Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

28 Tammuz 5768 - July 31, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Avrohom Golombeck zt"l

By Yechiel Sever

A large crowd turned out for the levaya of HaRav Avrohom Golombeck zt"l, who served as the mashgiach of Yeshivas Philadelphia for over 50 years. HaRav Golombeck, who learned under the Mashgiach HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein, was sent by HaRav Aharon Kotler to fill the post of mashgiach at Yeshivas Philadelphia, where he fought breaches and stood firm against the materialism that was starting to pervade in the US at the time, passing on the approach to learning he had received from his rabbonim. HaRav Golombeck passed away at the age of 71 following a difficult ordeal with a severe illness.

The Mashgiach was born in 5697 (1937) in New York to HaRav Chaim Mordechai and his mother Chashka, who took great pains to provide him a proper Jewish education and instill in him a Torah-true worldview. He began his yeshiva studies at Yeshivas R' Yaakov Yosef (RJJ), which was headed by Holocaust survivors such as the rosh yeshiva, HaRav Mendel Kravitz, and his rabbonim, HaRav Zeidel Epstein, HaRav Nochum Abba Grossbard and HaRav Shmuel Dovid Warshavcheck zt"l.

Upon completing his studies at the yeshiva he was chosen to join a group of outstanding students sent to Yeshivas Lakewood to learn under Maran HaRav Aharon Kotler zt"l. After advancing there in both Torah and middos he transferred to Yeshivas Ponovezh in Bnei Brak, where he learned under the Mashgiach HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein. During nearly a year there he used every moment to delve into Torah and refine his learning skills. He won the affection of the Mashgiach as well as the Rosh Yeshiva HaRav Shach zt"l, both of whom left an indelible impression on the young man.

Four years later he returned to Yeshivas Ponovezh for Elul zman, revealing years later that his return was based on an urge to draw from the spiritual wellspring the yeshiva offered. For the next five decades he passed on to his thousands of students and followers the approach to Torah, emunoh and mussar he received there. Years later he started traveling frequently to Eretz Hakodesh, regularly visiting the Rosh Yeshiva at his home.

After returning from Ponovezh to Lakewood, HaRav Kotler sent him with a small group of boys to Yeshivas Philadelphia to have a positive influence on the new yeshiva students there and eventually he was asked to serve as mashgiach — before he had even married. The yeshiva grew over the years, eventually becoming one of the leading yeshivas in the US.

Despite the severe illness he suffered in recent years HaRav Golombeck continued giving talks and guiding students. He accepted his suffering with love and showed staunch faith when his son passed away four years ago.

During his last visit to Eretz Hakodesh to take part in a family simchah he went to the Ponovezh cemetery to pray at the grave sites of his rabbonim, asking Hashem that he be able to continue in their path of conveying unadulterated Torah with dedication and vigor. Summoning the last of his reserves of strength he then gave his students a pre-Elul talk before returning to the US.

Last Thursday he suffered a stroke and passed away on Shabbos night, while family members and students accepted Ol Malchus Shomayim at his bedside. On Motzei Shabbos news of his petiroh spread quickly among his talmidim around the world.

Thousands were on hand for the levaya at Yeshivas Philadelphia, where he was eulogized by HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky and HaRav Yehuda Svei, one of the roshei yeshiva. On Monday the aron arrived at Beis Medrash Ponovezh in Jerusalem's Ezras Torah neighborhood. Hespeidim were given by his long-time friends, HaRav Moshe Zaks, dayan and moreh tzedek in Mattersdorf, HaRav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Slobodka, HaRav Yaakov Kriger, HaRav Yeshaya Portnoy, a ram at Yeshivas Kol Torah, his former talmidim, HaRav Michael Bundheimer, who now serves as a rosh kollel in Kiryat Sefer, HaRav Yitzchok Gleisel, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Yagdil Torah in Jerusalem, and HaRav Yosef Kopolowitz, mashgiach of Yeshivas Lakewood in Jerusalem. At Har Hamenuchos Cemetery words of parting were offered by HaRav Yaakov Kaplan.

HaRav Avrohom Golombeck zt"l is survived by sons, sons- in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren following in the path to Beis Hashem passed down throughout the generations.


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