and HaRav Yehoshua Korlansky shlita. He
insisted the young man present a chaburoh before him every week
and share his chidushei Torah. Nosson Tzvi also received
constant encouragement from the other roshei yeshiva, HaRav Chaim
Shmuelevitz, HaRav Chaim Zeev Finkel, his father-in-law-to-be HaRav
Binyomin Beinish Finkel and HaRav Nachum Partzovitz.
For the rest of his life he recalled this period at the yeshiva with
fondness, saying during his first zman enrolled there he went
through Bovo Kammo (through the x chapter) twice which each of his
three chavrusas and another seven times on his own.
In 5724 (1964) HaRav Eliezer Yehuda sought the young man as a mate for
his granddaughter, Rasha Leah, the daughter of HaRav Binyomin Beinish
Finkel (who was also his father's cousin) who was married to the
daughter of HaRav Shmuel Greineman, the brother-in-law of the Chazon
In the early 5730s (1970s) he started giving shiurim to review
the material presented by HaRav Nachum Partzovitz, teaching three
separate groups of students every day.
In 5750 (1990), following his father-in-law's petiroh, HaRav
Nosson Tzvi Finkel was named to replace him as rosh yeshiva and began
giving the shiur kloli. He bore both the spiritual and physical
needs of the yeshiva on his shoulders, taking heed of every problem
that arose among his students, showing a sense of responsibility that
became apparent during the Gulf War, when he would rush to the yeshiva
every time the warning sirens sounded.
Under no circumstances did he ever miss Tefillas Shacharis at the
yeshiva. One winter morning he trudged to the yeshiva following heavy
snowfall. When asked why he made such an effort to come he replied
with his typical humility: "When it snows all of the bochurim
are happy, and how can I not come and see them happy?"
Despite the hardships caused by the disease he suffered from
(Parkinson's), HaRav Finkel expanded the yeshiva to enormous
proportions, making it the world's largest Torah center with some
6,000 students, according to some estimates. According to a worker in
the kitchen, the yeshiva served about 5,000 meals a day. He built beis
medrash after beis medrash, serving a broad range of students
including Americans who come for a few years to absorb the Torah of
Eretz Yisroel, native Israeli yeshiva students and traditional
His mesirus nefesh for the talmidim knew no bounds. Twenty
years ago a student at the yeshiva was rushed to Mt. Scopus Medical
Center, but passed away upon arrival. The Rosh Yeshiva took the
trouble to travel to the yeshiva to watch over the body. The police
were demanding an autopsy, but HaRav Finkel stood his ground. The
director of Boruch Rofei Cholim arrived to relieve him, but HaRav
Finkel wouldn't leave.
At the cornerstone laying ceremony for Yeshivas Mir-Brachfeld in
Modi'in Illit, he shed many tears praying for siyata deShmaya
and that he had the zchus to be able to start a yeshiva left
him too choked-up with happiness to speak.
To raise funds for the aging yeshiva facilities he traveled far and
wide, despite his poor health. Before one excursion HaRav Aharon
Yehuda Leib Shteinman shlita asked if he had the strength to
travel. No, he said, but he could travel even without strength.
Integrity and honesty were deeply ingrained in him. Once he was asked
to sign a document that all of the other yeshiva heads had signed to
make them eligible for large amounts of funding. But he would not
sign, saying it did not accurately reflect the actual circumstances.
When told that everyone else had signed it, he retorted, "Perhaps
that's how you build a yeshiva, but it's not the way to build Torah.
Torah is built only through absolute truth."
Just one day before he passed away he followed his usual schedule of
giving shiurim and chaburos,d> and even traveled to Bnei
Brak to pay his condolences to the family of HaRav Yosef Aryeh
Halperin and to take part in the levaya for HaRav Dov Schwartzman
zt"l. He also consulted with HaRav Chaim Kanievsky shlita about
the yeshiva finances. Upon his return to Jerusalem he gave
shiurim in both Yiddish and English.
At 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, paramedics were summoned after he went
into cardiac arrest. Thousands of students who were awoken by the
disturbance began reciting Tehillim for his recovery, but at 7:00 a.m.
he was pronounced dead.
When the paroches was removed from the aron kodesh after
Shacharis talmidim burst into tears upon realizing that their beloved
rosh yeshiva was gone. The streets surrounding the yeshiva turned
black as thousands upon thousands began to arrive.
The levaya set out at noon from Jerusalem's Beit Yisroel neighborhood,
led by HaRav Eliashiv, HaRav Shteinman, HaRav Chaim Pinchos
Scheinberg, HaRav Shmuel Auerbach, HaRav Meir Tzvi Bergman and his
uncle, HaRav Chaim Greineman. According to police estimates quoted in
the press, about 100,000 people participated in the levaya. By all
accounts it was one of the largest levayas Jerusalem has seen for a
Hespeidim were given by HaRav Shteinman, who named the
deceased's son, HaRav Eliezer Yehuda, as his successor; HaRav Aryeh
Finkel, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Mir-Brachfeld; HaRav Refoel
Shmuelevitz, one of the roshei yeshiva; his brother HaRav Gedaliah
Finkel, a ram at the yeshiva; his eldest son HaRav Eliezer
Yehuda; his son HaRav Avrohom Shmuel, a ram at the yeshiva; and
his son-in-law HaRav Noam Alon, one of the roshei yeshiva of Yeshivas
The levaya then proceeded on foot to Har Hamenuchot Cemetery. After
the grave was covered, words of parting were offered by HaRav Yitzchok
Ezrachi, one of the roshei yeshiva, his brother-in-law HaRav Nachman
Leibowitz, also one of the roshei yeshiva, and another brother-in-law,
HaRav Binyomin Carlebach.
The Rosh Yeshiva HaRav Nosson Tzvi Finkel zt"l is survived by
his wife, Rochel Leah; his sons, HaRav Eliezer Yehuda, HaRav Avrohom
Shmuel, HaRav Yeshayohu, HaRav Yitzchok, HaRav Shmaryohu Yosef and
HaRav Chaim Yehoshua Tanchum; his sons-in-law, HaRav Noam Alon, HaRav
Chaim Salomon, HaRav Yosef Shlomo Shirkin, HaRav Yoel Birnbaum, HaRav
Aharon Kessler and HaRav Shimshon Bloch; and grandchildren following
the lofty path he set for his family and innumerable talmidim.