Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

7 Cheshvan 5762 - October 24, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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HaRav Zalman Drori, zt"l
by S. Bruchi

Thousands of Bnei Brak residents accompanied HaRav Zalman Drori, zt"l, to his final rest on the 13th of Tishrei. Until his passing, HaRav Drori was rav of the Chemdas Tzvi- Kehillas Chanichei Hayeshivos Synagogue on Ben Zakai Street in Bnei Brak. Formerly a maggid shiur at the Ponevezh Yeshiva, in his capacity as marbitz Torah he instructed thousands of talmidim for over fifty years. He passed away suddenly on 13 Tishrei at the age of 86.

HaRav Zalman Drori, zt"l, was born in Kanishin, Lithuania. His father was HaRav Mordechai Drori zt"l, rov of the town. The deceased's parents molded him into a unique Torah personality who exhibited tremendous hasmodoh. His parents' home was well-known throughout Lithuania as a home of hachnosas orchim. In spite of their dire poverty, there would always be guests at the Drori residence. Some of the guests were gedolei Torah.

Young Zalman Drori was not yet thirteen when he asked his parents for permission to travel to Radin in order to bask in the Torah of the Chofetz Chaim. His parents pleaded with him saying that the cost of travelling to Radin was prohibitively high. The bochur then approached one of Kanishin's wagon drivers to take him to Radin. When the driver quoted a high price for the journey, young Zalman proposed a unique barter in exchange for transportation services: He would ensure the wagon driver a place in the World to Come! The wagon driver couldn't refuse such a proposition, and immediately offered to take the bochur.

Rav Drori celebrated his bar mitzvah in Radin with his fellow yeshiva bochurim. His parents' participation was limited solely to their sending him tefillin from Kanishin.

Later, Rav Drori transferred to the Baranovitch Yeshiva, under HaRav Elchonon Wassermann, Hy"d. Rav Drori became a talmid muvhok of HaRav Wassermann. Suffering from starvation, his only nourishment would be from the spiritual food of the Torah and its yegi'ah.

Rav Drori subsequently published a sefer entitled, Kovetz Inyonim. The sefer contains chiddushim from his rabbonim, HaRav Elchonon Wassermann, zt"l, and HaRav Dovid Rappaport, zt"l, as he heard them, with Rav Drori's personal touch.

Afterwards, Rav Drori went to learn from HaRav Shimon Shkop, zt"l, the rosh yeshiva of Grodno, who treated the lad like his own child. Rav Drori merited to spend an extensive period in shimush by HaRav Shimon Shkop.

Rav Drori was at the Grodno Yeshiva when he was suddenly issued a draft notice. With the advice of his rosh yeshiva, Rav Drori left Grodno for Eretz Yisroel. On the way, Rav Drori visited the home of HaRav Chaim Ozer, zt"l, as an emissary for HaRav Shkop.

HaRav Drori arrived in Eretz Yisroel after a journey full of hardship. Immediately upon his arrival, he started to learn at the Lomzhe Yeshiva in Petach Tikva. After his marriage, he continued his studies at the Kollel Volozhin in Bnei Brak.

When the Ponovezher Rav, zt"l, established Ponovezh's Yeshiva Letze'irim, he appointed Rav Drori as maggid shiur. His dedication to the students was exceptional.

Rav Drori's numerous talmidim -- whether from the Ponovezh Yeshiva, Tiferes Tzion, or from Bnei Brak's Talmud Torah Merkaz where he served as rosh mesivta -- saw him as an educator par excellence. His teaching techniques were based upon the tradition that he received from his rabbonim, who were gedolei Yisroel.

Many times he was the keynote speaker on public issues. He was a fighter, representing the gedolei Yisroel of past and present. He served for the last few years as rov of the Beis Medrash Chemdas Tzvi-Chanichei Hayeshivos in Bnei Brak.

The Rov gave a sichas chizuk this past Yom Kippur eve to his congregation with exceptionally heartfelt words. Three days later, while walking in Bnei Brak, he suddenly fell ill. Within a few minutes, his pure soul was returned to its Maker. The levaya left from the Chemdas Tzvi synagogue, making its way to the Ponevezh Yeshiva cemetery in Bnei Brak.

Rav Drori is survived by sons and sons-in-law who are gedolei Torah, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who are continuing in his ways. His son-in-law, HaRav Yitzchok Goldberg, is a rav in Kiryat Sefer; HaRav Mordechai serves as a rosh yeshiva at Chemed Litze'irim; HaRav Yekutiel is a rosh kollel and maggid shiur in daf hayomi; HaRav Ozer is a mechaber sefer of Mareh Ozer on Shas; along with Rav Avraham, and throngs of talmidim which he merited to instruct over the decades.


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