Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

21 Shevat 5761 - Febuary 14, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











HaRav Chaim Kasriel Baddiel zt"l
by Betzalel Kahn

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 habayis.

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 Manchester.

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 yore.

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 hakever.

He is survived by sons and daughters who are following in his path of Torah and yir'oh.


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