Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Cheshvan 5765 - November 10, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Rav Shabsai Kobin zt"l
By Y. Ariel

Thousands of Tzfas residents took part in the levaya of Rav Shabsai HaKohen Kobin zt"l following the sudden passing of the prominent avreich in Tzfas.

With a reputation as a talmid chochom yirei Shomayim who observed every mitzvah exactingly, Rav Kobin was a familiar figure in the city. He was officially in charge of the city's eruv and devised halachic solutions for all of the problems related to the Tzfas eruv, which is particularly complex. He also built the eruv line surrounding the city. After uncovering problems with the general eruv, he participated in the construction of a special eruv around the Old City, which has a large chareidi population. He did special research on lulavim and he discovered that the special Deri species of lulav is unusually mehudar.

He was known locally as a man of chessed who helped every Jew, often so discretely that nobody else knew. His emunoh was renowned and became apparent in every conversation with him. Originally from America, he became part of the chareidi landscape in Tzfas. For many years he studied in kollelim in Tzfas without pay. Despite his numerous obligations he would study with great hasmodoh, often during the least convenient hours of the day and night. He would stay up every Thursday night to learn, gave Daf Yomi shiurim and even made a point of learning with children. He did not allow any of these endeavors to encroach on his set learning time. Ignoring his own fatigue he would rush from place to place to take care of matters left unattended.

After marrying off four of his children he was plagued with debt and other concerns. After his daughter's Sheva Brochos he was found stretched out on the road on Friday morning erev Shabbos parshas Vayeiro with a gemora and tools, on his way to fix the eruv. Apparently his debts and concerns overcame him and led to a heart attack.

His numerous acquaintances spoke of the many debts he faced and the care he took to pay back every loan on time, despite his lack of funds. Every sum of money he received would go directly to his creditors. He never asked to delay payment dates and kept an orderly ledger to ensure that he paid back every prutoh. The day before his petiroh he rushed to pay back various debts as if sensing something was about to happen to him. Nevertheless he left enormous debts.

Rav Shabsai HaKohen Kobin zt"l is survived by his wife and eight children. A special fund has been set up for the widow and orphans by Vaad HaRabbonim LeInyonei Tzedokoh Be'eretz Hakodesh. Donations can be made by direct deposit to Mercantile Discount Bank, Branch 635, Acct. No. 303143 or by calling 1-800-22-36-36. Mailing address: Kobin Fund, POB 50585, Jerusalem.


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