Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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15 Adar 5766 - March 15, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











HaRav Mordechai Apolion zt"l

By Betzalel Kahn

Headed by maranan verabonon shlita, roshei yeshivos and their talmidim, thousands of Jerusalem residents participated in the levaya on 6 Adar for HaRav Mordechai Apolion zt"l, who returned his soul to his Maker at the age of 46 after a difficult illness.

Mordechai Apolion was born on 20 Cheshvan 5720 (1959) to HaRav Dovid Apolion, a leading educator in Jerusalem. His love for Torah become apparent as a cheder boy and he entered Yeshivas Ponovezh at a young age. After advancing to the yeshiva gedoloh he became one of the top students and was the first to present a chaburoh to the members of his chaburoh group in the yeshiva.

He was held in fond regard by his rabbonim, particularly HaRav Shach zt"l. When he was ready to look for a wife HaRav Shach recommended him to former talmid, HaRav Chaim Zeitchik, who was looking for a shidduch for his daughter. "I love and respect him as a person of straight thinking and understanding," HaRav Shach told him.

Soon after their marriage HaRav Apolion was asked to teach at Yeshivas Beis Mattisyohu and Yeshivas Vilkomir in Bnei Brak. As a young avreich he started the main Daf Yomi shiur in Bnei Brak's Mishkenos Yaakov neighborhood. He also started a kollel on Fridays and Shabbos, allowing the avreichim to take full advantage of their time and bearing the financial burden of maintaining the kollel.

Before moving to Jerusalem years ago the Apolions went to part with HaRav Shach and seek his guidance on how to settle in Jerusalem. Before they left HaRav Shach clasped onto his hands warmly, saying, "I promise you in Jerusalem they will chase after you and seek you for harbotzas Torah."

Indeed, upon their arrival in Jerusalem he was asked to serve as a marbitz Torah at Yeshivas Bircas Moshe and later his friend, HaRav Gavriel Yosef Levy, asked him to take the post of rosh yeshiva of the Be'er HaTorah yeshiva ketanoh.

HaRav Apolion lived in Jerusalem's Mattersdorf neighborhood near his friend, HaRav Yosef Farbstein, who passed away just one day earlier. Every year, the two talmidei chachomim were crowned Chosson Torah and Chosson Bereishis of the minyan they attended.

Despite the pain and medical treatments he had to undergo in recent months the deceased continued his work as a marbitz Torah along with his toil in Torah study. Eventually he had to be hospitalized at Tel Hashomer and there he returned his soul to his Maker.

Before the mittoh was taken from Tel Hashomer to Jerusalem HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz arrived at the hospital to deliver a brief hesped.

When the levaya set out from his home in Jerusalem the first eulogy was given by HaRav Yisroel Ganz, who quoted the verse, Dodi yorad legano la'arugos habosem lir'os baganim velilkot shoshanim (Shir Hashirim 6:2), saying that HaRav Apolion's countenance was like a rose that stands alone among the flowers. He recalled the deceased's ahavas Torah, which was especially apparent on Simchas Torah.

HaRav Gavriel Yosef Levy, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Be'er HaTorah, spoke of their close friendship, saying he fell while at his peak in Torah like a soldier fallen in battle — "Eich noflu giborim" (Shmuel II 1:19).

HaRav Yitzchok Ezrachi, one of the roshei yeshiva of Yeshivas Mir, described his toil in Torah and his love for his talmidim.

HaRav Aviezer Piltz, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Tifrach, compared the deceased to the pure olive oil of the Menorah in Beis Hamikdosh.

HaRav Dovid Feinstein, a friend of his from their years in yeshiva, said HaRav Apolion had been a regular visitor at the home of his father, HaRav Michel Feinstein zt"l.

Hespeidim were also delivered by his son, HaRav Elimelech, a prominent avreich at Kollel Ponovezh, and HaRav Naftoli Kopshitz, the rov of Beis Medrash Chanichei Hayeshivos in Romema, where the deceased regularly learned and davened.

In Givat Shaul HaRav Shmuel Auerbach joined the procession and near Yeshivas Bircas Moshe eulogies were given by the rosh yeshiva, HaRav Avrohom Mendelson, and the mashgiach, HaRav Yaakov Mordechai Carmel.

From there the procession continued to Har Hamenuchos Cemetery, where a crowd of mourners headed by HaRav Boruch Dov Povarsky, one of the roshei yeshiva of Yeshivas Ponovezh, stood waiting. After the funeral he went to the deceased's home where he spoke at length with his children, telling them about their father's special attributes.

HaRav Mordechai Apolion zt"l is survived by his wife, who works as a seminary principal in Beit Shemesh, and his 16 children, of whom only three married during his lifetime.


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