Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Adar I 5763 - February 12, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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HaRav Meir Rosenbaum zt'l
by A. Cohen

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 business affairs.

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 zt"l.

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 out.

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 his Maker.

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 recited Kaddish.

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.


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