Rabbi Moshe Yitzchok Vorst, a survivor of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp who went on to become the Head Shliach of the Netherlands, passed away.
By Anash.org reporter
Rabbi Moshe Yitzchok Vorst, a survivor of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp who went on to become the Head Shliach of the Netherlands, passed away on Wednesday, 27 Elul, 5783.
He was 85 years old.
He was born on the 1st of Shevat, 5698 – 1938, in the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands, to Rabbi Levi and Mrs. Tzipporah Chana Vorst.
Rabbi Vorst’s life was profoundly shaped by the tumultuous events of World War II. Alongside his family, he endured the hardships of internment at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where his mother tragically passed away. After the war, his father took on the role of the chief Rabbi of Rotterdam, tirelessly working to rebuild Jewish life in the city.
While Rabbi Vorst initially pursued engineering after his university studies, he felt a calling to deepen his Torah knowledge. He enrolled in the Lubavitcher Yeshivah in Lod, Eretz Yisroel, where he studied under the famed mashpia Reb Shlomo Chaim Kesselman.
During this time, he faced a pivotal decision concerning his career. He wrote a letter to the Rebbe, seeking guidance but did not receive a response initially. He consulter with Reb Shlomo Chaim, who said “I think the Rebbe is waiting for you to decide for yourself whether you want to continue your yeshivah studies.” Ultimately, he decided to continue his studies, and immediately after he received a letter from the Rebbe advising him to do just that. The Rebbe told him, in a letter dated 9 Elul, that he should continue studying in Yeshiva for at least two more years.
In 5722, he traveled to New York to learn by the Rebbe. Shortly after his arrival, he had a yechidus with the Rebbe, where, among other topics, he brought up his father’s request for a shliach to serve the Dutch Jewish community.
“After responding to my personal questions, the Rebbe addressed himself to my father’s request and said: ’I have not yet found the appropriate person who both desires and is capable of filling this position.’ At this point, the Rebbe’s eyes met mine, and he looked at me with a broad smile,” he recalled decades later.
Later, contemplating on this yechidus, he suspected that the Rebbe was hinting that he assume this responsibility. He asked the Rebbe if this was his intention, and the Rebbe responded ’Continue your studies.’
A few months later, as his visa rights were nearing expiry, he consulted the Rebbe again, asking whether to return to Eretz Yisroel or to extend his stay in the States.
He did not receive an answer. Upon the advice of the Rebbe’s secretary, Rabbi Hodakov, he wrote a second time. There was still no reply. But a month later he did receive the Rebbe’s answer, which clearly indicated that he should return to help build the Dutch Jewish community. Wondering why this answer had been so long in coming, he glanced at the date of the reply. It was the 9th of Elul, exactly two years since that first reply that he had received while still studying in Israel: to continue studying for at least two years!
In 5725, he married Doba Rubinson, daughter of Rabbi Moshe Rubinson, who served as the menahel of Tomchei Tmimim in Berditchev during the years of Soviet oppression, and later as a rosh yeshiva in Brunoy.
After his marriage, he was sent by the Rebbe on shlichus to Holland. Over the coming decades, he played an active role in rebuilding the Jewish community, and bringing Yidden back to their Father in Heaven. He was involved in the founding of the community Cheder, and many other mosdos for the community. He also served as a member of the Dutch Board for Rabbinical Affairs (Vaad Harrabonim), and head of the Jewish Youth Association.
Over the past ten years, up until he was diagnosed with an illness, he delivered hundreds of video shiurim.
He is survived by his wife, Doba and children Mrs. Chana Kalmenson – Aubervilliers, France; Rabbi Dovid Bentzion Vorst – Brunoy, France; Rabbi Yehuda Vorst – Rotterdam; Mrs. Sarah Katzman – The Hague; Menucha Romano – Eretz Yisroel; Mrs. Nechama Cohen – Yerushalayim; Rabbi Menachem Vorst – Charlotte, NC; Mrs. Bracha Leah Weingarten – Lansing, Michigan; Mrs. Chaya Benjaminson – Crown Heights; Mrs. Rivkah Galperin – Windsor, Ontario; Mrs. Devorah Esther Levin – Nijmegen; and Mrs. Mushky Lent – Manchester, England.
Baruch Dayan Ha’emes