Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

16 Iyar 5761 - May 9, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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HaRav Moshe Finkel zt"l
by Betzalel Kahn

Sunday night, 14 Iyar, a massive throng accompanied HaRav Moshe Finkel zt"l, one of the roshei yeshiva of the Mirrer yeshiva, on his last earthly journey. He was niftar after prolonged suffering in his 68th year.

HaRav Moshe Finkel, the son of HaRav Chaim Zeev Finkel and the grandson of HaRav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, was born in Tel Aviv in 5693 (1933). As a youth, he studied in the Or Yisroel yeshiva ketana, and then in Ponevezh, Slabodka, Kollel Chevron and the Mir. He came to the Mir together with his brother, yibodel lechayim tovim ve'arukim, HaRav Aryeh Finkel, after their uncle HaRav Chaim Shmuelevitz arrived in Eretz Yisroel.

When he was still young his mother passed away, and from the age of sixteen he lived in the home of his grandfather, HaRav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, the rosh yeshiva of Mirrer Yeshiva, in Jerusalem. He related that his grandfather would wake him for shacharis kevosikin every morning, and would also study with him bechavrusa every day, reviewing with him the daf which had been studied that day in the yeshiva and then the one studied the previous day. After returning from abroad, he would review with him all of the pages of gemora with Tosafos, which had been studied in the yeshiva in his absence.

For many years, HaRav Moshe studied bechavrusa with his uncle, HaRav Chaim Shmuelevitz. In his seforim, HaRav Moshe would refer to HaRav Chaim as "Admor Hagrach." During Rav Moshe's final days a student said that people might not know to whom he was referring. However HaRav Moshe insisted that this was the title which suited his uncle.

When he came of age, he married Rebbetzin Ramah, the granddaughter of HaRav Moshe Mordechai Epstein, and soon after his marriage he was appointed to the position of ram in the yeshiva. In addition to delivering shiurim, he also assumed the financial burden of the yeshiva, as his father had done, and he traveled to Africa, England and many other countries on the yeshiva's behalf. He helped needy students of the yeshiva and chassonim who required aid. He also performed much chesed with everyone, including those who did not belong to the yeshiva.

He produced many students, some of whom are ramim and marbitzei Torah in yeshivos in Eretz Yisroel and abroad. His seforim, Bnei Chayil on Sukkah, Nedorim and Pesochim were warmly received by the entire yeshiva world for their innovative approach and their special study method. These seforim, which are broad in their scope, contain both extensive information as well as enlightening chidushim in a new manner. They also illustrate how to transmit limud to students. These features are especially evident in his chidushim on Sukkah.

He published his seforim on Pesochim after he fell ill and after his two kidneys had stopped functioning. Even under such circumstances, he continued to deliver shiurim in the yeshiva.

Three years ago, he fainted in his room in the yeshiva, and from that time on he would deliver chaburos in his home to prominent avreichim of the Mirrer yeshiva. He also continued to work on his seforim until his final day, among them one on Kiddushin which he nearly completed preparing for publication. Even when speaking was very difficult for him, he insisted on correcting and reviewing every letter and point in the book, so that it would be clear, precise and understood by all.

During his most critical times, he still retained his remarkable memory, and recalled every rishon and acharon in a most detailed manner, and where everything could be found. He also clearly recalled all that he had written in his life as well as the explanations for all his writings.

He studied with a number of chavrusas, giving all of them the feeling that they were equal in his eyes. Even when his suffering was intense, he continued to study with his chavrusas so that they would not notice that something was wrong. Sometimes he would study bechavrusa until dawn.

Last year, his situation worsened and both his legs had to be amputated. Nonetheless, he continued to deliver shiurim and chaburos until very recently, when he could barely sit. During his final days, when he was in the hospital, he continued to study with his chavrusas. A month ago his situation worsened and he was hospitalized. The last three days of his life he was unable to speak, and on Sunday afternoon he returned his pure soul to its Maker.

Upon his petirah, the levaya set out from the Mirrer Yeshiva to Har Hamenuchos.

He is survived by two sons, HaRav Aharon, who is continuing to bear the burden of the yeshiva and HaRav Shraga who is in the United States. He is also survived by two daughters, one of whom is married to HaRav Shlomo Werner, one of the prominent avreichim of the Mirrer Kollel, as well as by his brother, HaRav Aryeh, one of the roshei yeshiva of the Mir and by two sisters, one of whom is married to HaRav Aharon Chodosh, the menahel ruchani of the Mirrer yeshiva, and the other is married to HaRav Avigdor Neventzal, the rov of the Old City of Jerusalem.


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