A Tribute to Habochur Chaim Moshe Hakohen Cohen Z’L

Rabbi Zvi Schwartz

I spoke to Chaim Moshe the night of his sudden and shocking Petira.  While I was giving a shiur to a few boys at the Monday Night Chaburah he asked me if I needed any help bringing up the boxes of hot food to the third floor. I had become so absorbed with the shiur that I had totally forgotten about it.  So I said that would be a huge help. It’s a lot of food and its heavy. Oleg from KB told me that even the delivery man found it challenging. You see, the previous week I had started a shiur in Hilchos Shabbos for a few of the boys who needed Chavrusas.   Since I could not be in two places at once, someone had to bring the Kosher Bite delivery from the hallway at Agudah to the third floor.   So I had asked Chaim Moshe, if he could help me for a minute to bring up the boxes.  Which he generously did. 

He went searching for the food until he discovered that someone else had already done it. He came back to tell me so I could continue teaching.  He was totally relaxed by it at all. He didn’t feel that I had sent him for naught.  Just a huge smile and he was happy that the job had been done.  Which was a Chesed in and of itself….  this allowed me to focus on the boys.  It’s only me and the many boys in the program. Following the program, I offered Chaim Moshe some of the hot food.  It was my way of showing my appreciation. He refused to take until he saw that every boy had food.  B”H I didnt give out seconds and was so happy that he agreed to join us and eat. He helped me so much and yet never ever asked for anything in return. No deals, no requests.

After eating he saw me cleaning up and once again asked me if I need any help.  It’s almost like he felt bad just eating and wanted to give something back again. I didn’t want to be matriarch him. I felt that it’s not his job. Also I wanted him to have the food as my appreciation to him,  but he was so sincere in wanting to help.  So I mentioned a small thing that he could do just not to deny his request. I asked if he could please take the forks off the table and place them a few feet away in the small room on the side.  And I would put them away later.  It was just him and me in the Beis Medrash. It was a  moment of connection. It was a really sincere gesture. 

He again did this graciously and disappeared. It reminded me of the time that he brought over a beautiful set of Mishnah Brurah as a Bar Mitzvah gift for my son Betzalel.  It was expensive and unexpected. He noticed that I was surprised by the gift and told me something that made such a deep impression.I want to be a giver not a taker.” I was pretty taken aback by his powerful words. Wow!  He was in essence saying that although this is above and beyond this is the person that he wants to be. 

I think that said everything about him. He was a giver. Just a few weeks ago, Mr. Reuven Abedon was away and asked Chaim Moshe to be in charge of Shalosh Seudos.  He took the achrayus.  He called me during the week to make sure that he has everything that he needs and knows what to do with set up, opening bottles and so on. I often order the tuna and eggs, pastries, and challah rolls for the shul shalosh seudos. He was so responsible to make sure that it was all going to be done right. He took on a job that had to get done with no glamour.  Chaim Moshe loved to do a Chesed, especially for the Tzibur.

It was a beautiful Shalosh Seudos. Since it was Rosh Chodesh Adar, we don’t do hespaydim.  Yet there is so much to say. Perhaps his Helige Neshmah left us the week of Parshas Terumah to be menachem us.  The Torah tells us that its not enough to be inspired or well meaning to donate to the Mishkan. It had to be done with Nedivos Lev.  It had to be real giving with a full heart.  Rashi also teaches us that it had to be לשמה as he says that the Posuk of ויקחו “לי” תרומה  means  לי לשמי  it had to be done lishmah.  It has to be wholesome and without personal interest. Chaim Moshe embodied these midos.  He was לשמה and he gave with a נדיבות לב. 

He helped me so many times at Agudah.  We shlepped bookcases together. I asked him if he could help bringing chairs and tables to the sukkah and back again to the shul. We worked on a Ride G’mach bulletin board to help bochurim post rides in the Agudah kitchen.  He bought the original Bulletin Board and the Post Its and was so excited about it. He was always so involved with the Shaimos and the boys that volunteered to help move the heavy shaimos  bags in the Agudah basement. He made so many friends . He touched so many.. He was always available to give a hand with his huge smile, laugh, lots of energy and a conversation.

He gave.

Perhaps Even a Hesped might have a level of “talking about the Niftar” as he hears the speeches of his great qualities and midos. Chaim Moshe only wanted to “Give”

That was his Hesped. 

The night of his Petira he asked me if it was ok to play music when we had refreshmants. I said משנכנס אדר מרבים בשימחה go ahead!  He confirmed that this was his intention.  He wanted to be Misameach with the boys.

He was Niftar B’Simcha and as a Giver.

I miss him and all he accomplished and I am so pained for his loss.  He made a huge impression in his short time on this world.  He will always be remembered as special person, a giver and b’simcha.

Yehi Zichro Baruch

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