Moshe Esformes z”l was one of the greatest friends our institution ever had. Quite apart from the millions he donated himself, he raised large amounts of money from his friends.
Whenever he came to the school, we asked him to speak and immediately one could see how a businessman was transformed into a מקרב.
I was once sitting with him in the lobby of the Plaza Hotel. He was dressed as he usually was with a baseball cap and jeans.
There was a young charedi couple who were asking people who was Rabbi Esformes and they asked almost everyone else in the lobby. Finally, they came to him and convinced that he was the real Rabbi Esformes, they gave him a letter. Moshe read the letter and his face went white. He handed me the letter to read which was written by Harav Shach zt”l, the great גדול הדור , and it read as follows:
The young couple are my grandchildren. They have been married six years without children. Needless to say, I have been praying for them the whole time but I believe that with your unique זכות ofהחזקת התורה — this support of Torah, you can perhaps be successful where I have failed.
Rav Moshe gave them his ברכה and less than a year later they were זוכה to a child and additional children were born in the next few years.
He was indeed unmatched in his enthusiasm for giving money.
Our Rabbis tell us that anyone who pursues צדקה will receive a blessing from the Al-mighty, that their donation will go the rightful recipients. Moshe Esformes was זוכה to this blessing.
May his memory be a constant inspiration to all of us.
Rabbi Dovid Refson