A crowd of thousands headed by gedolei Yisroel shlita,
roshei yeshivos, rabbonim, ramim, dayonim and
thousands of talmidim brought to rest on the Tuesday
before Shabbos Shiroh (8 Shvat, 5765) HaRav Lipa Zilberman
zt"l, menahel ruchani of Talmud Torah Kamenitz in
Jerusalem, who passed away suddenly at the age of 68.
HaRav Zilberman was born on 20 Iyar 5696 (1936) in
Jerusalem's Shaarei Chessed neighborhood to HaRav Shmuel
Zilberman, the son of HaRav Yisroel Yitzchok, a moreh
tzedek in Jerusalem. He attended Talmud Torah Eitz Chaim
and Yeshivas Chevron in Jerusalem. With his prodigious
memory, years later he was able to repeat entire talks given
by HaRav Yechezkel Sarna zt"l. He also heard talks by
HaRav Elya Lopian zt"l.
His prospective father-in-law, HaRav Michoel Dov Weingut, the
rov of Metullah, asked him to obtain a heter horo'oh
before the wedding. HaRav Zilberman set about studying
Yoreh Dei'ah intensively and received semichoh
from his rabbonim before his wedding, but he never used
For the next several years he was fully absorbed in his
studies at Kollel Ohel Torah, where he formed a strong bond
with the rosh kollel, HaRav Aharon Bialistotzky, a
talmid of the Chofetz Chaim. In the afternoon hours,
he studied at Kollel Beis Yosef Novardok and gave
shiurim to baalei batim. He also gave
shiurim on the Daf Yomi early in the morning at the
main beis knesses in Zichron Moshe, drawing numerous
In 5736 (1976) he was asked by the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas
Kamenitz, HaRav Yitzchok Scheiner, to serve as menahel
ruchani of the talmud Torah. From that point on he
never missed a day at the talmud Torah until the very
end of his life. Thousands of talmidim passed through
the gates, forming strong bonds of affection with HaRav
Zilberman. Even years later when he happened to meet one of
them he would speak to him as if he were still at Kamenitz.
Also many of the parents formed bonds with him as a result of
his dedicated service to their children.
He was totally dedicated to overseeing the talmud
Torah. At any given moment he knew how every
talmid was doing and could tell when a talmid
was upset. Any time a talmid was absent, he would find
someone to help him make up the material. A few years ago,
when one of the boys failed to come for two days, HaRav Lipa
went to the boy's home to show an interest in him and
encourage him to return.
With his elevated middos he respected all of the
students. He never spoke badly of anyone, always flashing a
smile. Sometimes he suffered insult, but he never spoke out.
Once HaRav Scheiner said he would like to be his neighbor in
Gan Eden, saying that sometimes he could not understand how
HaRav Lipa managed to restrain himself.
Exceptionally humble in his ways, he was a man of simplicity
and deep faith. His tefillos were remarkable, to see
and he always recited brochos slowly and carefully.
He chose not to carry a key to the talmud Torah
offices, saying he was not the baal habayis. When he
had to place a call he would use the public phone, commenting
that the calling card in his pocket was for use by
talmidim who wanted to call home.
He would use all of his free time to study with
talmidim. On Shabbos there was a long line of
talmidim — and not just from Kamenitz —
who wanted to learn with him bechavrusa. He was
gracious to all and would explain a sugya over and
over again with limitless patience. He devoted over 25 years
to the task of teaching Torah to thousands of Jerusalem
talmidim who held him in high esteem and sought his
advice for years after leaving the talmud Torah.
HaRav Lipa had a close relationship with gedolei Yisroel
zt"l vylct"a. He was particularly close to Maran HaRav
Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l, and consulted him on many
matters, as his son, HaRav Shmuel Auerbach, attested during
his hesped. He was also had a close friendship with
HaRav Chaim Kamil and other gedolei Torah. When the
Taryag Mitzvahs Project was set up several months ago, Maran
HaRav Eliashiv shlita said that if HaRav Lipa was
among the members of the project's education committee he had
full confidence in it.
Last week he danced with his son at a chalakeh
celebration for his grandson. That night he delivered a talk
to students at Talmud Torah Toldos Aharon. As he was testing
them he suddenly began to suffer from a severe headache and
went home. In the middle of the night his family members
found him lifeless. Hatzoloh and Magen David Adom paramedics
were summoned, but were unable to resuscitate him.
At the levaya, which set out from the courtyard of
Yeshivas Kamenitz on Rechov Yechezkel in Jerusalem, the first
of the maspidim was the rosh yeshiva, HaRav Yitzchok
Scheiner, who said that until the Moshiach arrives the world
will not see a man with such elevated middos.
Bemoaning his sudden passing he said that thousands of
talmidim owe their growth in yiras Shomayim and
success in Torah to HaRav Lipa.
HaRav Yitzchok Tuvioh Weiss, gavad of the Eida
Chareidis, compared the deceased to the Tanna R' Shmuel Bar
Shilas whose talmidim occupied his thoughts even when
he was out in the field.
HaRav Shmuel Auerbach, who knew HaRav Lipa since childhood,
said, "Today, when [government authorities] are fighting
against us and trying to uproot the Torah and alter the form
of the talmudei Torah, much rachamei Shomayim
is needed and he, R' Lipa, who ran a talmud Torah all
his life in the true spirit of Jewish heritage and fought not
to change the tradition, is a man suited to stand Above and
pray that the pure tradition will be preserved in
The deceased's son, HaRav Yisroel Yitzchok Zilberman, a
ram at the Kamenitz yeshiva ketanoh, spoke of
his gentle way with children as a man of truth, a man of
elevated character who could never have a bad thought about
another person, and the mussar talks he gave the
talmidim on a regular basis. "The gemora says
that a person must be sick to write a will and since he was
not sick, apparently his whole life was one long will."
HaRav Lipa's son-in-law, HaRav Yosef Sholom Hirshprung,
author of Bircas Sholom, spoke of his kindheartedness
and the gracious way he would relate to every individual,
saying that HaKodosh Boruch Hu is delighted at the
arrival of a clean and righteous soul. He added that HaRav
Lipa passed away during a time when babies who had not tasted
sin were being plucked away in Eretz Yisroel, and offered a
prayer that the passing of a pure tzaddik would atone
for the pure souls of the sick babies—yovo'u tehorim
veyichapru al tehorim.
The funeral procession then made its way to the new talmud
Torah building on Rechov David, where thousands of
mourning children were gathered. The melamdim said
that the children had not stopped weeping all morning and
could not focus on their learning. "Where is the principal to
tell everyone to go into the cheder?" asked one
Outside the talmud Torah HaRav Lipa was eulogized by
HaRav Binyomin Kahn and HaRav Yehuda Leib Frank, who noted
that his passing represented the end of an era for Kamenitz
and the beginning of a new era without HaRav Lipa, "who was
the father of the talmud Torah, not a principal."
HaRav Yaakov Osher Feldman, the rosh kollel of Kollel
Sadigora who learned with the deceased bechavrusa for
many years, spoke of his hasmodoh and dedication to
Torah learning and the pains he took never to interrupt or
shorten a learning session. Parting words were delivered by
HaRav Yaakov Salant.
HaRav Lipa Zilberman, zt"l, is survived by sons and
sons-in-law who are rabbonim and talmidei chachomim,
as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren following
his path of Torah and yir'oh.