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
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
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
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
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.