Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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29 Nissan 5769 - April 23, 2009 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Elchonon Yosef Hartzman zt"l

By S. Bruchi

A large crowd turned out shortly before Pesach to lay to rest HaRav Elchonon Yosef Hartzman zt"l, a prominent Mussar figure from the prewar generation, who passed away on 11 Nisan and was flown to Eretz Yisroel, where he was buried near the gravesite of HaMashgiach HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein, at Netzivei Yeshivas Ponovezh Cemetery.

The levaya, which originally set out from Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood, drew roshei yeshivos, rabbonim and menahelim ruchani'im from various parts of the US, who came to pay their respects to a great mussar authority who had a powerful impact on Yiddishkeit in the US and authored several books on mussar and character development.

After the aron was transported to Eretz Hakodesh the funeral resumed at Yeshivas Ponovezh, where hespeidim were delivered by HaRav E. Kahaneman, HaMashgiach HaRav Dan Segal, HaRav D. Avrahami, HaRav Y. Bauer and HaRav Y. Gudlevsky.

Elchonon Yosef Hartzman was born in a shtetl called Nissine, located in Galicia's Lublin Province (today a part of Poland), to Rav Shmuel, who had ties with the Imrei Emes of Gur. He studied at Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin under HaRav Meir Shapira of Lublin and HaRav Aryeh Tzvi Brommer, the av beis din of Koziglov and author of Eretz Tzvi.

The young man transferred to Yeshivas Baranovitch, where he was a talmid of HaRav Elchonon Wassermann Hy"d and the mashgiach, HaRav Yaakov Yisroel Lubtchansky zt"l. Later he studied at Yeshivas Mir, where he formed bonds with HaRav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel and HaRav Chatzkel Levenstein zt"l.

Following the outbreak of World War II he received a letter from his parents telling him to come home to Poland. Recalling the Mashgiach's remarks that during times of danger one must be tied to the yeshiva, he decided to return to Yeshivas Mir and went on to survive the war by joining the yeshiva during its journeys to Japan and Shanghai.

While still a bochur in Shanghai he completed his first book, Gadlus Ho'odom, which quotes many of the talks given by HaRav Levenstein in Shanghai.

After arriving in the US he remained a part of the yeshiva, remaining close to the Mashgiach zt"l.

In 5708 (1948) he married his wife Soroh (nee Halberstam), the granddaughter of the Divrei Chaim zt"l, and began giving shiurim. Over the years he published several books on the teachings he received from his rabbonim zt"l, including Mussar Haskel on the Torah and Sefer Iyov, Bayis Ne'eman on sholom bayis, Yesodos Hachinuch on chinuch and Olom HaMussar, a hashkofoh work recently published by Mishor.

Since he is not survived by any descendants his numerous talmidim are being asked to learn as an illui neshomoh for him.


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