Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

2 Tammuz 5760 - July 5, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Sponsored by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Produced and housed by

HaRav Shmuel Tzvi Spekoina zt"l

by A. Cohen

A large throng of Bnei Brak residents accompanied HaRav Shmuel Tzvi Spekoina, zt"l, on his last earthly journey on Tuesday, 17 Sivan. He was niftar after an illness in the 84th year of his life.

HaRav Spekoina was born in Jerusalem in 5676 (1916). His father, Reb Yitzchok Zerach Spekoina, was an eminent student of the Toras Chaim Yeshiva in Jerusalem. His mother, Rochel Leah, was the daughter of HaRav Reuven Miletzki zt"l.

Reb Shmuel Tzvi grew up in the famous Chotzer Strauss, where he absorbed good character traits, yiras Shomayim and love of Torah. He studied in Eitz Chaim yeshiva, which at that time was located in Churvas Rabbi Yehuda HeChossid in the Old City. He later studied in the Chevron Yeshiva. He lost his father a short while before his bar mitzvah.

His mother continued to raise her two sons with great mesiras nefesh. When Reb Shmuel Tzvi was still young, she sent him to the Slobodke yeshiva in Kovna, where his older brother, Reb Moshe, yibodel lechaim, was already studying. There, Shmuel Tzvi grew in Torah, mussar and yirah.

He returned home on the last boat to leave Europe for Eretz Yisroel before the outbreak of the Second World War. In Jerusalem he continued to study in the Chevron Yeshiva until his marriage to the daughter of Reb Moshe and Fruma Weinstock.

Although he was very humble and unassuming, he was well known for his fervent devotion to the upholding of the honor of Hashem and His Torah, refusing to compromise or reconcile himself to any breach in the walls of faith. He would make valiant efforts to eradicate whatever seemed to him to be a distortion of Hashem's Will. He was even jailed in the Kishle prison by the British for his protests of Shabbos desecration. On another occasion, he resigned from an excellent educational position on a matter of religious principle.

The four years in which he spent in Cholon -- where at the request of his Uncle, HaRav Dovid Shmaya Wein, he served as a kashrus supervisor -- marked a fascinating period in his life. The previous tenant of his apartment had been a shochet. When HaRav Shmuel Tzvi moved in, many chicken owners brought him their chickens for shechita. He told them that he wasn't a shochet, and they then asked if he prefers that they slaughter the chickens with a pocket knife. . . . Upon hearing this, he was shocked to the depths of his soul, and decided to save them from eating treifos. Even though he was very meticulous in his observance and constantly feared causing others to stumble, he studied shechita and became a qualified shochet. However, he refused to accept payment for his efforts and did it all lesheim Shomayim. Cholon residents were envious of him, as one said: "I envy you when every Shabbos from the window of my home I see you crossing the sand dunes on the way to the distant synagogue. Neither the heat of the sun nor the cold, rainy and windy winter days deters you."

HaRav Shmuel Tzvi studied for many years in the kollel of the Heichal HaTalmud yeshiva in Tel Aviv, and later on held various Torah positions. He raised hundreds of students to Torah, yirah and midos tovos, serving as role model to them in his outstanding character traits and sweet, fervent pre-dawn prayers. Every word of his prayers was recited slowly, clearly and with great intent, as if he was counting precious pearls.

His kiddush and havdoloh -- and indeed all of his brochos -- overflowed with emotion. When he recited a brocho under a chuppah his feelings would gush forth and pierce the heavens. All who heard him sensed the sincerity of his entreaty that the couple build a true bayis ne'eman beYisroel.

The warm manner in which he greeted people stemmed from a sincere desire to benefit others and was a true expression of his love for his fellow. HaRav Shmuel Tzvi was the epitome of "sonei matonos yichye" to the point that he refused to accept any gift whatsoever. However, he himself would give of his warm heart to others, sharing their happiness and sorrows. He warmly thanked others for whatever kindness they bestowed upon him, but refrained from asking for favors, even when quite ill.

Throughout his life he personified the mussar he had imbibed from his mentors, the gedolim of Lithuania. At every opportunity he would quote the words of the Gaon of Vilna from Even Shleima which teach that man's main purpose in life is to perfect his character traits. This maxim was his guiding light throughout his entire life, and he demanded of himself as well as others that they consummate it.

He was a rare combination of "intelligence and heart." On the one hand he would study every single sugya of the gemora in depth. On the other, he had a deep feeling toward the great gedolei haChassidus whose teachings he sought to convey to his avid students through stories.

Recently he fell ill, and after having undergone much suffering, he returned his pure soul to its Maker. His levaya, which left the Tiferes Tzion yeshiva in Bnei Brak, was attended by a large throng. Hespedim were delivered by his bother, HaRav Moshe Spekoina, HaRav Meshulam Meshulmi, HaRav Reuven Shapira, and HaRav Avrohom Trop.

The maspidim spoke about his unique image, focusing on how he concealed himself in his humility despite his greatness in Torah and midos. They called him a vestige of dor de'oh, an outstanding talmid chochom, and a genuine oved Hashem who did not derive enjoyment from this world in any matter and lived in amazing sparseness. They noted that for many years during the Shovavim weeks he would fast every Monday and Thursday. His aim in life was to do Hashem's Will and to sanctify His Name.

At the end of the hesped by HaRav Avrohom Trop, his grandson, the levaya headed toward the Har Hamenuchos cemetery in Jerusalem. He is survived by his wife, a son, daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom are following in his footsteps.

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.