Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Av 5762 - July 10, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











HaRav Nachman Bulman zt"l
by Yated Ne'eman Staff and M Plau

This past motzei Shabbos, parshas Matos-Mas'ei, at 1:00 A.M., thousands of pained and bereaved mourners from all over Eretz Yisroel accompanied the seventy-seven year old HaRav Nachman Bulman on his last earthly journey. Though he had been ill for some time, his petiroh on Shabbos kodesh was sudden and unexpected.

The levaya proceeded from the main beis medrash of the Or Somayach yeshiva, where the niftar served as a menahel ruchani for many years. The levaya was attended by rabbonim and prominent communal leaders including the Admor of Vishnitz.

HaRav Bulman was well known for his charisma and ability to draw others closer to Torah, as well as for his pleasant and fascinating delivery. His career of community service spanned half a century, almost evenly divided between America and Eretz Yisroel.

He grew up in the Gerrer Shtiebel and the Polish Shteibel on the Lower East Side and later in Williamsburg. As a youth he also went to tishen of the Modzhitzer Rebbe, the Imrei Shaul, who was in America for seven years. These experiences left impressions that were visible throughout his life.

He went to school at the high school of Yeshiva University and later to Yeshivas Rabbenu Yitzchok Elchonon (RIETS) and Yeshiva College. His rebbeim during this period included HaRav Moshe Bick, HaRav Moshe Poleyeff, HaRav Dovid Lifshitz and others.

He was a rov in four communities in America: Danville, Virginia, South Fallsburg, New York, Newport News, Virginia and Far Rockaway, New York City. For a short time he was also dean of men in Yeshiva University, and he was involved in Torah Umesorah. When HaRav Aharon Kotler zt"l was asked about involving him in Torah Umesorah, he reportedly said, "Af der yungerman, ken men farlozzen. (You can rely on that young man.)"

He was founding editor (for a year) of the Jewish Observer and served on its editorial board for many years.

The ideas of HaRav Shamshon Rafael Hirsch were the main molders of his thinking. He was especially concerned about the proper exposition of Torah ideals in a modern, intellectual idiom that would be understood and appreciated by those who have a secular American background. From his youth he was dedicated to kiruv rechokim, and throughout his career it was an important concern of his. In this too he was inspired by HaRav Hirsch. Purity of hashkofos and sharp separation from compromisers was also something that he was dedicated to.

His work brought him into close contact with HaRav Yitzchok Hutner and HaRav Yaakov Kamenetsky and other gedolim of America. From around the middle 60s, he was one of the most sought-after English speakers in the chareidi Aguda world because of his gift for bringing Torah ideals to life in English to those who had grown up in America.

He recognized the importance of education and was involved in founding the day school in Newport News, Virginia, and in establishing Soroh Schenirer Seminary in New York, and Yeshivas Derech Ayson in Far Rockaway.

Soon after his arrival in Eretz Yisroel 27 years ago, HaRav Bulman founded Kiryat Nachliel, an exemplary Torah community in Migdal Ha'Emek, where he lived for several years and influenced many to do teshuva. He later returned to Yerushalayim where he was invited to serve as the menahel ruchani of Or Somayach yeshiva.

HaRav Bulman was a man of deep feeling and a rare capacity to convey this in speech. He was frequently asked to speak at Torah events throughout the world. Former students can recall his descriptions of personalities and historical incidents, even many years later. He was one of the prominent lecturers and guests at Agudas Yisroel conventions in the United States, as well as at Torah gatherings all over the world.

In his years in Eretz Yisroel he was a central address for the English-speaking community in Eretz Yisroel. Everyone, from talmidei chachomim to young students, sought him out for advice, insight and counsel.

In recent years HaRav Bulman suffered greatly from illness and pain, and as a result, moved into an apartment near one of his sons in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood of Yerushalayim. His physical suffering though, did not prevent him from disseminating Torah to the residents of the area, nor from continuing to influence and teach many baalei teshuva, sharing with them his vast knowledge and unique approach and insights.

He is survived by his wife and by his five children, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom are following the path he charted for them.


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