HaRav Naftoli Carlebach, zt"l, a talmid chochom
from a famous German family, passed away in Jerusalem
following a prolonged illness.
The deceased was born in the city of Leipzig in 5676 (1916)
to Hechover R' Moshe, the son of HaRav Shlomo Carlebach, the
av beis din of Lubbeck. His mother was Rochel, the
daughter of HaRav Yosef Cohen, the av beis din of
Eschwege. His father was a merchant known for his virtue,
integrity and yiras Shomayim.
In 5693 (1933) Naftoli's parents sent him to study at
Yeshivas Telz in Lithuania, an act of mesirus nefesh
since during this period German Jews rarely sent a 16-year-
old boy away from home to study Torah. During his three years
at the yeshiva the young talmid also showed mesirus
nefesh, using his talents and a drive for self-elevation
to become a genuine ben Torah.
He was particularly close to the rosh yeshiva, HaRav Eliyohu
Meir Bloch, taking careful notes on his shiurim on
Mishlei. HaRav Bloch himself later edited these notes
and recently they were published in book form by his
talmidim to commemorate his 50th yahrtzeit.
When R' Naftoli transferred to Yeshivas Mir he was received
as an accomplished talmid. Upon his arrival in Mir his
brother-in-law, HaRav Shimshon Rafael Weiss, asked his father-
in-law (the deceased's father) to send his personal physician
in Leipzig, the famous Dr. Adler, to treat his rebbe, HaRav
Yeruchom, who was suffering from his final illness. To show
his gratitude, HaRav Yeruchom invited R' Naftoli to join a
special group of talmidim who attended his mussar
vaadim. Though this was just a few weeks before the
Mashgiach's histalkus this brief period of time was
enough to leave an enduring imprint on the young man. For the
rest of his life he would study HaRav Yeruchom's books and
quote him in his droshos.
Toward the end of 5698 (1938) he studied issur veheter
and was given semichoh by his rabbonim, the roshei
yeshivos of Telz and Mir, as well as other prominent
rabbonim. One of these semichos, which he held
particularly dear, was given by the elderly dayan of Brisk,
HaRav Simchoh Zelig Riger. Later HaRav Carlebach would
describe how he sat in the beis horo'oh of Brisk for
two days, answering questions under HaRav Simchoh Zelig's
During this period R' Naftoli's father grew ill, and he was
compelled to leave Poland and to return home to Germany. As a
German citizen, on the eve of the war he could not obtain a
visa to return to Yeshivas Mir in Poland. When he managed to
secure a US entry visa through a friend from the yeshiva,
HaRav Naftoli Neuberger, the Menahel of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel
in Baltimore, he saw this as Hashgochoh protis to save
him from the jaws of death. As soon as he could he embarked
on a ship, arriving in Baltimore in Shevat 5699 (1939).
A year later he married Gittel Gutman, who had also arrived
from Germany during this period, and together they built a
home known as a lighthouse of Torah and chessed. After
his wedding, with the encouragement of the rosh yeshiva,
HaRav Yitzchok Yaakov Ruderman zt"l, HaRav Carlebach
was appointed rov of the city of Chambersburg,
After two years they moved to Detroit, where he worked in
education and in the rabbinate. He once had the privilege of
hosting HaRav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, rosh yeshivas Mir in
Poland and Jerusalem, in Detroit over Pesach. Later he handed
over the rabbinate to his uncle, an elderly rov and a
Holocaust survivor with no means of support. For various
reasons he then sought other employment, working with
integrity until he moved to Eretz Yisroel in 5739 (1979).
During his free time HaRav Carlebach would take up his
studies, often with his childhood friend, HaRav Leib Baksht,
the late rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Detroit. When he moved to
Brooklyn he made the Mir Minyan of Boro Park, renowned as a
magnet for talmidei chachomim, his set place for
tefilloh and Torah study.
At the levaya one of HaRav Carlebach's friends
recalled an incident that showed his adherence to halochoh.
One Friday his bus got caught in a traffic jam that lasted
for several hours. When candlelighting time began to draw
near he got off the bus in rainy weather, preparing to spend
Shabbos along the roadside far away from the nearest town.
After stashing away his belongings he continued on foot until
he suddenly came across a small convalescent home under
Jewish ownership. He spent Shabbos there eating matzoh and
HaRav Carlebach and his wife tlc"a, worked hard to
raise their children to Torah. Though Detroit was almost
barren of Torah at the time, they managed not only to teach
their children to keep the embers of Yiddishkeit
alive, but to instill them with ahavas Torah and a
drive to grow in Torah. In 5709 (1949) while parting from
HaRav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel following his stay in their home
in Detroit, the Rebbetzin asked for a brochoh to raise
their children for lives of Torah. Said the Rosh Yeshiva,
"Children grow on zechuyos, not on brochos."
When HaRav Carlebach moved to Eretz Yisroel, in an effort to
increase his Torah learning he set up sedorim during
various periods at Yeshivas Mir, Yeshivas Kamenitz and near
his home. For a period of eight years he studied Tur
and Beis Yosef every morning with his friend, the late
HaRav Simchoh Wassermann, the son of HaRav Elchonon
Wassermann Hy"d. With his talented pen he wrote
various articles and translated articles by gedolei
A few years ago he had to reduce his learning schedule due to
deteriorating health. Recently he had to be hospitalized and
on the 4th of Shevat he returned his pure soul to his Maker,
surrounded by his many bnei Torah family members.
At a large levaya held on Erev Shabbos Parshas Bo he
was eulogized by HaRav Yaakov Kruger, the rov of Beis Knesses
Kehillas Chaim, HaRav Aryeh Finkel, the rosh yeshiva of
Yeshivas Mir-Brachfeld, HaRav Yitzchok Ezrachi, one of the
roshei yeshivos of Yeshivas Mir-Jerusalem, and his sons and
sons-in-law, marbitzei Torah in Jerusalem.
HaRav Naftoli Carlebach is survived by his wife, his sons,
HaRav Moshe of Jerusalem, HaRav Doniel Yeruchom of Brooklyn,
HaRav Binyomin of Jerusalem, HaRav Shlomo Ze'ev, his daughter
the wife of HaRav Gedaliah Finkel of Jerusalem, his sister
Mrs. Halbershtadt of Brooklyn, his grandsons and great-
grandsons, all following the path of Torah.