Led by gedolei Yisroel, rabbonim, roshei yeshivos and roshei kollelim, thousands of Yeshivas Ponovezh students and former students took part in the funeral for HaRav Avrohom Kahaneman zt"l, the Nosi of the yeshiva and the son of the founder and rosh yeshiva, HaRav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman zt"l, on Tuesday 30 Shvat, 5769. Rav Kahaneman passed away Monday night at the age of 98 following a bout with pneumonia in addition to heart problems.
On Sunday he was taken to Maayanei Hayeshua Hospital where the medical staff made every effort to stabilize him, but by Monday afternoon he was listed in critical condition. In the evening the roshei yeshiva of Yeshivas Ponovezh and HaRav Kahaneman's family members tried to squeeze into the room and accepted the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven, reciting Shema Yisroel. At around 10:00 p.m. he returned his soul to his Maker.
Late at night the mittoh was brought to the yeshiva he worked hard to support for the past 40 years and the levaya began midday Tuesday.
Avrohom Kahaneman was born in Wilkomir, Lithuania on Hoshanna Rabba 5672 (1911) to HaRav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, later known as the Ponevezher Rav. He spent several years studying at Yeshivas Ponovezh in Lithuania and later transferred to Yeshiva Mir, where he cleaved to the Mashgiach HaRav Yeruchom and learned bechavrusa with HaRav Dovid Povarsky and HaRav Shlomo Shimshon Karelitz zt"l.
Although the Dvar Avrohom and other rabbonim granted him rabbinical ordination (yoreh yoreh yadin yadin) he opted not to accept a rabbinical position.
With the Nazi rise to power, just after Simchas Torah 5700 (1940) he caught the last train out of Lithuania, miraculously making his way to Eretz Hakodesh. His father also left Ponovezh using a diplomatic passport provided to him as a member of the Lithuanian parliament, arriving in Eretz Hakodesh shortly before Pesach 5700 (1940). The Ponevezher Rav's wife and three of his children remained in Lithuania, where they perished.
In 5706 (1946) Rav Avrohom married Rivka Knoller, who hailed from one of the leading families in Berlin's chareidi community. He continued learning at Yeshivas Ponovezh, which his father set up in 5704 (1944), and later became involved in its management. Following the petiroh of the Ponevezher Rav in Elul 5729 (1969) he started managing the entire yeshiva and its orphanages. During the course of his hesped for the Ponevezher Rav, Maran HaRav Shach zt"l said that R' Avrohom would run all yeshiva affairs, referring to him as the baal habayis of the yeshiva.
Every year he spent months engaged in fundraising in foreign countries and showed great loyalty and integrity in running the yeshiva. When told of the death of a wealthy Jew in South Africa who was married to a non-Jew, he thanked Hashem for never having received a donation from him, saying, "HaKadosh Boruch Hu wants only kosher money to come to Yeshivas Ponovezh."
Since his father's petiroh he would open the Yarchei Kallah with a chizuk talk and regularly taught the shiurim on the Rosh's Orchos Chaim which his father used to teach. He also gave talks and taught shiurim to mark the beginning and end of the zman as well as his father's yahrtzeit on 20 Elul.
Speakers at the levaya included his son HaRav Eliezer, HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, HaRav Gershon Edelstein, HaRav Boruch Dov Povarsky, his son-in-law HaRav Shmuel Markowitz and HaRav Shmuel Halevy Wosner. He was buried at the Netzivei Yeshivas Ponovezh Cemetery alongside his father, the Ponevezher Rav zt"l.
HaRav Avrohom Kahaneman zt"l is survived by his son HaRav Eliezer, a daughter married to HaRav Shmuel Markowitz, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.