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3 Adar 5764 - February 25, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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HaRav Boruch Rosenberg, zt"l
by S. Bruchi

Thousands of talmidim from Yeshivas Slobodka along with roshei yeshivos and roshei kollelim brought HaRav Boruch Rosenberg zt"l rosh yeshivas Slobodka and a member of Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, to rest on Monday.

HaRav Rosenberg, who learned from the Torah giants of the previous generation, had the merit to engage in harbotzas Torah for over fifty years and was considered one of the leading teachers of Torah, mussar and yir'oh of our generation. On Monday morning when news arrived that he was in critical condition, the members of Yeshivas Slobodka spent most of the morning praying for his recovery, but toward noon he was summoned to Yeshiva Shel Ma'aloh.

Upon the arrival of the aron at the yeshiva at 3:00 p.m., his talmidim performed krioh. In the beis medrash the paroches was pulled off to the sides. Cries of mourning and lamentation rose up on all sides. The yeshiva's talmidim, both past and present, recited Tehillim tearfully for hours.

An unbroken stream of black flowed down the streets and by 6:00 p.m. thousands of bnei Torah from around the country had gathered outside the yeshiva. Before the levaya began, HaRav Shlomo Edelstein led a mass recital of several chapters of Tehillim.

HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman spoke first. "A man's greatness cannot be known. There are many things that cannot be known about a man and his greatness. Chazal say that HaKodosh Boruch Hu is happy and joyous over the arrival of the clean soul of a tzaddik. But could it be that HaKodosh Boruch Hu lacks tzaddikim in the World to Come that He is happy and joyous when a tzaddik arrives? Rather HaKodosh Boruch Hu sends a soul to This World, a soul chiseled from under the Throne of Honor. He does not know how a person will pass through This World. There are so many risks . . . But after an individual passes through his years in This World uprightly, HaKodosh Boruch Hu is happy and joyous when He sees the soul that passed through This World according to HaKodosh Boruch Hu's Will. And this is extremely difficult, for it is so hard not to stumble in matters of bein odom lechavero. When one passes through This World without harming anybody else, this is the clean soul of a tzaddik. In the merit of Klal Yisroel, may HaKodosh Boruch Hu help increase the number of lomdei Torah and `may the earth be filled with knowledge of Hashem . . . '"

Next HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkovitz spoke of the deceased's lifelong labors in Torah and middos. "Those who saw him, those who knew him, clearly saw his middas zehirus . . . He who contemplates R' Boruch zt"l can be elevated through him, for Torah brings one to zehirus."

HaRav Dov Lando, rosh Yeshivas Slobodka, gave a moving hesped. "I find it difficult to eulogize Morenu Rosh Hayeshiva R' Boruch zt"l . . . [For me] the difficulty is double. To eulogize an odom godol one must have a connection to him and the second difficulty is that I am in mourning, and although I was told it would be permitted for me to go out and eulogize, still it is hard to say what should be said, but this must be done, for as the Shulchan Oruch rules there is an obligation to eulogize a chochom and chossid . . . How can one not make an effort to eulogize such a great man, a great among the remnants of the gedolei Torah remaining from the last generation who are so far beyond the men of this generation in all aspects of Torah . . . "

Rosh Yeshivas Slobodka, HaRav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, said, " . . . Only a humble man can receive Torah. The Rosh Yeshiva exemplified the notion of `Ofor lekol tihiyeh.' He annulled himself, he had no concept of the word, `I.' He achieved the essence of humility . . . "

HaRav Gershon Edelstein, one of the roshei yeshivos of Yeshivas Ponovezh, said, " . . . The sun shines. The sun shines brightest in the middle of the day, and then suddenly the sun vanishes and there is darkness all around. This is a difficult feeling . . . Until his final days the Rosh Yeshiva was in a state of wholeness and the light of his Torah grew stronger and stronger and then suddenly the sun went away in the middle of the day . . . "

HaRav Avrohom Pollack, menahel ruchani at Yeshivas Slobodka, spoke of how every member of the yeshiva felt connected to the Rosh Yeshiva's image during his fifty years of Torah and mussar shiurim. "We have lost a man of great stature in middos . . . A man who studied with perseverance day and night . . . until on Sunday one month ago everybody waited for the shiur kloli and R' Boruch couldn't give the shiur. What will these avreichim and bochurim do without these shiurim? The shiurim built them. All week long they lived off of that shiur. There is no substitute for it in depth and thought."

Later he spoke of HaRav Rosenberg's steadfastness while studying at Yeshivas Mir, which he joined at the Brisker Rov's recommendation. While in Shanghai he would sleep on straw and study in stifling heat. Nothing interested him besides Torah. Despite all of the temptations to remain in the US he followed his rov's advice faithfully and moved to Eretz Hakodesh, becoming a marbitz Torah as soon as he got married.

His son, HaRav Avrohom, said, "All his life he would learn with chavrusas until 1:00 am and would go to bed around 2:00 . . . We have no conception of his greatness in Torah. But when we know that Maranan HaRav Y. Abramsky zt"l and HaRav Mordechai Shulman zt"l would ask for his opinion regarding the shiurim they gave, we realize how great he was in Torah. And his greatness in Torah was matched by his greatness in chessed, in gemilus chassodim, in middos shebein odom lechavero, in bringing orphans into his home and in all of his greatness in Torah he was a giant in humility. Who can replace him?"

When the hespeidim were complete the levaya set out accompanied by thousands and HaRav Boruch Rosenberg, zt"l, was buried in the Ponovezh cemetery.

His Biography

HaRav Boruch Rosenberg zt"l was born in 5684 (1924) in the Shklov District of Russia to Rav Gershon Chanoch--the son of Rav Yechiel Michel Rashes Rosenberg, who was very close to HaRav Chaim of Brisk and even learned with him bechavrusa--and Beila Rasha, the daughter of the wealthy R' Binyomin Sheinin. When he was about two years old he and his parents moved to Brisk, where they formed a tight bond with the Brisker rabbonim family.

Boruch was raised in this great home, which helped mold the fabulous character and spiritual foundations that accompanied him throughout his lifetime. At an early age young Boruch's great potential became apparent and his enthusiastic nature was channeled to Torah and avodoh. Graced with refinement and sensitivity he stood out as a man of noble character and tremendous humility.

His parents' home was often filled with visitors from numerous yeshivas who had come to meet the Brisker Rov.

When Boruch Rosenberg was sent to Lithuania to study at Yeshivas Mir, he cleaved to the rosh yeshiva, HaRav Chaim Shmuelevitz zt"l and the mashgiach, HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein zt"l. While at the yeshiva he was noted for his extraordinary hasmodoh and soon gained renown as one of the top talmidim. His entire life centered on Torah and kedushoh, and he continued to toil in Torah until his last days.

During the war years he stayed with the yeshiva when it was exiled to Vilna, then moved to Kaidan before arriving in Shanghai in the summer of 5701 (1941). For the next five years the yeshiva remained in Shanghai under HaRav Shmuelevitz and HaRav Levenstein.

In 5710 (1950) Boruch Rosenberg followed his rabbonim to Eretz Yisroel, where he studied at Yeshivas Mir in Jerusalem. There the Mashgiach took care of all his needs and even arranged his marriage. In a rare letter to HaRav Shlomo Wolbe ylct"a (brother-in-law of the intended), the Mashgiach writes, "I chose to propose one of the most outstanding [talmidim] in our yeshiva, both in terms of greatness in Torah and superior character traits. He is from a special family in Brisk. I even spoke it over with the ram [HaRav Shmuelevitz] and I believe this to be a fitting proposition." The young woman in question was the daughter of HaRav Avrohom Grodzensky Hy"d, author of Toras Avrohom and menahel ruchani of Yeshivas Slobodka in Lithuania. The proposition was accepted and the wedding took place in the summer of 5710 (1950).

In 5711 (1951) the Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav Mordechai Shulman, asked him to deliver shiurim at Yeshivas Slobodka and for the next five decades he taught a weekly shiur to the hundreds of talmidim at the yeshiva until just a few weeks before his passing.

He left a powerful imprint on his thousands of talmidim, providing them eternal acquisitions in Torah, halochoh and yiras Shomayim. HaRav Rosenberg's whole being was dedicated to a single goal--serving Hashem heart and soul and elevating kovod Shomayim.

His shiurim, renowned for their depth, related how to clarify a sugyo and how to scrutinize every statement in the gemora. He stood out for his analysis and elucidation of the gemora and helped provide his talmidim with a feel for how to delve into the sugyo and extract the meaning.

HaRav Rosenberg's whole life was a tale of profound, intense labor in Torah. Although his teachings were printed in Leket Shiurim he would always prepare new shiurim which he would toil over as if learning the sugyo for the very first time.

He would spend hours learning fervidly in the yeshiva's main beis medrash every day. During this time observers could see he was severed from his surroundings, ensconced in his dalet amos of Torah.

Following the passing of the yeshiva's mashgiach, HaRav M. Tikochinsky, he began to deliver mussar talks filled with fabulous ideas on avodas Hashem. Using his fabulous gift for words he managed to find the way to his listeners' hearts and to guide them along the path leading to Beis Hashem.

Although stricken with illness, until a few weeks ago he would enter the beis medrash every day to talk to the members of the yeshiva about the material being studied.

A few weeks ago he became very weak and was admitted to Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer. On Sunday night his condition deteriorated and Monday afternoon he returned his pure soul to his Maker.

The levaya set out from Yeshivas Slobodka on Monday evening on its way to the Ponovezh cemetery where he was buried within sight of HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein's grave.

HaRav Boruch Rosenberg is survived by the Rebbetzin; his son HaRav Avrohom; daughters married to HaRav Ben Tzion Zilber and HaRav Aharon Yehoshua Zucker; grandchildren and great- grandchildren--all of them bnei Torah, including several Torah and Mussar greats, continuing his spiritual legacy--as well as thousands of talmidim mourning the loss of their rebbe and teacher.


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