Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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13 Kislev 5762 - November 28, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











HaRav Aharon Yehoshua HaKohen Silber zt"l
by S. Bruchi

Last week, a large throng accompanied HaRav Aharon Yehoshua HaKohen Silber zt"l, one of the heads of London's kashrus system and the rov of London's Beis Medrash Ponevezh, on his last earthly journey. He was niftar in his 80th year after a severe illness.

HaRav Aharon Yehoshua HaKohen Silber, the son of Reb Meir Peretz, was born in 5682 (1922) in the Polish city of Cracow. He descended from the renowned Horowitz family, including the Haflo'oh, Shloh HaKodosh, Reb Itzikel Hamburger, and Reb Mottel Horowitz of Piotrkov.

When Reb Aharon Yehoshua was still young, his family moved to Vienna.

In 1938 (5698) he was brought over to England in one of the last kindertransports organized by Rabbi Dr. S. Schonfield. After a year in the Jewish Secondary School, he joined the renowned Schneider's Yeshiva and came under the influence of HaRav Moshe Schneider, zt"l, whom he respected as his rebbe until the end of his days, always remembering the warm bren and ahavas Torah.

In 1945 he joined the Gateshead Kollel and became part of the chaburoh which formed the backbone of Torah and later rabbonus in England. A year after joining the Kollel he married one of the first girls of the Gateshead Seminary, Chaya, the daughter of R' Moshe Steinhaus, o"h.

After his marriage he continued to devote himself to Torah study and became very close with HaRav Dessler, maintaining that bond even after HaRav Dessler moved to Bnei Brak. The family is still in possession of many letters which HaRav Dessler wrote to him which bear witness to the warmth and high esteem in which HaRav Dessler held him.

In 1953 he was appointed by the London Beis Din as Prinicipal Rabbinical Supervisor in charge of all kashrus under the supervision of the London Beis Din. HaRav Aharon Yehoshua held this position for thirty-eight years, during which he staunchly maintained kashrus in England, traveling from enterprise to enterprise and store to store, in both England and other countries in his efforts to provide England's Jews with strict kashrus supervision.

His ehrlichkeit and yiras Shomayim impressed everybody who came into contact with him in his avodas hakodesh.

Even though his position took up a great deal of time, he was always makpid to have chavrusas with rabbonim and talmidei chachomim throughout the years, and was known in London as a talmid chochom of repute.

Due to his expertise in the field of kashrus, heads of kashrus committees from Eretz Yisroel and the entire world would consult him and rely on him as an ultimate authority on all kashrus issues. Every time he visited Eretz Yisroel people would confer with him on halochoh and kashrus.

In the 1960s, he became rov of the Beis Medrash Ponevezh that was set up in the home of the well-known philanthropist, Reb Yaakov Levison in Craven Walk, Stamford Hill, and with his dignified bearing and friendly manner he earned the respect of all the mispalelim.

From its inception he delivered shiurim in the shul and made certain that not a day passed by without a shiur. The members of the shul were very enthused by the droshos and sichos he delivered, especially during Yemei Hadin when he aroused them to strengthen themselves.

His yashrus and his ability of being mekabel every person beseiver ponim yofos, endeared him to everyone who knew him.

He was very well liked by all segments of the community in London, and even though he was very firm on halachic issues, he was always warm and genial in his personal relations.

Even the non-Jews were amazed by his warm bearing, and in that manner he made a kiddush Hashem in all he did.

In later years in London, even though he was ailing, he continued his avodas hakodesh with mesirus nefesh.

In 1991 he moved to Eretz Yisroel to live near his children. Despite the fact that he suffered a great deal of yissurim, he spent most of his time in limud haTorah with chavrusas and shiurim. Even in the last week of his life he continued with his learning schedule as before.

In recent years his suffering intensified and he was confined to his home. He accepted his suffering with love and without complaint and would never forego even the most minute detail of the mitzvos. He also continued to accord people warm and genial receptions.

He was niftar on 6 Kislev.

His levaya, which was held on Thursday 7 Kislev, was attended by a large throng. Hespedim were delivered by HaRav Yitzchok Wassermann (formerly of London), HaRav Shraya Devlitzky, and by his two sons and son-in-law.

The maspidim stressed the niftar's great merit in upholding the kashrus network in London and spoke about his harbotzas Torah in his community.

May he be a melitz yosher for his almonoh who cared for him with such devotion and for his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren all of whom are pursuing the path he charted for them.


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