Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

5 Tishrei 5760 - September 15, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Sponsored by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Produced and housed by

Rav Shimon Yehuda Epstein zt"l

By Betzalel Kahn

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 Svei.

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 Brody.

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 Maker.

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 Har Hazeisim.

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.

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