Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

22 Shevat 5771 - January 27, 2011 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











HaRav Moshe Schloss zt"l

By Yechiel Sever

Thousands were on hand in Jerusalem on Sunday to lay to rest HaRav Moshe Schloss zt"l, who served as a marbitz Torah in London and other places.

Moshe Schloss was born in Hamburg, Germany on 4 Sivan 5684 (1924) to his father Menachem, who showed mesirus nefesh in providing his children an upbringing faithful to Jewish tradition. While incarcerated at a work camp during the Holocaust, he wrote to his family that despite the harsh conditions, his emunoh was as strong as ever. He constantly sought ways to keep his head covered, which was strictly forbidden by camp regulations.

Young Moshe joined a group of youths who were smuggled to London, where he had only the address of a Jewish family that was supposed to provide him shelter. Yet when he arrived they would not open the door. The Hand of Providence was with him as he set out to seek a place to stay, for nearby was the yeshiva of HaRav Moshe Yehuda Schneider, one of the leading disciples of the Chofetz Chaim zt"l. Though the young man was unfamiliar with the yeshiva world, he quickly decided it was where he wanted to remain, a decision that marked the start of his lifelong ascent in ruchniyus.

Fellow yeshiva students from this period recall that he was renowned for his diligence and consistency in his Torah studies. He and other refugees like him, many of them orphaned, immersed themselves in Torah and Mussar, following the example set by the brothers HaRav Ben Tzion and HaRav Betzalel Rakow, as well as ylct"a HaRav Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss and HaRav Moshe Shternbuch, who always spoke very highly of the niftar.

Throughout his lifetime, he conducted cheshbon nefesh in writing every night before retiring, and in the morning would leap out of bed like a lion. Only toward the end of his life, when doctors said this endangered his health, did he start rising more slowly.

While preparing a fundraising drive, HaRav Schneider told activists that when explaining what the yeshiva was all about, they should say there is a boy at the yeshiva who normally would have wound up attending the local gymnasium, but instead rose up until he had become a "kleyner Chofetz Chaim. The nickname the Rosh Yeshiva introduced spread among the talmidim and London residents. HaRav Weiss said he never spoke a word of loshon hora. In addition to HaRav Schneider, he also studied under HaRav Shmuel Yosef Rabinow zt"l, author of Divrei Shir, and HaRav Zeidel Semiatizky zt"l.

When he came of age, his rabbonim arranged a shidduch with an orphaned girl from Germany, the granddaughter of the rov of Fulda, HaRav Kahn, a descendent of HaRav Nosson Adler, author of Nesino Leger. She had studied at the Gateshead Seminary under the guidance of HaRav Eliyohu Eliezer Dessler zt"l, and yearned to marry a bochur who was fully dedicated to Torah and avodoh.

After the wedding they settled in Gateshead, where he joined the renowned rabbinical kollel headed by HaRav Dessler. When he received semichoh in 5712 (1952) HaRav Rabinow wrote that he was "great and holy in all matters that are called holy." Nonetheless, he never sought a rabbinical post, and all his days he fled from the rabbinate. His sole aim was to teach Torah and yir'oh."

When London's leading rabbonim learned of the dire fate that had befallen the Jewish community in Morocco, they responded to requests from rabbonim there by establishing a yeshiva called Eitz Chaim in Tangiers. He uprooted his family to accept the task of mending the Jewish community there. He succeeded in driving back the spiritual desolation that had begun to set in, creating a core of bnei Torah who recalled his great character for years to come.

After a few years of harbotzas Torah in Tangiers, he and his family returned to England, where he began giving halacha shiurim to prominent baalei battim, focusing on ribbis especially. His halacha and Mussar shiurim drew listeners from different parts of London.

Twenty years ago he realized his yearning to move to Eretz Hakodesh, where he devoted himself solely to Torah study marked by kedushoh and perishus. To delve into the inner workings of the Torah he learned regularly with kabbalists, while continuing his daily gemora and halacha studies. Many asked him to teach at their institutions, yet he rejected all the offers, preferring to sequester himself.

He had asked that only family members speak about him, and that praises should be limited. His son-in-law HaRav S. Z. Ulman, a motz in Zichron Meir and in Modi'in Illit, spoke first. He was followed by his childhood friend, HaRav Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss, the gavad of the Eida Chareidis, who said that he did not want to violate the will of the niftar, but the community should learn the life of the niftar like they learn a maseches. Also maspidim were his sons, HaRav Osher, HaRav Yisroel Meir and HaRav Shmuel Yosef shlita. He left behind a large group of descendants following in the path he blazed.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.