Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

24 Shevat 5759 - Feb. 10, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







HaRav Shmuel Carlebach, zt'l

by S. Baruchi

This past Friday, the 19th of Shevat, chareidi Jewry was cast into a deep pall of mourning over the petirah of HaRav Shmuel Carlebach, one of the most important chinuch figures of our times, and the educational director of the Bnei Brak Or Hachaim Seminary and the Beis Yaakov Seminary of Ashdod. He was niftar after a brief illness, at the age of 72. His levaya was attended by thousands of Bnei Brak's residents.

R' Shmuel Carlebach was born on yom tov sheini of Shavuos in Frankfort, Germany. The home of his father, Reb Naftoli, was saturated with ahavas Torah and yiras Shomayim. In his youth, R' Shmuel studied in the chareidi talmud Torah named after R' Shamshon Raphael Hirsch. Even during his early years, his longing to grow in Torah and draw closer to the Borei Yisborach were evident.

At the beginning of the Holocaust, Reb Naftoli was sent to the work camps, while R' Shmuel, along with a group of other youths, was sent to Belgium, where he was saved. His father managed to escape the Valley of Death and to reach Belgium.

In 5699 )1939(, the Carlebach family settled in Tel Aviv, and R' Shmuel was enrolled in the Moriah school. He remained firm in his desire to continue his studies in a yeshiva kedosha, and merited to be one of the first students of Yeshivas Kol Torah and the outstanding student of R' Yechiel Michel Schlesinger, its founder.

At that time, many young people from Torah backgrounds were convinced to join the underground, working against the British occupation. Seeing how strong of spirit he was, the underground members tried to persuade him to join their ranks, saying: "We need people like you." Once they even placed a gun on his bed to hint to him how serious they were.

In 5606, he entered Ponovezh and became one of its outstanding masmidim. He was very close to the Rav of Ponovezh, who admired R' Shmuel's firm outlook. He was also close to the mashgiach, R' Abba Grossbard and the mashgiach, HaRav Eliyahu Dessler.

In 5611, he married the daughter of R' Meshulem Levi, one of the founders of the Yesodei HaTorah Talmud Torah of Tel Aviv, and together they built a model Torah home. After his marriage, he continued to study with much hasmodoh in the kollel of Ponovezh. In time, he was invited to preside as a ram in the Tiferes Tzion yeshiva, where he taught for many years, as well as in the yeshiva of Rav Y. Torchin in Yehud.

In 5715, Rav Wolf asked him to direct the Or Hachaim Seminary for girls. He headed this institution for thirty years. With fatherly love and concern, he devoted himself to his students' chinuch and continued to offer them guidance for many years after their marriages.

The gedolei hador, among them HaRav Yaakov Yisroel Kanievsky zt"l and Maran, HaRav Eliezer Menachem Shach, shlita, held him in great esteem, due to his efforts on behalf of the chinuch of young Jewish women. "The entire Torah world of Sephardi Jews rests on your shoulders, because if Jewish daughters do not receive pure chinuch in accordance with the true yeshivisheh outlook, there will be no future for the bnei yeshiva," the gedolei haTorah said. A generation of Sephardi bnei Torah was established through his efforts.

When the Education Ministry demanded that the subjects of psychology and pedagogy be included in the seminaries, he published the book Darkeinu beChinuch on pedagogy, at Rav Wolf's behest, while Rav Wolf published Toras Hanefesh, on psychology. Their purpose was to prevent Jewish young women from studying from books which were written by people with heretical ideas. These books became an integral part of the Beis Yaakov curriculum.

In 5745 )1985(, he was appointed head of the Seminar Avos of the Ponovezh Institutions of Ashdod, and the educational director of Be'er Miriam in Bnei Brak, and remained in those capacities until his final day.

Seven moths ago, his wife passed away, and he himself began to prepare for his own passage into the Word of Truth. A month ago, he was asked to donate a sum of money for hachnosas kallah. He gave the trustee of the fund a check for the 19th of Shevat, the day of his petirah. When asked if the money was donated in memory of his wife, he said that he also needed tzeida laderech. On Thursday night, the 19th of Shevat, he suffered from a stroke, and on Friday morning returned his pure soul to its Maker.

He is survived by five sons, four daughters and sons-in-law, and thousands of students, both young women and men, all of whom are pursuing the path he charted for them, and all of whom deeply mourn the great loss of their beloved rav and mentor.

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