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29 Tishrei 5768 - October 11, 2007 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Eliezer Platchinsky zt"l

By Yechiel Sever

Heavy mourning settled on chareidi Jewry on the night of Shabbos Bereishis as news spread about the passing of HaRav Eliezer Platchinsky zt"l, one of the leading roshei yeshiva from the previous generation who illuminated our generation with his teachings.

Eliezer Manoach Platchinsky was born on 28 Cheshvan 5673 (1913) in Vishki, Latvia, a shtetl near the city of Dvinsk, the hometown of HaRav Meir Simchah Hacohen, author of the Ohr Somayach, and HaRav Yosef Radin of Rogotchov, to HaRav Shlomo Yehuda Leib, the son-in-law of the Alter of Slobodka and the av beis din of Vishki and Dvinsk. At the age of 10 he went to study in Riga under the rov of the city, HaRav Menachem Mendel Zak, for over a year. Upon returning home he learned in his father's home until reaching the age of bar mitzvah, when he went to Yeshivas Ohr Yisroel Slobodka, where he learned under HaRav Yechezkel Berstein, the author of Divrei Yechezkel, and his brother-in-law, HaRav Yosef Farber, who later became rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Heichal HaTorah in Tel Aviv, where HaRav Berstein said his mind did not cease contemplating divrei Torah wherever he went.

During this period the Ohr Somayach passed away and his father was appointed av beis din of Dvinsk, where he had a daily learning session with the Rogotchover Rav, who was very fond of him. This period continued for a decade, from the petiroh of the Ohr Somayach until the petiroh of the Rogotchover Rov. HaRav Platchinsky learned a great deal from him during these years and later cited his teachings in his seforim.

Afterwards he transferred to Yeshivas Knesses Yisroel Slobodka, where he stayed for three years, gaining a reputation as one of the exceptional members of the yeshiva.

He then returned to Yeshivas Riga for a year-and-a-half, forming a close bond with HaRav Mordechai Pogremansky.

He spent the next four years at Yeshivas Mir, where he learned bechavrusa with HaRav Leib Mallin and HaRav Shmuel Rozovsky, later rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Ponovezh in Eretz Yisroel.

In 5697 (1937) HaRav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel selected him to join the last group of students sent to spend a year studying under the Brisker Rov along with HaRav Naftoli Wassermann, the son of HaRav Elchonon Wassermann Hy"d, where they learned bechavrusa, and with HaRav S. Shepps, later rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Torah Vodaas. During this period he studied maseches Nozir every evening with HaRav N. Wassermann and the Brisker Rov would ask them about their learning every evening and review his notes. On his way to study in Brisk he stopped for a few days to visit HaRav Elchonon Wassermann, who said, "He seems like a bochur who has already studied at Brisk under the Gavad of Brisk, not a talmid on his way to Brisk."

Afterwards he returned to Yeshivas Slobodka to learn under his uncle, HaRav Isaac Sherr, and HaRav Boruch Horovitz, who served as the rov of the city.

Through tremendous miracles he was spared from the valley of death in Europe, arriving in Eretz Hakodesh in the year 5700 (1940). In Eretz Yisroel he joined a group with HaRav S. Kotler, HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth, HaRav A. Goldschmidt and other gedolei Yisroel.

In 5704 he was chosen to marry the daughter of HaRav Aryeh Levin, Ettel tlct"a, thereby becoming the brother-in- law of HaRav Shmuel Aharon Yudelevitz, HaRav Aharon Yakobovitz and ylct"a HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv. During this period the Chazon Ish wrote over 80 letters to him, though the latter was known to avoid engaging in written exchanges even with gedolei hador. In one letter he writes, "...I love the omol haTorah I've found in kovod Toras rabbenu in the best way..."

In 5706 (1946) HaRav Sherr asked him to restart Yeshivas Slobodka, which perished during the Holocaust, and he set it up in Bnei Brak.

In 5708 (1948) his father-in-law, HaRav Aryeh Levin, opened Yeshivas Beis Aryeh, where he spent the next six decades teaching Torah. He would give mussar talks to groups of talmidim from Yeshivas Chevron and Yeshivas Mir, many of whom are among today's leading roshei yeshivos, including HaRav Boruch Mordechai Ezrachi, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Ateres Yisroel, and HaRav Aviezer Piltz, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Tushiyoh-Tifrach, and HaRav S.Y. Bourstein, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Kiryas Melech.

During the War of 5708 (1948), while staying in Tel Aviv, he gave shiurim at Yeshivas Heichal HaTalmud. Later HaRav Shteinman would recall that during this period the Chazon Ish sent talmidim, including HaRav Mordechai Shlomo Berman, to receive from him the correct derech halimud.

His book on Seder Moed was published in 5722 (1962).

Starting in 5732 (1972) he was asked by the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas HaNegev, HaRav Yissochor Meir, to give a shiur kloli every Wednesday, and a shiur for the kollel members every Thursday.

His book on Seder Noshim was published in 5744 (1984). The remainder of his writings have yet to be published, although he edited some of them.

The levaya, which was attended by HaRav Eliashiv shlita, set out from Yeshivas Beis Aryeh. Eulogies were delivered by HaRav M. Lapidot, rov of Beis Knesses Yotzei Slobodka in Modi'in Illit, HaRav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Mir, HaRav Aryeh Finkel, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Mir-Brachfeld, HaRav Shmuel Birnbaum, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Mir-USA, HaRav Dov Povarsky, one of the roshei yeshiva of Yeshivas Ponovezh, HaRav Shmuel Auerbach, HaRav Boruch Mordechai Ezrachi, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Ateres Yisroel, HaRav Aviezer Piltz, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Tushiyoh-Tifrach, HaRav Yissochor Meir, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas HaNegev, HaRav Meir Greuneman, and his son HaRav Shlomo Platchinsky. He was buried on Monday, 26 Tishrei, at Har Hazeisim.

HaRav Eliezer Manoach Platchinsky zt"l is survived by his son, HaRav Shlomo, his sons-in-law, HaRav Y. Khan, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Zichron Aryeh in New York, HaRav M. Lapidot, rov of Kehillas Yotzei Slobodka Modi'in Illit and rosh kollel of Kollel Shaarei Limud, HaRav A. Bachrach, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Givas Rokeach, HaRav L. Lisker, rov of Kehillas Shaarei Tevuna in New York, HaRav Y. Arnd, a ram at yeshivas Meoros Hatorah, and HaRav D. Brachfeld, a ram at Yeshivas Mir-Brachfeld.


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