It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Hagaon Rav Chaim Shlomo Leibowitz zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Ponovezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak. He was 83.
Rav Leibowitz had been hospitalized for the past two months and his conditioned had deteriorated at Sheba Hospital in Tel Hashomer, where he passed away Shabbos morning at about 9 a.m.
Rav Leibowitz previously served as rosh yeshiva at Yeshivas Kamenitz in Yerushalayim.
Rav Leibowitz was one of the senior roshei yeshiva of the generation.
When Shabbos ended, the paroches was removed at the yeshivos of Ponovezh in Bnei Brak and Kamenitz in Yerushalayim.
His fellow rosh yeshiva at Ponovezh, Rav Berel Povarsky, burst into tears upon being informed of the petirah.
A few months ago, Rav Leibowitz fell during the night at his home in Bnei Brak and suffered a hemorrhage in his brain. Since then, his health had declined and he was hospitalized and released from the hospital alternately.
Throughout the period of his illness, tefillos were said at the Ponovezh Yeshiva and other yeshivos.
Rav Leibowitz was born in Teves in 5693 (1933) in the town of Baranovich, Belarus, to his father, Rav Yaakov Moshe Leibowitz, and his mother, Rebbetzin Tzaita Leah, a daughter of Rav Moshe Ber Movshovitz, rov of Lechovitz.
Rav Yaakov Moshe, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Kamenitz, was a son of Rav Boruch Ber Leibowitz zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Kamenitz in Europe and author of the Birchas Shmuel.
Already as a child, Rav Chaim Shlomo showed his immense ahavas haTorah and gadlus baTorah.
With the outbreak of World War II, he fled with his family to Vilna, Lithuania, and from there the family traveled to Eretz Yisroel and settled in Yerushalayim.
As age 12, he joined the Chevron Yeshiva in Yerushalayim and also heard shiurim from the Brisker Rov zt”l. When he came of age, he was taken as a son-in-law by Rav Avrohom Yitzchok Rothstein zt”l, head of the Diskin Orphanage in Yerushalayim, marring his daughter, Rebbetzin Sima.
Immediately after his marriage, he was appointed as rosh yeshiva of Kamenitz in Yerushalayim, where he was marbitz Torah alongside the other roshei yeshiva.
He received his derech halimud from his grandfather, Rav Boruch Ber, and he imparted that holy derech and mesorah to generations of talmidim throughout his life.
In 5767/2007, he was appointed rosh yeshiva of Ponovezh alongside Rav Gershon Edelstein and Rav Berel Povarsky.
At Ponovezh, he gave shiurim and mussar shmuessen, for which he became renowned. With his appointment at Ponovezh, he moved to Bnei Brak and lived near the yeshiva.
During his life, he sustained the loss of his son, Rav Chizkiyahu Yosef Leibowitz zt”l, and his daughter, the noted mechaneches Rebbetzin Kayla Rivka Schwartzman a”h, daughter-in-law of Lakewood East rosh yeshiva Rav Yaakov Eliezer Schwartzman.
Despite terrible yissurim and many challenges throughout his life, Rav Leibowitz maintained a remarkable simchas hachaim and spent his years immersed in Torah learning and teaching.
His passing has plunged the greater Torah world into mourning.
Rav Leibowitz leaves behind his rebbetzin, as well as children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren following his ways, in addition to the thousands of talmidim who were nourished by his Torah.
The levaya will take place on Sunday at noon at Ponovezh Yeshiva, followed by kevurah on Har Hamenuchos in Yerushalayim.
David Steger – Matzav.com Israel News Bureau