Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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8 Tishrei 5769 - October 7, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Binyomin Yehoshua Zilber zt"l

By S. Bruchi

Thousands joined rabbonim and roshei yeshivos at the levaya for HaRav Binyomin Yehoshua Zilber zt"l, a former talmid at Yeshivas Novardok and an oved Hashem from his early youth, who passed away on the Thursday before Rosh Hashanah at the age of 92.

Binyomin Yehoshua was born in 5676 (1916) in the town of Yazwa to HaRav Boruch Tzvi Zilber, who was a Trisker Chossid and died sanctifying Shem Shomayim with his whole family during the Holocaust. He had lost his mother Soroh at the age of nine.

At the age of eleven his father sent him to study at Yeshivas Novardok in Mezritz under HaRav Dovid Bleicher, moro verabbo. From that point on R' Binyomin's entire world remained within his own daled amos shel halochoh. He was the embodiment of a genuine ben yeshiva constantly engrossed in his learning. From an early age it was clear he was destined for greatness, devoting his entire life to avodas Hashem.

Years later it was revealed that one Simchas Torah, HaRav Bleicher seized the young man's hands and danced with him in a show of joy over the young shakdan and tzaddik. During these years he stayed in the tents of Torah at all times, filling his treasure-chest of knowledge with Torah, and became the pride and joy of Yeshivas Novardok.

In 5693 (1933) he came to Eretz Yisroel after setting out for the train station without even a ticket in his pocket. Upon arriving at the train station he learned that one of the young men who had been planning to go was too sick to travel so R' Binyomin was given his ticket, allowing him to travel to Eretz Yisroel. Among those who recommended him for an aliyah visa was HaRav Bleicher, the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Novardok, who said despite his tender age all his deeds were for the sake of Heaven.

Upon arrival in Eretz Hakodesh he started learning at Yeshivas Beis Yosef in Bnei Brak, where he attended shiurim given by the Steipler zt"l and continued amassing his tremendous knowledge of Torah and poskim.

Based on the Chazon Ish's recommendation he married the daughter of HaRav Mordechai Rubinfein, author of the mussar sefer Kol Korei. At first the couple lived in Jerusalem's Kerem neighborhood (now considered part of Geulah) near Maran HaRav Shach zt"l, learning in the same kollel as Maran HaRav Eliashiv and HaRav Wosner ylct"a.

HaRav Zilber moved to Bnei Brak but later was asked to serve as menahel ruchani at Yeshivas Beis HaTalmud in Jerusalem of HaRav Dov Schwartzman shlita. He also gave shiurim and talks at HaRav Avrohom Yaffen's Beis Yosef kollel in Jerusalem.

For many years he would leave home on Rosh Chodesh Elul and return after Yom Kippur, spending 40 days totally secluded from worldly matters, ensconced at Yeshivas Itri or at the home of HaRav Moshe Sternbuch while the latter was serving as ravad of Johannesburg or in Sanhedria Murchevet near Yeshivas Beis HaTalmud. He would also go to Beis HaMussar to study for days on end.

Over the years he published books on halacha, mussar and avodas Hashem including Oz Nidberu, a 15- volume set of responsa, five more books on the laws of Shmittah, Mekor Hahalochoh on the laws of Shabbos, Bris Olom on the laws of Shabbos and Shmittah, and Beis Boruch on the Chayei Odom. He also published a number of mussar books, including one on Shaarei Tshuva, Toras HaYiroh on Rabbenu Yonah and Shaarei Ha'avodoh and Kuntrus Havidui, which infuse readers with ahavas Hashem and yiras Hashem.

HaRav Zilber's health was in decline for the past several years until he returned his soul to his Maker on Thursday afternoon in the presence of 40 of his children and grandchildren as they accepted upon themselves ol Malchus Shomayim.

The levaya set out that evening from his home in Bnei Brak, headed toward Har Hazeisim in Jerusalem.

The first to deliver a hesped was HaRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner shlita, who spoke about HaRav Zilber's gadlus and humility and asked that he act as a meilitz yosher for Klal Yisroel.

HaRav Boruch Dov Povarsky said, "After all the trials he underwent, HaKadosh Boruch Hu dubbed Avrohom Ovinu `yirei Elokim.' Every generation has certain individuals who embody the traits of Avrohom. Rebbe Binyomin zt"l was a ben olom haboh. His whole life was humility and meekness."

HaRav Nissim Karelitz recalled that throughout his lifetime he toiled in Torah. "And I remember when he was still a youth, when he got married he was already referred to as a tzaddik. We have an obligation to arouse ourselves following the petiroh of an odom godol, and may our his'orerus be an illui neshomoh for him."

HaRav Yaakov Galinsky noted the niftar was among the gems of Yeshivas Novardok. "Rebbe Binyomin, the world didn't know you and you didn't know the world. I can still recall how Maran the Chazon Ish called you a tzaddik. HaKadosh Boruch Hu is rejoicing at the arrival of an untainted soul and a tzaddik."

Following the eulogies the levaya resumed at the Shamgar Beis Halvayos in Jerusalem, where he was eulogized by HaRav Tuvia Weiss, the Gavad of the Eida Chareidis in Jerusalem, HaRav Dovid Tzvi Ordentlich, his grandson HaRav Naftoli Stolik and HaRav Shmuel Auerbach.

HaRav Binyomin Yehoshua Zilber zt"l lost two children, HaRav Yechiel Avrohom and a daughter, the wife of the late Rav Simchah Leib Golshevsky, and is survived by six children, Rav Dovid, Rov Shmuel Yitzchok, Rav Boruch and three daughters married to Rov Moshe Tzitzensky, Rav Chonoh Horlick and Rov Avrohom Menachem Tussman respectively, as well grandchildren and great-grandchildren carrying on his spiritual legacy.


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