Rav Mordechai Elefant zt”l, Rosh Yeshivas Itri

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rav-mordechai-elefant[Levaya video below.] It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rav Mordechai Elefant zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Itri.

Rav Mordechai was born 79 years ago to his parents, Rav and Mrs. Meir Elefant, in the United States. Rav Mordechai learned in Yeshiva Torah Vodaas and in Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood under Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l.  Rav Mordechai also learned together with Rav Leib Malin zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Bais Hatalmud, with whom he had a personal relationship.

The Itri Yeshiva, at left.
The Itri Yeshiva, at left.

Rav Mordechai moved to Eretz Yisroel, where he formed a close kesher with Rav Yechezkel Leventsein, mashgiach of Yeshivas Ponovezh, and Rav Elazar Menachem Man Shach zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Ponovezh.

Following the Six Day War, Rav Elefant founded the Itri Yeshiva. Before the war, the yeshiva building was a Jordanian hospital, and the Green Line went right through the location of the yeshiva. Rav Mordechai obtained the land for the yeshiva from then Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, as there was an effort at that time, following the war, to increase the number of Yidden in Yerushalayim. Large parts of that area were also taken to build an Egged parking lot and other buildings.

The Itri mosdos eventually grew and burgeoned into a talmud Torah, a mesivta, a yeshiva gedolah and a kollel, raising and educating countless talmidim under the inspired leadership of Rav Mordechai.

With ybl"c Rav Berel Povarsky.
With ybl"c Rav Berel Povarsky.

An interesting anecdote: When Rav Mordechai learned in Lakewood, he shared a room with R’ Shlomo Carlebach. Rav Mordechai related in later years that one time, the rosh yeshiva, Rav Aharon, summoned R’ Shlomo and said, “Zogt ah niggun” (“Sing a song”), ostensibly to create a geshmak for learning Torah.

Rav Mordechai was a gadol in Torah and delivered fantastic shiurim which were greatly anticipated by his talmidim. With great mesirus nefesh and determination, he built an empire of Torah and chinuch, combining extraordinary Torah accomplishments with a remarkably sensitive and caring nature.

In recent years, the rosh yeshiva fell ill and two months ago he was hospitalized at Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center. On Shabbos, his pure neshama ascended to the Borei Olam.

Rav Mordechai resided in the Bet Tzefafa area of Yerushalayim.

In his younger years, Rav Mordechai was close to the heads of the State of Israel, many of whom used to consult with him. Talmidim from those days would relate how helicopters would land at the yeshiva, and heads of state like Moshe Dayan would enter the yeshiva to talk to Rav Mordechai.

Rav Elefant did not merit to have children, but he leaves behind mosdos haTorah and numerous talmidim, eternal zechusim for him and reflections of his dedication to Klal Yisroel.

The levaya will be held this afternoon at the Itri Yeshiva and kevurah will take place on Har Hamenuchos.

Yehi zichro boruch.

Click below for a video of the levaya:

[media id=289 width=400 height=300]

 {Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel/Dovid Bernstein-Matzav.com Newscenter}

9 COMMENTS

  1. I just read the ITRI Rav was niftar on this Holy Shabbos. Lilui Neshmas. Baal Chesed Kodesh. He and his Tzeddekes Rebbetzin literally saved the lives of many many Yidden. May my Father A’H meet him and thank him for Torah and Mitzvos that gave him zchusim on Yom HaDin. Say Tehillim and learn Gemara for Rav Elephant, ZTZL. We are his only sons and daughters.

  2. why doesn’t this article mention anything about his wife and her family. She is a daughter of Rabbi N.D. Herman, who was the son of Rabbi Y.Y. Herman (All For The Boss). Rav Elefant was thus a nephew of Rav Scheinberg Shlit”a. Furthermore, it should have been noted that Rav Elefant was a master fund raiser, perhaps only second to the Ponevizher Rav. He was also close with Hubert Humphrey. I heard a gut-spitting funny story from him once, which included Humphrey and Golda Meyer; I cannot share it here.

  3. baruch dayan ha emes. he should be a mailiz yosher for kelal yisrael. we should hear besuros tovos and my aunts nechama should be that he was a marbitz torah

  4. R’ Elefant was a major talmid chochom.
    He learnt B’chavrusa with R’ Shach Zatzal for 35 years. He also Learnt B’chavrusah for many years with the brisker Rav.
    He was a great baal chesed and did more for the klal than people know.
    Yehi zichro boruch!

  5. RABBI ELEFANT WAS A VERY SPECIAL PERSON. HE WAS A MAN OF EMOTION, IN LEARNING AND IN ALL OTHER MATTERS. HE WAS INVOLVED IN POLITICS, IN PUBLIC AFFAIRS, IN USA ISRAEL AFRICA AND EUROPE. HE HAD FRIENDS IN ALL COUNTRIES INCLUDING FRANCE AND ENGLAND. HE LOVED TO LEARN AND HE LOVED TO BE WITH HIS TALMIDIM. HE WAS NOT AN EASY GOER BUT HE BUILT A TORAH EMPIRE WHICH REMAINS AS HIS SPIRITUAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE LAND OF ISRAEL

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