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8 Tishrei 5772 - October 6, 2011 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Aryeh Leib Baron zt"l

By Yechiel Sever

The Torah world was shrouded in mourning Monday night upon hearing of the histalkus of HaRav Aryeh Leib Baron (Baranowitz) zt"l, a vestige of the pre-War Torah world in Lithuania, the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Merkaz HaTorah in Montreal and the author of a number of important books covering various areas of Torah study.

Aryeh Leib Baron was born on Taanis Esther 5672 (1912) in the town of Horodok, which is located a short distance from Volozhin in Belarus. As a boy he studied at the local cheder. During this period the rov of the town, HaRav Eliyohu Ben Tzion Garber, gathered together a core of local boys chosen to go to the nearby town of Rakov, where they would study at the yeshiva ketanoh started by the rov there, HaRav Avrohom Kalmanovitz.

The Mirrer Yeshiva remained in Kobe, Japan for six months, moving to Shanghai for the next five years a short time before the Yomim Noraim of 5702 (1941). HaRav Baron remained with the yeshiva during these years, engaging largely in chessed work, for both individuals and the kehilloh. According to a letter of recommendation written by HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein zt"l, "he worked extensively for the sake of the yeshiva community."

In the summer of 5706 (1946), before the Yomim Noraim, the Mirrer Yeshiva moved to the United States, where HaRav Baron married the daughter of HaRav Chaim Eliezer Samson, with HaRav Chaim Shmuelevitz serving as mesader kiddushin.

When HaRav Eliyohu Chazan, who served as a rosh yeshiva in Montreal during the war years, moved to New York to serve as rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Torah Vodaas, HaRav Baron was recommended as a replacement, and he indeed assumed the position, serving as the rosh yeshiva of Montreal's Yeshivas Merkaz HaTorah for the next 24 years. He developed the yeshiva, fostering the Torah learning of hundreds of students, and was the first to send young men from Montreal to yeshivos gedolos in the US.

In 5732 (1972) he founded Beis Medrash Merkaz HaTalmud, where he taught until his health began to decline in 5766 (2006). During the course of his 58 years in Montreal he taught thousands of students at the yeshiva, at his beis medrash, at various shuls throughout the city where he gave shiurim and through the many talks he gave, imparting an appreciation for Torah in the general Jewish community. He was able to influence many families to send their sons to the holy yeshivas and raised the level of Torah study and mitzvah observance among all segments of the Jewish community. He was also known for his thorough knowledge of the history of the yeshivas and the Torah luminaries of Lithuania, thanks to his sharp and precise memory.

Along with heading the yeshiva and giving classes, he also wrote books on the Shas: Bircas Reuven, Bircas Yehuda, Nesivos Lev, Yishrei Lev, Mesamchei Lev, Yismach Chaim and Netzach Yaakov. In addition to his gemora volumes, he also wrote a commentary on the Haggadah called Hagadas Halev and a Chumash commentary called Das Yehudis, which he wrote in his 90s.

The levaya was held Monday night at Yeshivas Mir in Jerusalem and he was buried at Har Hamenuchos Cemetery.

HaRav Aryeh Lev Baron zt"l is survived by his only son, HaRav Elchonon Baron — named after his father's rov muvhok, HaRav Elchonon Wassermann Hy"d — who serves as rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Ahavas Torah Baranowitz in Jerusalem, and by daughters married to prominent Torah scholars.


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