Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

2 Iyar 5761 - April 25, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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The Admor of Pinsk-Karlin zt"l
by Betzalel Kahn

On motzei Shabbos 29 Nisan, huge crowds in both Bnei Brak and Jerusalem accompanied the Admor of Pinsk-Karlin, HaRav Aharon Hacohen Rosenfeld, zt"l, on his last earthly journey. The 78 year old Admor was niftar suddenly on Friday night, 28 Nisan, after conducting his tisch.

News of the petirah spread quickly through Bnei Brak synagogues and botei medrash. The poroches in his beis medrash was removed, and a heavy pall of mourning befell his chassidim. On motzei Shabbos, the levaya left the Admor's beis medrash in Bnei Brak and headed to his beis medrash in Jerusalem, where crowds had gathered to accompany him to Har Hamenuchos.

The Admor of Pinsk-Karlin, son of HaRav Yitzchok Menasheh Hacohen, zt"l, was born in Tishrei, 5687 (1927). He was named "Aharon" because his bris was on Yom Kippur. He studied in the Chayei Olam yeshiva, and then in the Karlin yeshiva in Jerusalem.

When Reb Aharon was still young, the Shomrei Emunim told a young chossid: "Become close with that bochur, Rebbe Aharon, because he has pure eyes." Reb Aharon was very close to the Admor, Rebbe Yochonon of Karlin, who regarded him as his loyal shaliach and appointed him head of the chabura in Eretz Yisroel. He was in charge of all correspondence, and conveyed the Admor's directives regarding chinuch.

Reb Aharon married the daughter of HaRav Chaim Yisroel Halitovski, one of the prominent chassidim of Karlin.

Reb Aharon's life was one long saga of harbotzas Torah. For many years, he served as a maggid shiur in the Eitz Chaim yeshiva, and then in the Belz yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel and Belgium. Every student who studied under him over the past fifty years held him in unusual esteem, especially for his rare diligence and unique manner of instilling his students with yiras Shomayim and Torah.

He particularly despised indolence and constantly warned against wasting time, while serving as a living example of meticulous application and perseverance, never wasting a moment. He would tell everyone -- carefully practicing what he taught -- that an educator must be a role model of one who doesn't waste time. Through his personal example, the fundamental concept of not wasting even a moment of Torah- study time became imbedded in his students.

When he was only thirty his wife was niftar, leaving him with five small children. During that period, his greatness of spirit was revealed, not only in his acceptance of his lot with love, but also in the manner in which he took charge of his home, never missing a study session or a shiur despite the heavy burden he bore. He later married the righteous widow of HaRav Chaim Halberstam, who raised the orphans and brought them to marriage.

His prayers were fervent outpouring of the soul, and deep expressions of his deveikus to Hashem. Even when he was ill, he would stand during the entire tefilloh, saying that he was like a Kohen who must offer sacrifices while standing. He became known as a po'el yeshuos who commiserated with the sorrow of his fellow, considering every request on an individual basis. Even before he became Admor, when praying on someone's behalf he would recite Tehillim and weep until hearing that the person for whom he had been asked to pray had recovered.

On Pesach 5751 (1991), at the yahrtzeit of his grandfather, HaRav Aharon of Karlin, he was appointed Admor of Pinsk-Karlin. In that capacity, he was a father to his chassidim and a spiritual guide, who led his flock with love and humility. From that time on, the Pinsk-Karlin Chassidic sect developed in a remarkable manner, its Jerusalem institutions, talmudei Torah, yeshivos and kollelim flourished.

The Admor of Pinsk-Karlin, esteemed by all of the gedolei hador, raised an outstanding generation of students and young avreichim. He personally supervised the studies and chinuch of the students of the Pinsk-Karlin yeshiva, stressing the importance of study on Friday afternoons, motzei Shabbosim and bein hazmanim. He demanded that each avreich and student study at least four consecutive hours during these times. One of the great dayanim visited the Admor's beis medrash this past Pesach and wondered whether it was bein hazmanim or the middle of the zman.

He would personally test the talmud Torah and yeshiva students, and every zman he would meet with the teachers and maggidei shiur and lecture on the fundamentals of Torah pedagogy and on how to instill students with Torah and yiras Shomayim.

He was well-known for his Torah and chassidic discourses, and would deliver discourses in yeshivos and institutions from other circles, where he was often invited to speak.

Half a year ago, he underwent a complicated heart operation and was in critical situation. Many prayed for his recovery, and he regained his health. At that time, his 27 year-old grandson, HaRav Yehoshua Heschel Rosenfeld, was niftar after an illness, leaving behind four small orphans.

HaRav Aharon accepted all of these misfortunes with love and composure, out of deep faith. When he was in the hospital, the doctors who treated him were amazed by his calmness and acceptance of pain with love, as well as by his extreme care not to offend anyone. Some of the doctors, who were not Torah observant, would consult him and ask him for brochos.

Before Pesach, he visited the United States in order to participate in the wedding of an orphan. In America, he held tisches and reception hours. He spent Pesach in Jerusalem, where he led his community with distinction.

This past Friday night, he conducted a tisch in Bnei Brak. At two in the morning, he felt ill and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. All efforts to save him were in vain, and he returned his pure soul to its Maker.

On motzei Shabbos, his levaya left his beis medrash on Ravad Street in Bnei Brak. It then proceeded to his beis medrash in Jerusalem, and then to the plot of the elder chassidim on Har Hamenuchos.

He is survived by an illustrious generation of sons, daughters and sons-in-law, all of whom are following in his footsteps.


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