On erev Shabbos parshas Bo, HaRav Chaim Kasriel
Baddiel, zt"l, went to his eternal rest. A great man
of spirit: noble in deeds, brilliant in Torah, he was rav
and moreh tzeddek of the London Iranian community for
nearly fifty years.
HaRav Chaim Kasriel Baddiel, son of Reb Dovid, came to
England from Dvinsk, the city of the Rogotchover and the Ohr
Somayach, at a young age with his family. Twenty-two years
later, the family settled in Gateshead. With the founding of
the Gateshead yeshiva, Reb Dovid made great efforts to
assist it, and was later chosen as president of the yeshiva.
However, after a short while he asked that the title be
given to one of the wealthy residents of the nearby village
of Sunderland. Reb Dovid's reasoning bore plentiful fruit
over the years.
When Chaim Kasriel became bar mitzvah his father sent him to
study in the yeshiva in Manchester, where he studied with
great hasmodoh under the guidance of the rosh
yeshiva, HaRav Moshe Yitzchok Segal zt"l. The yeshiva
suffered from oppressive poverty at the time, and the life
of the young Chaim was far from easy. He was sent to eat
every day at the home of a different ba'al
Later on, he told one of his sons about his first moment in
the beis medrash, and described how the rosh
yeshiva's son, HaRav Yehuda Zeev Segal zt"l, an older
bochur at the time, would sit on the bimah in
the beis hamedrash and study with great intensity,
hour after hour. This made it easier for young Chaim to
appreciate why he left his home and come to distant
Young Chaim progressed in Torah, receiving smicha at
the age of 21. He was a combination of diligence in Torah
and prowess in halachic instruction as well as an
outstanding ba'al midos.
He possessed a nobility of spirit that expressed itself in
his outstanding character traits. He was satisfied with
little, and refused to accept a salary commensurate to the
difficulty of his work -- Shomayim's work. He
despised gifts, even from those whom he had helped with his
counsel, time and energy. Any attempt to speak ill of one's
fellow in his presence would be fruitless. His
hashkofo regarding the heretical government in Eretz
Yisroel was that a government that did not accept the
supremacy of Torah could not succeed.
He was humble by nature. When he would call someone on the
phone -- even a younger member of his community -- he would
identify himself as "Mr. Baddiel," not as "Rabbi Baddiel."
It didn't help when people claimed that such behavior
supposedly hindered the glory of Torah, for he was certain
that he didn't deserve anything from his fellow.
He was meticulous in mitzvos and pious in all his ways,
totally saturated in emunoh. The words "be'ezras
Hashem" and "im yirtzeh Hashem" were constantly
on his lips. He firmly believed that man's success comes
only from Hashem Yisborach, and that since the seal of
Hashem is emes, no man could succeed in life through
sheker. He, himself, testified that he had never
uttered a lie.
Sixteen years ago, at the age of seventy, he moved to Eretz
Yisroel and settled in Jerusalem's Bayit Vegan neighborhood,
where he continued to study with vigor. There, too, just as
abroad, he assembled a group of people in order to share his
vast knowledge of Torah, meriting to complete Shas
three times with this group.
Before Reb Chaim fell ill, one of his former students from
London came to visit him. At the end of the visit he asked
HaRav Baddiel to say a dvar Torah. But because he was
so weak, he could only say brief divrei aggodo,
ending with the verse, "umotzoso es levovo ne'emon
lefonecho.". That was his last dvar Torah.
He carefully guarded his tongue throughout his entire life.
He was also careful with shemiras ho'einayim, and for
that reason, many sought his blessings. He made supreme
efforts not to forego davening in a minyan,
and during a thirty year period, he missed tefilloh
betzibbur less than twenty times. Even during the cold
and icy England winters, his feet led him to fulfill mitzvos
with the mesirus nefesh of tzaddikim of
On Sunday of parshas Bo, he turned 86, and on erev
Shabbos, 9 Shevat, he returned his pure soul to its
Maker. He was buried five hours before Shabbos. Those buried
at such a time, say Chazal, do not undergo chibbut
He is survived by sons and daughters who are following in
his path of Torah and yir'oh.