Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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24 Cheshvan 5760 - November 3, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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HaRav Chaim Grozovsky, zt"l

by Betzalel Kahn

A huge throng in both Boro Park and Jerusalem accompanied HaRav Chaim Grozovsky, zt"l on his last earthly journey. HaRav Grozovsky was the rosh yeshiva of Beis Reuven in Brooklyn, the grandson of HaRav Boruch Ber Leibowitz zt"l and the son of HaRav Reuven Grozovsky zt"l, roshei yeshiva of Kaminetz. The latter was the author of Chiddushei Reb Reuven.

HaRav Chaim Grozovsky was born in Kaminetz on the 11th of Shevat, 5686 (1926). While growing up he was very close to his grandfather, HaRav Boruch Ber. In 5700 (1940) the family fled Kaminetz, and he joined the Baranowitz Yeshiva, which was at that time in Vilna and Troki. He remained there for a year, during which he attended the shiurim of HaRav Leib Gavia and HaRav Elchonon Wassermann.

In 5701 (1941) he arrived in America with his family, where he studied in Torah Vodaas under the tutelage of HaRav Shlomo Heiman and of his father. From there he transferred to the Beis Medrash Elyon, then headed by his father and, after a number of years, he went to Lakewood where he was close with HaRav Aharon Kotler.

In Lakewood he married Feige, tibodel lechaim arukim, the daughter of R' Chaim Litenstein. He studied in Lakewood for nine years until his father asked him to serve as a ram in the Kaminetz Yeshiva in New York. A number of years later he opened the Beis Reuven Yeshiva.

R' Chaim was like his name: filled with life. Whoever spoke with him even once felt deeply attached to him. He received everyone pleasantly, and every guest who would enter the beis medrash would be greeted with a warm "Sholom Aleichem. The fire of Torah was imbedded in his makeup. He seemed a part of Kaminetz of yore and when he delivered shiurim, his students felt that the gedolim of the past were standing beside him.

He toiled in Torah his entire life, sometimes as a marbitz Torah and sometimes as an omel beTorah who studied with chavrusas throughout the day. In his late years, even when he was over 70 he managed to maintain three sedorim a day. He was one of the remnants of the past generation and his deep appreciation of the value of Torah was evident. He always had a rav and when his father fell ill, HaRav Aharon Kotler became his rav. He studied Torah out of duress his entire life.

Twice a year he would convene a special assembly in his beis medrash: on the yahrtzeit of HaRav Boruch Ber and on his father's yahrtzeit. Many former Kaminetz students would attend, and HaRav Chaim would deliver a shiur based on the teachings of his great forbears.

His levaya, which took place on 12 Cheshvan in his beis medrash in Boro Park, was attended by a huge throng. In his hesped, HaRav Shmuel Birnbaum, the rosh yeshiva of Mir, said Reb Chaim had devoted his entire life to imparting the Torah of his grandfather, HaRav Boruch Ber, and of his father, HaRav Reuven, and that he nullified himself before them.

HaRav Elya Svei, rosh yeshiva of the Philadelphia Yeshiva, said that R' Chaim had waged Hashem's battles and had made valiant endeavors to ward off alien ideas.

His brother-in-law HaRav Dan Ungarisher, the rosh yeshiva of Beis Medrash Elyon, said that the niftar studied Torah lishmo throughout his life; he toiled in Torah with chavrusas and disseminated Torah. As a result, he merited the acquisition of the traits the Mishnah ascribes to such people when it says, "The Torah clothes him in humility, and molds him to be righteous and fair. . . . "

Hespedim were also delivered by HaRav Shmuel Orenstein, a student of HaRav Boruch Ber; HaRav Arye Malkiel Kotler, the rosh yeshiva of Lakewood; and the Admor of Nadvorna, HaRav Shlomo Leifer, who had been R' Chaim's chavrusa.

"Before our study session, he would always say: `Lomir lernen de heilege Torah,' HaRav Leifer related. "He would say these worlds with utter simplicity and temimus, even though he was familiar with all the recesses of the Torah."

All of the maspidim spoke about R' Chaim's illustrious family and about the fact that all of his sons and sons-in- law are outstanding talmidei chachomim. They also mentioned his rebbetzin, who was a genuine ezer kenegdo throughout his life.Hespedim were also delivered by his sons and sons-in-law, who stressed how R' Chaim lived and breathed the spirit of Kaminetz and all of its kedusha, even when he lived on America's shores.

In Jerusalem, the levaya at the Kaminetz Yeshiva was attended by a large thong. Hespedim were delivered by HaRav Yitzchok Sheiner, the rosh yeshivaof Kaminetz; HaRav Tzvi Markowitz, the rosh yeshiva of Karlin; R' Chaim's mechutan, HaRav Yaakov Wolpe, the rosh yeshiva of Ashkelon; HaRav Leib Rotkin, the rosh yeshiva of Beis Yosef Arye; HaRav Leib Heiman, the rav of the Gra shul of Bayit Vegan; R' Chaim's son, HaRav Yisroel Eliezer, a ram in Kaminetz; HaRav Shachne Zahn, a student of HaRav Boruch Ber; HaRav Chaim's son, HaRav Boruch Ber, the menahel of the Kaminetz Talmud Torah in Lakewood; and R' Chaim's son-in-law, HaRav Chagai Preschel, a ram in the Ner Yaakov yeshiva.

He is survived by his sons HaRav Yisroel Eliezer and HaRav Boruch Dov. His sons-in-law are HaRav Yitzchok Altusky, ram in the Yeshiva Gedola of Los Angeles; HaRav Yisroel Birnbaum, ram in Mir Yeshiva of America; HaRav Yisroel Lichtenstein, ram in Sha'arei Torah of Monsey; HaRav Chagai Preschel, ram in the Ner Yaakov Yeshiva, and HaRav Yeruchom Fensterheim, a prominent avreich in Lakewood.

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