On Sunday the third day of chol hamoed Pesach, a huge
throng estimated by police to be around 100,000, headed by
Maran HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, members of the Moetzes
Gedolei HaTorah, roshei yeshiva, ramim, marbitzei
Torah and bnei Torah, participated in the
levaya of HaRav Simcha Ziskind Broide, rosh
yeshiva of yeshivas Knesses Yisroel -- Chevron for forty
years, and a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah.
HaRav Broide was one of the most venerable roshei
yeshiva of our times, he educated thousands of students.
He was 88 at the time of his petirah on erev
Shabbos chol hamoed.
A huge throng gathered on Sunday morning outside the yeshiva
in the Givat Mordechai neighborhood of Jerusalem, since the
yeshiva's large main study hall, to where the aron was
brought, was too small to hold them all.
Students and former students arrived from all over the
country. They were joined by tens of thousands of bnei
Torah, yeshiva students and avreichim.
Before the hespedim began, HaRav Broide's aron
was brought to his room in the yeshiva where he studied for
Maran HaGaon HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv shlita
permitted hespedim about the Rosh Yeshiva to be
delivered in his presence, even though the Acharonim say that
in our days we do not have a din talmid chochom for
this (as explained in Biur Halocho 547), nonetheless a
talmid chochom and gaon who spread Torah and educated
thousands of talmidim is different. This is somewhat
similar to the sevora brought in Teshuva
Mei'ahava (I, 207). Still, HaRav Eliashiv ruled that the
hespedim should be brief.
Hespedim were delivered by HaRav Aharon Leib Steinman, HaRav
Yechiel Michel Lefkowitz, HaRav Shmuel Berenbaum rosh
yeshivas Mir-New York, HaRav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, rosh
yeshivas Mir-Jerusalem, HaRav Boruch Shimon Solomon,
rosh yeshivas Nachlas Dovid and Chief Rabbi of Petach
Tikvah, HaRav Moshe Mordechai Farbstein and HaRav Dovid Cohen
roshei yeshivas Chevron Givat Mordechai, and by HaRav
Simcha Zissel Broide's son-in-law, HaRav Shmuel Segal.
At the end of the hespedim the entourage proceeded
from the yeshiva by foot along the Begin Highway and then via
Sarei Yisroel and Malchei Yisroel Streets to Kikar Shabbos
and Mea Shearim, which teemed with thousands who waited for
the aron which was borne by his students. The
procession passed by the Hevron Geula yeshiva where the
niftar had taught and served as a rosh yeshiva
until the yeshiva transferred to Givat Mordechai. The
entourage continued to the cemetery on Har Hazeisim, where
words of parting were delivered beside the grave by HaRav
Moshe Mordechai Chadash, the rosh yeshiva of Or
According to police estimates, approximately 100,000 people
participated in the levaya.
HaRav Simcha Mordechai Ziskind Broide zt"l, son of
HaRav Chizkiyahu Avrohom, was born in Yerushalayim in Adar,
5672, in the famous Chotzer Straus (Straus Court), and grew
up in the proximity of great tzaddikim and baalei
Four generations, all of whom followed the tradition of the
Alter of Kelm, lived together under one roof in that modest
home in Chotzer Straus: the great-grandfather HaRav Arye
Leib, brother of the Alter of Kelm, who had been the head of
the famed Talmud Torah of Kelm for three years after the
Alter's petirah, the grandfather HaRav Nochum
Yitzchok, the father, HaRav Chizkiyohu Avrohom, and the young
Among the other residents of this famed courtyard were HaRav
Naftoli Amsterdam and HaRav Itzeleh Blazer, the illustrious
disciples of the founder of the mussar movement HaRav
Yisroel Salanter, as well as other great and venerable
talmidei chachomim of Yerushalayim. The entire
courtyard was one yeshiva shel ma'alah.
As a child, Reb Simcha Zissel studied in the Eitz Chaim
Talmud Torah in Yerushalayim.
At the age of fourteen (in 1926-5686) he was accepted by the
Alter of Slobodke as a student in yeshivas Knesses Yisroel-
Chevron, located, at that time, in the city of Chevron,
having recently moved there from Europe.
For nine years he learned with remarkable, boundless
diligence. In a number of his later mussar discourses
he said that during his first winter zman in the
yeshiva he reached daf 90b in the masechta he
was studying, including Tosafos and rishonim. This
learning, he said, was extensive and in-depth and included a
deep understanding of pshat.
Along with his tremendous diligence, he grew in his
character, yiras Shomayim and humility, and was a
paradigm of an outstanding lamdan with extensive
In the hesped which he delivered at the yeshiva, HaRav
Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz said that when HaRav Simcha Ziskind
was still young, the other students already viewed him as a
"rosh yeshiva" and as Chevron's leading student. All
questions which required decisions were brought to him and he
resolved them in his uniquely humble and genial manner.
During the 1929 pogrom he was at home in Yerushalayim and was
In the summer of 1934, the Mir rosh yeshiva HaRav
Eliezer Yehuda Finkel came to Eretz Yisroel and on his return
to Europe he took along HaRav Simcha Zissel with him to learn
in the Slobodke yeshiva for the winter zman.
During the Yomim Noraim of that year, R' Simcha Zissel went
to the Talmud Torah in Kelm to study under HaRav Doniel
Mowshowitz and HaRav Gershon Maidenik, and he often spoke
about the tremendous impact this period had on him. In one of
his recent mussar discourses in the yeshiva he
repeated thoughts which he had heard at that time from HaRav
Doniel Mowshowitz Hy"d.
On his way to Slobodke with his friend HaRav Simcha Pines, he
stopped off in Dvinsk in order to visit the Rogotchover Gaon.
When he entered the room, the Rogotchover told him that he
was bewildered by the fact that the sugya on daf
38 in Kesuvos, Im yesh boger bakever, is
contradicted by an explicit mishna in
HaRav Simcha Zissel knew precisely how to resolve the problem
and he was able to pinpoint the mishna in
Keilim to which the Rogotchover referred.
The Rogotchover was amazed by the reply of HaRav Simcha
Zissel, asked him to pay him another visit on the way back to
Eretz Yisroel. Later on he once asked, "Where are the yeshiva
students from Eretz Yisroel?" referring to R' Simcha Zissel
and showing what an impression he had left. Also when HaRav
Dov Zochovksy (Berel Yanover), one of the greatest disciples
of the Alter of Slobodke, visited the Rogotchover, the latter
also told him how he marveled over the astuteness of the
young R' Simcha Zissel.
In the winter of 1935 (5695) R' Simcha Zissel went to Petach
Tikvah to study and was one of the founders of the Toras
Eretz Yisroel yeshiva there. During that period he lived in
Bnei Brak at the home of his sister which was on Givat Rokach
near the home of the Chazon Ish, and he would often speak
with him in learning.
When he returned to the Chevron yeshiva in Yerushalayim he
remained very close with the Chazon Ish and for a long period
he traveled to Bnei Brak every Friday in order to speak with
him in learning.
Kovetz Iggros of the Chazon Ish contains a letter to
HaRav Simcha Zissel using the phrase "vesholom
Toraso," a phrase reserved only for a select few. In that
letter, the Chazon Ish, among other things, says: "I am
familiar with your purity of heart and nobility of
While studying in Chevron, HaRav Simcha Zissel was a
talmid chover of HaRav Reuven Trop, son of HaRav
Naftoli Trop the rosh yeshiva of Radin. He was also
very close with HaRav Isser Zalman Meltzer with whom he
studied on a steady basis.
HaRav Isser Zalman highly praised HaRav Simcha Zissel's swift
grasp and depth and once told Reb Simcha Zissel's father:
"They say that the olom enjoys my shiurim
because of their ease, yashrus and clarity. But know
that your son (Reb Simcha Zissel) has, in addition to all
these traits, a remarkable innovative ability."
R' Simcha Zissel's brother, HaRav Zvi Broide zt"l,
once quoted HaRav Isser Zalman as saying: "I have no doubt
that HaRav Simcha Zissel will be one of the gedolei
Once every two weeks he would visit HaRav Yechezkel Abramski
after the latter moved to Eretz Yisroel, and they would study
together most of the day. He was also very close with HaRav
Isaac Sher, the rosh yeshiva of Slobodke who, after
the Holocaust, lived in Yerushalayim for a while. HaRav
Simcha Zissel would attend HaRav's Sher's discourses, which
had a tremendous impact on him.
In the summer of 1941 (5701) he married Golda Miriam
o"h, daughter of HaRav Moshe and Soro Zlata Finkel.
HaRav Moshe was the son of the Alter of Slobodke and Soro
Zlata was the daughter of HaRav Moshe Mordechai Epstein, the
rosh yeshiva of Slobodke Yeshiva.
At R' Simcha Zissel's engagement HaRav Yechezkel Sarna, the
rosh yeshiva of Chevron, called him bechir
hayeshiva "the choicest student of the yeshiva," adding
that while there were other students who could be called
"among the yeshiva's best," only Reb Simcha Zissel could be
called "bechir hayeshiva."
A short time after his marriage, he was appointed to the
position of ram in the yeshiva and began to deliver
shiurim in the illustrious Chevron -- Knesses Yisroel
yeshiva in Yerushalayim.
In time, these shiurim became known throughout the
Torah world for their profundity, and for Reb Simcha Zissel's
unique ability to define and clarify the various approaches
of the rishonim in any given sugya.
In the summer of 1961 he and HaRav Avrohom Yehuda Farbstein
were appointed roshei yeshiva of Chevron, and in 1969
he was appointed a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah.
His joy of learning and his great ahavas Torah were
well known. For scores of years in addition to his
shiurim in the yeshiva he would study
bechavrusa with students of the yeshiva from dawn
until shacharis. During these sessions, they would
study masechtos which were generally not studied in
the regular sedorim of the yeshiva.
He was also known for his remarkable hasmodoh, and
would continue his studies in his room in the yeshiva at all
times, even during bein hazmanim.
HaRav Nochum Partzowitz, the rosh yeshiva of the Mir,
once called him "the shakdan of the generation." Even
in his later years he continued to study gemora and
Tosafos in depth, with verve, love and sweetness, from the
aspect of "vehoyu be'einecho kechadoshim."
In 1971 he published an edition of Chiddushei HaMeiri
on Eruvin (three volumes) in which he revealed some of
his unique greatness with thousands of succinct explanations
and references in his accompanying notes. In addition he
included material which expanded on the Meiri with hundreds
of profound chiddushim, presented with deep
understanding and deliberation on the approaches of all of
the rishonim on the sugyos on every single page
As a result many questions on the most serious issues in
Eruvin were sent to him from all over the world, and a
number of the greatest halachic authorities of our times sent
him their chiddushim on this tractate.
For over thirty years he delivered a weekly shiur in
mussar, based on the Ramban on the Torah. In this
shiur, which he cherished very highly, he would guide
the students of the yeshiva in probing and understanding
Chumash with Ramban and expand upon the principles of
emunah and mussar as explained by the Ramban
and Chazal. These shiurim gained worldwide fame for
their original and penetrating ideas, and were given in
addition to the discourses he delivered from time to time in
the yeshiva on Shabbosim and prior to yomim tovim.
He was exemplary in his character traits, his nobility of
soul and his relationships with his fellow. When he heard
others speak loshon hora or denigrate someone, he
would immediately silence them and tell them to stop,
refusing to listen.
He was blessed with a remarkable ayin tova and in
every account or story he heard would always find the
positive and good side.
He was famed for the respect he showed everyone, no matter
their stature, and would fulfill Chazal's dictum: "Greater is
one who shows his fellow white teeth [i.e. smiles at him]
than one who serves him milk." He greeted everyone warmly but
was particularly known for his love and warmth toward his
students, whom he honored and drew closer in a remarkable
manner, even after they matured and married.
His mottoes in the yeshiva were Chazal's dictums about the
our great obligation to be upright and honest and to fulfill
the Torah's command of "and you shall do the good and the
upright," as well as on the obligation to be careful in
matter of kovod haTorah and kovod chaveiro.
He educated thousands of students, many of whom are currently
gedolei haTorah and roshei yeshiva, dayanim and
He left thousands of unpublished shiurim and
chiddushim in all areas of Shas, as well as
shiurim and commentaries on the Torah and the
The margins of the volumes of the Shas "from
Brochos to Niddah" in which he studied from the
time of his marriage, contain comments and references on
nearly every page. By the same token, all of the margins of
the mishnayos as well as the Tur Shulchan
Oruch, and the sifrei rishonim which he studied,
are graced with chiddushim in his own handwriting.
In recent years, he published a small part of his
chiddushim on Shas and on the commentary of the
Ramban on the Torah in a series called Shom Derech.
Last summer he still delivered the opening shiur on
Nedarim in the yeshiva. After that though, he became
very weak, and it was with great mesiras nefesh that
he came to the yeshiva to deliver shmuessim on erev Rosh
Hashana and erev Yom Kippur.
In the beginning of this year's winter zman he came to
the yeshiva and delivered two mussar discourses. The
last shiur he delivered was at a Chanukah
In Teves, when his brother HaRav Tzvi was niftar, he
began to deliver a hesped during the levaya,
but was so overcome that he had to stop in the middle.
At the end of the shiva he delivered a hesped
on his brother in the Beis Medrash HaGra in Bayit Vegan.
Two months ago he suffered a heart attack, and since then he
remained in the Bikur Cholim hospital in Yerushalayim. From
the onset of his illness students all over the world
beseeched Hashem to grant him a speedy recovery. However, on
erev Shabbos morning the first day of chol hamoed
Pesach (in Eretz Yisroel), he suffered another heart attack.
Shortly before Shabbos surrounded by a minyan of
family members and students who recited the verses of
kabolas ol malchus Shomayim, he returned his pure soul
to its Maker. The news spread swiftly by word of mouth
through the chareidi community.
HaRav Simcha Zissel Broide's wife passed away three days
after his petirah. He is survived by his son, HaRav
Moshe and his daughter who is married to HaRav Shmuel Segal,
as well as by grandchildren and great-grandchildren who are
following in the path he charted for them.
With the petirah of the rosh yeshiva of Hevron,
HaRav Simcha Zissel Broide, the Torah world has lost one of
the most remarkable figures of this generation, who taught
Torah to thousands of students: an illustrious talmid
chochom with rare, unique character traits who
reestablished the Torah world in Eretz Yisroel in our
generation. His many students bitterly bemoan his