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13 Cheshvan 5768 - October 25, 2007 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Tzvi Yosef Oberlander zt"l

By A. Cohen

Thousands of Bnei Brak residents, headed by HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, HaRav Michel Lefkowitz and HaRav Shmuel Wosner shlita, roshei yeshivos, dayonim and talmidei chachomim, accompanied the mittoh of HaRav Tzvi Yosef Oberlander zt"l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Shaarei Tzion, who passed away Wednesday night 5 Cheshvan following a short illness.

The deceased was born to R' Yitzchok in Lizhensk, Galicia. At the age of nine when the War broke out the Germans burned the shul and ordered the residents to gather in the town square. From there the Jews were deported to Levtov. Because they lacked Russian passports they were sent to Siberia in a cattle car packed with 60 people. Upon arrival they were housed in a three-story barn along with 300 other people. They faced terrible hunger and suffering.

Their only food was potato peels and a minute quantity of bread. Although there was a soup kitchen in the area they never set foot in there to avoid forbidden foods. The hunger was so extreme the young Tzvi Yosef lost his eyesight for a short time. Once he was found lying on the icy ground after collapsing from hunger and exhaustion. While in Siberia his father died of starvation as his young children stood by helplessly. They spent 12 hours burning a fire to melt the thick layer of ice in order to dig a grave.

They were overjoyed upon finding a copy of maseches Bovo Kammo, and with his brother the young man learned it until they knew it backwards and forwards.

After five years of suffering, when the war ended, he went to Germany, where he studied at the yeshiva of HaRav Gershon Liebman. From there he continued as a young refugee to Eretz Yisroel and began studying at Yeshivas Chevron under HaRav Yechezkel Sarna, HaRav Aharon Cohen and the mashgiach, HaRav Meir Chodosh. He also was a frequent guest at the table of the Beis Yisroel.

Years later when his father-in-law, HaRav Tzvi Kagan, went to see the Gerrer Rebbe, the latter stood before him, saying, "I'm not rising in your honor, but because you're the father- in-law of R' Hershel Oberlander."

In 5716 (1956) he married the daughter of HaRav Tzvi Kagan, an outstanding educator who had close ties with the Chazon Ish and was known for his acts of chessed and his prominent role in the battle to uphold the sanctity of Bnei Brak.

He became one of the prominent members of the kollel headed by HaRav Michel Feinstein zt"l and even went to the Brisker Rov to discuss the sugyos the kollel was studying. He spent a short period at Kollel Heichal HaTalmud, headed by HaRav T. Lisitzin, and then was asked to serve as rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Belz and Yeshivas Biala in Bnei Brak. Later he became rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Rozhin and then spent the next 19 years as rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Shaarei Tzion.

Recently he had to be hospitalized for an operation, but his condition suddenly deteriorated and he returned his pure soul to his Maker.

At the levaya last Thursday 6 Cheshvan he was eulogized by HaRav Boruch Shimon Salomon, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Nachalas Dovid and av beis din Petach Tikva, HaRav Yaakov Greenwald, rosh kollel of Kollel Iyun vedayan of Belz, HaRav Yechiel Tabal, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Shaarei Tzion, his son-in-law HaRav Avrohom Schneider, a ram at Yeshivas Ponovezh Letzei'irim, and his son-in- law HaRav Menachem David, the mashgiach at Yeshivas Knesses Chizkiyohu.

HaRav Tzvi Yosef Oberlander zt"l is survived by his widow, sons and sons-in-law, who serve as marbitzei Torah, daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and hundreds of talmidim carrying on his path of serving Hashem.


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