אוי לספינה שאבד קברניטה • עולם התורה באבל • נפלה עטרת ראשנו • Maran Rav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman zt”l

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It is with immense sadness that Matzav.com reports the passing of Maran Rav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman zt”l, one of the manhigei hador.

Rav Shteinman had battled illness and health complications on and off for the last year, but amazingly, each time, fought valiantly and kept going, as Klal Yisroel davened for his recovery. Unfortunately, his last medical challenge was exceedingly serious and Rav Shteinman passed away early this morning, Tuesday, at Maayanei Hayeshuah Medical Center in Bnei Brak.

Born in 1914, Rav Shteinman led Klal Yisroel from his humble apartment in Bnei Brak, guiding, instructing, and encouraging Yidden across the globe.

Rav Shteinman was born and raised in the city of Brisk, then part of the Russian Empire. He studied at Yeshivas Imrei Moshe, led by Rav Moshe Sokolovsky, in Brisk, and attended shiurim given by the Brisker Rov, Rav Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchik. He also studied in Kletzk under Rav Aharon Kotler.

Upon reaching draft age in 1937, he was subject to the Polish draft, as Brisk had come under the control of the newly established Polish state in the aftermath of the First World War. He and his close friend, Rav Moshe Soloveitchik tried to evade the draft by starving themselves, but they were declared fit to serve by the draft officer. The two then fled with other Brisk talmidim to Montreux, Switzerland, where they joined Yeshivas Etz Chaim. With the outbreak of World War II, the two became war refugees and were incarcerated in the Schonenberg labor camp near Basel, where nearly all the inmates were Torah-observant. Rav Shteinman and Rav Moshe were put to work laying roads, but due to his thin frame and short stature, Rav Shteinman was soon released from manual labor and assigned to a desk job.

Rav Shteinman was the only member of his family to survive the war. While still in Switzerland, he married Rebbetzin Tamar (Tema) Kornfeld (who passed away in 2002), a daughter of Rav Shammai Shraga Kornfeld of Antwerp. She had been sent to Switzerland from Poland to cure her respiratory problems and had also become a refugee when World War II broke out. Rav Shteinman and the rebbetzin had four children.

During his initial years in Eretz Yisroel, Rav Shteinman and his family lived in Kfar Saba. His sons were sent to a cheder in Petach Tikva. Eventually, they relocated to Bnei Brak, where Rav Shteinman headed the Ponovezher Kollel.

In 1955, the Ponovezher Rav, Rav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, opened the yeshivah ketanah of Ponovezh, Yeshivas Ponovezh L’Tze’irim, and asked Rav Shteinman to serve as rosh yeshiva together with Rav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz. Rav Shteinman stopped giving his regular shiur in 1998.

Rav Shteinman was also rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Gaon Yaakov, which is led by his son-in-law, Rav Zev Berlin, and Yeshiva Orchos Torah.

Rav Shteinman was the author of the renowned seforim on Shas, Ayeles Hashachar. The seforim were published anonymously and do not contain his name, only his initials. The name Ayeles is comprised of his and his wife’s initials: AYeLeS = Aharon Yehuda Leib Tamar.

Rav Elazar Menachem Man Shach zt”l, the gadol hador, when consulted for advice, was known to at times refer people to consult with Rav Shteinman.

Rav Shteinman served as a leading manhig of the olam hayeshivos and the olam haTorah following the passing of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l, guiding the Degel HaTorah political party.

For many years, until he was in his seventies and eighties, Rav Shteinman was largely unknown beyond the olam hayeshivos, immersing himself in his learning and harbotzas Torah. It was only in the last few decades that he allowed himself to be thrust into the spotlight as a manhig of Klal Yisroel.

When he was in his nineties, Rav Shteinman undertook to visit and strengthen key Torah communities outside of Eretz Yisroel. In 2005 he visited a number of cities in North America with significant frum populations or institutions.

He traveled to the Jewish community of Los Angeles in 2006 and in May 2007 visited France, and then England, where he addressed large gatherings in Manchester and Gateshead. In June 2010, Rav Shteinman visited the Jewish communities of Odessa, Berlin, and Gibraltar. In 2012 he traveled to Paris to deliver talks to the French Jewish community.

Rav Shteinman was known for his extremely modest lifestyle. His apartment was sparsely furnished.

Until 2014, he slept on the same thin mattress that he had received from the Jewish Agency upon his arrival in Israel in the early 1950s.

Rav Shteinman’s passing has plunged the greater Torah world into mourning. One of the greatest men of the generation has passed on, leaving a nation bereft, mourning a leader who personified Torah greatness, humility and simplicity.

Naflah ateres rosheinu.

The levayah will be held at noon today at Rav Shteinman’s home in Bnei Brak.

{Matzav.com Israel News}

16 COMMENTS

  1. I detect a strong bizayon here in the kavod of Maran Raban Shel Yisroel Zatza”l and I therefore can’t be silent. Maran was the accepted manhig for the vast MAJORITY OF BNEI TORAH IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. TO PLAY IT DOWN THAT HE WAS JUST ONE OF THE MANHIGIM IS A TREMENDOUS CHUTZPA. THE BNEI TORAH IN AMERICA ARE NOT INTERESTED IN THE POLITICS OF ERETZ YISROEL. MARAN WAS THE MANHIG WHO WAS CHOSEN BY MARANAN HARACH SHACH AND HARAV ELYASHIV AND TO OMIT THAT IS NOTHING SHORT OF TRYING TO BE MASHPIL MARAN CHAS VERSHALOM AND WE WON’T ALLOW IT!

  2. You need to change the headline and write Raban shel yisroel. He was the accepted manhig by 90% of bnei torah in eretz yisroel and all the bnei torah in the entire world. All the chasidim and sfardim recognized him as the gadol hador.

  3. If you read the tzavaa you’ll see that Maran zatzal did not want any accolades or flowery titles used about him. Perhaps that is the Matzav chose to downplay Maran’s role in Am Yisrael.
    May Maran be a meilitz yosher and may we all be zoche to greet Moshiach b’karov.

  4. I thought the editorial and photos were a succinct, eloquent tribute. matzav. com honored his unique, outstanding middos. Put aside the quibbling and politicking – the Gadol would frown at these. Just read his torah.

  5. “Born in 1914, Rav Shteinman led Klal Yisroel from his humble apartment in Bnei Brak, guiding, instructing, and encouraging Yidden across the globe”. The mecutzafim at Matzav forgot to change this paragraph as they were careful with all the other ones. This should say led a “part” of klal yisroel. Mechutzaf!! If you speak to people in the know, the closest people to Rav Elyashiv, as I have, you will come to know that Rav Eliashiv was very clear on who was to be the manhig after him and even in his lifetime he always wanted to hear what Maran Rav Steinman zt”l held. He did not ask for the opinion of a different godol from yerushalyim. Facts can confuse people who have agendas so they choose to ignore them.

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