Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

20 Sivan 5764 - June 9, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











HaRav Gedaliah Nadel, zt"l
By S. Bruchi

The bitter news of the petiroh of HaRav Gedaliah Nadel zt"l spread quickly on motzei Shabbos parshas Beha'alosecho, drawing thousands to the levaya, which set out at midnight from Lederman Shul in Bnei Brak. HaRav Nadel, one of the roshei kollel of Kollel Chazon Ish, rov of Shikun Chazon Ish and one of the Chazon Ish's leading talmidim, passed away Shabbos afternoon at the age of 81 following a difficult illness.

HaRav Nadel was born in 5683 (1923) in the town of Shavel, Lithuania to HaRav Reuven Keshel. He studied Torah in his hometown until moving to Eretz Yisroel with his parents at the age of 13, settling at first in the Balfouria Colony. After a short period of learning in Tel Aviv he transferred to Yeshivas Lomzha in Petach Tikva, where he cleaved to his rabbonim, particularly Maran HaRav Shach zt"l, and become one of the famous yeshiva's leading talmidim.

Other talmidim who studied with him at Yeshivas Lomzha recall how he would sometimes spend 18 hours straight toiling over his learning. One member of the yeshiva says had he not been reminded to eat he would not have budged from his seat.

The Chazon Ish took note of the exceptional young man, who quickly became one of his cherished talmidim. The Chazon Ish described him as one of the strongest Torah scholars among his peers and once told one of his talmidim that R' Gedaliah's tremendous kedushoh shone on his face.

For many years HaRav Nadel remained close to the Chazon Ish. Many of the Chazon Ish's talmidim say they often received the exact same answer to their questions from HaRav Nadel that they later heard from the Chazon Ish.

HaRav Nadel married the late daughter of HaRav Eliyohu Weiner, one of the talmidim of the Chofetz Chaim. After the wedding, the two lived in Jerusalem for a short period before moving to Bnei Brak.

After marrying, he lived a life of extreme prishus. He would spend all week involved in his learning at Yeshivas Yehud, returning home only for Shabbos. The entire month of Elul he would remain at Yeshivas Lomzha, preparing himself for the Yomim Noraim. When he told the Chazon Ish that he wanted to spend Rosh Hashanah in his presence, the Chazon Ish told him to spend it with the Steipler Gaon instead.

During his lifetime the Chazon Ish conceived an idea to build a neighborhood for a community of yirei Hashem, a place now known as Shikkun Chazon Ish. When the Chazon Ish formulated a plan for the construction of a beis medrash and residential buildings he said the moro d'asro would be his talmid, HaRav Gedaliah Nadel.

As the rov of the new neighborhood HaRav Nadel would provide clear, pointed answers to all who came to him with questions, such as the Steipler who, like his son ylct"a HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, would often bring his questions to HaRav Nadel.

Based on directives from the Steipler many halachic matters were decided according to HaRav Nadel's rulings. Many public campaigns and important gatherings on matters of import to the Jewish world were held in his home on Rechov Rashbam and led by HaRav Shach or the Steipler. As a warrior fighting Hashem's war he was intrepid in his pursuit of truth-- bilti leHashem levado.

HaRav Nadel was famous for his tremendous command of all areas of Torah. One of his talmidim recounts coming to ask him a halachic question and HaRav Nadel opened the Chochmas Odom to the right place, pointing straight at his ruling. When he was unable to find the exact place he would spend three days studying the book over and over again until he knew it word for word.

He served as rosh yeshiva at Yeshivas Vishnitz in Bnei Brak, but after a certain period he resumed dedicating his life to Torah study with tremendous toil and prishus. His talmidim recall how once he arrived in Bnei Brak from his place of study in Yehud, setting a certain amount of time for his stay in the city. He went to the Chazon Ish to speak with him on halachic matters and after the conversation, seeing his allotted time in Bnei Brak was finished, he left without going home and sent a letter to his wife explaining that had he gone home to visit he would have failed to keep his resolution. His zerizus and charodoh in keeping mitzvos were astonishing and he was punctilious in every matter of halochoh. Only food carefully supervised from start to finish entered his mouth.

His modest home, which exuded simplicity from every corner, was evidence of the disregard he felt for matters of This World. His only concern was cleaving to HaKodosh Boruch Hu. When he would speak with Him, HaRav Nadel was so overcome with emotion he would begin to weep. All of his deeds pointed to his total deveikus to Borei Olom.

In addition to his greatness in Torah and halochoh he was a man of great chessed, taking care of the families of the sick and of widows and orphans. He would lend his ear and his heart for hours and hours to listen to people in need, whether the case involved individuals or community matters. He would listen patiently and help however he could. He was very careful to other respect people's dignity and to carry out mitzvos of bein odom lechavero.

With graciousness, simplicity and pleasantness he would encourage the brokenhearted and breathe hope into those in despair. He would spend hours giving advice on matters of sholom bayis and chinuch habonim.

In his latter years he was a marbitz Torah for many talmidim who came to hear his deep, clearly delivered shiurim, which paved a path toward an understanding of every sugya, smoothing every rough spot. His talmidim collected his shiurim in the two- volume Shiurei Rebbe Gedaliah and several other books are slated for publication in the near future.

In his final years he suffered from illness, pain and suffering, but even during difficult times he never stopped devoting his time to Torah with all of his remaining strength. During the past year his health began to fail and recently he fell into further decline until he was hospitalized at Tel Hashomer's Sheba Hospital. On the afternoon of Shabbos Parshas Beha'alosecho es haneiros he opened his eyes, said a few words and suddenly returned his soul, refined through yissurim, to his Maker.

Despite the late night hour, Rechov Rashbam and the surrounding streets turned black as bnei Torah, including gedolei Yisroel, streamed in en masse. The recitation of Tehillim was led by HaRav Moshe Bauer followed by hespeidim given by HaRav Nissim Karelitz, HaRav Boruch Dov Povarsky and HaRav Boruch Stern.

HaRav Gedaliah Nadel zt"l is survived by his sons and sons-in-law, prominent figures in Torah and mussar, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren perpetuating his spiritual legacy, and his many talmidim who learned Torah and horo'oh from him for decades and are now mourning the loss of their rov and moreh.


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