Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Elul 5764 - August 18, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











HaRav Moshe Finkel, zt"l
by Betzalel Kahn

Heavy grief descended on the Torah world, particularly the members of Yeshivas Mir past and present, upon receiving news of the petiroh of HaRav Moshe Finkel zt"l on Sunday 28 Av at the age of 94 following a long illness.

The levaya set out from Yeshivas Mir in Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon and he was buried near his father, HaRav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, and his father-in-law, HaRav Mordechai Dovid Levine, author of Darkei Dovid.

HaRav Moshe Finkel was born on 21 Av 5670 (1910) in the small town of Mir, Poland, and had the merit to grow up in the presence of his grandfather, one of the Torah gedolim of his generation, HaRav Eliyohu Boruch Kamai, the rov of Mir. His father was HaRav Eliezer Yehuda ("Leizer Yudel") Finkel zt"l, later rosh yeshiva of Mir in Europe and Yerushalayim.

Following his father's pattern of "wandering" to places of Torah, he went to study at many of the leading places of Torah during those times. He began at Yeshivas Slobodka, where he remained close to his other grandfather, HaRav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, the Alter of Slobodka.

Then he transferred to the famous Talmud Torah of Kelm, which left its imprint on his special personality. He learned there bechavrusa with HaRav Dovid Povarsky, zt"l. He also studied at Yeshivas Baranovitch under HaRav Elchonon Wassermann Hy"d, and also with HaRav Shlomo Heiman zt"l.

Later he returned to his hometown where he was selected among the members of Yeshivas Mir to join a group traveling to study under Maran the Griz in Brisk. Greatly impressed with the young man, Maran entrusted him to take part in the task of preparing for publication his father's book of chiddushim, Rabbenu Chaim Halevi on the Rambam, working together with his own son, HaRav Y. D. Soloveitchik zt"l.

Before World War II broke out he returned to Yeshivas Mir. The yeshiva's alumni recall how he spiritedly prayed as chazon on Motzei Simchas Torah, at the last tefilloh in the town of Mir. He remained with the yeshiva during some of its wanderings up to 5701 (1941), when he managed to go to Eretz Yisroel with his father.

Shortly after his arrival, HaRav Eliezer Yehuda set up the yeshiva in Jerusalem, with HaRav Moshe taking an active role by helping his father in every way. At this time HaRav Levine, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Eitz Chaim and author of Darkei Dovid, chose him to marry his daughter.

When the yeshiva expanded he took on the formidable task of supporting the yeshiva. During this period the yeshiva moved from one location to another until HaRav Eliezer Yehuda decided to build a permanent facility in the Beit Yisrael neighborhood. During these years HaRav Moshe hardly had a moment's rest, and he worked with true mesiras nefesh for an extended period.

He would embark on long journeys for the sake of the yeshiva, sometimes going on the road for an entire year, not resting until he had completed the holy task of supporting the hundreds of avreichim and covering the yeshiva's debts.

He always insisted on not deriving any benefit from yeshiva funds, living in great poverty. He took great pains in his conduct. His family members say when he once tied his right shoe before his left, the mistake left him perturbed all day.

He passed away on the date of his bris miloh. As the Chasam Sofer says tzaddikim live out their years, counting through the day of their bris miloh.

The first of the maspidim was HaRav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, current rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Mir, followed by HaRav Aryeh Finkel, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Mir-Brachfeld, HaRav Yitzchok Ezrachi, one of the roshei yeshivos of Yeshivas Mir, his mechuton HaRav Boruch Dov Povarsky, one of the roshei yeshivas of Yeshivas Ponovezh, and his oldest son, HaRav Eliyohu Boruch, a ram at Yeshivas Mir.

He was buried at Har Hamenuchos Cemetery in the family plot. After the burial, his son-in-law, HaRav Binyomin Povarsky, spoke of the deceased's adherence the halochoh in every detail, even during his final days when his strength failed him.

HaRav Moshe Finkel, zt"l, is survived by his sons, HaRav Eliyohu Boruch and HaRav Yitzchok Eizek, his sons-in- law, Rav Shmuel Breskin and HaRav Binyomin Povarsky, grandchildren and great-grandchildren following in his path.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.