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4 Shevat 5769 - January 29, 2009 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz z"l

By Yechiel Sever

Gedolei Torah, roshei yeshivos, rabbonim and dayonim were among thousands who took part in the levaya for Degel HaTorah Chairman MK Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz z"l, who spent decades faithfully fighting battles under the direction of gedolei Yisroel zt"l vylct"a.

Before entering politics he served as a marbitz Torah at Mosdos Marom Tzion in Jerusalem and a ram at Pardes Channah, and later founded the Israeli section of Yeshivas Ohr Somayach for baalei teshuvoh. He passed away early Monday morning, rosh chodesh Shvat, 5769, at the age of 75, several weeks after suffering a heart attack.

The levaya set out from his home in Jerusalem's Bayit Vegan neighborhood, but because it was held on Rosh Chodesh, no hespeidim were delivered. The first speakers were HaRav Leib Heiman, rov of Beis Knesses HaGra in Bayit Began, HaRav Moshe Shapira, who was a close friend of the niftar, and HaRav Moshe Mordechai Farbstein, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Chevron.

HaRav Boruch Mordechai Ezrachi, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Ateres Yisroel, lamented the loss of a public activist and a personal friend. He then drew the participants' attention to "the values that unite us, for we know we have to take action only in accordance with the holy Torah, Torah leadership and gedolei haTorah, since they are the ones who guide us and show us the way of the Torah in every matter, and all these things were carried out in practice by HaRav Ravitz zt"l, who knew how to be faithful to gedolei Torah and fulfilled the instructions of gedolei Yisroel with loyalty and dedication."

The niftar's five sons then spoke — Rav Moshe, Rav Yehoshua, Rav Shimshon, Rav Yitzchok and Rav Yisroel Meir — followed by HaRav Yitzchok Ezrachi, one of the roshei yeshiva of Yeshivas Mir, and the niftar's son-in-law Rav Eliyohu Diskin.

HaRav Avrohom Ravitz z"l was born on 26 Teves 5694 (1934) to HaRav Aryeh Leib Ravitz, the av beis din of Tel Aviv and the rov of that city's Montefiore neighborhood, and to his mother Hadassah.

He studied at Yeshivas Heichal HaTalmud and Yeshivas Tiferes Tzvi during his years in yeshivoh ketanoh. A few months before his bar mitzvah he started learning at Yeshivas Chevron, where he came to be held in high regard by the roshei yeshiva, HaRav Yechezkel Sarna, HaRav Moshe Chevroni and HaRav Aharon Cohen, the mashgiach HaRav Meir Chodosh, and his ramim, HaRav Simchah Zissel Broide and HaRav Avrohom Farbstein.

In 5712 (1952) he spent a year-and-a-half at Yeshivas Slabodka under HaRav Isaac Sherr.

The next year he helped found an organization that worked to save child immigrants taken to the immigration camps from spiritual ruin by enrolling them in Torah institutions. In 5714, at the age of just 20, he was sent to carry out an initiative by HaRav Sarna and HaRav Aharon Kotler to set up a group of bnei Torah to represent the yeshiva world at the fourth Kneissiyoh Gedoloh.

At the beginning of 5720 (late 1959), while studying at Yeshivas Beis HaTalmud in the US, he married Avigayil Feller. During this period he had a chavrusa with HaRav Aryeh Leib Malin.

The couple later moved to Eretz Yisroel, where he spent a year in kollel, followed by teaching positions at Pardes Channah and Marom Tzion. In 5734 (1974) he set up the Israeli section of Yeshivas Ohr Somayach for baalei teshuvoh, where he gave shiurim and delivered talks on emunoh and hashkofoh.

In 5749 (late 1988) HaRav Shach zt"l asked him to head Degel HaTorah, seeing Rabbi Ravitz as a loyal, refined emblem of bnei Torah who knew how to reply to revilers in a respectful manner.

Over the course of the past 20 years in the Knesset he served in a variety of posts, including Deputy Housing Minister, Finance Committee Chairman and Deputy Welfare Minister. On Monday Knesset Chair Dalia Itzik cancelled a special plenum session to allow MKs and Knesset workers to take part in the levaya, and cancelled committee meetings as a sign of mourning.

While serving as Finance Committee Chairman he suffered kidney failure and had to conduct meetings while connected to a dialysis machine. Two years later he underwent a kidney transplant. His eldest son Moshe was given the privilege of donating the kidney following a din Torah to decide which of his children, all of whom sought the honor, would donate a kidney. The case, which drew coverage in the national media and even in the Diaspora, resulted in a great kiddush Hashem.

Four weeks ago he was hospitalized at Hadassah Ein Kerem following a heart attack, and had to have a pacemaker implanted. His condition improved a bit, but his heart was very weak and on Sunday night at 2:30 am he returned his soul to his Maker.

While hospitalized his recent visitors included HaRav Shteinman, who spent half-an-hour recalling his work for the Chazon Ish and other gedolei Yisroel, as well as Hamashgiach HaRav Dan Segal. He also received a letter from Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita and relatives recalled that when he was hospitalized 16 years ago HaRav Shach zt"l paid a visit.

Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz z"l is survived by his wife Avigayil; his sons Rav Moshe, a ram at Nehora, Rav Yehoshua, a mashgiach at Yeshivas Beis Mattisyohu, Rav Shimshon, rosh kollel at Yeshivas Beis Yitzchok, Rav Yitzchok, head of the Mamleches HaTorah kollel network in Beitar Illit, and Rav Meir, one of the heads of the Wolfson Foundation of Eretz Yisroel; his sons-in-law Rav Eliyohu Diskin, a talmid muvhok of HaRav Eliashiv shlita, Rav Yeshayohu Greineman, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Kfar Ganim, Rav Mordechai Harris, Rav Yechezkel Farbstein, Rav Avidan Buxenbaum, Rav Shlomo Stefansky, Rav Ephraim Shachor; several dozen grandchildren and a first great-grandchild born two weeks ago, all following in his path of Torah and mitzvas.


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