Cloaked in mourning, gedolei Torah, gedolei Chassidus, roshei yeshivas, admorim, rabbonim and thousands of Lelov chassidim filled the streets of Bnei Brak on Motzei Yom Kippur to take part in a somber levaya for the Admor of Lelov, HaRav Shimon Nosson Nota Biderman zt"l, who returned his pure soul to his Maker unexpectedly on Leil Yom Kippur.
After leading Kol Nidrei, he asked someone else to take over for Tefillas Ma'ariv and passed away shortly after retiring to bed. With his petiroh the generation is left bereft of an exceptional Torah genius and a humble oved Hashem renowned for his remarkable tefillos and yeshuos.
Thousands were on hand for the funeral, which set out from his beis medrash in Bnei Brak's Shikun Hei, with thousands of his chassidim in trail, bitterly lamenting the loss of the rebbe, who led Lelov Chassidus for 23 years. The procession traveled slowly to the edge of the city and resumed in Jerusalem, where he was buried after midnight on Har Hazeisim near the grave of his father zt"l.
Shimon Nosson Nota was born 79 years ago to the previous Lelover Rebbe, HaRav Moshe Mordechai Biderman zt"l. He grew up in a home infused with Torah, Chassidus and yiras Shomayim, and whose door was open to the downtrodden and miserable. It was here that he acquired his tremendous love for every Jew, which has become a trademark of Lelov Chassidus.
After marrying the rebbetzin tlc"a they at first lived in Antwerp, where he taught gemora for many years at Yeshivas Eitz Chaim. He recorded his chiddushim, which show an amazing mastery of all of the tractates, but his sense of humility kept him from publishing them. The only book he did publish was Har Haboshon, which contains profound chiddushim on mitzvas performed only in Eretz Yisroel.
In 5733 his father sent him to set up the Lelov beis medrash in Boro Park, which soon became a magnet for Jews striving to advance in Yiddishkeit. He taught Torah and Chassidus among those who came to pray at the beis medrash and his home became a place of hachnosas orchim for all. Visitors noted the warm reception they received while in his home.
In Teves 5747 (January 1987) his father passed away and he took over the mantle of leadership. His heart reached out to every Jew, feeling their grief or joy and praying for them from the depths of his heart.
The Rebbe was known far and wide for his tefillos. He would stand like a servant before his master, clearly enunciating the words of the prayers one by one. The sweetness of his prayers had the power to melt even the most hardened hearts.
On this past Erev Yom Kippur he held a tish as usual. On Leil Yom Kippur the beis medrash was packed when he led the numerous chassidim who had come to spend the Yom Noraim in his presence. He recited Shehechiyonu with extraordinary kavonoh.
After Tefillas Ma'ariv he retired to his room, lay down on the bed, recited Krias Shema and a short time later returned his pure soul to his Maker.
Medics managed to restore his heartbeat, but afterwards his heart suddenly failed. The mittoh was placed in the room where he had received chassidim for the past 23 years, and the remaining Yom Kippur tefillos were held with bitter tears.
He is survived by three sons carrying on the magnificent Lelov legacy.