Monday, June 04, 2007

18th Sivan - Yarzheit of R' Yerucham Levovitz

Today is the Yarzheit of the 'mashgiach' of Mir. R' Yerucham is possibly the most famous mashgiach.
I remember that R' Wolbe once said that for the first few months that he was at Mir he thought the Yeshiva had a different mashgiach specially for Shabbos. It was only after some time that he realised that R' Yerucham looked and acted so different on Shabbos (because of the Mitzvah to dress and behave differently, and because of the extra kedusha) that he looked like a different person.

This is Wikipedia's entry on the great man
Yeruchom Levovitz
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Rabbi Yeruchom Levovitz (ca. 1874-1936), or "The Mashgiach" as he was fondly referred to by his hundreds of students, was a famous mashgiach ruchani and Baal Mussar (ethicist) at the Mir yeshiva.

He was a disciple of Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel of Kelm as well as Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan (Chofetz Chaim) of Radin.

He was the spiritual leader of the Mir Yeshiva in Poland until his passing in 1936. His disciples followed his every word, and never did anything that they "felt" he would not want them to do.

After World War II, most of orthodox Jewry in Europe was wiped out, along with their many yeshivas (Jewish schools of higher learning). The sole yeshiva that survived as a whole body was the Mir Yeshiva, which managed to escape miraculously to Shanghai, China, and then on to America. Many of the new leaders of the American and Israeli yeshivas in the post-war period were students of the Mir, and thus followers of Rabbi Levovitz. Some of his better known disciples include Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz, Rabbi Dovid Povarsky, Rabbi Levy Krupenia, and Rabbi Shimon Schwab.

His many discourses and lectures are preserved for posterity in nine books which are a staple of virtually every yeshiva library today, as well as many orthodox households.

He died on the 18th of Sivan in the year 1936 at the age of sixty-two. He is buried in the town of Mir, in what is now Belarus. His graveside (recently rebuilt by his family) is a common destination for the many orthodox Jewish tourists who visit the decimated cities of pre-war Europe.

Most of his family escaped the Nazis and made it to America where they were pioneers of the rebuilding of orthodox Jewry in the United States. His grandson, Rabbi Nachman Levovitz is one of the deans in the Mir Yeshiva (Jerusalem) today and continues in his path of disseminating Torah to many students. Most of his children and grandchildren were/are teachers, lecturers, and Rabbis in various communities in the United States.

This is his set of seforim

May his Soul be Bound in the Bonds of Eternal Life

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