Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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










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HaRav Gedaliah Schneider zt"l

By S. Bruchi

Cloaked in mourning, thousands from Bnei Brak and Jerusalem, led by maranan verabonon including HaRav Shteinman and HaRav Kanievsky shlita, took part in the levaya for HaRav Gedaliah Schneider zt"l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Toras Emes in London. A talmid muvhok of the Torah luminaries of the previous generation, especially the author of Bircas Shmuel of Kamenitz and HaRav Yeruchom Halevy Levovitz of Mir, he passed away on Monday afternoon three days before Succos (12 Tishrei) at the age of 96.

Gedaliah Schneider was born on 11 Av 5672 (1912). In the town of Memel the home of the father of the Mussar Movement HaRav Yisroel Salanter zt"l, to HaRav Moshe Schneider and Simo Yehudis Schneider.

His mother had been raised in the home of HaRav Hirsch Levinson, the son-in-law of the Chofetz Chaim zt"l, because her father passed away. She was a regular visitor at the home of the Chofetz Chaim, who was the shoshbin at her wedding.

When HaRav Moshe Schneider started looking for a shidduch for himself he sent a letter to various rabbonim in Lithuania, saying that he was looking for a helpmate, but since he served at the yeshiva in Memel he wanted a wife who would agree to cook for the yeshiva students as well. The only reply he received was from HaRav Levinson, who wrote at the behest of his father-in-law, the Chofetz Chaim. The shidduch eventually went through and together the husband and wife set up the great home into which Gedaliah was born.

When World War I broke out his parents were forced to move with many other refugees to Holzminden, a German POW camp. There his father ran all of the spiritual matters for the other Jewish refugees, such as mikvo'os and shechitoh. After the war his father decided to move to Frankfurt and to reopen the yeshiva, serving as ram and menahel.

He hired a tutor for his only son, Gedaliah, who was graced with talent, and invested great time and energy into Torah study and avodas Hashem. Later he studied under HaRav Chaim Yosef Jakobovitz, who was an outstanding talmid chochom. Through his teachings and his father's tutelage and in a home infused with Torah study and dedication to Torah, Gedaliah developed a special character.

At the age of 16 his father sent him to study under Rabbenu Yeruchom Halevy Levovitz of Mir and despite his tender age Gedaliah clung to the prominent talmidim at the yeshiva. Rabbenu Yeruchom grew very fond of him, seeing in him a promising young man who would one day illuminate Yiddishkeit with his Torah and gadlus.

At Yeshivas Mir he met the leading talmidim of Reb Boruch Ber of Kamenitz, the author of Bircas Shmuel. Drawn to the sevoros said in the name of their teacher, he decided to transfer to Yeshivas Kamenitz, though at the time it was far more common to transfer from Kamenitz to Mir.

For the next two-and-a-half years he labored over his Torah studies, cleaving to Reb Boruch Ber, who later reported R' Gedaliah "is a lamdan and knows how to learn."

Though he studied at Kamenitz he would spend Elul and the Yomim Noraim in Mir close to the Mashgiach, Rabbenu Yeruchom. He would then return to Kamenitz for Succos and Simchas Torah, when Reb Boruch Ber was like a burning flame.

Later he had to move to Baranovitch to avoid getting conscripted into the Polish army. During his years there he studied bechavrusa with HaRav Dovid Povarsky, who was learning at the time in the kollel headed by HaRav Elchonon Wassermann Hy"d. They formed a close bond, and eventually it was HaRav Povarsky who secured for him a permit, allowing him to travel to London. While at Baranovitch his gave shiurim and talks to bochurim in the yeshiva ketanoh.

During these years he would spend every Nisan and Av in Radin, where his mother's relatives lived, and he would go to the home of the Chofetz Chaim. Once he went to Radin to take part in the Chofetz Chaim's Pesach Seder and once Rabbenu Yeruchom said he wanted to invite him to his Seder, but if he had decided to go to the Chofetz Chaim he wouldn't invite him. Later he would describe how the Chofetz Chaim's recitation of Nishmas was forever engraved in his heart.

He built his home in London with Bluma o"h, the daughter of HaRav Dovid Menachem Morin, who was the first melamed to teach Torah in the town of Gateshead. Her only ambition was to marry a ben Torah, so she waited many years until she had the merit to meet her great husband. During the Sheva Brochos HaRav Elchonon Wassermann was staying in London, and the chosson joined him as he went to collect money for the yeshiva in Baranovitch.

Just before World War II broke out, HaRav Schneider managed to bring his father and the talmidim at the yeshiva from Frankfurt to London, thereby sparing them from the Nazis.

At Yeshivas Toras Emes in London he began delivering shiurim and talks based on the teachings he had received from Reb Boruch Ber and Rabbenu Yeruchom, and kept teaching at the yeshiva for decades.

In 5755 (1995) he moved to Eretz Yisroel, where he continued toiling in Torah, learning with chavrusas.

During the past two years his health began to fail until the Monday just two days before Erev Succos, when he returned his refined soul to his Maker.

Before the levaya set out from Beis Knesses Lederman in Bnei Brak he was eulogized by his son, HaRav Dovid Menachem Schneider, the menahel ruchani at Yeshivas Grodna-Be'er Yaakov; his son-in-law HaRav Naftoli Friedman, a ram at Yeshivas Ponovezh Letzei'irim; and his son HaRav Chaim Zeev Schneider, a marbitz Torah and yiroh in Jerusalem.

At the Shamgar Beis Halvayos in Jerusalem, eulogies were given by the ravad of the Eida Chareidis, HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, the gavad of the Eida Chareidis, HaRav Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss (both of whom learned at the Toras Emes Yeshiva in London), and his son, HaRav Dovid Menachem Schneider.

HaRav Gedaliah Schneider is survived by his sons, HaRav Dovid Menachem and HaRav Chaim Zeev; his sons-in-law, HaRav Osher Hillel Blumental and HaRav Naftoli Zeev Friedman, HaRav Aharon Kransitzky, HaRav Yaakov Zeev Kopshitz and HaRav Eliezer Rose; as well as grandchildren and great- grandchildren continuing the spiritual legacy he bequeathed to him during his lifetime; and his many talmidim.


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