Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Cheshvan 5767 - November 15, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











HaRav Tzvi Hirsch Markowitz zt"l

by Betzalel Kahn

The Torah and yeshiva world was cloaked in mourning following the sudden passing Monday night in Jerusalem of HaRav Tzvi Hirsch Markowitz zt"l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Karlin- Stolin, a member of Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, a member of the Nesius of the Vaad Hayeshivos, and formerly the moro de'asra of Ramat Gan and rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Slonim in Ramat Gan. One of the generation's great leaders and teachers of Torah, mussar and yir'oh, he linked chareidi Jewry to the gedolei Torah and the Torah world of the pre-World War II era.

Thousands of HaRav Markowitz' talmidim came streaming to his home on Rechov David Chazan in Jerusalem upon hearing the bitter news.

Tzvi Hirsch Markowitz was born in 5677 (1917) to HaRav Shmuel Markowitz, gavad of Turetz, Lithuania. Even before the age of 13 he went to learn Torah in the town of Slonim and was so engaged in his learning that, rather than traveling home for his bar mitzvah he marked it with a modest celebration at the yeshiva, then headed by his future father- in-law, HaRav Shabsai Yogel zt"l.

Later he transferred to Yeshivas Grodno where he soon became a talmid muvhok of HaRav Shimon Shkop zt"l, who was close to his family. He also became one of the first talmidim of HaRav Boruch Ber Leibowitz, author of Bircas Shmuel, who would tell over his shiurim to the young Tzvi Hirsch along with his fellow students Eliyohu Mishkovsky and Shraga Grossbard before delivering it to the rest of the yeshiva.

He had close ties to all of the gedolei Yisroel of Lithuania and already as a bochur he would converse and correspond with HaRav Chaim Ozer Grodzensky, with the roshei yeshiva of Yeshivas Mir and other gedolei Torah of the dor dei'oh.

As dark clouds began to gather over Europe and the sounds of war echoed, R' Tzvi Hirsch continued his learning without interruption. Shortly after the outbreak of World War II he moved to Eretz Yisroel to evade the draft, narrowly escaping the Holocaust before the Nazis clamped down on all of Europe. In Eretz Yisroel he resumed his studies at Yeshivas Lomzha in Petach Tikva.

In 5703 (1943) he married the daughter of rosh yeshivas Slonim HaRav Shabsai Yogel, who immediately made him a ram at Yeshivas Slonim in Ramat Gan.

For the next six decades he taught Torah to thousands and formed close bonds with all of the gedolei hador, including the Chazon Ish and the Brisker Rov zt"l.

The Chazon Ish was very fond of him and helped him start his own yeshiva in Ramat Gan, making a great exception by taking the time to write to Jewish philanthropists abroad letters filled with extraordinary praise for HaRav Markowitz.

While serving as rosh yeshivas Slonim in Ramat Gan he began to take on the burden of the tzibbur, even serving as moro de'asra of Ramat Gan for many years. He fought for Shabbos and the sanctity of Ramat Gan, including demonstrations against Shabbos desecration and breaches in kedushoh and kashrus. HaRav Shach zt"l even took part in a demonstration HaRav Markowitz initiated to protest the opening of a store that sold non-kosher food.

While serving as rov of Ramat Gan he wrote a book called Benesivos Ho'emunoh, which clarified topical issues related to hashkofoh and emunoh. He showed genuine concern for all of the city's residents and persuaded many of them to send their sons to the holy yeshivas. Over the years he became a central figure in the city, whose leaders did not make any moves related to spiritual matters without consulting him.

HaRav Markowitz also gained renown as a powerful speaker who was asked to deliver eulogies for gedolei Yisroel and speeches at various major events for chareidi Jewry.

He was appointed to the Vaad Hayeshivos in Eretz Yisroel, serving as a member of the presidential board until his last day.

In 5742 (1982) he was made rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Karlin- Stolin in Jerusalem, where he served as a marbitz Torah for over 20 years.

In 5749 (1989) Rabbenu Hagodol asked him to assist in the setup of Degel HaTorah and its institutions and he was even appointed a member of Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah.

When he moved to Jerusalem, his home became a center for Torah. Both HaRav Shach zt"l and HaRav Eliashiv ylct"a trusted his judgment in handling various public campaigns.

For the last few years he stayed at home most of the time, devoting his strength to publishing his books and insuring that they were thoroughly edited and checked. In recent years his students also published several books containing his writings and shiurim.

A few months ago his health grew frail and late last week he was hospitalized at Shaarei Tzedek in Jerusalem, but despite the prayers of thousands of talmidim around the world, Monday night he was summoned to the Yeshiva Shel Maaloh.

Together with his wife tlct"a, he had the merit to raise a number of gedolei Torah and gedolei horo'oh. HaRav Tzvi Hirsch Markowitz zt"l is survived by his eldest son, HaRav Eliezer, rosh kollel of Kollel Beis Meir, HaRav Yitzchok, HaRav Shmuel, one of the roshei yeshiva of Yeshivas Ponovezh, and HaRav Yaakov, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Shaar HaTorah; his sons-in-law HaRav Dovid Yitzchok Grossbard, rosh kollel of Kollel Otzar Daas, HaRav Ovadiah Yaabetz and HaRav Nachum Nebentzal; grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well as thousands of talmidim mourning the loss of one of the survivors of the dor dei'oh.

The very large levaya was held on Tuesday afternoon, leaving from his home in the Nevei Tzvi section of Yerushalayim for the Chelkas HaRabbonim in Har Hemenuchos. The maspidim were his eldest son HaRav Eliezer Markowitz, HaRav Yitzchok Sheiner, rosh yeshivas Kaminetz, HaRav Aryeh Finkel, rosh yeshivas Mir, HaRav Meir Tzvi Bergman, rosh yeshivas Rashbi, his son HaRav Yaakov Markowitz, and his son HaRav Shmuel Markowitz.


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