Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

17 Shevat 5766 - February 15, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











HaRav Gavriel Salkow zt"l

by HaRav Shmuel Merel

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 emotion.

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.


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