A large gathering including many prominent figures was on
hand on Thursday night, 5 Elul, to lay to rest HaRav Yechiel
Fischel Eisenbach zt"l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Shaar
Hashomayim, who returned his soul to his Maker at the age of
83. He was among the leading Kabboloh scholars of his
generation and a marbitz Torah in esoteric studies who
taught thousands of students.
He was born in Jerusalem to Rav Yosef Eisenbach, a renowned
sofer stam in the city. The sandak at his bris
was the Admor HaRav Yehuda Leib Ashlag, author of
Hasulam. As a boy he studied at Shomrei HaChomos,
first at the talmud Torah and later at the yeshiva.
Later he transferred to Yeshivas Beis Avrohom-Slonim and was
among the first students following its founding by HaRav
Sholom Noach Berzovsky, the author of Nesivos Sholom
who went on to become the Admor of Slonim. As a young man he
had a chavrusa with the Admor of Slonim, HaRav
Mordechai, and together they covered the entire Mishnah
In 5703 (1943) he married the daughter of a mekubol,
HaRav Osher Zelig Margaliot. When he sought a brochoh
from the Admor of Belz, the latter blessed him with long life
and harbotzas Torah.
He would learn 18 hours a day, completing divorcing himself
from worldly pursuits. As a young man everyone in Jerusalem's
Batei Ungarin neighborhood was familiar with HaRav Yudel
Cohen, "der Vekker" (the Waker), who would roam from
one home to the next before dawn reciting the words of Yehuda
Ben Teimo, "Havei az kanomeir, kal kenesher, ratz katzvi
vegibor ko'ari," as he woke residents to start learning
before Shacharis. Young Yechiel Fischel, whose bed was near a
ground-floor window, arranged for him to stop and knock on
the pane, and whenever he heard the knock he would jump out
of bed and go straight to the beis medrash.
As a young man he once spent a month with his father-in-law
in Meron studying Kabboloh. He spent a number of years
learning at Yeshivas Pressburg under HaRav Akiva Sofer, known
as the Daas Sofer, who formed a close bond with him and gave
him semichoh. Later he studied at Yeshivas Toras Emes
under HaRav Moshe Leib Shapira and at Kollel Shomrei
During various time periods he taught Torah and yir'oh
to young students at Yeshivas Slonim and Yeshivas Toras Emes.
He wrote tefillin, mezuzas and sifrei Torah, including
scrolls for the Satmar Rebbe, HaRav Yoel, the Admor of Pappa
in the US and his own rebbe, the Daas Sofer.
Following the petiroh in 5733 (1973) of HaRav Aharon
Slotkin, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Shaar Hashomayim, HaRav
Dovid Auerbach entreated HaRav Eisenbach to assume the role
of heading the yeshiva in light of his broad knowledge of
Kabboloh. He agreed, but when he took over the position he
started learning there from the start from the book Otzros
Chaim, and for the next 35 years continued studying the
writings of the Arizal before advancing to a new subject, the
kavonos of the Rashash.
As head of a yeshiva for mekubolim he had the
opportunity to introduce the Ashkenazi sector to the work of
the Rashash, which had previously been studied mainly by
Sephardic Torah scholars.
One elderly chassid, a Holocaust survivor, moved to Jerusalem
to study with HaRav Eisenbach, saying that after learning
Kabboloh with him he gained a totally new understanding of
the profundities contained in the Sfas Emes. Other
students also maintained close ties with HaRav Eisenbach for
years, and today many of these talmidim have
themselves become marbitzei Torah teaching
He knew all of the writings of the Arizal and the Rashash by
heart. Every day he led a minyan for Minchah and
Ma'ariv based on Kabboloh and advanced kavonos.
He also had the merit to teach Kabboloh abroad. On one
occasion, during a stay in the US 20 years ago, he delivered
a droshoh on the topic of Erev Pesach that falls on a
Shabbos. As a result of this droshoh many Kabboloh
shiurim were started.
Thursday 4 Elul he returned his soul to his Maker and was
buried that night, before Parshas Shofetim. At Beis Halvayos
Shamgar he was eulogized by his talmid, HaRav Amram
Hoffman. Before the levaya set out from Yeshivas Shaar
Hashomayim hespeidim were given by HaRav Shmuel
Auerbach, HaRav Gamliel Rabinovitz, HaRav Reuven Gross, his
son-in-law HaRav Moshe Uri Eisenstein, and HaRav Yaakov
At the heights of Har Hazeisim he was mournfully eulogized by
his talmidim, HaRav Yitzchok Moshe Erlanger and HaRav
Yisroel Meir Brenner.
HaRav Yechiel Fischel Eisenbach zt"l is survived by
his sons, Rav Yaakov Tzvi and Rav Yechezkel; his sons-in-law,
Rav Moshe Uri Eisenstein and Rav Chanino Carpman, who studied
with him throughout the years at the yeshiva; and
grandchildren and great-grandchildren following in the noble
path of the Avos.