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24 Ellul 5761 - September 12, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











The Admor of Strikov, zt"l
by S. Bruchi

On Tuesday 16 Elul, a massive throng from all circles of chareidi Jewry accompanied the Admor of Strikov, HaRav Avrohom Landa, zt"l, on his last earthy journey. The procession was headed by maranan verabonon the gedolei Yisroel. He was niftar after a brief illness, during his 84th year.

The levaya set out on Tuesday afternoon from the Strikover beis medrash on Alshich Street in Bnei Brak. Gedolei Yisroel vehaChassidus, students and chassidim, filled nearby streets, expressing their deep sorrow over the petiroh of such a great tzaddik. Before the levaya set out, many of the Admor's chassidim and students did kriya in accordance with the halocho that a talmid must mourn his rebbe.

During the levaya, Chazon Ish street was closed to traffic as was Rabbi Akiva Street until the Kol Yaakov yeshiva on Chagai Street. From there the levaya proceeded to Jerusalem where the Admor was buried on Har Hamenuchos in accordance with the request he made in his will.

The Admor of Strikov, HaRav Avrohom Landa, was born on 11 Shvat, 5677 (1917) in the city of Kinov, in the Ostrovtze region of Poland. His father, HaRav Yaakov Yitzchok Dan Hy"d, served as rav of the city following the petiroh of his uncle, who had been the rav of Kinov. The Admor of Strikov was raised by his grandfather, HaRav Elimelech Menachem Mendel, one of the greatest admorim of Poland before the Holocaust.

When HaRav Elimelech began to lead his flock, a huge circle of chassidim gathered around him. During HaRav Elimelech's time, 150 botei medrash of Strikover chassidim were scattered throughout Poland, and many chassidim from other chassidic courts also followed and revered him. With his petiroh on the 19th of Shvat, 5696 (1936), he was replaced by his son the rav of Kinov, who led the group until he perished al kiddush Hashem in 5704 (1944).

In 5690, thirteen-year-old Avrohom began to study in the Chachmei Lublin yeshiva. His entrance exam to the yeshiva included a test on hundreds of pages of gemara. The test was administered by the yeshiva's famed founder and rosh yeshiva HaRav Meir Shapiro, originator of the Daf Hayomi program. He was accepted into this yeshiva as a regular student despite his young age, and attended shiurim and discourses by the rosh yeshiva as well as those of the great geonim of the generation, HaRav Aryeh Leib Frommer of Kozhikov, and HaRav Shimon of Mezhlicov, who regarded him as one of the yeshiva's finest students.

In the yeshiva, young Avrohom spoke in Torah with its most eminent students who respected him for his broad knowledge and brilliance. He pored over his Torah studies diligently during his many years in the yeshiva, and was a great source of pride for the yeshiva.

When the Second World War broke out he was at his parents' home and he fled with his father to Lodz, where the family stayed for a number of weeks. From Lodz the family fled to Warsaw, and from there, at the directive of his father, young Avrohom fled to Baranowitz. A week after his arrival in Baranowitz he fled to Vilna, which hadn't been captured by the Nazis. He arrived in Vilna during Chanukah 5700 (1939), and became acquainted with HaRav Chaim Ozer and other gedolei hador who were in Vilna at the time. Like all of the other outstanding talmidei chachomim then in Vilna, he began to study under the Griz (HaRav Velvel Soloveitchik) of Brisk.

The Griz's son relates: "Many wanted to be accepted by my father but it was impossible to accommodate them all. However, the son of the Admor was accepted immediately. All of us wondered about that, but my father explained: `Once I was a guest at the health spa of Krennitz at the same time that the Admor of Strikov and one of his grandsons were there. I was very impressed by this unique young man, his intelligence and talents. That young man has come here now. How can I not accept him with the affection I felt for him a number of years ago?' "

From then on young Avrohom remained very close to the Griz of Brisk, becoming his outstanding student.

At the beginning of Nisan 5701, a way was found for Rav Avrohom to leave Vilna and to go to Eretz Yisroel, and the Griz made special efforts to secure visas. Joining a group of students who were very close to the Griz, Rav Avrohom arrived in Eretz Yisroel a few days before Pesach, after an arduous trek via Russia and Turkey.

The Griz later related: "During that period, I didn't sleep at night nor during the day in my efforts to bring my beloved student Avrum'che to Eretz Yisroel."

In Eretz Yisroel, Avrohom began to study with the Griz's son, HaRav Yehoshua Ber. Together they completed all Seder Noshim, learning with utmost diligence.

In 5706 (1946) he married the daughter of HaRav Meir Vidslavsky, one of the finest teachers in the Beis Yaakov school system, and a great-granddaughter of the Chiddushei Harim of Gur. After their marriage he learned that his father and eight of his siblings had perished in the Holocaust, and that only he and his sister remained alive from the entire Strikover dynasty.

At that point, the elders of the Strikover Chassidim asked him to lead the Strikover-Chechenov dynasty, and named him Admor. Soon, many elderly chassidim who had come to Eretz Yisroel after the Holocaust and had been followers of his father in Europe, began to flock to his beis medrash in Jerusalem.

In Jerusalem, the Admor of Strikov had a special relationship with the Gaon of Tchebin, who was his neighbor in Sha'arei Chessed for a long period. In 5711 (1951), the Admor answered the request of many Strikover chassidim from Tel Aviv, and established his beis medrash in that city. For thirty years, the Tel Aviv beis medrash and his home were centers of Torah and chassidus attracting many lomdei Torah who came to hear his inspiring talks. In his home in Tel Aviv he raised many orphans, caring for all their needs until they married.

The finest Torah students in Tel Aviv gathered in this beis medrash, where he would deliver shiurim on various masechtos. He was well known for his brilliance, and highly acclaimed for his vast knowledge of all aspects of Torah. He studied with fervor, and it was evident that he derived his vitality from his Torah study. His alacrity in mitzvah observance and his meticulousness were exemplary. His most outstanding trait, however, was his humility, which reached untold heights.

Alongside his greatness in Torah, he was a giant in middos and had a common language with everyone. He received everyone genially, and his simplicity and pleasantness had a tremendous influence on all who encountered him. They were the basis of the esteem in which Klal Yisroel from all sects and circles held him. He was a source of guidance for all, and many benefited from his sage counsel.

The trait of truth burned within him, and he despised every form of untruth, publicity or flattery, teaching his students to be truthful and to flee pride.

The Admor of Strikov was a pillar of prayer. He would stand before his Maker in prayer and his voice, burning with love of Hashem, could be heard afar. Turning his eyes upward and directing his heart to Hashem like a servant before his Master, he would recite every word of prayer like one counting precious coins. His prayers were well known for their potency, and many were helped in the merit of his supplications.

HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt"l, said that he didn't know from whence the Admor derived the kochos to pray with such fervor. Each and every prayer or brocho he recited seemed like a "first," due to the special fervor with which he imbued them.

In 5744 (1984) he moved to Bnei Brak, where he established his beis medrash on Alshich Street. Many Bnei Brak residents came to hear the sichos he gave at his tisch. He would also deliver long sichos on Chanukah. These sichos have been recorded and will soon be published.

In 5749 (1989) he founded the Kol Yaakov yeshiva on Chagai Street, where scores of bochurim study. In his capacity as rosh yeshiva, he was like a father to each and every one of his students.

The Admor of Strikov was very close with Maran HaRav Eliezer Menachem Shach shlita, and every chol hamoed, Maran would visit the Admor. The remarkable friendship between them began in the days of the Griz. On the day of the petiroh of the Griz, only his sons and his two closest students were allowed to see him: Maran HaRav Shach, shlita, and the Admor of Strikov.

All the gedolim of his times held him in high esteem and as a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, his words were carefully heeded. He was one of the helmsmen of chareidi Jewry, and made remarkable efforts on behalf of Klal Yisroel.

A few years ago he founded the Zichron Menachem Beis Medrash in the Nvei Tzvi neighborhood in Jerusalem and it soon became a center of Torah. Every year he would spend a month in Jerusalem studying and davening there.

A few months ago he fell ill and his health began to deteriorate. On Monday 15 Elul he was hospitalized in the Tel Hashomer Hospital, where he returned his pure soul to its Maker. In accordance with his last will and testament, he was buried on Har Hamenuchos near the grave of the Griz of Brisk.

He is survived by his wife and by three daughters who are married, respectively, to HaRav Moshe Stern, HaRav Yeshaya Frank and HaRav Dovid Brander. His grandchildren and great- grandchildren are continuing along the path he charted for them. His many chassidim deeply mourn the loss of their beloved mentor.


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