Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

16 Av 5769 - August 6, 2009 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











HaRav Moshe Dov Chait zt"l

By Yechiel Sever

On the night of Tisha B'Av a large levaya was held for HaRav Moshe Dov Chait zt"l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim in Jerusalem, a talmid muvhok of HaRav Dovid Leibowitz zt"l and who was a trusted agent of HaRav Aharon Kotler and HaRav Moshe Feinstein zt"l.

Moshe Dov Chait was born in 5681 (1921) in Philadelphia to Torah-true parents. In 5698 (1938) he began studying at Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim under HaRav Leibowitz, a talmid of the Alter of Slobodka zt"l. For three years he listened to every word his rebbe spoke and carefully observed his approach to learning. While at the yeshiva he also formed a bond with HaRav Chaim Pinchos Scheinberg, who was then serving as mashgiach of the yeshiva, a relationship he maintained throughout his lifetime.

In 5705 (1945) he married Esther Raizel Mainz tlct"a, a granddaughter of HaRav Zachariyoh Dershowitz, who set up the first shteibel in Williamsburg and battled to uphold Shabbos. As part of his campaign he started a laboratory to employ those who had been fired for keeping Shabbos.

After getting married, R' Chait joined the very first kollel to be set up in the US. He soon received semichoh and was appointed rov in Crown Heights, a post he held while continuing his kollel studies. During this period, on Shabbos he had to walk 90 minutes from his home in Williamsburg to the shul in Crown Heights.

He waged dedicated campaigns to uphold Yiddishkeit, at the same time doing outreach work for baalei batim and had an impact on them for years to come. Many of the children and grandchildren of these baalei batim have maintained contact with him to this day.

He was a member of the Agudas HaRabbonim under HaRav Kotler and HaRav Feinstein, who often sent him to discreetly carry out important tasks. He was also appointed to oversee various educational projects he was involved in. HaRav Dovid Feinstein shlita recalled that his father placed great trust in HaRav Chait.

HaRav Chait served as a ram at Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim, and in 5728 (1968) he moved to Eretz Yisroel, fulfilling a lifelong dream. He set up the yeshiva in Sanhedria, where he gave powerful talks based on the Slobodka method. He taught Torah in Eretz Yisroel for over 40 years.

At the levaya in Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim, hespeidim were delivered by his sons, HaRav Boruch and HaRav Dovid, his son-in-law, HaRav M. Dov Harris, who serves as a rosh yeshiva in Afula, HaRav Avrohom Kenarek, a talmid of HaRav Boruch Ber Leibowitz and one of the roshei yeshiva at Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim in Jerusalem.


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