Thousands of Jerusalem residents, headed by HaRav Yosef
Sholom Eliashiv as well as by rabbonim, roshei yeshiva,
admorim and bnei Torah, participated in last
week's levaya of Rosh HaMohalim Reb Yosef Dovid
Reb Yosef, also known as "Reb Yossel Mohel," was born in
Sivan, 5694 (1934). His father, Reb Moshe Dov, was a
prominent avreich in the Jerusalem Chassidei Sanz
community. His mother, Channa Rochel, whose father Reb Tuvia
Elboigen was very close to Satmar, came to Eretz Yisroel
under the aegis of the Admor of Satmar in 5692 (1932).
Reb Yossel was orphaned at the age of five when his father
passed way. As a result, he suffered much hardship and
poverty during his childhood.
His mother later remarried HaRav Shimon Wolf Enreich of
Shaimelov, who was known for his piety and expertise in
miloh. From him that Yossel learned the meleches
kodesh of miloh which he pursued his entire
As a result of this meleches Shomayim, Yossel became
close with all of the gedolei Yisroel from all
He did not pursue this sacred mitzvah only for parnossoh--
as the thousands of bnei Torah from whom he
refused to accept a fee to even cover expenses will testify.
He would trudge long distances on freezing days and under a
blazing sun in order to perform a bris.
People recall how on snowy winter days when the roads of
Jerusalem were blocked to vehicular traffic, R' Yossel would
walk all the way to distant Bait Vegan to perform a
bris for a Jewish child on time. On Shabbosim and
even on Yom Kippur, he would daven vosikin so that he
could make it on time to a bris.
Sometimes he had to be at brisim in two distant parts
of the city in one morning. His children recall that he
rarely was with the family for a Shabbos meal because he was
so busy with his meleches hakodesh.
His books Otzar Habris and Otzar Pidyon Haben,
which received the recommendations and blessings of
gedolei Yisroel, have become classics, along with his
other books, published as a Sanz Chossid, such as Sefer
Otzar Hachaim and Rabbenu HaKodosh miSanz. He
trained others in his field and his many students currently
serve as expert mohalim throughout the world.
A year ago, he fell ill and went abroad for an operation.
When he returned, he continued in his avodas hakodesh
with great mesiras nefesh until nearly his final day.
He still performed a number of bris ceremonies on
Sunday, Shevat 25.
Later on during the day, he felt weak and was hospitalized
in the Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center. He was niftar
in the hospital on Wednesday night, 29 Shevat.
At the huge levaya, HaRav Shmuel Auerbach, spoke
about the niftar's special love and reverence for
rabbonon and talmidei chachomim, recalling how
he had been very close with HaRav Shlomo Zalman
Auerbach,zt"l, often serving as his shaliach
in acts of chesed that cannot be disclosed.
The Admor of Novominsk spoke about the niftar's
devotion to tzaddikim and of his special emunas
chachomim: bequeathed to generations through his
His son-in-law, HaRav Yosef Yitzchok Lerner, bemoaned the
great loss to the family and to Klal Yisroel and
spoke about his father-in-law's life and activities.
HaRav Yitzchok Lang delivered a hesped in the name of
the mohalim, describing the niftar's unique
mesiras nefesh for the mitzvah of miloh and
his battles against the breaches which have recently cropped
up in this field.
The niftar's brother-in-law, HaRav Yaakov Shemesh, a
ram in the Tchebin yeshiva, delivered words of
In the Shikun Harabbonim shul, HaRav Binyomin Adler, HaRav
Moshe Aharon Rosental and HaRav Yosef Sharabi, an av beis
din in Jerusalem and a friend of the niftar,
parted from him.
He was buried beside his mother on Har Hamenuchos. She was
niftar at the age of 93, only seven months ago.
He is survived by his wife and his only son, expert
mohel Reb Chaim Moshe, as well as by his daughters
who are married, respectively, to HaRav Mordechai Weimer,
HaRav Yosef Yitzchok Lerner, HaRav Aharon Perlow, HaRav
Yehuda Schwartz, HaRav Yaakov Halberstam, as well as by
grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom are
following in his footsteps.