Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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29 Adar II 5763 - April 2, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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HaRav Yisroel Moshe Dushinsky, zt'l
by Betzalel Kahn

A massive gathering of rabbonim, roshei yeshivos, dayonim, admorim and thousands more accompanied HaRav Yisroel Moshe Dushinsky zt'l, Av Beis Din of the Eida Chareidis of Jerusalem, to rest in Jerusalem last Wednesday.

Born on 21 Kislev 5682 (1922), he was the only child born to his father, Maharitz Dushinsky, who had just assumed the post as rov of Chust, and his mother Esther, the daughter of Rav Yoel Tzvi Neihaus. The Maharitz' first marriage to the daughter of the Levushei Mordechai failed to produce any children.

In his youth he was blessed by the tzadikim of his generation, the Shinover Rov, the Ahavas Chesed of Vishnitz and the Minchas Elozor of Munkatch. He was named after his father's father, Rav Yisroel, and his uncle, the Maharam Shick. The Levushei Mordechai treated young Yisroel Moshe -- who stood out among his peers for his mental prowess and lofty middos -- like a grandson.

His father was very close to his only son. Yisroel Moshe accompanied him everywhere, including visits and meetings with gedolei Yisroel. In Adar of 5692 (1932) he even took Yisroel Moshe along with him on his journey to Eretz Hakodesh. During this trip the boy received a brochoh from HaRav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld when he came to deliver a mishloach monos as the rov lay on his deathbed just days before his histalkus. HaRav Sonnenfeld lay his hand on the boy's head and gave him a blessing for arichus yomim.

When the Maharitz parted from his kehilloh in Chust before moving to Eretz Yisroel, the heads of the kehilloh suggested that the post remain vacant for his son until he came of age. But the Maharitz refused saying, "Nafshi keshuroh benafsho, el asher teilchi eileich." Some considered this a hint that he was destined to take his place in Eretz Hakodesh.

On 6 Elul 5693 (1933) Yisroel Moshe arrived in Eretz Yisroel with his father. In Jerusalem he studied at the longstanding talmud Torah, Shomrei Hachomos. At the age of 13 he joined his father's yeshiva, where he quickly became one of the outstanding talmidim. Here he acquired most of his Torah learning and refined character. In addition to his yeshiva studies he also studied horo'oh with HaRav Hanoch Padwa and HaRav Eliezer Brand, who were greatly impressed with the breadth of his Torah knowledge.

After marrying the daughter of Rav Dovid Yehoshua Gross, his father demanded that he help run the yeshiva by giving shiurim to the talmidim. During the Maharitz' final years, which was a tempestuous period in Eretz Yisroel, he trusted his son implicitly. As a young avreich Rav Yisroel Moshe met with the Chazon Ish, who remarked as he walked out, "This avreich is a genius in middos."

Upon his father's histalkus the task of running the yeshiva fell on Rav Yisroel Moshe's shoulders, at the age of only 28. After the burial he was even named a member of the Badatz of the Eida Chareidis. HaRav Pinchos Epstein would call on him every time one of the dayonim was missing, particularly in cases involving gittin and chalitzoh.

In 5727 (1947) Rav Dushinsky was appointed a regular member of the beis din, where he sat for over 40 years. He would delve deeply into cases before him, astounding observers with his ability to show temperance without forsaking the Torah's warning of lo soguru--i.e. not to let fear sway one's judgment. In 5749 (1989), following the petiroh of the Minchas Yitzchok, he was appointed Rav Av Beis Din (Ravad) of the Eida Chareidis of Jerusalem and in 5756 (1996), following the petiroh of HaRav Moshe Aharon Freund, he became the Gavad of the Eida HaChareidis.

During the years of his leadership he nurtured his yeshiva with expert care, building it gradually based on the model of Mosdos Beis Yosef Tzvi in Europe. Thousands of talmidim, including marbitzei Torah and dayanim, grew and flourished within its walls.

HaRav Dushinsky was renowned for his pure tefillos, refined character, rare humility, his practice of concealing his genius in various fields of Torah and his thorough knowledge in thousands of the seforim in his vast library.

In recent years he fell sick and suffered greatly. Although he successfully underwent several difficult operations, two months ago his condition deteriorated and, due to various medical problems, he had to be hospitalized at Hadassah Ein Kerem. Last Tuesday his grandson Yosef Tzvi, the son of his son Rav Mordechai Yehuda, was married at Heichal Maharitz, a recently completed beis medrash in Beit Shemesh. But the simchah was mixed with sorrow over HaRav Dushinsky's absence and declining state of health. Before the chuppah his talmid, HaRav Amram Hoffman, called upon the guests to use this auspicious moment to pray for his full recovery.

Late that night his condition deteriorated further and at 3:15 a.m. he returned his soul to his Maker as his close family and loyal colleagues--headed by his talmid, HaRav Avrohom Yitzchok Ulman, a member of the Badatz Eida Chareidis--stood nearby and cried out Shema Yisroel.

His aron was immediately taken to Yeshivas Beis Yosef Tzvi on Jerusalem's Shmuel Hanovi Street as hundreds of his talmidim recited Tehillim through bitter tears until the levaya set out. At 1:00 p.m. his bier was brought into the heichal where hespeidim were given by his son-in-law, HaRav Chizkiyah Sofer, av beis din in Toronto; his son and successor, HaRav Yosef Tzvi; his son, HaRav Mordechai Yehuda, his mechuton, the Gavad of Erlau; his grandson, HaRav Yitzchok Tzvi Sofer, moreh tzedek of the Hisachdus Horabbonim in Boro Park; and HaRav Yosef Davidowitz, who announced the appointment of his son HaRav Yosef Tzvi as his successor to the posts of Rosh Yeshiva and Nosi Hamosdos.

The levaya then set out toward Kikar Zupnik and beside the Eida Chareidis buildings he was eulogized by HaRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner and Badatz members HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, HaRav Yaakov Blau, HaRav Moshe Halberstam, HaRav Meir Bransdorfer and HaRav Avrohom Yitzchok Ulman. The last of the eulogizers was his son- in-law, HaRav Tzvi Yissochor Dov Katz, dayan and moreh tzedek of the Hisachdus Horabbonim and rov of Kahal Beis Yosef Tzvi in Brooklyn.

After the hespeidim he was accompanied by a large crowd to the old cemetery adjacent to the old Shaarei Tzedek Hospital building on Jaffa Road that was used during the fighting in 1948 when other cemeteries were not accessible, and was buried in a plot he purchased during his lifetime, near the grave where his father, Maharitz Dushinsky, lies buried.

Following the burial, final words of parting were offered by the Gavad of Kiryas Yoel Monroe, HaRav Aharon Teitelbaum, son of the Satmar Rebbe, who travelled especially to participate in the levaya, and his talmid, Rav Naftoli Frankel, rov of Chug Chasam Sofer in Jerusalem.


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