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30 Nissan 5764 - April 21, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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HaRav Aryeh Leib Stefansky, z"l
By S. Bruchi

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 night.

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 flourishing.


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