A large crowd from the Torah community turned out for the levaya of HaRav Chaim Zelig Cantor zt"l on Monday, 19 Shvat. HaRav Cantor, the rosh kollel of Beis Medrash Romema, passed away after a long illness.
Zelig was born in New York on 18 Adar II 5700 (1940) to HaRav Shmuel and Soroh Malkah nee Lev. His parents, who had immigrated to the US from Lithuania before the outbreak of World War II, sent him to learn in a Talmud Torah and then to a yeshiva high school, an education that was not so common in those days.
When Zelig was only 11, his mother passed away, after which his grandmother, Rochel Lev o"h, began to care for him. Two years later his father passed away, and two years after that his grandmother passed away. Since then he and his sister tlct"a were left as complete orphans.
Zelig learned in Mesivta Chaim Berlin in high school and in yeshiva, under HaRav Yitzchok Hutner zt"l. The yeshiva was truly his home, and the Rosh Yeshiva paid special attention to him.
In 5719 he moved to Eretz Yisroel to learn in Yeshivas Ponovezh. Later he learned in Chevron Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He found his place there among the "lions" of the yeshiva.
He married the daughter of HaRav Efraim Fishel Goldberg zt"l, a ram in Yeshiva Torah Emmes of London, who was a talmid muvhak of HaRav Moshe Schneider and HaRav Zeidel Semiatitzky zt"l.
After his marriage he moved to the US, where he was soon asked by HaRav Hutner to serve as a ram in Mesivta Chaim Berlin. Together with his friend HaRav Avrohom Isiel Gurvitz ylct"a he founded Yeshivas Romema.
In 5732 he moved to Eretz Yisroel where he settled in the Mattersdorf community of Jerusalem.
In Elul 5733 he founded the Beis Medrash Romema around a core group from Chevron Yeshiva. At first the kollel learned in a beis medrash on David Yellin street. Since 5746 the kollel has been in its permanent home on Maane Simcha Street.
Over the years the kollel has earned a well-deserved reputation as a wonderful, nurturing place for young scholars to develop. The shiurim of the rosh kollel and his personal caring for each kollel chaver, helped them all to grow into mature Torah scholars.
Several years ago he lost his eyesight due to his developing illness, but he accepted all his very difficult days with love and continued to toil in Torah as long as he was able.
He left behind a loving family and many talmidim who follow along the path he led.