Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

25 Sivan 5759 - June 9, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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HaRav Dovid Hershowitz, zt"l

by S. Baruchi

A large entourage of Bnei Brak's residents, headed by roshei yeshiva, dayanim and rabbonim joined by hundreds of avreichim and bnei Torah accompanied HaRav Dovid Hershowitz zt"l on his last earthly journey. HaRav Dovid played a crucial role in the laying of our generations' Torah foundations and was the founder of the Kollel Beis Yechiel Meir in Bnei Brak. He was niftar on Shabbos, parshas Beha'alosecho, during the 88th year of his life.

HaRav Dovid Hershowitz was born in Tishrei 5672 (1911) in the United States, and was the son of R' Avrohom Meir Hershowitz. The home in which he was raised was one of mesiras nefesh for Torah and yiras Shomayim. There he imbibed his deep dedication to Torah values. After his father was niftar, he was raised in an environment detached from Torah. However, the values his father had instilled in him as a child accompanied him throughout his entire life and enabled him to remain strong as a rock, even in stormy periods.

Although most of his friends curtailed their Torah studies as soon as they reached bar mitzvah age, Reb Dovid demanded to continue his Torah studies, and to learn more and more. He was the only one of his friends who continued his Torah studies as he grew older. His studies during that period enabled him to reach out to other youth and to teach them Torah and Yiddishkeit within various Jewish organizations of that time.

When he was twenty, he went to Eretz Hakodesh. Due to failing health, however, he decided to return to the United States. At that time, HaRav Yitzchok Hutner arrived on America's shores, and Reb Dovid became very close with him, imbibing genuine Torah hashkofo from him.

When HaRav Elchonon Wassermann arrived in America on a fund- raising campaign for his yeshiva in Baranowitz, Reb Dovid drew close to him and asked to come study in his yeshiva. Armed with recommendations, Reb Dovid arrived in Baranowitz and began to study there. During that period, he slept at HaRav Elchonon's home and ate at the home of his cousin, HaRav Dovid Povarski.

In Elul 5799, with the outbreak of war, he left Baranowitz and fled to Vilna. While there he spent one Shabbos with HaRav Chaim Ozer and later, on erev Yom Kippur, he arrived back in America.

As soon as he reached America he became involved in the rescue of nidchei Yisroel and was active in securing visas for rabbonim and gedolei haTorah from Kovno, Vilna and Baranowitz. Even though the American government refused to issue these visas, he made extensive efforts to secure visas for rabbonim who would preside as the rabbis of shuls, persuading the shuls to accept these rabbonim as their leaders. He managed to save HaRav Dovid Povarski by means of the funds which he sent for his subsistence.

He was one of the ten first students in the yeshiva of HaRav Aharon Kotler in White Plains. Immediately after his marriage, he joined the yeshiva in its new abode in Lakewood.

When the students of the Mirrer Yeshiva arrived in the United States in 5707, he moved to New York in order to help them acclimate to their new country. With much dedication, he assisted them in all they needed.

Reb Dovid was a central address in America for all Torah endeavors. He secured religious artifacts from Eretz Yisroel for Torah observant Jews, including arbaas haminim for Succos. His home was a central meeting point for chachomim and a focal point of Torah activity in the United States.

On a visit to Eretz Yisroel in 5710 (1950) he met with the Chazon Ish, and decided to move to Eretz Hakodesh. He arrived in 5715 (1955) with his family. At the request of the Rav of Brisk, he began to help HaRav Henoch Kornjack in his efforts to absorb immigrant children and children who had been saved from the missions. He also helped found the Mogen Hayeled institutions.

In 5725 (1965), he helped HaRav Abba Berman found his yeshiva and kollel in Bnei Brak, and soon afterward, he assumed responsibility for the Kollel Beis Yechiel Meir on Rabbi Akiva Street, the third kollel to be founded in Bnei Brak.

He supported the kollel with his own funds for many years and made extensive efforts to expand it.

Avreichim of this kollel are among Bnei Brak's finest. Many who studied there now preside as dayanim, roshei yeshiva and roshei kollel.

He is survived by his wife, who aided him with utmost dedication throughout his life, as well as by sons and sons- in-law, all of whom are outstanding talmidei chachomim. His sons are HaRav Avrohom Meir and HaRav Elchonon. His sons- in-law are HaRav Shlomo Kaplan, HaRav Yaakov Fleischman, and HaRav Yisroel Ruchlin. His grandchildren and great- grandchildren are all pursuing the path he charted for them.

Recently, he felt ill, and on Shabbos kodesh parshas Beha'alosecho, he returned his pure soul to its Maker. At his levaya, which left from the kollel study hall, hespedim were delivered by HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, HaRav Boruch Dov Povarski, and by the rosh kollel of Kollel Yechiel Meir, HaRav Yair Chodosh as well as by the niftar's son, HaRav Avrohom Meir. At the Shamgar funeral hall in Yerushalayim, hespedim were delivered by his friend, HaRav Yonah Bromberg, by HaRav Sholom Povarski and by the niftar's son, HaRav Elchonon. He was buried on Har Hazeisim.

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