Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

23 Kislev 5770 - December 10, 2009 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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The Bostoner Rebbe zt"l

By Yechiel Sever

On Motzei Shabbos Parshas Vayishlach (18 Kislev) news spread around Jerusalem of the histalkus of the Bostoner Rebbe, HaRav Levy Yitzchok Horowitz, who returned his soul to his Maker at the age of 88.

Levy Yitzchok Horowitz was born on 27 Sivan 5681 (1921) in Boston to the first Bostoner Rebbe, HaRav Pinchos Dovid Horowitz, the nephew of the Lelover Rebbe, HaRav Dovid Biderman. Because of the decrees issued during World War I the Lelover Rebbe advised his nephew to immigrate to the US.

Upon his arrival in 5674 (1914) he began to gather followers and instruct them in yiras Shomayim in an America largely void of Yiddishkeit at a time when even simply keeping Shabbos involved tremendous financial hardships. American materialism claimed numerous victims.

HaRav Pinchos Dovid arrived on the shores of America empty-handed; only after a few years had passed was he able to bring over the Rebbetzin, Soroh Shoshoh, the daughter of HaRav Yechiel Michel Brandwein, the Admor of Turka-Streitin. When a son was born to them they decided to name him Levy Yitzchok after the Berditchiver Rebbe, the Kedushas Levy.

He hired tutors and only with an escort would he allow his son, Levy Yitzchok, out of the house, where spiritual hazards abounded.

In 5694 (1934) his father sent Levy Yitzchok to Jerusalem for his bar mitzvah with his mother. His father was supposed to be there, but his coming was delayed. Levy Yitzchok then entered Yeshivas Torah Veyiroh, where he learned for about two years. In 5695 his father returned to Boston and the young man later followed him. Back in Boston he had to continue his studies at home with private tutors.

Later he attended Yeshivas Torah Vodaas and eventually received semichoh from his rebbe, HaRav Shlomo Heiman.

In 5700 (1940) his father moved to New York, where he founded a beis medrash. Two years later the first Bostoner Rebbe passed away and his followers named HaRav Levy Yitzchok his successor in Boston. Another son became his successor in New York.

In 5703 (1943) R' Levy Yitzchok married the daughter of HaRav of Neimark Hy"d, who had become the stepdaughter of the Cleveland Rebbe, HaRav Meir. She stood by her husband's side until her petiroh in 5762 (2002). Afterwards he married the current Rebbetzin, who was wholly dedicated to her husband.

Shortly before Rosh Hashanah 5705 (1945) he agreed to join his chassidim in Boston, where he led the kehilloh for the next 65 years.

An important part of his work revolved around Jewish patients at Massachusetts General Hospital and other top hospitals in the area, which draw people in need of special medical care from around the world. He founded an organization that provided medical advice and helped many Jews reach top physicians. Gedolei Torah, including the Chazon Ish, often sent the sick to Boston because they knew the Rebbe would make every effort to arrange for all their needs, from kosher food to lodgings and translation services.

Starting in 5720 (1960) the Bostoner Rebbe began to devote much of his efforts to outreach work, particularly among university students. He arranged Shabbos events and gave talks that penetrated into their hearts. He also built mikvehs in the city and ran various religious services.

In 5755 (1995) he moved to Eretz Yisroel, opening his beis medrash in Jerusalem. His late father had a plot of land in Reches Shuafat he had purchased in 5689 (1929). Since the development plans for the area were not yet complete, the Jerusalem Municipality offered to exchange the land for a lot in Har Nof and he decided to build his beis medrash there. From that point on he split his time, spending summers in Har Nof and winters in Boston.

The Bostoner Rebbe was active in Agudas Yisroel of America and in Eretz Yisroel, and in 5754 (1994) he was appointed a member of Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudas Yisroel. He took part in the annual Agudas Yisroel of America conventions, often speaking at various Aguda gatherings. Even in recent years, despite his frail health, he would take part in the conventions and audiences would listen eagerly to his speeches.

In recent months the Rebbe was hospitalized at Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center due to a severe illness and a heart attack. Tefillos for his recuperation were held in various locations, but his condition declined and on Shabbos he passed away, with family members and chassidim at his bedside.

The levaya set out on Motzei Shabbos from his beis medrash in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighborhood, where he taught Torah and Chassidus, heading toward Har Hazeisim.


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