On Shabbos morning, parshas Ki Siso, HaRav Chaim Shlomoh Leibowitz zt"l, grandson of HaRav Boruch Ber Leibowitz and long time rosh yeshiva of Kamenetz Yeshiva in Jerusalem and more recently a rosh yeshiva of Ponovezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, passed away after several months of serious illness.
HaRav Chaim Shlomoh was born on 3 Teves 5693 in Baranovitch, Belarus. His father was HaRav Yaakov Moshe zt"l, son of HaRav Boruch Ber Leibowitz, rosh yeshivas Kamenetz and author of the Bircas Shmuel. His grandfather was his sandek, and his younger years were spent in that great Torah community.
The young Leibowitz family lived in a house at the edge of the small town. They lived on the second floor, and the first floor was occupied by the family of HaRav Reuven Grozovksy, whose wife was the daughter of HaRav Boruch Ber.
When it was time for him to start cheder at the age of five and a half, his father was preparing to take him to learn for the first time. However his grandfather insisted on taking his grandson himself. Since it was quite a long distance from their house to the cheder, and they planned to carry the young boy wrapped in a tallis, the father offered to carry him part of the way. However HaRav Boruch Ber refused, explaining that his grandfather HaRav Nochum zt"l said before passing away that all his life he was proud of the fact that he took his grandson Boruch Dov to cheder. "I also want to be proud of the fact that I took my grandson Chaim Shlomoh to cheder," concluded HaRav Boruch Ber.
After the war broke out the family fled to Vilna in 5700. From there they managed to leave on the last boats that left for Eretz Yisroel before the outbreak of hostilities.
On the same boat was his future rebbe HaRav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt"l, as well has HaRav Dovid Povarsky zt"l, who later became his mechuton.
The family settled in Jerusalem. When it was time for him to enter yeshiva (ketanoh) he went to Yeshivas Tiferes Tzvi, then led by HaRav Shlomoh Zimbalist zt"l and HaRav Michel Shelpovarsky zt"l.
When he was only 12 years old, he started learning in Yeshivas Knesses Yisroel Chevron, where his hasmodoh and his talents made a great impression. He used to attend the shiurim of his father in the Kamenetz Yeshiva in addition to the shiurim in Chevron, and the rosh yeshiva of Chevron, HaRav Yechezkel Sarna zt"l, used to coordinate the masechta learned in his yeshiva to enable the young Chaim Shlomoh to concentrate on a single masechta.
During that year he learned bechavrusa with HaRav Aharon Cohen zt"l, one of the roshei yeshiva of Chevron Yeshiva. HaRav Cohen said that it would have been worthwhile to found Chevron Yeshiva even if it only produced one talmid like R' Chaim Shlomoh.
After a year he left to learn in Kamenetz Yeshiva, but before long, when the Brisk Yeshiva was founded under HaRav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt"l, he was asked to come help found it by HaRav Shach at the request of the Brisker Rav. Three other bochurim came to form the initial kernel of the yeshiva. The Brisker Rav said, "I saw HaRav Boruch Ber and I think that in the coming generation another Rav Boruch Ber is developing."
The Brisker Rav also used to tell people: "Look at Rebbi Chaim Shlomoh and you can learn what real hasmodoh is."
In addition to the shiurim in Brisk, he used to go to hear the shiurim of HaRav Isser Zalman Meltzer and HaRav Aharon Kotler in Eitz Chaim. Also he continued to go to hear his father's shiurim. As a result, the rosh yeshiva of Brisk never said a shiur on that day since R' Chaim Shlomoh was not there. This tradition continues to this day.
In 5721 he married Moras Simah tichye, the daughter of HaRav Avrohom Yitzchok Rotstein zt"l. At first they lived in Mekor Boruch but they soon moved to Meah Shearim street where they lived all these years.
His father, together with HaRav Moshe Bernstein zt"l, founded the Kamenetz Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He was helped by his brother-in-law HaRav Reuven Grozovksy who sent money from America. HaRav Chaim Shlomoh was also involved in running the yeshiva. From 5724, after his father passed away, he took his place as one of the roshei yeshiva.
He used to say a shiur klolli as well as a shiur yomi. Every day he spent many hours in the beis medrash and he used to speak in learning with the talmidim.
In all the years he never accepted any kibbudim such as siddur Kiddushin. The only kibbud he would accept was sandeko'us because he said it was special.
In his shiurim he mostly said things built on the Torah of his grandfather HaRav Boruch Ber.
He was close with HaRav Shach zt"l since the two of them learned for several years bechavrusa while HaRav Shach lived in Jerusalem.
Almost ten years ago, in 5767, he was appointed a rosh yeshiva of Ponovezh yeshiva and as a result he moved to Bnei Brak. He continued in his harbotzas Torah there.
For more than half a century, the Rosh Yeshiva educated thousands of talmidim, through his shiurim and through his example of what a ben Torah is.
Several months ago he suffered a brain hemorrhage, and since then his condition was difficult.
He left four sons and four sons-in-law who occupy important positions in the Torah world, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He is mourned by them as well as by thousands of talmidim and all of the Torah world.