Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

8 Elul 5764 - August 25, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











HaRav Avrohom Dovid Horowitz, zt"l
by Betzalel Kahn

Thousands were on hand late Sunday night to accompany HaRav Avrohom Dovid Horowitz, zt"l, one of the leading morei horo'oh and marbitzei Torah in Europe and Eretz Yisroel, who passed away hours earlier at the age of 93. HaRav Horowitz served as rov of Kehillas Adas Yisroel and gavad of Strasbourg, and later as a member of the Eida Chareidis Beis Din in Jerusalem.

Born on 22 Cheshvan 5672 (1912) in the city of Bulchov, Belgium, Avrohom Dovid Horowitz was the son of HaRav Shlomo Yehuda Horowitz, a dayan in Pashwersk, and later av beis din of Bulchov, and the grandson of HaRav Aharon Meir Horowitz, av beis din of Bulchov, author of the Avreich and a talmid of HaRav Yitzchok Izaak of Ziditchov.

His mother Rasha was the daughter of HaRav Pinchos Halevi Horowitz, author of Pischo Zuto on the Shas and Beis Pinchos on the Torah, av beis din of Kosov and one of the leading talmidim of the Divrei Chaim of Tzanz and his son the Admor of Gorlitz. The Horowitz' illustrious lineage reaches as far back as the Baal Hamo'or.

At the tender age of three his mother passed away, followed by his father only four years later. He then went to live in Grosswardein with his grandfather, who gave him most of his foundation in Torah. His talent and assiduousness became apparent at a young age and he became known as a child prodigy, to the delight of his grandfather who even entrusted him to publish his books. He would daven with such great fervor that parents and educators would point to him as an example of how one should pray.

In Grosswardein he formed a tight bond with the Ahavas Yisroel of Vishnitz. Later he served as rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Vishnitz in Grosswardein and eventually he married his daughter to HaRav Menachem Mendel Hagar, av beis din of Kiryat Vishnitz in Bnei Brak and the son of the Ahavas Yisroel.

Already in his youth he became the image of ahavas Torah and yiras Shomayim. Conversant with all facets of Torah, Shas and poskim, he learned every little section of the Shach, Taz and Mogen Avrohom on all four parts of the Shulchan Oruch by heart. Talmidei chachomim who came to him to get tested were astounded to see him sit without a single book open and bring up various little-known details of halochoh.

In 5694 (1934) he married the daughter of HaRav Eliezer Lipa Zilberman, the Admor of Ratzpert, who was the grandson of the Admor of Gorlitz. One year after his wedding he returned to Grosswardein where he was appointed as a dayan and moreh tzedek in the Beis Din Godol under HaRav Pinchos Segel Tzimetbaum, alongside the av beis din's son-in- law, HaRav Yitzchok Yaakov Weiss, author of Minchas Yitzchok and eventually av beis din of the Eida Chareidis in Jerusalem.

When the war broke out in Europe HaRav Horowitz was taken to the work camps where he suffered through horrible ordeals. According to testimony from the inferno he kept Torah with mesirus nefesh. His wife and all five of his children Hy"d were murdered by the Nazis, ym"sh.

When the war ended, after recovering his strength, together with his uncle the Admor of Klausenberg he worked hard to revive the Jews and return them to the beis medrash. Later he was appointed rov of the Landsberg and Augsburg kehilloh in Germany, where he published the first siddur for the refugees in the displaced persons camps.

He also remarried, to the daughter of HaRav Yechezkel Vidman, zt"l, av beis din of Sitshel and one of the gedolim of Vishnitz, who stood by him faithfully for the rest of his lifetime.

In 5707 (1947) he was summoned by HaRav Avrohom Deutsch, the Chief Rabbi of Strasbourg and the surrounding area and one of the leading rabbonim in France during that period, to serve as a dayan and posek in Strasbourg. Appointing a dayan was an extremely bold move during that time in the leadership of Torah Jewry in France.

For over 30 years the gavad of Strasbourg led Kehillas Adas Yisroel, setting up a superb kashrus organization which benefits Jews in all of France and the surrounding countries. He also set up a broad rabbinate and dayan system to handle gittin and kiddushin. His children were born in France and successfully raised there, despite the spiritual perils lurking.

In 5738 (1978) he came to Eretz Yisroel, settling in Jerusalem on Rechov Rabbenu Gershom in the Neve Tzvi neighborhood, where he took an active role in the beis medrash of the Zichron Gershon kehilloh. In 5740 (1980) he was appointed to the Eida Chareidis Beis Din in Jerusalem and he continued engaging in harbotzas Torah and yir'oh and issuing halachic rulings in Eretz Yisroel.

He became known for his nine-volume work, Kinyon Torah Behalochoh and Kinyon Torah Beshmateto on the Torah. After HaRav Weiss' petiroh he was selected to replace him as rov of the beis medrash in the Badatz building at Beis Zupnik. He would deliver charged Torah talks, which had a major impact on his listeners.

He would give much of his money to tzedokoh, often sending envelopes to Mattan Beseiser for needy families. Once a Jew came to him on Erev Shabbos to ask a question on chicken and treifos. Looking the man in the face he realized this was his only chicken for Shabbos. He then walked straight to his freezer, took out a frozen chicken and handed it to him.

HaRav Avrohom Dovid Horowitz, zt"l, is survived by his son, HaRav Yechezkel, rov of Kinyon Torah in Boro Park, his sons-in-law HaRav Aharon Meir Eichenshtein, the Admor of Ziditchov in Chicago, HaRav Yosef Dov Babad, a rov in London, HaRav Chaim Feivel Shneibalg, a rov in Monsey, HaRav Menachem Mendel Hagar, rov of Kiryat Vishnitz in Bnei Brak, HaRav Eliezer Ernster, av beis din of Meor Chaim, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren all following in his path of Torah and yir'oh.


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