Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

28 Adar I 5765 - March 9, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











HaRav Rafael Blum zt"l Admor of Kashoi

by S. Bruchi

A mantel of grief descended on US Jewry upon hearing of the histalkus of HaRav Rafael Blum zt"l the Admor of Kashoi, at the age of 98.

As news of his petiroh spread, thousands began to make their way to the enormous levaya, which set out from his beis medrash in Kiryat Kashoi in Bedford Hills, New York, near Mt. Kisco, where he served as a marbitz for decades.

HaRav Blum was born in Hungary to HaRav Shmuel Hy"d. He acquired his Torah learning and yiras Shomayim in the town of Kashoi, where he was a talmid of HaRav Shaul Brach, av beis din of Karoli and Kashoi.

As a young avreich he was already serving as head of the town's beis din. In 5690 (1930) he was on hand when the Satmar Rebbe met with HaRav Brach. When he asked, "Who are we leaving the next generation to?" HaRav Brach replied, "To Rafael Blum," and pointed to his cherished talmid.

After surviving the Holocaust through chasdei Shomayim he founded a yeshiva in Kashoi. A short time later he traveled to Williamsburg where survivors of the war saw him as the successor of the pre-Holocaust geonim and gathered around him. In New York he started a yeshiva in a remote location to allow his talmidim to occupy themselves in Torah studies without distraction. He always insisted on leaving customs unchanged, often quoting the Chasam Sofer's axiom, "Chodosh osur min haTorah."

HaRav Blum was a tremendous masmid with a daily learning schedule of 18 hours. He was known as an innovative Torah scholar who would dive through the "sea of the Talmud" and plumb the depths of halochoh.

The gavad of Kashoi was known for his Shas and responsa seforim Tal Shomayim and Bircas Shomayim, which were well received in the Torah world. He also made corrections to books by the Rishonim for the benefit of other Torah scholars.

Thousands came to him seeking brochos and sagely advice. Not only was he an outstanding posek but he also fought milchemes Hashem, fortifying the walls of the community against undesirable changes. He was a leading figure in the campaigns fought for Yiddishkeit in the US, wholly dedicating himself to untainted Jewish education.

During the last year of his life HaRav Blum grew very weak. When his state of health improved somewhat he girded his strength to continue in avodas Hashem, but several weeks ago his health again took a turn for the worse and last Tuesday, 20 Adar I, he was summoned to Yeshiva Shel Maaloh.

HaRav Rafael Blum zt"l is survived by sons and sons-in- law talmidei chachomim who grace Torah halls in the US. With his passing chareidi Jewry in the US lost a gaon and tzaddik and was left with a gaping void.


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