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18 Elul 5768 - September 18, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Yechiel Fischel Eisenbach zt"l

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

A large gathering including many prominent figures was on hand on Thursday night, 5 Elul, to lay to rest HaRav Yechiel Fischel Eisenbach zt"l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Shaar Hashomayim, who returned his soul to his Maker at the age of 83. He was among the leading Kabboloh scholars of his generation and a marbitz Torah in esoteric studies who taught thousands of students.

He was born in Jerusalem to Rav Yosef Eisenbach, a renowned sofer stam in the city. The sandak at his bris was the Admor HaRav Yehuda Leib Ashlag, author of Hasulam. As a boy he studied at Shomrei HaChomos, first at the talmud Torah and later at the yeshiva. Later he transferred to Yeshivas Beis Avrohom-Slonim and was among the first students following its founding by HaRav Sholom Noach Berzovsky, the author of Nesivos Sholom who went on to become the Admor of Slonim. As a young man he had a chavrusa with the Admor of Slonim, HaRav Mordechai, and together they covered the entire Mishnah Torah.

In 5703 (1943) he married the daughter of a mekubol, HaRav Osher Zelig Margaliot. When he sought a brochoh from the Admor of Belz, the latter blessed him with long life and harbotzas Torah.

He would learn 18 hours a day, completing divorcing himself from worldly pursuits. As a young man everyone in Jerusalem's Batei Ungarin neighborhood was familiar with HaRav Yudel Cohen, "der Vekker" (the Waker), who would roam from one home to the next before dawn reciting the words of Yehuda Ben Teimo, "Havei az kanomeir, kal kenesher, ratz katzvi vegibor ko'ari," as he woke residents to start learning before Shacharis. Young Yechiel Fischel, whose bed was near a ground-floor window, arranged for him to stop and knock on the pane, and whenever he heard the knock he would jump out of bed and go straight to the beis medrash.

As a young man he once spent a month with his father-in-law in Meron studying Kabboloh. He spent a number of years learning at Yeshivas Pressburg under HaRav Akiva Sofer, known as the Daas Sofer, who formed a close bond with him and gave him semichoh. Later he studied at Yeshivas Toras Emes under HaRav Moshe Leib Shapira and at Kollel Shomrei Hachomos.

During various time periods he taught Torah and yir'oh to young students at Yeshivas Slonim and Yeshivas Toras Emes. He wrote tefillin, mezuzas and sifrei Torah, including scrolls for the Satmar Rebbe, HaRav Yoel, the Admor of Pappa in the US and his own rebbe, the Daas Sofer.

Following the petiroh in 5733 (1973) of HaRav Aharon Slotkin, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Shaar Hashomayim, HaRav Dovid Auerbach entreated HaRav Eisenbach to assume the role of heading the yeshiva in light of his broad knowledge of Kabboloh. He agreed, but when he took over the position he started learning there from the start from the book Otzros Chaim, and for the next 35 years continued studying the writings of the Arizal before advancing to a new subject, the kavonos of the Rashash.

As head of a yeshiva for mekubolim he had the opportunity to introduce the Ashkenazi sector to the work of the Rashash, which had previously been studied mainly by Sephardic Torah scholars.

One elderly chassid, a Holocaust survivor, moved to Jerusalem to study with HaRav Eisenbach, saying that after learning Kabboloh with him he gained a totally new understanding of the profundities contained in the Sfas Emes. Other students also maintained close ties with HaRav Eisenbach for years, and today many of these talmidim have themselves become marbitzei Torah teaching Kabboloh.

He knew all of the writings of the Arizal and the Rashash by heart. Every day he led a minyan for Minchah and Ma'ariv based on Kabboloh and advanced kavonos.

He also had the merit to teach Kabboloh abroad. On one occasion, during a stay in the US 20 years ago, he delivered a droshoh on the topic of Erev Pesach that falls on a Shabbos. As a result of this droshoh many Kabboloh shiurim were started.

Thursday 4 Elul he returned his soul to his Maker and was buried that night, before Parshas Shofetim. At Beis Halvayos Shamgar he was eulogized by his talmid, HaRav Amram Hoffman. Before the levaya set out from Yeshivas Shaar Hashomayim hespeidim were given by HaRav Shmuel Auerbach, HaRav Gamliel Rabinovitz, HaRav Reuven Gross, his son-in-law HaRav Moshe Uri Eisenstein, and HaRav Yaakov Hillel.

At the heights of Har Hazeisim he was mournfully eulogized by his talmidim, HaRav Yitzchok Moshe Erlanger and HaRav Yisroel Meir Brenner.

HaRav Yechiel Fischel Eisenbach zt"l is survived by his sons, Rav Yaakov Tzvi and Rav Yechezkel; his sons-in-law, Rav Moshe Uri Eisenstein and Rav Chanino Carpman, who studied with him throughout the years at the yeshiva; and grandchildren and great-grandchildren following in the noble path of the Avos.


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