Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

14 Cheshvan 5762 - October 31, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











HaRav Eliyahu Shrem, zt"l
by S. Bruchi

On 4 Cheshvan, a huge throng accompanied HaRav Eliyahu Shrem zt"l, rosh yeshiva and founder of Yeshivas Torah Vehoro'oh and its institutions, on his last earthly journey. HaRav Shrem was 69 at the time of his petiroh.

HaRav Eliyahu Shrem, son of HaRav Ezra Shrem the founder of Yeshivas Porat Yosef, was born on the 11th of Adar, 5692 (1932), in the Old City of Jerusalem. In this illustrious home, the young Eliyahu absorbed a vast amount of Torah and yiras Shomayim.

In his youth, he studied in Porat Yosef in the Old City, where he was attached to HaRav Ezra Attia and HaRav Yaakov Ades. He toiled over his Torah studies with much exertion and hasmodoh.

In 5716 (1956) he married Rivka, daughter of HaRav Rafael Abu, the av beis din of Tel Aviv, who in his capacity as the trusted deputy of maranan verabonon helped found the Otzar HaTorah institutions in Morocco. On his wedding day Rav Eliyahu completed Shas, over which he had toiled during his years in Porat Yosef.

After his marriage, he devoted all of his time to the study of halochoh, and after many years of exertion, merited to receive smicha from HaRav Ezra Attia. In 5719, he was selected to preside as rav of a Tel Aviv neighborhood. As soon as he moved to Tel Aviv, he founded a kollel on Levinski Street where he taught.

His father, HaRav Ezra Shrem, was niftar in 5723 (1963) and in 5726, HaRav Eliyahu opened the Torah Vehoro'oh yeshiva in his memory. At first, the yeshiva was situated in the Ohel Moed synagogue and from there it moved to Givatayim. The yeshiva later moved to larger quarters in the Tel Aviv Eliyahu Hanovi synagogue, and after much difficulty, to new quarters in the Yad Eliyahu neighborhood in Tel Aviv.

All of his activities on behalf of the yeshiva were directed by Maran HaRav Eliezer Menachem Shach, shlita, who was the spiritual helmsman of the institutions.

The first graduating class of the yeshiva ketana had nine students. HaRav Shrem was hesitant about opening a yeshiva gedola with so small a student body. HaRav Shach was consulted and the yeshiva gedola was opened with the nine students.

In time, there was demand for a talmud Torah in the area too, but HaRav Shrem, who had experienced so many hardships in spreading Torah in that region, feared such an undertaking. HaRav Shach was again consulted, and he unequivocally said: "HaRav Shrem, you have a lot of space and energy. Open the talmud Torah and may you succeed."

Today, thirty-five years after the opening of Torah Vehoro'oh, its institutions include a talmud Torah and a yeshiva ketana and gedola with 600 students.

HaRav Shrem would deliver daily shiurim to the yeshiva students. He would also deliver shiurim on hilchos Shabbos and fixed shiurim in Chovos Halevovos, Nefesh HaChaim and Ramban on the Torah. Many outstanding talmidei chachomim attended these shiurim.

His efforts on behalf of Jewish communities throughout the world constituted a special chapter in his life, and whenever he traveled abroad for Torah Vehoro'oh, he would work to draw Jews closer to Torah and mitzvos.

In recent years, he merited to edit the seforim of his grandfather, HaRav Yitzchak Shrem -- one of the chachomim of Aram Tsova -- on the Shas, adding his own chiddushim. These works were distributed on a non-profit basis.

Five years ago, he contracted a serious kidney ailment. Despite his suffering, which he accepted with love, he continued to deliver shiurim and to direct his institutions.

Recently, his health deteriorated, and on motzei Shabbos, parshas Noach, he returned his pure soul, which had been refined by much suffering, to its Maker.

His levaya proceeded from the Torah Vehoro'oh yeshiva. Before the procession began, hespedim were delivered by Rav Moshe Tzadka, the rosh yeshiva of Porat Yosef in Geula; Rav Shalom Cohen, the rosh yeshiva of Porat Yosef in the Old City; Rav Shimon Badani, rosh kollel Torah Vechaim; Rav Eliyahu Abba Shaul, rosh yeshiva of Or Letziyon; and by the niftar's sons, HaRav Moshe Shrem, director of the Messilot HaTorah yeshiva, and HaRav Dvir Shrem, a ram in Torah Vehoro'oh. Hespedim were also delivered by other prominent dayanim and rabbonim. As specified in his last will and testament, his son, HaRav Matityahu Shrem, was appointed to replace him.

His wife, family and his thousands of students bitterly mourn his petiroh.


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