Tzar li olecho ochi no'amto li me'od.
I shed tears as I write this article about the untimely
petiroh of my intimate friend for over thirty years
— and my chavrusa in Gateshead — Rav Gavriel
zt"l. His other chavrusa and yedid-nefesh
was Mr. Geoffrey Dansky.
On Shabbos 28th Teves, Rav Gavriel returned his pure soul to
his Maker. Normally no hespedim are given on Erev Rosh
Chodesh, but an exception was made for Rav Gavriel zt"l,
who was a talmid chochom of stature. For this
reason, too, boys from the local yeshivos were encouraged to
attend the levaya.
The first hesped was given by his son Reb Yehuda
Boruch. Next HaRav Yehuda Leib Wittler spoke with great
Rav Gavriel's career in Torah began when he was already a
qualified lecturer of Economics in Johannesburg. Some friends
— and even rabbis — suggested that he continue
his secular studies and get a doctorate, thereby having a
lucrative income for life which would also enable him to have
time to study Torah. But Gavriel, the ish emes, deeply
regretted that his best years had been devoid of limud
haTorah. He consulted my saintly father-in-law, HaRav
Yaakov Salzer zt"l, and left South Africa for a
suitable yeshiva even though he only had limited resources.
HaRav Shlomo Wolbe zt"l advised him to join Yeshivas
Beis Hakerem in Yerushalayim.
From that time on, the rosh yeshiva, HaRav Yisroel Kleiner,
was not only his rebbe in derech halimud but more
important, he became his mentor in everything he did all his
life. In Eretz Yisroel he often turned to the Steipler
Gaon zy"a for hadrochoh. He was "addicted" to
the Steipler's classic seforim Kehillos Yaakov which
he admired for their clarity and analysis of each sugya
in depth. It was no coincidence that he named one child
after the Steipler.
He was offered the position of rosh kollel in
Marseilles, and later in Copenhagen. In Copenhagen he had
close contact with my uncle HaRav Dov Steinhaus zt"l
(who was rov of the Machzikei Hadas and honorary
President of the Kollel). Rav Gavriel and his family moved
here a year ago as there were no suitable facilities for the
chinuch of his younger children in Denmark.
It was only relatively recently, when Rav Gavriel's health
deteriorated, that many learned for the first time that we
had a special family in our midst. Word must be mentioned
about the tzadekes Mrs. Salkow who, with great
mesiras nefesh, devoted herself to her husband during
the last period when he was critically ill, but nevertheless
she in no way neglected the welfare of her young children.
The Kehilloh, imbued with Toras chaim and ahavas
chessed, rallied to give all possible support and
tefillos for the choleh. But Heaven decreed
otherwise, and Rav Gavriel was taken from us to the
Yeshiva Shel Maaloh.
Yehi Zichro Boruch.