A large crowd, led by gedolei Torah, participated in
the funeral in the United States and in Jerusalem of Rav
Shimon Yehuda Epstein zt"l, the oldest son of HaRav
Zeidel Epstein shlita, menahel ruchani of Yeshivas
Torah Or in Yerushalayim. R' Shimon Yehuda passed away
suddenly in the middle of a shiur in Lakewood Yeshiva
on Sunday last week, at the age of 59.
Rav Shimon Yehuda Epstein zt"l was born in the United
States in the year 5700 (1940). His talents were recognized
at an early age, and he amazed all who knew him with his
devotion to and mastery of the Torah.
He studied in the yeshivos hakedoshos Torah Vodaas,
Telshe, and Philadelphia, where he built strong relationships
with his teachers and roshei yeshivos, including HaRav
Nosson Wachtfogel zt"l and ylct"a HaRav Elya
After he and his wife married, they moved to Lakewood where
he established a close bond with HaRav Aharon Kotler
zt"l. He was one of the pillars of Lakewood's Torah
world. For years he served as a mohel, as a head of
the chevra kadisha, and was considered a prominent
member of the community.
Eventually, he became involved in shechita. However,
despite his success in this holy work, he decided not to
continue. He would not accept the tremendous responsibility
involved, so he joined the working world.
Some time after he opened his shop, an avreich decided
to open a store selling the same merchandise. Reb Shimon
Yehuda did not oppose the competition, and he even advised
him on how to acquire inexpensive products. Reb Shimon Yehuda
never considered competing with him on price.
In spite of the physical strain of his work, Reb Shimon
Yehuda set aside hours in the evening to learn with one of
the greatest dayanim in Lakewood, HaRav Tzvi Hirsch
He was a renowned baal chesed. Those in need turned to
him for help in all matters. His honesty and devotion to
Torah were legendary in Lakewood. Many regarded him as their
best friend. Whatever money he had, he lent to others, and he
supported the destitute.
He was a talmid muvhak of HaRav Nosson Wachtfogel
zt"l, and he acquired his passionate yearning for the
geula from him. He spoke often about this and awaited
the geula with bated breath.
On his last day he performed a bris on the child of a
community member. In the evening, moments before he left for
a shiur in the yeshiva, he called the mother to ask
how the baby was. A few minutes after the shiur began,
he did not feel well, and he requested that Hatzolah be
summoned. His son, who learns in the Lakewood Kollel, hurried
to assist him. He heard his father say, "Everything is
alright." And with those words, he returned his soul to his
Throngs of bnei Torah, gedolei Torah, rabbonim, and
dayanim attended the funeral in Lakewood. The
following rabbonim gave stirring eulogies: HaRav Malkiel
Kotler and HaRav Dovid Shustal, roshei yeshiva, HaRav
Elya Svei shlita, rosh yeshiva of Philadelphia, Dayan
Tzvi Hirsch Brody, HaRav Yehoshua Binyomin Krupenia, HaRav
Matisyohu Solomon, menahel ruchani of the yeshiva, his
brother-in- law, HaRav Moshe Eliezer Rabinowitz, a ram
in Yeshivas Ner Yisroel of Toronto, and his sons HaRav
Yitzchok Arye and HaRav Yehoshua Shlomo.
R' Shimon Yehuda's coffin arrived in Israel on Tuesday, and
the funeral set out from Yeshivas Torah Or in Jerusalem. The
following rabbis eulogized him: Rosh Yeshiva HaRav Chaim
Pinchos Scheinberg, the deceased's father, HaRav Zeidel
Epstein, HaRav Yisroel Gans, one of the roshei yeshiva
of Kol Torah, and his grandson Aharon Boruch.
The levaya proceeded to the nearby Lakewood Yeshiva in
Jerusalem, where he was eulogized by the rosh yeshiva,
HaRav Yaakov Eliezer Schwartzman and by his brother HaRav
Chaim Yisroel. From there the levaya continued on to
He is survived by his wife and 15 children, six of whom are
married. His sons HaRav Yitzchok Arye, HaRav Yehoshua Shlomo,
HaRav Aharon Dov, and his sons-in-law HaRav Efraim Brander,
HaRav Aharon Tikutzki and HaRav Moshe Zeidel, and his other
sons and daughters, the youngest eight years old, are all
following in the path of Torah.