Harav Gershon Edelstein, 100, AH

Photo: חיים לוי via Wikimedia Commons

Harav Gershon Edelstein, a Rosh Yeshivah of the Ponevzeh yeshiva who was a leading figure in the Charedi world in Eretz Yisroel, passed away on Tuesday morning.

Yeshiva World News and Anash.org

Harav Gershon Edelstein, a Rosh Yeshivah of the Ponevzeh yeshiva who was a leading figure in the Charedi world in Eretz Yisroel, passed away on Tuesday morning.

He was 100 years old.

Harav Edelstein was born on 2 Iyar, 5683 in the Russian town of Shumyatch to Harav Tzvi Yehudah, the Rav of Shumyatch.

As a child, Rav Gershon’s mother obtained fake birth certificates for her sons with the wrong dates of birth to delay mandatory school attendance under the Communists. Instead, the young Gershon and his brothers learned Torah at home with Rabbi Zalman Leib Estulin, a Chabad chossid who later became renowned for his mesiras nefesh in Soviet Russia.

When Harav Gershon’s mother developed typhus, which she later passed away from, he was sent with his brother Yaakov to his his aunt in the city of Klimavichy. There, they learned Torah with Rabbi Monyeh Shneur, another Chabad chossid who later became a magid shiur in Tochei Tmimim Lod. Harav Edelstein kept a warm connection with his two Lubavitcher teachers long after he arrived in Eretz Yisroel, and praised the chinuch they granted him.

In 1934, Rav Gershon’s father obtained permits to enter Israel. He and his sons traveled by ship from Odessa, arriving in Israel on Lag B’Omer. The family settled in Ramat Hasharon, where HaRav Gershon and his brother Yaakov slept on the floor. There too, the boys learned Torah at home with their father since there was no religious school in Ramat Hasharon.

In 1935, HaRav Tzvi was elected as the Rav of Ramat HaSharon. The same year, after HaRav Gershon begged his father, he and his brother Yaakov were sent to the Lomza Yeshivah in Petach Tikvah.

Shortly later, HaRav Shmuel Rozovsky requested that HaRav Gershon and Yaakov join the newly established Yeshivah Ponevezh. HaRav Tzvi agreed and the two brothers lived in the home of HaGaon HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz.

The Rosh Yeshivah initially appointed HaRav Gershon to teach young Holocaust survivors in the Batei Avos orphanage, and in 1945, HaRav Gershon began delivering shiurim to talmidim at Ponevezh. In 1947, HaRav Gershon married Henya Rochel, the daughter of HaGaon HaRav Yehoshua Zelig Diskin the Rav of Pardes Chana, and the same year, he was appointed as Rosh Mesivta in Ponevezh.

HaRav Edelstein, became the Rosh Yeshivah of Ponevzeh together with Hagaon Harav Baruch Dov Povarsky in the mid-1990s.

Since the passing of Harav Chaim Kanievsky, a little over a year ago, Harav Edelstein was considered to be the leading figure in the Litvishe Charedi world in Eretz Yisroel.

His levaya took place on Tuesday in Bnei Brak, with hundreds of thousands participating.

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