In 1982, R. Mendel Wechter was a brilliant young member of the Satmar community of New York discovered to have been closely involved with the Chabad community, as well as with the study and instruction of Chabad Chassidus. At the time, the Satmar community was deeply opposed to many Chabad teachings and practices, some of the exteme elements of the community dangerously so. Once his affiliations had been exposed, he was forced to leave New York, the Rebbe advised him to settle in Israel. He found his rightful place in the Kollel that my father directed in Nachalas Har Chabad, and he became its dean. My fatherHe began to ask the members of the Kollel for forgiveness took a great liking to him, and he wrote to the Rebbe that R. Mendel was a true Chassid, a fearer of G‑d, and a Torah scholar, and that he had always wanted to have such an individual present in the Kollel.

I heard that when R. Mendel’s father went to Nachalas Har Chabad to see how his son and his family were faring, his son told him, “If you want to see what a Lubavitcher Chassid is, look at R. Avrohom Zaltzman.”

On the day he died, my father went to the Kollel after lunch, as usual. He then began to ask the members of the Kollel for forgiveness if he had been too demanding in enforcing the Kollel schedule, or if he had ever spoken harshly to them. R. Mendel, who overheard him asking forgiveness from these young men, was amazed at his humility. After all, he had just been doing his job properly! It didn’t come to his mind that it was just a scant few hours before my father would pass on.

When the day's period of learning had concluded, R. Mendel asked my father to review some responsa relating to the laws of kosher, and asked that he return them after a few days. To his surprise, my father brought them all back that very night at eight o’clock.

By nine o’clock, after returning home, my father did not feel well. A Magen David Adom ambulance came to take him to the Kaplan Hospital, but on the way his condition deteriorated so quickly that they had to call an intensive care mobile unit. It was there, on the way to the hospital, that he passed away.

We later found a note he had left on the table before leaving the house, upon which was written three words:

Har Ha’Zeisim, Yerushalayim.” Mount of Olives, Jerusalem.

We fulfilled his request and he was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem on 14 Shevat, 1984. When we had to decide what to write on his gravestone, we were reminded of something he had told us several times. He disliked seeing headstones with too many honorifics on them, he said, because the deceased has to answer to each one of them. He said that on his gravestone he wanted it to simply say, “Here lies Avrohom Zaltzman, who had the privilege of learning in Lubavitch.” Naturally, we fulfilled his request.

When I recently visited myHe disliked seeing headstones with too many honorifics on them father’s grave, I was bothered by the fact that all the other tombstones in the vicinity carried numerous titles of distinction while my father’s lacked any such title. Perhaps other visitors would surmise that this person was simply bereft of any positive qualities save the fact that he had studied in Lubavitch!

I considered adding a line on the bottom of the stone which would read, “The words inscribed on this tombstone were written as per his directions.” Perhaps then, people would know that there was more to be said of him. I consulted a rabbi, who told me, “I can assure you that this was not your father’s intention!”