TORAH TORAH CHIGRI SAK: אבל בעולם התורה • נפלה עטרת ראשנו • הגה”צ רבי נתן צבי פינקל זצ”ל • Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel zt”l


rav-nosson-tzvi-finkelPinned to top of page: 7 a.m. IL, 12 a.m. EST: [Levaya info below.] It is with great shock and sadness that we report the sudden passing of Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Mir Yerushalayim, following a heart attack. Rav Finkel was 69 years old.

Hatzolah paramedics were summoned to Rav Finkel’s home on Rechov Amalim in the Bais Yisroel section of Yerushalayim about 90 minutes ago after he was feeling unwell. Efforts by the paramedics were to no avail, as the neshamah of the beloved rosh yeshiva returned to its Creator moments ago.

Rav Finkel was born on March 12, 1943, in Chicago, Illinois, to his parents, Reb Eliyohu Meir and Mrs. Finkel, and was named after his elte-zaida, the Alter of Slabodka, Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel.  Rav Nosson Tzvi later married a daughter of Rav Beinish Finkel, a son of Rav Eliezer Yehudah Finkel, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Mir. Rav Nosson Tzvi’s wife was a second cousin of his.

rav-finkel-lakewood-40Rav Nosson Tzvi became rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Mir-Yerushalayim in 1990 following the petirah of his father-in-law, Rav Beinish. He also served as a member of the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah in Eretz Yisroel.

In his later years, Rav Nosson Tzvi suffered from Parkinson’s disease and demonstrated inspiring levels of bitachon and strength. He once remarked that he didn’t take certain medicines for his illness, because his doctor had told him that it would have an effect on his memory. “I’d rather be ill my whole life than to forget even one word of the Torah hakedosha,” he said.

The loss is a devastating one for the entire Olam Hatorah, for which Rav Nosson Tzvi was a living example of mesirus nefesh for Torah and the Ribono Shel Olam. Books will be written about Rav Nosson Tzvi’s devotion to his talmidim and to Yeshivas Mir, whose budget of millions of dollars was shouldered by Rav Nosson Tzvi, who undertook yearly trips abroad to raise funds for the yeshiva, despite his debilitating condition. There were few individuals of our dor who inspired as many people as Rav Nosson Tzvi did with his mere presence, his smile, his emunah and bitachon, and his astonishing gevurah in light of his circumstances.

rav-nosson-tzvi-finkel-in-lakewoodJust as inspiring to many of his talmidim and others in the Torah world was Rav Nosson Tzvi’s humble upbringing. He grew up as a child in Chicago, an American kid – backpack, baseball cap, and all – and went on to become one of the most venerated roshei yeshivos of our generation, garnering the respect of the gedolei hador and the masses for his yedios haTorah, his ahavas haTorah, his hasmadah, his ahavas Hashem, his ahavas Yisroel, and his boundless love and dedication for the thousands of talmidim of Yeshivas Mir-Yerushalayim, which, under his stewardship, grew into one of the largest – if not the largest – makom Torah in the world. Also, under his leadership, Yeshivas Mir opened branches in various locations, including Brachfeld in Modiin Illit.

It is difficult with mere words so soon after the petirah to depict the colossal loss that Klal Yisroel has just sustained with the passing of this Torah giant, a yochid bedoro who scaled the greatest spiritual heights and demonstrated that true greatness can be achieved even in this generation.

Klal Yisroel has been left bereft. On the yahrtzeit of Rochel Imeinu, we have lost an unparalleled individual, a diamond that Klal Yisroel was blessed to have as a leader, as a rosh yeshiva, as a gadol baTorah, and as a living example of the way the Ribono Shel Olam wants each of us to conduct our lives. We have lost one of the truly great people of our generation.

rav-nosson-tzvi-finkelChaval al de’avdin velo mishtakchin.

The levaya will take place this morning at Yeshivas Mir-Yerushalayim in the Bais Yisroel section of Yerushalayim.

Rav Nosson Tzvi is survived by his mother and his children, including Rav Avrohom Yeshaya Finkel, Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, Rav Shmaryahu Yosef Finkel, Rav Yitzchok Finkel and Rav Shmuel Finkel.

Yehi zichro boruch.

Update, 8 a.m. IL: The levaya will take place at noon at Yeshivas Mir-Yerushalayim.

{Yair Israel/Shmiel Newscenter}


  1. The article said it exactly: a living example of the way the Ribono Shel Olam wants each of us to conduct our lives. We have lost one of truly great people of our generation.

    What a shock. Wow.

  2. We just lost one of the greatest leaders our people saw in the last decades. we will never forget his inspiring leadership and his gevurah

    May the rosh yeshiva be a meilitz yosher for all of us.

  3. In todays times, where we are seemingly less machsiv what our rabonim and gedoilei roshei hayishiva are telling us. On this occasion of the passing of one of our leaders I feel it is a time for us to reflect and perhaps be “re-michazaik” ourselves in our emunas chachomim, even when our “daas” doesn’t feel like it is the right thing (for what ever reason). Let us daven that the rosh hayeshiva will be a mailitz yoisher for us and all of klal yisroel.

  4. words cant express the lonely feeling i have right now as i hear this rosh yeshiva was like a father to us! baruch dayan emes


  6. BDE. Became very close to him although I never had the Zechus too learn at the Mir. Undoubtedly the biggest Marbitz Torah in the last thousand years. 6500 plus learning daily at the mir, clearly because of his enormous mesiras nefesh. Making the trips across the world to raise money, just to help more people learn Torah was beyond comprehension. I can’t recall spending more than 1 minute with him in which his disease didn’t cause him terrible spasms. Sitting on a plane for 12 hours numerous times each year is not something I was ever able to understand. Every time I saw him, which BH was numerous in the last few years , I would cry from the tzar I witnessed. He would always kiss me and thank me for feeling his pain. I would always tell him , one day the world would wake up and realize that anyone who allowed him to come collect money and didn’t run to him instead , will have have to give a din v’cheshbon. His heart didnt stop because of his disease, it stopped because he couldn’t bear the pain of not paying his poor kollel yungerleit their monthly stipends. I know for a fact that he would cry constantly from that agmas nefesh.
    It’s not too late to keep his legacy alive. Help his yeshiva continue so his neshoma can continue to be zoicha ad bias goel

    What will we do with our RH ztl. I have tears streaming down my face. What is a dor without the RH ztl going to look like
    OY LSEFINAH SHEVDOH KVARNITA!! Please hashem make the suffering stop. YOMAR LETZOROSEINU DAI!!!!!

  8. Just reflect back on today in Klal Yisroel. Two Waterbury bochrim were killed, a boy in Monsey was killed, and now the Rosh HaYeshiva. What a horrible day for Klal Yisroel.
    Baruch Dayan Emes.

  9. Cry about our aveiros, bittul Torah.
    Cry for pushing when the Gedolim came by, and not standing nicely in respect.
    Cry for not giving the Rosh Yeshiva the donation needed.
    Rav Yitzchok Sheiner Shlit”a said yesterday in BMG:
    The C”C said they banned shechita in Poland bec the Mitzva of Shechita was not precious to Yidden. So too Yidden are not mechabaid the Gedolei Hador & Torah properly, Hashem takes them away.

  10. thank you to talmid crying for levaya time and dovid for the phone number.may Hashem give us the strength to follow in the ways of our rosh yishiva z”l . i remember him crying in the main building on chanukah around 7 years ago about cell phones and how they are preventing the bnai torah from becoming as great as one could be . This was in the days before smart much more so are his words and his tears applicable today. but now that ouy Rosh Yeshivah is gone WHO WILL CRY FOR US??? WHO WILL DEMAND OF US ?? WHO WILL BE MICHAYIV US WITH HIS MESIRAS NEFESH FOR THE TORAH??? soo soo sad………..

  11. today (#26)you missed the petirah of r shwartzman which was on monday as well as two 3 year olds that were niftar in eretz yisroel one was burned to death in a car the other drowned in a bathtub (yeshiva world)
    i really think i have to think a bit harder about how to do things ALOT better

  12. so devastating. he was such a shining light of living torah day and night b’misiras nefesh k’pshuto mamash to every segment of Klal Yisrael. I remember how he would give shiur klali despite his illness making it so so hard, but when torah is your life you overcome. this hurts so much.

  13. i am behond shocked, harav Nosson Tzvi Finkel Z”TL was not an old man, he was in my grandmothers class at ICJA, Hashem is obviously trying to send us a message on mama rochel’s yahrtzeit
    i am not a nevuah but rochel personified ahavas yisrael maybe we need to improve our ahavas yisrael
    how many tragidies do we have to undergo before we get the message there were several people tragically niftar today, all in unusual circumstances
    tzil zayn a kapparah
    bsuros tovos to all

  14. #26, in addition to Rav Dov Schwartzman, you also missed Rav Don Ungarischer – all of these within a few days, plus Rebbetzin Kanievsky on Succos. Hashem is shaking us until our teeth chatter and we remain in deep slumber. We can’t cry out ad mosai if we don’t change ourselves! These gedolim and Rebbetzin Kanievsky were models of mesirus nefesh for Torah and unbridled ahavas Yisroel. The Rebbetzin also stressed to all the women who came to her to be mischazek in shmiras haloshon and tznius. If we want the tzoros to stop and the geula to come, we must be mechazek ourselves in these areas. Whoever wrote that the Rosh Yeshiva suffered terrible heartache over not being able to pay the yungerleit, that is 100% true. It is said that last night, after giving his shiurim, he went to Reb Chaim Kanievsky to talk about this great problem of owing money to his avreichim. And then a few hours later he had a heart attack. It does not take a great stretch of the imagination to understand how deeply he felt the anguish and how it affected his heart…
    So: if you have money to support Torah, do so! If you are learning Torah, don’t waste time (internet, i-phones, etc.). Care about the feelings of fellow Jews, which includes shmiras haloshon, avoiding machlokes, making ammends to those we hurt, etc. And for women, upgrade your tznius. If each of us would take ONE small step in ONE of these areas, we’d be finally getting the message and Hashem will surely have rachmonus on us. Umocho Hashem dimo me’al kol ponim.

  15. The Rosh Yeshiva was the Rosh Yeshiva of the generation. 6,500 talmidim is a number unprecedented! The Rosh Yeshiva hardly knew me, but when I went over to wish him shulom he remembered me, and gave me a hug and a kiss. Which Rosh Yeshiva today would do that? Which Rosh Yeshiva of yesterday would do that? He was the father for the whole generation! This loss is simply unprecedented. There has never been such a massive loss to klal yisroel since churban habayis! The Rosh Yeshiva seemed to excel the more pain he was in. This is a tsadik non like ever existed before. His achryis for the klal is something I’ll never forget! May Hashem speed up the arrival of moshiach today.

  16. A small and perhaps nugatory point, but the niftar was sixty-EIGHT years old, and not as stated in the last sentence of the first paragraph.

  17. 37. Comment from a talmid
    Time November 8, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    if its 12 in ey what time is it here?

    Just read comment #24. Another “talmid” has already worked it out for you.

  18. I was privileged to be at the Mir on Simchas Torah this past Sukkos. It will always be etched in my mind the sight of Rav Nosson Tzvi zt”l dancing. He was sitting in his wheelchair as the oilam was singing “Toras Hashem temimah….” The moment they reached the words “Moshe emes v’soraso emes”, two avreicheim who were standing at his side lifted him up, and he exerted himself beyond human comprehension to “jump” along with the oilam. Indeed, it was his jumping that inspired the oilam.

    Later, during one of the hakofos, when the song was “v’taher leebainu..”, he stood in an arm-embrace facing HoRav Yitzchak Elazari shli’ta, jumping up and down and moving back and forth. The simchas hachaim and simchas haTorah was eminating from his face.

    A number of years ago my son was learning in the Mir. I arrived in Eretz Yisroel for a visit during January on a Thursday evening, and my son insisted he take me to Rav Nosson Tzvi’s weekly chumash shiur that he gave in his house Friday late morning. At the shiur, Rav Nosson Tzvi zt’l said over the famous vurt from Rav Chaim Shmulevitz zt”l, about the punishment Iyuv endured vs. the punishment of Bilaam (Gimmel hayu b’oiso aitzah, Yisro, Iyuv and Bilaam). He spoke of the fact that a moment of Chaim, life, was more precious than anything. He then went on to relate how an ainekel of Rav Dessler z”l was in a terrible traffic accident and his life was hanging in the balance. So he proceeded to stop the shiur and lead us in one of the most moving capitals of tehillim I can remember. Seeing such an individual, who cherished every moment of Chaim, and whose every moment of Chaim was a strenuous avodah, recite the words Shir HaMaalos… was breathtaking.

    Yehi Zichro Boruch.

  19. Baruch Dayan Emes. Doesn’t everyone see and realize how Hashem is taking our Tzadikim from us in clusters. Believe this is an indication that they will have more power from above to be meilitzim yosher for klal Yisrael. These tragedies that are happening is a sign for us, each one of us, to do tshuvah, but also a sign that we are nearing the Geulah on speed dial. May the memories and names of all these greats be a blessing for all of Bnai Yisrael and may they return to us speedily, with the coming of Moshiach T’zdkeinu.

  20. BD”E

    The Holy Rosh Yeshiva has left us, upon being summoned to give shiur in the Yeshiva Shel Maaloh. !?? ??? ??? ??????

    Ribonoy Shel Olam!!!

    Mi Sheomar L’oilamoy Dai!
    Yoimar L’tzoroseinu DAI!!!

  21. Be strong! The Gemara in Brachos says that before a great calamity (or in this case “the end”), Hashem takes all the Tzadikim “home” so they do not have to witness the tragedies in the world that are coming soon. Only the strong will survive. If you are strong then be happy and dance just like Rabbi Akiva did when everyone else cried.

  22. The rosh yeshivah treated hes talmidim as if they were his own children. i had children in the mir. the warmth, and caring he showed to everyone was beyond the call of duty. the tdik cannot be replaced. baruch dayhan haemes.

  23. Why no videos of the Hespeidim and levaya?!!
    Matzav! Is this not considered a top priority for
    you? People in the U.S. who couldn’t attend, want to hear the Hespeidim. I don’t think the videos
    need to be flown in on a plane.

    Please post, if you consider yourself representing
    chareidim, Bnei Yeshiva.

  24. I was in the RY’s shiur Ellul 5736-Pesach 5737 there were about 20 of us, the whole yeshiva consisted of 200 avreichim and 200 bachurim. We ate at his house a few times on Shabosos. I made a point of visiting him almost every time I was in Aretz the k\last dedcade or so as well as in NY. I remember walking with him all the way to Har Hamenuchos at Reb Moishes levayah 1986. The next time I saw him in Boro Park 1990 he already began to suffer from Parkinsons R”L He was without doubt the Ponevizer Rov of our generation – the paridgm builder of Torah in the world Yehi Zichro Boruch

  25. To #40:
    You write, “12 e”y time is 5 AM american time”.
    You seem to equate America with Brooklyn, Lakewood and Monsey. There is land west of the Catskills! Did you ever hear of Chicago and Los Angeles? The EST is not the only time zone in the USA.