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25 Iyar 5760 - May 31, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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HaRav Shmuel Gutfarb, zt"l

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

HaRav Shmuel Gutfarb, zt"l, son of Rav Yosef, was born in 5680 (1920) in the Old City of Jerusalem. A pure fire of yiras Shomayim burned within him from his youth, as did diligence in Torah study and zeal on behalf of kevod Shomayim and education of our youth.

He married the daughter of HaRav Pinchos Saltzman of Korin, and together they established an outstanding family whose sons and sons-in-law are leading talmidei chachomim and marbitzei Torah, active on behalf of the Torah community, in the tradition of their parents. With the petirah of HaRav Shmuel Gutfarb, an illustrious figure who epitomized Yerushalayim shel ma'aloh in all of its glory has left us.

As a youth, R' Shmuel studied in the Eitz Chaim yeshiva, then located in the courtyard of the Churvah in the Old City. He later merited to serve as a mechanech in that yeshiva and talmud Torah (which, of course, relocated to Jerusalem beyond the walls on Jaffa street right next to Machane Yehuda, after the 1948 war). In Eitz Chaim, where he taught for many, years, he served the godol hador, HaRav Isser Zalman Meltzer, and all of its other illustrious roshei yeshiva.

As a young man he made tireless, courageous efforts to counteract the influence of elements seeking to lure chareidi youngsters into the net of the yetzer hora. Together with the Maggid of Minsk, HaRav Tzvi Eliezer Yitzchok Berman, he established Eshel Avrohom, a youth organization. He began to teach in Eitz Chaim soon after his marriage, gaining fame within a few years as an expert rebbe with a decisive influence on his students. Until today, thousands of students remember how he inculcated them with good character traits, yiras Shomayim and scrupulousness in mitzvah observance, along with the early study of gemora. He produced thousands of students, many of whom became gedolei Torah, rabbonim, dayanim and roshei yeshiva who recall that their first introduction to gemora had been acquired in the "cheder of Rebbe Shmuel."

In addition to his efforts on behalf of chinuch and Torah dissemination, he immersed himself in extensive communal activity. For many years, he was a member of the board of the Jerusalem branch of Agudas Yisroel, participating in all of its struggles. From the time of his youth until his final days he volunteered on a steady basis with the chevra kadisha, performing chessed shel emes.

HaRav Shmuel had his own special brand of chessed. He would show non-religious Jews how to lay tefillin in the Zoharei Chamah synagogue near Machaneh Yehuda as well as in hospitals. This was a one-man campaign, which in time, was taken over by his sons, who continue in his footsteps until today.

He was outstanding in his hasmodoh and he never wasted even a moment's time. When not involved in chinuch or communal activities, he would pore over his studies. In the mornings, the evenings, arvei Shabbos and yomim tovim he could be found immersed in Torah learning. He lived off the fruit of his own labor and was extremely careful that his earnings come only from reliable sources. He was completely honest.

HaRav Shmuel's son, HaRav Yechiel Michel, sheyibodel lechayim ulirefuoh shleima, related: Reb Shmuel once received a gift of a large sum of money which seemed to be 100% kosher. Reb Shmuel, however, refused to accept it. He couldn't return, it, however, as not to offend the giver. As a result, he dedicated it to a needy chosson. As HaRav Yisroel Grossman said in his hesped, Reb Shmuel was very meticulous about such issues throughout his life.

He was very sensitive to the needs of the poor, and outstanding in the trait of hospitality. Many unfortunate, depressed and homeless people found a place in his home, sometimes for days or weeks.

He was one of the first activists in the Mazhirei Shabbos organization, and when he moved to a home near the Machaneh Yehuda market, he urged stall owners to close their stores early erev Shabbos. His protests of Shabbos desecration came from the depths of his heart and he was even arrested a number of times for having participated in protest rallies.

A few years ago his eldest daughter, Rebbetzin A. Hominer was killed in a tragic traffic accident. That calamity adversely affected his health. His family assisted him with great mesiras nefesh, deeming it a great merit to fulfill the mitzvah of kibbud av vo'eim as their father had done, selflessly and genuinely.

On Lag BaOmer afternoon, after having suffered for a number of years, he returned his pure soul to its Maker.

Hespedim were delivered by his brother-in-law, HaRav Yisroel Grossman, as well as by HaRav Eliezer Waldenberg; his son, HaRav Benzion Gutfarb, his nephew, HaRav Yitzchok Dovid Gutfarb and grandsons, HaRav Shmuel Chechik and HaRav Mordechai Hominer. He was buried near the graves of his forebears on Har Hamenuchos.

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