Gedolei Torah, roshei yeshivos, rabbonim and hundreds
of bnei Torah participated in the levaya last
Tuesday chol hamoed Succos of HaRav Yisroel Yaakov
Aisenstark, 29, a prominent avreich in Beitar Illit
and chairman of that city's Degel Hatorah branch, who died in
a tragic car accident en route to the levaya of Rav
Shlomo Yitzchok Shapira Hy'd.
Born on the 28th of Tishrei 5734 to Rav Moshe Yosef
Aisenstark ylt'a of Maalot Dafna in Jerusalem, he
studied at Talmud Torah Hadar Tzion where he was known as an
able talmid and was regarded fondly by his rabbonim.
He continued his studies at Yeshivas Hadaras Yerushalayim and
later at Yeshivas Birkas Moshe.
He married the daughter of Rav Zalman Ettinger and soon after
the wedding settled in Beitar Illit, where he continued his
learning at Kollel Beis Yitzchok and dedicated all of his
free time to public affairs. His life was an unbroken
tapestry of devoted Torah study and zehirus in
mitzvos, interwoven with acts of tzedoko and
chessed while faithfully attending to public needs.
Following the levaya many of those who had benefited
from his assistance told surviving family members of his
discrete and unassuming efforts to help them.
Others described his leading role as a community leader in
matters of gashmius as well as ruchnius, and
his constant efforts to uphold religious affairs--
eiruvin, mikvo'os, tznius, chinuch and other realms--
as a faithful servant of the city's rabbonim. He was among
the founders of two talmudei Torah, a yeshiva
ketanoh, a kollel and a pair of kindergartens
called Ateres Dina, named after Rebbetsen Dina Berlin
a'h, daughter of HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv
ylt'a. On Erev Sukkos he set up a beis horo'o
for daled minim. Following several tragedies that have
befallen the city, under the guidance of gedolei
Yisroel, an evening kollel has been set up for the
study of Toras ha'aretz.
His dedicated efforts for the sake of the entire Beitar Illit
kehilloh made R' Aisenstark an obvious choice to serve
as chairman of the city's Degel Hatorah branch and to serve
on the city council.
As a bochur R' Aisenstark regularly consulted with
HaRav Eliashiv shlita on halachic matters and he
continued to seek his advice once he became involved in
When HaRav Eliashiv arrived at his chuppoh to serve as
mesader kedushin he added the title "HaRav" to the
chosson's name on the kesubo, showing the
fondness and esteem he held for his talmid. Whenever
R' Aisenstark came to the Eliashiv home he would ask for a
brochoh for his wife.
Two days before he was cut down in his prime, one of his
friends spoke with R' Aisenstark about a place to
daven on Hoshannoh Rabnoh. R' Aisenstark said he
planned to daven in HaRav Eliashiv's beis
medrash to gather some of the leaves of his
hoshanos, which are held to be a segulo to
protect against car accidents. "Those leaves protect me, my
family and all of the city's residents," he said. But he did
not merit collecting the leaves as in previous years for he
died in a car accident at the beginning of Chol Hamoed.
On the night of his death he took part in a Simchas Beis
Hasho'evo in one of the city's botei medrash and was
even honored with the recital of one of the Shir Hamaalos.
One of the verses he was given to recite was "Shir
hamaalos leDovid, Hashem lo gova libi velo romu einai, velo
hilachti begedolos uveniflo'os mimeni" (131:1). A few
minutes later he was about to set out for Jerusalem together
with his close friend Rav Yitzchok Ravitz to attend the
levaya of Rav Shlomo Yitzchok Shapira, when he decided
to travel in two separate cars so he could take two
avreichim who could not fit into the single car.
On the Tunnel Highway his car collided head-on with a truck.
R' Aisenstark was brought to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in
fatal condition. His family and close friends stood at his
bedside as he returned his soul to his Maker a short time
When HaRav Eliashiv was notified of the tragedy the next
morning he expressed heartfelt sorrow over a righteous man
who had gone to beis olomo.
Thousands of people from Beitar Illit and Jerusalem attended
the levaya with heavy hearts and bleary eyes, mourning
the sudden death of a tzaddik who walked a straight
path and was noach leShomayim venoach lebrios.
Before the procession set out from Yeshivas HaRan in Beitar,
hespeidim were delivered by the city's chief rabbonim,
HaRav Dovid Tzvi Ordentlich and HaRav Yaakov Avizari Tufik;
the rov of Shechunat Hadekel, HaRav Meir Simchoh Auerbach;
the rov of Maalot Dafna and family friend HaRav Nochum
Eisenstein; and Beitar Mayor R' Yitzchok Pindrus. All of the
speakers noted R' Aisenstark's enormous contribution to
spiritual matters in the city.
The large procession continued at the Shamgar Funeral Center
in Jerusalem, where police closed main thoroughfares to allow
the procession to pass. There words of parting were said by
HaRav Yosef Efrati, head of the Beis Medrash Lehalocho
Behisyashvus and HaRav Avrohom Mendelssohn, rosh yeshivas
Birkas Moshe. Despite high temperatures a large crowd
continued to Har Hamenuchos in Jerusalem, where he was buried
within sight of the grave of R' Shlomo Yitzchok Shapira,
after meeting his death on the way to the latter's
R' Aisenstark is survived by his two parents and sisters and
brothers, a wife and his children, who are continuing in his
path of Torah and yiroh.
Based on directives of rabbonim, a fund has been set up for
the surviving widow and orphans. Contributions can be
deposited at Mercantile Discount Bank, Branch 635, Account
Number 295647 in the name of K. Aisenstark; POB 589, Beitar
Illit 99879; or through Vaad HaRabbonim LeInyonei Tzedoko by
dialing 1-800-22-36-36 and donating to the Aisenstark Fund,