(Prepared for parshas Vayigash) Thousands of bnei Torah from Ashdod and Bnei Brak, led by HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, HaRav Yehuda Lefkowitz, HaRav Nissim Karelitz, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, roshei yeshivos, roshei kollelim, dayonim and morei horo'oh, took part Monday afternoon 4 Teves in an enormous levaya for HaRav Pinchos Schreiber zt"l, one of the roshei yeshiva of Yeshivas Breslov in Bnei Brak and the Gavad of kehilloh of avreichim in Ashdod, who passed away early Monday morning at the age of 78, following a short illness. He was considered an exceptional talmid chochom and morei horo'oh, and served as an av beis din in the beis din of HaRav Nissim Karelitz.
Pinchos Schreiber was born on 19 Shevat 5691 (1931) in Galicia to HaRav Yisroel Bunim Schreiber, who was known in his town for his tremendous hasmodoh. With the outbreak of World War II the family fled from Yaroslav to Siberia. At the age of ten he labored among workers who had been deported to Siberia. Every day at 4:00 p.m. his father would return from work and immediately began learning Shulchan Oruch Yoreh De'ah orally with his son. They would study while walking briskly around the camp to keep warm in the freezing temperatures.
When Russia entered the war, the camp prisoners were released and sent to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Most of the exiles died of starvation, cold or disease along the way. The harsh conditions claimed both of his parents, whom he had to bury along the way, continuing the journey with his two-and-a-half-year-old brother in his arms.
Eventually he reached Teheran, where many other child refugees from Europe had also gathered, and Jewish Agency representatives were waiting to send them on a ship to the Holy Land. During the voyage the children had their payos snipped off and were subjected to anti-religious indoctrination. Of the 1,100 children, who came to be known as "the Children of Teheran," only six continued to keep Torah and mitzvas even though virtually all had come from fully observant homes in Europe.
Upon their arrival in Eretz Yisroel, the children were taken for a trip to Jerusalem and the holy sites. Near the Kosel Maarovi R' Pinchos met three bochurim from Yeshivas Chevron, R' Moshe Shimon Weintraub, R' Chaim Aharon Turchin and R' Tzvi Greenberg. He ran up to them, asking them to take him out of the group of youngsters.
"What makes you different from the rest?" they asked.
"I know Shulchan Oruch Yoreh Dei'ah by heart. You can even test me."
That was how he wound up at Yeshivas Chevron, then in Jerusalem, lodging at the home of HaRav Yechezkel Sarna zt"l.
He spent Pesach 5702 (1942) with the Turchin family in Tel Aviv and from there went to Yeshivas Tiferes Tzion in Bnei Brak and formed a bond with the Chazon Ish. His bar mitzvah seudah was held in the home of the Chazon Ish, who treated him like a father.
In 5705 (1945) he started learning at Yeshivas Ponovezh. He later recalled extreme poverty during his years as a bochur. With only one shirt to his name, he would go to the well on Rechov Geonei Brisk on Erev Shabbos, and after washing his shirt he had to wait there until it dried.
On 14 Kislev 5714 (1953) he married Chaya Roiza, of the Rothstein family. HaRav Isser Zalman Meltzer passed away on the day of the wedding. The chuppah was held earlier than scheduled, during the afternoon hours. Based on the instructions of the roshei yeshiva, the bochurim traveled to the levaya in Jerusalem and then returned to Bnei Brak to celebrate with the couple.
Since the couple's apartment was not yet ready, at the behest of the Chazon Ish, the Schwartz family made a room available to the Schreiber's. Thus a single apartment was home to the Steipler in one room, HaRav Kanievsky in another room and HaRav Pinchos Schreiber and his wife in another. Since he had made a commitment to always learn aloud, HaRav Schreiber avoided studying in the apartment to ensure that he did not disturb the Steipler. Instead he would remain at the yeshiva until midnight and then enter through the balcony.
Based on instructions from the Ponevezher Rav, he started giving shiurim at Yeshivas Breslov in 5727 (1967), which he continued until two weeks ago.
When Yeshivas Grodno opened in Ashdod 40 years ago, the Ponevezher Rav appointed HaRav Schreiber rov of the kehilloh of avreichim in the city. At first he held hours one day a week, but as more and more avreichim made their homes in Ashdod he started spending a second day each week in Ashdod's Kiryat Ponovezh. Later he spent three days a week and every other Shabbos.
Erev Pesach 5768 fell on a Shabbos. On the preceding Thursday he held a siyum on the Shas — marking the 16th time he had completed all of Shas be'iyun — and then the next day he held a siyum on all six orders of Mishnayos, to ensure he had fulfilled the obligation of Taanis Bechoros according to both opinions.
He also completed the masechtos typically learned in yeshivas dozens of times, along with siyumim for the Shulchan Oruch learned with a chavrusa and the Minchas Chinuch learned with a chavrusa.
Two weeks ago his health went into decline after contracting pneumonia. On Sunday night some 100 of his offspring gathered around his bed at Mayanei Hayeshua Hospital at 1:00 a.m., where they accepted ol malchus Shomayim before his soul departed at 1:45 a.m.
The levaya was held at Yeshivas Ponovezh, where he learned and prayed for the past 65 years. Before the procession set out, hespeidim were delivered by HaRav Eliezer Kahaneman, who announced that his son, HaRav Yisroel Bunim Schreiber, would serve as the rov of the Ashdod kehilloh, HaRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, HaRav Gershon Edelstein, HaRav Boruch Dov Povarsky and the deceased's sons, HaRav Chizkiyohu Yosef and HaRav Yisroel Bunim. He was buried at Netzivei Yeshivas Ponovezh Cemetery, near the gravesite of his rebbe, the Ponevezher Rav.
HaRav Pinchos Schreiber zt"l is survived by his wife; his sons, HaRav Chizkiyohu Yosef, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Maharil, HaRav Yisroel Bunim, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Netiv Daas, HaRav Shimon, rosh kollel of Kollel Toras Chaim Shaul, HaRav Dovid Aryeh Leib, a morei tzedek at Chanichei Hayeshivos, HaRav Uziel, a maggid shiurim at Yeshivas Shaarei Tevunoh and a prominent avreich at Kollel Ponovezh; his sons-in-law, HaRav Yehuda Maller, a ram at Yeshivas Knesses Yitzchok in Kiryat Sefer, and HaRav Simchah Zissel Kahana, a prominent avreich at Kollel Ponovezh and an editor of the Dirshu edition of the Mishnoh Berurah; and his brother, shlita.