A mantel of grief descended on US Jewry upon hearing of the
histalkus of HaRav Rafael Blum zt"l the Admor
of Kashoi, at the age of 98.
As news of his petiroh spread, thousands began to make
their way to the enormous levaya, which set out from
his beis medrash in Kiryat Kashoi in Bedford Hills,
New York, near Mt. Kisco, where he served as a marbitz
HaRav Blum was born in Hungary to HaRav Shmuel Hy"d.
He acquired his Torah learning and yiras Shomayim in
the town of Kashoi, where he was a talmid of HaRav
Shaul Brach, av beis din of Karoli and Kashoi.
As a young avreich he was already serving as head of
the town's beis din. In 5690 (1930) he was on hand
when the Satmar Rebbe met with HaRav Brach. When he asked,
"Who are we leaving the next generation to?" HaRav Brach
replied, "To Rafael Blum," and pointed to his cherished
After surviving the Holocaust through chasdei Shomayim
he founded a yeshiva in Kashoi. A short time later he
traveled to Williamsburg where survivors of the war saw him
as the successor of the pre-Holocaust geonim and
gathered around him. In New York he started a yeshiva in a
remote location to allow his talmidim to occupy
themselves in Torah studies without distraction. He always
insisted on leaving customs unchanged, often quoting the
Chasam Sofer's axiom, "Chodosh osur min haTorah."
HaRav Blum was a tremendous masmid with a daily
learning schedule of 18 hours. He was known as an innovative
Torah scholar who would dive through the "sea of the Talmud"
and plumb the depths of halochoh.
The gavad of Kashoi was known for his Shas and
responsa seforim Tal Shomayim and Bircas
Shomayim, which were well received in the Torah world. He
also made corrections to books by the Rishonim for the
benefit of other Torah scholars.
Thousands came to him seeking brochos and sagely
advice. Not only was he an outstanding posek but he
also fought milchemes Hashem, fortifying the walls of
the community against undesirable changes. He was a leading
figure in the campaigns fought for Yiddishkeit in the
US, wholly dedicating himself to untainted Jewish
During the last year of his life HaRav Blum grew very weak.
When his state of health improved somewhat he girded his
strength to continue in avodas Hashem, but several
weeks ago his health again took a turn for the worse and last
Tuesday, 20 Adar I, he was summoned to Yeshiva Shel
HaRav Rafael Blum zt"l is survived by sons and sons-in-
law talmidei chachomim who grace Torah halls in the
US. With his passing chareidi Jewry in the US lost a
gaon and tzaddik and was left with a gaping