leadership which no one else seemed to want.
And with that noble act, he saved me and many others….
All thanks to one rabbi who refused to stand by idly as Jewish women suffered unnecessarily!
With the advent of my freedom, I was blessed to remarry and further merited to celebrate the birth of another child, my darling Menachem Mendel.
The very life of my son is owed to R’ Krauss.
He, along with bzH any other future children I may have, will all be a literal zchut to Rav Krauss.
There is yet another incredible twist to all of this-
Menachem Mendel’s father is R’ Levi Yitzchak Feller, originally of Minnesota.
Prior to announcing our engagement, we discovered a Feller- Krauss connection which spanned multiple generations!
R’ Krauss’s mother had been good friends with Bubby Feller back in Minnesota. And likewise, R’ Krauss had been a childhood acquaintance of R’ Moshe Feller, Levi’s well-respected father.
Furthermore, it was thanks to young R’ Krauss’ positive influence that a teenaged Moshe Feller had chosen to pursue the path of Torah, and attend Yeshiva in New York. Indeed it was the inspiration of R’ Krauss which ultimately launched R’ Moshe Feller onto a path which lead him to become an esteemed rabbi, and head the founding of many Jewish establishments across Minnesota!!!
And now, two generations later, it was R’ Krauss’ continued devotion to Torah which gifted the Feller family with an adorable new member !
May Rav Krauss’ lifework continue to serve as an inspiration to many!
His countless merits will stand always as a testament to his accomplishments for Klal Yisroel, and the tremendous Kiddush Hashem which he effected by displaying Halacha as Hashem intended it.
May we merit to greet Moshiach speedily, and along with his arrival we shall usher in an era of הקיצו ורננו שכני עפר.
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