On motzei Shabbos 24 Kislev at chatzos, a large
throng accompanied R' Chaim Halevi Soloveitchik, zt"l,
son of the Brisker Rov, ztv"l on his last earthly
journey. Eighty-three years old at the time of his
petiroh, the niftar suffered for many years
HaRav Chaim Halevi Soloveitchik was born in Brisk. He was
named after his grandfather, Rabbenu Chaim of Brisk, as well
as after HaRav Chaim of Volozhin. He received his
chinuch from his father and absorbed the ways of Torah
and yir'oh at home. For a short while, he studied in
his father's yeshiva in Brisk. He later studied in the
Kaminetz Yeshiva, where he was beloved by the rosh yeshiva,
HaRav Boruch Ber Lebowitz.
While in Kaminetz he spent a Rosh Hashanah night at the home
of HaRav Lebowitz along with one of his brothers. The Rosh
Yeshiva recounted many stories about gedolei Yisroel
of the past generation. At a certain point, the rebbetzin
entered the room and asked if there wasn't anything better to
do on Rosh Hashanah night than to tell stories. To this HaRav
Boruch Ber replied: "I know what I am doing," meaning that by
telling such stories, he was showing affection for a student
who was one of the greatest lamdonim and
shakdonim in the yeshiva.
With the outbreak of the World War Two, Reb Chaim went to
Eretz Yisroel with his father the ga'avad of Brisk and
several of his brothers. His mother and a number of his
brothers and sisters remained behind in Europe. Upon arrival
in Eretz Yisroel, Reb Chaim began to study in Slobodka, where
he delivered remarkable chaburos to the yeshiva
students. HaRav Moshe Mordechai Shulsinger, who delivered a
hesped over Reb Chaim in Bnei Brak, related that most
of these chaburos were delivered after chatzos
at night, to the yeshiva's top students.
R' Chaim's divrei Torah were outstanding and unique,
and suitable for those who had studied for a number of years
in Volozhin and Brisk.
He was exceptionally good-hearted towards everyone. A very
warm person, he would sing at the yeshiva Shabbos table with
much feeling, stirring the hearts of all who heard him. He
often related his father's divrei Torah on Shir
Hashirim and other divrei Torah that his father
had cited in the name of HaRav Mordechai Gimpel Yaffeh and
other gedolei Yisroel.
Maran the Griz once said that it is impossible for their
family to produce someone who was not a good person. "Der
Tatte would do countless acts of kindness daily." So it
was with his grandson R' Chaim Halevi Soloveitchik, who
excelled in kindness toward his fellow.
His profound, remarkable divrei Torah were both
interesting and refreshing. Once on the night of the 17th of
Tammuz he told his friends in the Slobodka yeshiva that the
Mishnah says that on this night, Apostomos burned the
Torah and added, "Only a foolish goy can think that it is
possible to burn the Torah. [What actually happened?]
Apostomos burned the Torah, and then [as a result,] in the
Mishnah Rabbenu Hakodosh added seven holy words:
`Beshiv'oh osor beTammuz soraf Apostomos es haTorah.'
[Now,] whoever recites and studies this phrase fulfills seven
mitzvos asei of study of the sacred Torah!
"It is impossible to burn the Torah. Torah emerges from the
burning of the Torah. The parchment is burned and the letters
hover in the air. From all this, there is Torah," he said.
The Griz asked HaRav Yaakov Moshe Lebowitz, the rosh yeshiva
of Kaminetz in Yerushalayim, to study with his son
bechavrusa. R' Chaim and HaRav Yaakov Moshe would
study together every day either in the beis medrash
Ohel Sarah in Meah Shearim or in the Griz's home.
HaRav Moshe Mordechai Shulsinger related that on erev Yom
Kippur 5720 (1960), he came to the Slobodka yeshiva and
told R' Chaim about the petiroh of his father, the
ga'avad of Brisk. "It was close to the onset of Yom
Kippur," HaRav Shulsinger said. "Reb Chaim went over to the
seforim shelf, took out Yoreh De'ah part three,
opened to siman 340, and stood there for a long time,
reviewing the halochos of kri'oh and
aveilus, up to the end. While reviewing the
halochos he noted: `This halocho does pertain
to me and this one does not pertain to me now.' All those
present on that occasion were amazed by his deep adherence to
halocho at that most difficult time in his life: the
petiroh of his father. They were astounded that at
such a time, he was concerned with what halocho from
Sinai mandated at that precise moment.
"The following day, when the aron of the Griz was
about to be removed from his house for burial, R' Chaim stood
beside it and said: `Tatte, when you recited Tehillim
in the old beis medrash in Brisk, everyone saw that
you spoke with the Ribono Shel Olom."
In 5704 (1944), when the terrible reports of the Holocaust
began to arrive from Europe, he became ill and suffered from
many difficult illnesses for many years. However, he
continued to deliver remarkable chiddushei Torah, even
in Kodshim. Throughout the years, despite his
suffering, he attended to the needs of others and empathized
with their suffering. He was also meticulous in mitzvah
observance under the most dire circumstances and always
remembered people from his past.
For a while, he lived in the Tzefania Hotel. He later moved
into the Kaminetz Yeshiva on Yechezkel Street. The yeshiva
administration took care of all his needs, since he was the
son of the ga'avad of Brisk who had been very close to
HaRav Boruch Ber Lebowitz, as had the niftar himself.
The roshei yeshiva of Kaminetz often said that HaRav Boruch
Ber would surely have wanted the yeshiva to take care of
The levaya, leaving from the Kaminetz Yeshiva in
Yerushalayim on motzei Shabbos the day before Chanukah
close to chatzos, was attended by a large throng. A
hesped was delivered by the rosh yeshiva of Kaminetz,
HaRav Yitzchok Sheiner.
Reb Chaim Halevi Soloveitchik is survived by his brothers,
HaRav Meir Halevi Soloveitchik, HaRav Meshulam Dovid Halevi
Soloveitchik, as well as by his sisters, Rebbetzin Feinstein
and Rebbetzin Schiff.