Numerous gedolei Yisroel, roshei yeshivos,
dayanim and rabbonim from the US and Eretz Hakodesh
took part in the somber, mournful levaya for HaRav
Aryeh Leib Stefansky zt"l who passed away at the age
of 42 following a painful illness.
Born on 12 Nisan to HaRav Yissochor Meir and Ruth Stefansky,
ylct"a, R' Aryeh Leib studied at Yeshivas Ponovezh
under HaRav Dovid Povarsky, where he learned with tremendous
focus and concentration, sometimes staying up all night. On
several occasions, when HaRav D. Povarsky would enter the
beis medrash at 4:00 am, he would find the ben
aliyoh toiling at his bench and HaRav Povarsky would help
clarify the sugyos he had been working on all
Later R' Aryeh Leib transferred to Beis Medrash Govoha in
Lakewood, NJ, where he met and married Shoshanoh, the
daughter of Rav Moshe Werner of Monsey. They settled in
Monsey, where he continued his learning at a kollel
and gave shiurim at the town's Yeshivas Beis Medrash
LeTorah and Yeshivas Kol Yaakov.
Several years ago they moved to Flatbush where he took a job,
yet maintained two learning sessions per day, including a
chavrusa with HaRav Shmuel Birnbaum, rosh yeshivas Mir
of the US.
In addition to his achievements in Torah study he also
pursued acts of chessed, setting aside a significant
portion of his income for Torah and chessed
institutions and individuals in financial decline, performing
the mitzvah of hachnosas orchim, bringing joy to
elderly men in retirement homes and even helping elderly
women with their housework.
One of the roshei yeshivos in Eretz Hakodesh recounted how he
encountered the deceased on 9/11 while the entire US was
glued to the news broadcasts. "Let's not waste any time," R'
Aryeh said and the two sat down to learn.
When he developed a serious illness a few years ago R' Aryeh
concealed it from his parents and bore his pain with love. An
avreich who lives near the hospital where he stayed
said, "Once I went into R' Aryeh's room and found him sitting
with his eyes closed saying, `Ribono Shel Olom, I
accept all of the suffering with love!' "
Three weeks ago when his doctors said he had only a few hours
left, suddenly his strength returned. "I saw fabulous
things," he told his family. He then made several resolutions
and even encouraged others to make various resolutions in
matters of Torah, tzedokoh and chessed.
He spent the Seder in the hospital together with his
family and when it came time to say, "Leshonoh habo'oh
biYerusholayim!" he rose from his sickbed and began to
dance with deveikus and joy. Later, during his last
hours, he asked to hear chiddushim about Pesach.
On Shevi'i Shel Pesach he returned his purified soul to his
Maker. Many people were on hand at his levaya, which
set out from his home in Flatbush. Hespeidim were
given by HaRav Malkiel Kotler, rosh yeshivas Lakewood, HaRav
Moshe Plonchek, rosh yeshivas Derech Chaim, and his brother
HaRav Yaakov Stefansky, one of the roshei yeshivos of
Yeshivas Imrei Tzvi in Kiryat Sefer.
HaRav Aryeh Leib Stefansky zt"l is survived by his
parents, both engaged in important acts of tzedokoh
and chessed and who were close to HaRav Y. Y.
Kanievsky and HaRav Shach, zt"l; his wife, who stood
by his side faithfully throughout the difficult illness; six
daughters, the youngest only one-and-a-half years old;
brothers and sisters mourning the passing of man of greatness
cut down at the height of a lifetime of spiritual