Last Monday, a shocked, saddened crowd accompanied Chaim
Yeshayahu Neuman, z"l, on his last earthly journey.
One of the most outstanding students of Yeshivas Or Elchonon,
Chaim Yeshayahu, victim of a heart attack, was only 21 at the
time of his petirah.
He was the son of Reb Yosef Neuman, a prominent resident of
Jerusalem's Bayit Vegan neighborhood.
Chaim Yeshayahu's remarkable talents and hasmodoh were
already evident when he was very young. He studied in the
Leuchter Talmud Torah in Bayit Vegan, later in a yeshiva
ketana in Kiryat Herzog in Bnei Brak, and then in Or
Yehuda and Or Elchonon. His parents chose to send him to
those yeshivos, which were far from his home, because it was
much easier for him to study in small settings due to his
Rosh chodesh Elul, 5751, is a day his parents will never
forget, because it was then that he was diagnosed as having a
heart ailment, the result of a virus he had contracted. Two-
and-a-half weeks later, on the 18th of Elul, he and his
family celebrated his bar mitzvah in the hospital
By Rosh Hashanah of that year, his situation was diagnosed as
critical. His heart was barely functioning, and doctors
predicted that he had only a few more days to live. Prayers
were said for his recovery in all of the country's yeshivos,
and he was given the additional name of Chaim. The day
following Rosh Hashanah, his condition improved radically.
This had a tremendous impact on the senior doctors involved
in his case, who sensed that the Borei olom had
wrought a miracle. Before that, his situation had been so
critical that the doctors were even afraid to fly him to
Belgium for a heart transplant.
His family held a seudas hodoyoh a short while
afterward, and HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach came to cheer
him. During that time, his parents and doctors consulted
HaRav Auerbach, who told them to seek the advice of Reb
Binyomin Fisher, chairman of the Mogein LeCholeh
organization, who was very helpful to them, and offered them
many valuable suggestions regarding treatment.
A year after completing his treatments, the heart infection
recurred, and the doctors warned that he was liable to suffer
heart arrest at any time. Nonetheless, he continued his
regular routine, and was always considered the most cheerful
student wherever he studied.
This past bein hazmanim, he preferred to spend most of
his time in Or Elchonon, where he had been studying for a
number of years, in order not to distress his parents. When
he reached the age of 18 and had the power to do so, he
forbade the doctors to tell his parents about his true
situation. Once, however, the doctors overlooked his request.
When he learned of this, he sent them a letter of complaint.
A short while later, the doctors sent him a written letter of
One of his rabbonim relates: "Whenever I had to resolve a
kushya in Nesivos or Ketzos HaChoshen, I
would call Chaim Yeshayahu, because he was the only one with
whom I could take apart part a kushya."
During the recent bein hazmanim, he published an
entire pamphlet on Perek Merubeh of Bava Kama.
He was an outstanding masmid, but as he studied, he
knew that the shadow of death hovered over him. No one else,
however, was aware of his true condition.
This past Tisha B'Av, a friend who had studied with him six
years ago in yeshiva ketana called to invite him to
his wedding. Chaim Yeshayahu's mother asked the
chosson how he remembered him after so many years. The
friend explained: "Tisha B'Av, six years ago, the entire
yeshiva was moved to tears because of Chaim Yeshayahu's
stirring rendition of Eicho. Since then, I recall him
every year on that day, and that is why today, Tisha B'Av, I
remembered to invite him to my wedding."
Chaim Yeshayahu was a tremendous baal chessed. Every
Shabbos he would visit hospitals in the city in order to help
and cheer the patients. When HaRav Avrohom Farbstein, rosh
yeshiva of Chevron, was hospitalized, Chaim Yeshayahu
helped him and his family. He did the same when the
admor of Toldos Aharon was ill.
He would always "scold" his friends in yeshiva for not
smiling and being happy. He was given an important job in Or
Elchonon: that of welcoming the new students who were
entering after having just completed yeshiva ketana.
He would tell them: "No one enters the beis medrash
without a smile on his face."
On rosh chodesh Elul this year, he came an hour before
the new students arrived in order to be able to greet them at
the yeshiva's gates. At six in the evening, after he had
spent the entire day welcoming new students, he went to his
room to rest. But his heart failed. Two hours later, he was
found in his bed.
His levaya, held late that night, was attended by a
large crowd. Hespedim were delivered by HaRav Ezriel
Auerbach, rav of Chanichei Hayeshivos in Bayit Vegan; HaRav
Moshe Mordechai Chodosh, the rosh yeshiva of Or
Elchonon; HaRav Yitzchok Lorincz, one of the roshei
yeshiva of Kol Torah; Reb Chaim Mondrei, Chaim
Yeshayahu's uncle, and Reb Yosef, Chaim Yeshayahu's
Chaval al de'abdin velo mishtakchin.