HaRav Meir Rosenbaum, zt'l, a sterling example of a
talmid chochom and an emblem of Torah, passed away in
Lakewood on Sunday at the age of 57. On Monday his
aron arrived in Eretz Yisroel and he was buried in the
rabbinical section on Har Hamenuchos in Jerusalem.
R' Meir was born in the US to Holocaust refugees. His father
was a talmid muvhok of Rav Moshe Lipshitz,
Hy'd, the rov of Brigel, and was known for his piety,
great yiras Shomayim, regular Torah learning and as
the baal tefilloh in the beis knesses of the
Bluzhover Rebbe in the US. He was also close to the Admor of
Vishnitz, author of Imrei Chaim, and the Admor from
Klausenberg. His mother, Mrs. Bina Rosenbaum, who passed away
last year at the age of 89, was born in the city of
Karlsruhe, Germany to Rav Dovid Turner, Hy'd. A woman
of intelligence, yiras Shomayim and exemplary
middos, she was the center of a large family and
passed on her special traits to her children.
R' Meir studied at Yeshivas Chassan Sofer under the
Mattersdorfer Rov. When the latter's son-in-law, HaRav
Binyomin Paler, a talmid of Griz of Brisk, later set
up a yeshiva of his own, Yeshivas Mekor Chaim, R' Meir was
among the original core of outstanding talmidim. Rav
Binyomin infused his talmidim with the Brisker
approach to Torah learning. Thus R' Meir forged a close bond
with the Briskers, eventually sending his son to study under
HaRav Binyomin Paler in the US and then in Eretz Yisroel at
Yeshivas Brisk and Yeshivas Ponevezh.
In 5727 (1967) he married Soroh Rochel, tlct'a, the
daughter of Rav Pinchas Sholom Atlas of Queens. They built a
home of chesed and a beis vaad lechachomim
whose doors were always open.
He was in Lakewood Yeshiva for 35 years, becoming one of the
most distinguished and influential figures in the city. He
served as an exemplary talmid chochom who did not
leave his gemora behind upon entering the business
world. He continued to learn half days in the yeshiva, and
sometimes the gemora even accompanied him during his
Even while attending to business matters he was immersed in
the special world of a ben Torah. On one occasion,
standing on Har Hamenuchos (where he was eventually buried)
he remarked that according to Chazal, in the Beis Din Shel
Maaloh the first thing a man is judged on is his Torah
learning, but the gemora says that the first question
he is asked whether he showed integrity in his business
dealings (Nosato venosato be'emunoh?). Rav Rosenbaum
explained that in order to gauge what level of integrity is
demanded of one, first the person being judged must be
evaluated in terms of his level of Torah learning.
He played an important role in building the Torah world in
Lakewood. When he arrived there the town was not highly
developed in Torah terms. He helped shoulder the burden and
was among those who pushed for and helped set up one Torah
institution after another. For many years he was very close
to the rosh yeshiva of Lakewood HaRav Schneur Kotler
The current roshei yeshivos often met with him regarding
communal affairs and his opinion was held in high regard.
Many members of the community also came to him for advice and
he received every visitor amiably, always knowing the right
words to say to every individual who called on him.
He took advantage of his connections in the business world,
forging numerous bonds between Lakewood and other Jews
including many who were far from Torah and mitzvos, or at
least not close to the yeshiva world. Through his personal
attraction they grew familiar with the yeshiva, and often
became willing benefactors.
Important visitors in Lakewood, including roshei yeshivos and
admorim, were often guests in his home. Jews who came to the
city during periods of convalescence also stayed in his home
and Rav Rosenbaum would tend to all of their needs, even to
finding them temporary chavrusas.
Together with his father-in-law he helped support the yeshiva
in Stanford, Connecticut that was eventually renamed "Beis
Binyomin" after his father-in-law. When his son-in-law
founded the chassidic yeshiva Amoloh Shel Torah in
Yerushalayim, he was also very involved. Numerous gatherings
were also held in his home to raise money for tzedokoh
and Torah institutions in the US and Eretz Yisroel. On one
occasion he even missed his grandson's bris in order
to hold gathering for Yeshivas Mekor Chaim. He himself gave
away a large portion of his personal resources to Torah
institutions and chesed undertakings.
Rav Rosenbaum was also part in the chaburah that
worked for the Mishnas Reb Aharon Institute on the splendid
edition of Mishnayos Maseches Shevi'is that was put
Rav Rosenbaum was particularly careful in performing the
mitzvah of kibbud av vo'eim. When his father passed
away three years ago, he was constantly at his mother's side,
offering support and assistance.
When his health began to fail shortly after his mother's
petiroh last spring, his true spiritual strength came
to light. Following a meeting with a doctor whose prognosis
was that Rav Rosenbaum had only three weeks left to live, he
conveyed the news to his children with a quote from the
gemora: "` . . . Nitnoh reshus lerofeh
lerap'os,'" he said. "Doctors have permission to heal us,
not to send us into despair."
At that point he abandoned his work and devoted all of his
time to Torah, saying, "Marbeh Torah marbeh chaim." He
also gave away large sums of money to tzedokoh. By
placing his faith in atzas tzadikkim it turned out
that by following their advice in medical matters, he lived
almost a full year.
Last Sunday, while in his home in Lakewood, Rav Rosenbaum's
heart suddenly stopped beating and he returned his soul to
As a mark of special recognition, his aron was carried
into the beis medrash of the yeshiva in Lakewood from
where the levaya set out. He was eulogized by the
Lakewood roshei yeshiva, HaRav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, HaRav
Yeruchom Olshin, as well as by HaRav Shmuel Abba Olshin, rosh
yeshivas Emek HaTalmud in New York; HaRav Betzalel Mordechai
Klein, Satmar dayan and moreh tzedek in
Lakewood; Yeshivas Lakewood Mashgiach HaRav Mattisyohu
Salomon; the Yeshiva's rosh chaburas Kodshim and his
chavrusa, HaRav Eliezer Sossne; his brother HaRav
Yaakov Dov Rosenbaum of Monsey; his sons R' Yosef Yitzchok,
R' Dovid, R' Moshe and Yisroel; and rosh yeshivas Beis
Binyomin of Stamford HaRav Simcha Shustal. Then the
levaya passed his home on its way to the beis
medrash of Lakewood alumni.
A large gathering of those who had been unable to attend the
levaya in Lakewood was on hand at Kennedy
International Airport. There hespeidim were delivered
by the Admor from Novominsk and Rosh Agudath Israel in the
US, by HaRav Meir Hirshkowitz; by rosh yeshivas Beis Binyomin
HaRav Dovid Shustal; and by HaRav Moshe Schreiber of New
York. The Keil Moleh Rachamim was recited by his
mechuton Reb Abish Brodt.
In Eretz Yisroel at the airport in Lod a large crowd awaited
the coffin's arrival from New York on its way to Jerusalem.
Eulogies were given by his son-in-law, HaRav Yosef Zeev
Feinstein and the Admor of Toldos Aharon. The latter then
Rav Rosenbaum was survived by his sons in Lakewood R' Yosef
Yitzchok, R' Dovid, R' Moshe and his son Yisroel who is
learning at Eimek HaTalmud; his sons-in-law, HaRav Yosef Zeev
Feinstein, rosh yeshivas Amoloh Shel Torah in Jerusalem,
HaRav Efraim Zalman Pines, HaRav Yosef Yitzchok Hassenfeld
and HaRav Moshe Yehuda Bodenstein; a daughter studying at the
Lakewood Seminary -- and grandchildren. He also leaves behind
his brothers, HaRav Yaakov Dov, HaRav Dovid and HaRav Moshe
Yonah and sisters married to HaRav Elozor Zeev Neiman and
HaRav Michoel Dreyfus.
Rav Rosenbaum was buried on Har Hamenuchos in a plot he
purchased during his lifetime near the grave of HaRav Chaim
Kreiswirth, with whom he had a close relationship, and HaRav
Boruch Ruchamim, a rov in Philadelphia and a talmid
muvhok of HaRav Meir Arik of Tarnopol, whom Rav Rosenbaum
attended to for the last fifteen years until his
petiroh last month.