Thousands of bnei Torah from around the country, led
by the Rosh Yeshiva HaRav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman and
the brother-in-law of the niftar, HaRav Chaim
Kanievsky, shlita, turned out on Wednesday, 10 Shevat,
to lay to rest HaRav Yisroel Yosef Yisraelson zt"l,
the rosh kollel of Kollel Bar Shaul and the son-in-law
of Maran HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv ylct"a.
Yosef Yisroel Yisraelson was born in 5690 (1930) in
Baranowitz to HaRav Dov Hy"d, the mashgiach of
Yeshivas Toras Chessed in Baranowitz, and to his mother
Hy"d, the daughter of HaRav Tzvi Hirsch Gutman,
menahel ruchani of Yeshivas Ohel Torah in
As a boy he once stepped into a shiur given by HaRav
Elchonon Wassermann Hy"d. "Who are you?" asked the
rov, surprised to see such a young student. The boy replied
innocently and upon hearing his name HaRav Wassermann allowed
him to stay.
When the Nazis began to extend their power over Europe he
escaped to Siberia at the age of 11. Miraculously he survived
five years of physical and spiritual torment, eventually
making his way to Eretz Hakodesh in 5706 (1946).
At first the orphaned young man lived at the home of HaRav
Shmuel Pellman, the rov of Tel Aviv's Heichal Meir
neighborhood. The Rebbetzin took him in like one of her own
sons, taking care of his needs.
Upon arrival he was asked whether he would like to continue
on to the US, where some of his relatives lived. "I've had
enough of golus," he replied. "I want to go study in
yeshiva." Soon he was learning at Yeshivas Ponovezh, where he
cleaved to the Ponevezher Rav, HaRav Shach, HaRav Dovid
Povarsky and HaRav Shmuel Rozovsky.
When he came of age he married the daughter of HaRav Eliashiv
shlita in a match arranged by HaRav Dov Freidin and
He spent several years learning at the kollel run by
Yeshivas Ponovezh and remained in close contact with the
Eventually he was asked to head Kollel Bar Shaul in Rechovot,
where he spent the next four decades leading the
kollel and the city's bnei Torah kehilloh.
Today's bnei Torah in Rechovot, numbering hundreds of
families, owe much of their spiritual life to HaRav
Yisraelson, who guided the growing community in developing a
refined worldview and in heeding daas Torah. He was
held in high regard by city residents of every type of
background, who discerned his genius in Torah, exemplary
character and mental clarity.
For decades the kollel held an annual one-day Bar Bei
Rav event during Aseres Yemei Teshuvoh, which drew hundreds
of local residents. For over 40 years HaRav Yisraelson also
gave a shiur every morning at Beis Knesses Divrei Shir
in Bnei Brak. When Yated Ne'eman was founded HaRav
Shach zt"l appointed him to serve as a member of the
Vaad Ruchani, a post he held ever since.
Towards the end of Teves he suffered a heart attack and
passed away on Wednesday, 10 Shevat.
The levaya set out from Beis Knesses Divrei Shir,
where he prayed and gave a Daf Yomi shiur over the
course of 40 years. Before the procession began, eulogies
were given by HaRav Simchoh HaKohen Kook, the rov of
Rechovot, his brother- in-law HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, the
rov of Ramat Elchonon and the rosh kollel of Kollel
Beis Dovid in Holon, and HaRav Yehuda Aryeh Dunner, the rov
of Beis Knesses Divrei Shir.
Following the hespeidim the funeral proceeded on foot
to Netzivei Yeshivas Ponovezh Cemetery in Bnei Brak, where he
was buried at sunset.
HaRav Yosef Yisroel Yisraelson zt"l is survived by his
wife, his sons and a daughter married to Rav Sofer, along
with hundreds of avreichim mourning the
histaklus of their guide.