Parshas Vayigash

Rabbi Gidon Goldberg's picture

Dear Parents,

Over one week ago, my Rebbe and the Rosh Yeshiva of Telshe Yeshiva in Chicago was niftar. In keeping with the dictum of avoiding sadness over Chanukah, I decided to use the first opportunity to properly share with you some insights about my Rebbe.

Rav Avrohom Chaim Levin’s father, Harav Eliezer Levin, zt”l, was a phenomenal talmid chacham who learned from the Chofetz Chaim in Radin, was one of the prized talmidim of Kelm’s famed Talmud Torah, and eventually immigrated to the United States and became one of Detroit’s most prominent Rabbanim.

In 1960, while still in his 20s, Rav Avrohom Chaim was sent by Harav Mordechai (Mottel) Katz, zt”l, together with Harav Chaim Schmeltzer, zt”l, and a small group of talmidim from Cleveland, to found a branch of Telshe in Chicago. My Rebbe was a model of the mesorah of Telshe, whose actions bespoke refinement in all his ways, with a deep ahavas haTorah and unyielding sense of responsibility to the klal.
Some quotes from the levaya included:

-“Rav Avrohom Chaim’s purpose was to carry on the mesorah he had seen by his Rebbe, Harav Elya Meir [Bloch], zt”l, that mesorah is not only a derech halimud and mussar, it’s [to do all one can] for the sake of kvod Shamayim.”
-“There is no one who is more precious to Hakadosh Baruch Hu than a shaliach [messenger] who is moser nefesh for his mission.”
-“We had a Rebbi who picked us up, [us] small people, he gave us big hasagos [aspirations] [and showed we could achieve] greatness.”
Rav Avrohom Chaim served as a member of the Moetzes Gedolei haTorah of Agudath Israel of America, as the de facto Torah manhig of Orthodox Jewry in Chicago, and as an address for advice for individuals of all walks of life. His clarity of thought and absolute loyalty to what he saw as truth would play a role in the weightiest decisions. As a member of the Moetzes, he dedicated countless hours of his time to studying the issues of the day and guiding askanim. Increasingly, he was called upon by other yeshivos for guidance, and eventually became one of the main rabbinic leaders of Torah Umesorah, as Yoshev Rosh of its Vaad Roshei Hayeshivos.
Rebbe was stern and firm on issues such as seder, cleanliness, derech eretz, and in upkeeping the standards set forth by the yeshiva: all part of the mesorah he got from his Rabbeim. At the same time – the warmth that a talmid could feel when we repeated his shiurim to him...! At every shiur there were many tape recorders and these recordings were used to review the daily shiur. The Rosh Yeshiva also had a tremendous partner in Harav Chaim Schmeltzer zt”l, whose tremendous love for his talmidim knew no bounds. The partnership of these two great Torah leaders created a blend of ahava and yirah, each in its appropriate time. The tremendous dibuk chaveirim and friendships that we formed in Chicago Telz are sure to last a lifetime. Any of my strengths today can be attributed to my father a”h and my mother ad meah v’esrim, and to the mesorah of Telz that I got from my Rabbeim.
Yehi zichro baruch.
My grandson began his studies in Telz Riverdale as a fourth generation student, receiving the mesorah of the Torah giants Reb Elia Meir Bloch and Reb Mottel Katz zt”l, who came to America to transmit the mesorah of Telz Europe to the next generation. The success of the Jewish communities of Cleveland and Chicago can be attributed to the effect that these Torah giants and their talmidim had in rebuilding Torah in America in the ashes of the Holocaust.

Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Peretz Scheinerman, Dean