Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

8 Kiselv 5767 - November 29, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg zt"l

By Betzalel Kahn

Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita led a mass procession of gedolei Torah, roshei yeshivas, rabbonim, dayonim and marbitzei Torah accompanying the mittoh of HaRav Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg zt"l, author of the Tzitz Eliezer responsa, who was laid to rest in Jerusalem last Tuesday 30 Cheshvan at the age of 90.

The levaya set out from Yeshivas Eitz Chaim, where he was eulogized by HaRav Shmuel Auerbach, HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, the ravad of the Eida Chareidis, HaRav Avrohom Dov Auerbach, the rov of Tiberius, his grandson HaRav Yaakov Waldenberg, rov of the Ezras Torah neighborhood, his nephew HaRav Yerachmiel Tucker, a ram at Yeshivas Ohr Boruch, and his grandson HaRav Shlomo Waldenberg.

Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg was born in Jerusalem on 3 Teves 5676 (1916) to HaRav Gedaliah, a leading talmid chochom in Jerusalem, and Rochel Leah, daughter of HaRav Nachum Rogoznitzky, one of the heads of the Eitz Chaim talmud Torah and yeshiva.

While he was being born his father was arrested by the Turkish authorities as a foreign minor and was unable to take part in the bris. After serving as sandak, HaRav Yosef Chaim Zonenfeld approached Rebbetzin Waldenberg and gave her a blessing for "gut Yiddische nachas." Following the bris the parents had to leave the country with their children. After a few years in Syria, the family returned to Eretz Yisroel, and the boy enrolled at Talmud Torah Eitz Chaim.

Eliezer Yehuda's unusual abilities became apparent at a young age and while still a boy he was accepted at Yeshivas Chevron. At the age of 19 his book, Devar Eliezer, was published. In their approbations the author of Chevel Yaakov, HaRav Isser Zalman Meltzer, the author of Marcheshes and Rosh Yeshivas Chevron HaRav Yechezkel Sarna marveled at the young man's proficiency in the Talmud Bavli and Yerushalmi as well as his command of the Rishonim and Acharonim.

In 5696 (1936) he married Shoshanoh, the daughter of HaRav Avrohom Werner, rov of Netanya. A short time later he began to serve as rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Shaarei Tzion.

During this period the first volume of Tzitz Eliezer was published. Although just 27 years old, HaRav Waldenberg addressed questions from every area of Torah study and weighed them with the leading poskim. The Chazon Ish wrote numerous notations on the proofs and the two had lengthy exchanges on various halachic matters. HaRav Waldenberg's rulings and books were held in high esteem by HaRav Moshe Feinstein and HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l, as well as HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv ylct"a, with whom he spoke and corresponded regularly.

For decades he served as av bein din of the Rabbinate beis din and as a member of the Beis Din Hagodol. Dayanim around the world would consult with him, especially regarding gittin and women's names listed on the get.

As a dayan he was renowned for his firm refusal not to hear a word from either side outside of the beis din hearing room.

The 22 volumes of Tzitz Eliezer won praise from kehillos and poskim around the world, particularly for their contributions to halachic issues related to medicine, Shabbos, yichud and mourning.

Years later he served as rov of Shaarei Tzedek Hospital, where he delivered regularly shiurim to the medical staff. As his reputation grew he began to receive questions on medical halochoh from every corner of the globe.

HaRav Waldenberg would set aside time to prepare for tefilloh and in his hesped HaRav Shmuel Auerbach said that his prayers came from the depths of a soul clinging to its Maker.

A year and a half ago his son, HaRav Simchah Bunim, rov of the Ezras Torah neighborhood, passed away. When he was told of his only son's petiroh he proceeded to assess all of the halachic details before he began to grieve over the loss.

After a week at Shaarei Tzedek Hospital, HaRav Eliezer Waldenberg was summoned to the Yeshiva Shel Maaloh while dozens of family members surrounded his bedside.

Although the levaya was held on Rosh Chodesh, hespeidim were permitted in accordance with the din of a talmid chochom who can answer questions on every subject without hesitation.

The petiroh of the Tzitz Eliezer, HaRav Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg zt"l, represents the loss of one of the great poskim of our generation.


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