One of the great leaders of chareidi Jewry, Maran HaRav Dovid
Povarski, zt'l, rosh yeshivas Ponovezh,
returned his sacred and pure soul to its Maker at 8:30 on
Sunday night, the 6th of Adar.
Late Sunday afternoon, the situation of the Rosh Yeshiva, who
had been hospitalized a few days earlier in the Laniado
Hospital in Netanya, took a sharp turn for the worse. In the
evening it deteriorated and became critical. Bnei
Torah tried to arouse rachmei Shomayim, for a
speedy and full recovery.
The news of the critical condition spread like wildfire
throughout the Torah centers in the country. Immediately,
all of the students of Ponovezh, where he had taught for more
than fifty years, assembled to daven, and emotion-
filled prayers reverberated beis hamedrash.
By eight in the evening his situation became even more
critical, and the doctors felt that they could do no more.
His family and closest talmidim entered the room, and
with mournful cries, they called out Shema Yisroel and
Hashem Hu HoElokim.
Maran HaRav Dovid Povarski was born on the 10th of Shevat,
5662/1902, in the Russian city of Luban. His father, Reb
Sholom, a teacher in the local cheder, was an
outstanding mechanech, and in that illustrious home R'
Dovid's unique personality was fashioned.
As a child, the traits which were destined to accompany him
throughout his entire life and for which he was so greatly
esteemed, were formed: remarkable hasmodoh, rare
talent, outstanding refinement and deep sensitivity.
When he was twelve years old, HaRav Isser Zalman Meltzer
asked Reb Sholom to send the young Dovid to his yeshiva in
Slutzk. Even though Reb Sholom was of the opinion that his
son should continue to study with children of his own age, he
agreed to send him to Slutzk, where the young Dovid studied
for a number of years with amazing hasmodoh, to the
point that there were days in which he barely touched
Afterward, he transferred to Poltova, where he became deeply
attached to his rav muvhak, R' Yeruchom Levovitz, whom
he followed to Kelm and Ponovezh. From Ponovezh, he
transferred to Mir yeshiva, where he toiled in Torah with
During his six years in the Mir, he did not miss even one
tefilla or one seder. Reb Yeruchom loved him as a
son, and regarded him as one destined to illuminate the
Torah world with his greatness and teachings. From the moment
rav and talmid met, they remained deeply attached.
In Mir, Rav Dovid was considered one of the outstanding
students, and like his close chaver, HaRav Chaim
Shmuelevitz, he was considered a model of the genuine ben
Torah. His life was one long saga of deep devotion to
Torah study, and maximal exertion in Torah and avodas
Hashem, all in a humble manner, which he continued to
maintain after his marriage to the daughter of HaRav Dov
Kreizer, the rosh yeshiva of the yeshiva ketana
of Slutzk, and throughout his entire life.
Rav Dovid's marriage took place during bein hazmanim
of Av. Reb Yeruchom, who had arranged the match, wept over
the loss incurred to the yeshiva by Rav Dovid's leaving. But
on rosh chodesh Elul, Rav Dovid returned to the
yeshiva like a genuine ben Torah, and continued to
study there with the utmost exertion and diligence. One of
his chavrusas (in Shulchan Oruch) was HaRav
Aharon Kotler zt'l.
A while after his marriage, he transferred to the yeshiva in
Baranowitz, where he studied under HaRav Elchonon Wassermann,
with whom he was very close and who mentions him a number of
times in Kovetz Shiurim. In time, HaRav Elchonon
appointed him as a ram in the yeshiva, and during the
periods Rav Elchonon was absent, Rav Dovid substituted for
him as rosh hayeshiva.
Later on, Reb Yeruchom sent Rav Dovid to be a ram in
Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin headed by HaRav Meir Shapira of
HaRav Dovid merited to form a special bond with HaRav Chaim
Ozer Grodzinsky, rosh kol bnei hagolah, and would
visit his home constantly in order to speak in Torah with
When Rav Dovid published his Yeshuas Dovid on
Choshen Mishpot in memory of his father-in-law, he
showed it to HaRav Chaim Ozer, who asked R' Dovid to wait
outside. R' Dovid, who understood that Rav Chaim Ozer wanted
to grace the sefer with a haskomo, left and did
The students of the Baranowitz relate that once, when HaRav
Boruch Ber arrived in Baranowitz to participate in a
simcha, he told his hosts that he wanted to speak in
learning with the yeshiva's best student. All of his hosts
unanimously agreed that no one could be compared to the
author of Yeshuas Dovid. But Rav Boruch Ber said:
"Before speaking with him, I would like to see his
sefer. Rav Boruch Ber opened the Yeshuas Dovid,
and delved into it. Then he asked for a pen, and said, "I
want to give this sefer my warmest haskomo."
With Hashem's help, Rav Dovid succeeded in fleeing the
inferno, and he arrived in Eretz Yisroel together with the
family of the Rav of Brisk.
Upon his arrival in Eretz Hakodesh, Rav Dovid settled in Tel
Aviv, where he assembled a group of students.
In 5705/1945 the Rav of Ponovezh, HaRav Yosef Shlomo
Kahaneman, invited him to serve as rosh yeshiva of his
newly (re)founded yeshiva of Ponovezh, and at that point, a
new chapter in his life began, of teaching Torah to tens of
thousands of students, in the mother of the yeshivos of Eretz
Hakodesh, Yeshivas Ponovezh.
This illustrious saga lasted for 54 consecutive years. Rav
Dovid Povarski had a potent impact on the tens of thousands
of students who sought his counsel and acquired the
everlastingkinyonei haTorah and pure yiras
Shomayim from him, regarding him as the perfect oved
Hashem, whose entire life, and whose every thought and
aspiration were directed toward only one aim: to serve Hashem
Yisborach with all his heart, and to increase kevod
They saw him as a compassionate father who sought only their
benefit and aspired to guide them along the path leading to
Beis Hashem. His shiurim were famed for their
depth and superb quality. Each shiur provided the
ben Torah with guidance in learning, and taught him
how to analyze a sugya, and how to perceive each of
He was outstanding in the analysis and clarification of
sugyos, and would teach his students how to probe the
inner depths of the gemora. He was the embodiment of
yegias haTorah and omeil beTorah.
Throughout his first 44 years in Ponovezh he would arrive in
the beis hamedrashat 4:00 a.m., and study
behasmodoh until shacharis.
During the last decade of his life, he would begin his
studies at 1:30 a.m. He studied with tremendous fervor, and
it was evident that he derived his vitality from Torah study,
and was totally detached from his environment while he
His zerizus and meticulousness in mitzvah observance
were exemplary, and many remarkable accounts of this conduct
are yet to be related.
His most outstanding trait was his humility, which reached
untold heights. When he was still a young student in Kelm,
his nobility of spirit and amazing humility were already an
integral part of his personality, and these traits
accompanied him during the fifty-four years in Ponovezh, in
which he taught tens of thousand of students, and produced
legions of talmidei chachomim, roshei yeshiva, and
gedolei haTorah, leaving a deep impression on them.
After the petirah of Rav Abba Grossbard, the
menahel ruchani of Ponovezh, Rav Dovid was asked to
deliver va'adim to the yeshiva students. They later on
distributed them in the sefer, Mussar Vodaas.
His home was a beacon for all those who sought Torah and
mussar. He received everyone warmly and genially. His
unassuming and pleasant manner had a deep affect on those who
visited him, and were the basis of the esteem in which he was
Rav Dovid had a tremendous impact on the generation, by means
of his shiurim, his enlightening seforim, his
lofty character traits, and the generations of students he
He is survived by an illustrious family. His sons and son-in-
law are gedolei haTorah, and his grandchildren and
great-grandchildren are continuing to uphold his spiritual
His sons are HaRav Boruch Dov Povarski, one of the roshei
yeshiva of Ponovezh, HaRav Chaim, a rosh yeshiva
in the United States, and HaRav Sholom, a rosh yeshiva
in yeshiva Kol Torah. His son-in-law is Rav Boruch Pines.