אבל בעולם הישיבות: Rav Shlomo Brevda zt”l

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rav-shlomo-brevda[Levaya info below.] It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rav Shlomo Brevda zt”l, who had battled illness for the last year. Rav Brevda was one of the most well-known maggidei shiur and darshanim and  delivered thousands of drashos in Jewish communities worldwide. He was niftar this afternoon.

Rav Brevda was the author of numerous seforim, including volumes on Yomim Tovim. His writings on the Torah of the Vilna Gaon and the Gaon‘s seforim in aggadah and Kabbolah are particularly well known.

Rav Brevda  recalled the following miracle that happened to him in Yerushalayim when he was a young man while he was learning in Brisk in Yerushalayim:

One night, he decided to run to a relative’s house. While he was approaching the house there was a sudden blackout, which made the street turn pitch black. He suddenly remembered that right next to the relative’s house was a very long steep and slippery staircase built into the street, which one had to navigate very carefully in order to avoid slipping and falling down its sharp and circuitous route.

Stopping immediately to get his bearings, he tried to locate the staircase in the darkness, when he was absolutely stunned to find that the stairs where at the edge of his right foot, and had he continued running for just a fraction of a second more, he would have certainly been seriously injured C”V.

He was hoping that the next morning he will daven and thank Hashem with his full heart, better then ever, after his life was saved by the split of the second, but davening Shacharis was just like any ordinary day, it bothered him tremendously.

So Rav Brevda traveled – four hours each way – to Bnai Brak to discus this matter with the Chazon Ish. He related the miracle to the Chazon Ish. Rav Brevda asked the Chazon Ish, “Why is it that I do not feel any different and closer to Hashem Yisborach since I woke up today than when I woke up yesterday or any other day of my life? I was privileged to have an open miracle happen to me, yet I do not feel like I am on my way to serving Hashem any better today then yesterday! Or the day before! How can this be?”

The Chazon Ish paused and thought for a few moments before he answered. “There is a special yeitzer hara called “The yeitzer hara after an open miracle” that tries to weaken a person when he is stirred to serve Hashem after experiencing a miracle.”

Rav Brevda will be remember as one of the great mashpiim and maggidei shiur of his time, and for perpetuation the pure mesorah of the Vilna Gaon like few others.

The levaya will take place this evening. Details will be posted shortly. Kevurah will take place in Eretz Yisroel.

Updated: The levaya will take place at  7 p.m. at Cong. Bnei Yehudah, located at 16th Avenue and 53rs Street in Boro Park. From there, the aron will be taken to JFK Airport.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}

22 COMMENTS

  1. When I was spending the Yom Tov season this past fall with my mother shetichye in Haym Solomon Nursing Home in Brooklyn, Rav Brevda was a patient there. Besides conversing with him, I had the z’chus to hold the Gemara for him while he actually delivered a complete shiur on Inyana D’yoma, despite his severely weakened condition.
    Something to remember and be inspired by.
    May he be a meilitz yosher for all of Klal Yisroel.

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  4. We are an orphaned generation with the loss of Rav Brevda,zt”l a true conduit of our mesorah M’Sinai. After the loss of Rav Avigdor Miller,zt”l, a number of years ago, and now Rav Brevda we are sorely lacking in any who can fill their shoes.

  5. Until Nisson 27th, 2001, Rav Avigdor Miller ZT’L was the most eloquent speaker on this planet. From Nisson 27th, 2001 thru Teves 26th, 2013, Rav Shlomo Brevda ZT’L was the most eloquent speaker on this planet.

    Now we are totally bereft of real eloquence. Even with such talented speakers , it is totally impossible to suggest who is the most eloquent speaker, if if anyone is even near this eloquence.

  6. How horrible!!!!boruch dayan haemes. Not only did we lose a tremendous talmud chochom, but he was a tremendous “Ish Emes”, tremendous “ohev Yisroel” such a modest person, no airs, so available , so real..such a mentsch par excellence…who do we have to learn from now, tisha buv i cant forget his long shiur while we sat for hours on the floor of the shul and he stood for hours! sharing emes with us! we cried together, laughed together, thought together…on my…hashem who will ever be able to fill this void??How horrible!!!!boruch dayan haemes. Not only did we lose a tremendous talmud chochom, but he was a tremendous “Ish Emes”, tremendous “ohev Yisroel” such a modest person, no airs, so available , so real..such a Mentsch par excellence…who do we have to learn from now, Tisha-buv i cant forget his long shiur while we sat for hours on the floor of the shul and he stood for hours! sharing Emes with us! we cried together, laughed together, thought together…on my…hashem who will ever be able to fill this void??

  7. Harav Shlomo (Leib) Brevda, a prolific author and Maggid who traveled around the world for about 60 years delivering Divrei Chizuk at the behest of his Rebbi, Harav Chatzkel Levinstein, was Niftar yesterday afternoon following an extended illness. He was 81. Rav Brevda, who was in New York at the time of his Petirah, was the impetus behind the Brisker Rav establishing his now-famed yeshivah in Yerushalayim.
    He devoted his life to doing extensive research on the Vilna Gaon’s sefarim, publishing many of them with his own commentary.
    “Something unique about him, something extremely positive, was that everyone who spoke about his Shmuessen had the same line: They always felt addressed,” a family member said. “You could have someone as young as 8 and as old as 80 and they all felt like he was talking to them.”
    Rav Brevda was born in Crown Heights in 1931 to Reb Moshe Yitzchak and Miriam Brevda. A Ben Acher Ben of Harav Chaim Chaika of Amdora, one of the Mezritcher Maggid’s big Talmidim, Reb Moshe Yitzchak brought his family to the United States from Baranovich in Poland prior to Reb Shlomo’s birth.
    Reb Shlomo learned in Yeshivah Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan, then the country’s premier Yeshivah for higher learning. A straight A-plus student in Hebrew and secular studies, Reb Shlomo prepared to start going to college following Rosh Hashanah of 1947. But shortly before the Yamim Noraim, the bulk of the Mirrer Yeshivah, miraculously rescued from the Holocaust through their sojourn in Shanghai, China, arrived in New York, Harav Chatzkel Levenstein, the Mashgiach, at their head.
    Reb Shlomo spent an uplifting Rosh Hashanah with Reb Chatzkel, and then decided that he wanted to remain learning Torah full time.“If this is Yiddishkeit,” he said, “then I am not going to college.” That decision was not an easy one. Friends in YU ostracized him over it. Family members thought he was crazy. But the worst was yet to come. As the “only” Yeshivah Bachur in the Shul where he Davened, a Makom Tefillah for more than 800 Mispallelim, he was requested to speak that year at the Simchas Bais HaSoavoh .
    Reb Shlomo cried out in his short lived Drashah “College,” “Rachmana Litzlan!!!!!!!!!!!!”
    He then ducked, not a second too soon. Members of the Shul, incensed at his denigration of what was an integral of the American Jewish lifestyle, began pelting him with objects, then graduating to chairs and benches.
    After what he later said was a 20-minute scuffle, Reb Shlomo told them, “I learned from Reb Chatzkel not to be scared and I’m going to continue talking like this always saying the truth.”
    Determined to fulfill his dream of fulltime learning Torah. Right after Reb. Chatzkel moved to Eretz Yisroel, Reb Shlomo went to Lakewood where he heard Shiurim from Harav Aharon Kotler, zt”l. Reb Shlomo developed a very close Kesher with the Rosh Yeshivah, that was so close, that when he wanted to leave Lakewood for Eretz Yisrael to join Reb Chatzkel Reb Aharon begged him to stay.
    Reb Aron said to him: “The yeshivah will close and everyone will leave if you leave,” Reb Aharon said. Reb Shlomo was only granted permission to leave if he would sneak out and not tell anyone. He then sailed to Eretz Yisrael a trip that took Two month the boat almost sank twice, and settled in Yerushalayim.
    The Holy Land in the 1950s offered the young Bachur a plethora of unique opportunities. He drew near many Gedolim, but gained an exceptionally close relationship with the Brisker Rav Reb Chaim Schmulivitz and the Chazon Ish etc.
    “Let in the American bachur!” the Chazon Ish would exclaim upon seeing Reb Shlomo during his visits to Bnei Brak.
    Reb Shlomo would speak with the Brisker Rav in learning for a half hour to an hour, a daily Seder that took a tremendous exertion on Reb Shlomo’s part. The Rav was known for his sharpness and intolerance of those who wanted to talk just for the sake of talking. So Reb Shlomo would prepare for close to ten hours each day for the hour long discussion.
    It was apparent that the Rav enjoyed these sessions. One day he asked Reb Shlomo where he learned.“I’m waiting for the Rav to open a yeshivah,” Reb Shlomo responded boldly.“A yeshiva for one Bachur?” the Rav replied. “A yeshivah needs at least two bachuirim, so that they could have a chavrusa. Get another bachur and we will open a yeshivah.”Shortly afterward, the Brisker Yeshivah opened for two Bachurim on Press St., with Harav Berel Soloveitchek, zt”l, the Rav’s son, giving the shiurim.
    One condition the Rav placed on the Yeshivah’s opening was that the two Bachurim not tell anyone in the world. And, indeed, for six months nobody knew of its existence, even when the Chazon Ish — who wanted to learn with Reb Shlomo on a steady basis — asked him where he was learning.
    After six months The Brisker Rav call in Reb Shlomo and said to him “I see you are a Ne’eman,” I can trust you, you know how to keep a secret, the Brisker Rav told Reb Shlomo after the first zman was over. “I sent people to check up on you and you indeed did not tell anyone. I am now publicizing the Yeshivah and you will become a Ben Bayis by me 24-7.”
    While learning in Brisk, word of his Hasmadah and success in Torah was reaching his old neighborhood in Brooklyn NY. Prospective fathers-in-law wanted him for their daughter, with one even offering a $250,000 Nadan and another $750,000. etc. Reb Shlomo consulted with Reb Chatzkel, who had in the meantime become Mashgiach in Ponovezh, who told him to turn them all down.
    “If you want a happy life,” Reb Chatzkel said, “make sure you marry a poor girl from a Torah’dige house. Because with lots money one can never have a happy life.”
    Taking this advice literally, Reb Shlomo rejected any Shidduch with wealth in the family — even as several Rabbanim vied for him. He finally married his Rebbetzin, the daughter of Reb Avraham Boruch Greenblatt, “a tremendous Masmid, who lived with his 11 children in a one-bedroom apartment,” according to Reb Velvel Brevda, Reb Shlomo’s son. Harav Efraim Greenblatt, the former Rav of Memphis, Tenn., who currently lives in Eretz Yisrael, was one of those children. Following Reb Shlomo’s marriage, Reb Chatzkel informed him that his “Tafkid on the world is to learn with people, to teach people of all ages.”
    That assignment was a difficult one for the young man, who admitted that “I was so shy [as a child] that when my mother would ask me to go to the neighbor to get milk I would run to my room to hide.”
    Reb Shlomo moved to New York, he took a job as an 8th grade Rebbi inWilliamsburg’s Viener Cheder. When Talmidim insisted on staying with him at the end of the school year, he moved up with them to 9th grade and then to 10th grade. When 10th grade was over he moved back to Eretz Yisroel.
    His ability to dissect complex subjects into simple ideas was apparent then already. When he learned the Parshios of Vayikra with his young talmidim, (that took 3 years) he taught them the complicated Halachos of Kodshim that he learned while in Brisk.
    When Reb Shlomo later moved back to Eretz Yisrael, settling in Bnei Brak, he was considred the Mashgiach in about 50 Yeshivas and Kollelim in Eretz Yisroel, he traveled frequently for his Trashos on Tefillah and Emes, and to raise money for many poor families in Eretz Yisrael.
    When the secular United Jewish Appeal foundation once came to Israel to issue grants, he asked the Steipler, Harav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky, zt”l, if he should apply.
    “It’s a waste of time,” the Steipler responded. “While most Mosdos have some Sheker involved, I am familiar with all of your causes and they are all 100% pure Emes. And the UJA does not have the Zechus to give to pure Emes.”

  8. Thousands mourned the passing of HaRav Sholom Brevda zt”l all over the world. HaRav Brevda passed away on Tuesday night, 27 Teves.

    The levaya left that night from the Beis Yehuda yeshiva in Boro Park. The maspidim were HaRav Malkiel Kotler, HaRav Matisyohu Salomon, HaRav Dovid Shustal, HaRav Gershon Weiss, HaRav Chaim Eliezer Blau, his son HaRav Aharon, and others.

    The aron arrived in Eretz Yisroel on Wednesday afternoon. The weather in Eretz Yisroel was stormy the entire week with snow predicted that evening. Hundreds of people met the aron at the airport and there were a few hespedim said there. Then the aron proceeded to Yerushalayim and the Torah Ore Yeshiva. Thousands filled the beis medrash and several other large rooms in the building which were set up with loudspeakers.

    Because of the difficult weather that made it exceedingly difficult to get to Yerushalayim, a parallel hesped was conducted in the beis medrash of the yeshiva Knesses Chizkiyahu in Kfar Chassidim, at the same time that the levaya in Yerushalayim was going on.

    *

    The first speaker in Yerushalayim was HaRav Yitzchok Ezrachi, a rosh yeshiva of Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem. HaRav Ezrachi said that the niftar was a man of blessing and even though he met him many times throughout his life he does not remember any time the he met him that he did not give him a blessing. He also said that HaRav Brevda was against the way that some people serve Hashem melumodoh, through force of habit and only with their outward actions. The niftar spoke against this and was very effective with his pikchus and his depth. As did many of the maspidim say, he said that the Vilna Gaon would be expected to greet him since he dedicated so much effort to spreading his works.

    The Mashgiach HaRav Don Segal said that he was like Eliezer the servant of Avrohom who dipped and distributed the Torah of his master to all.

    His oldest son HaRav Chaim Chaikel said that his father was dedicated to Emes, truth, or, as he once put it, Emes, zichrono livrochoh, meaning truth to a degree that is not found nowadays. He said that when his father finished high school in America, everyone, without exception, went to college. Someone suggested that he try a yeshiva and he went to the Mir Yeshiva in Brooklyn for Elul and Yomim Noraim. He was very impressed and won over. For the first time he saw how older men who seemed to be good people cried and worried over the Heavenly Judgment.

    On Succos he went back home. His family davened in a shul of 800 members. As a yeshiva bochur, something that was exceedingly rare in that area, they asked him to say a few words. It was the first of thousands of speeches he gave throughout his life. The headline of his speech was “College Rachmono Litzlan.” He said that when people grasped what he was saying they started throwing things at him and he had to hide under the table until they ran out of things to throw. Then he got up and finished what he had to say.

    Biography

    HaRav Shlomo Leib Brevda zt”l was born in Newark on 5 Adar 5691 (1931). His father Rav Moshe Yitzchok from Baranovitch was a cheder rebbe. His mother Miriam o”h was from the Kantrovitz family from Zhettel. The Chofetz Chaim also came from Zhettel as did HaRav Zalman Sorotzkin who was the rov there. Rav Moshe Yitzchok was the seventh generation descendant (from his father’s side and through the male line) of the Admor HaRav Chaim Chaikel of Amdor (in Lithuania) who was the author of the sefer Chaim Vechessed and a talmid of the Maggid of Mezritch. His mother was also a descendant of HaRav Chaim Chaikel of Amdor. Her father was HaRav Efraim Mordechai Halevi Epstein zt”l from Novgrodek near Minsk who was the author of Meiro Dachya on Pirkei Ovos, Machane Efraim on the Maharsha, and Gevuros Ha’Ari, a biography of his ancestor the author of HaPardes HaRav Aryeh Leib Halevi Epstein zt”l who was the rebbe of the Yesod Veshoresh Ho’Avodoh. HaRav Efraim Mordechai Halevi Epstein was also descended from the Levush, the Maharal of Prague, the author of Ma’asei Hashem and Yosef Lekach, the Mahari Mintz and other gedolei doros from this well-known family.

    Rav Moshe Yitzchok had a special talent from teaching Torah and giving it over to his young students. Even though most of the younger generation abandoned their traditions when they grew older and did not even remain shomrei Shabbos, whoever learned by Rav Moshe Yitzchok remained a shomer Torah and mitzvos. This was very unusual and it is attributed to his emphasis on the sweetness of the ruchniyus and his patient teaching of each child in his special way. Therefore his students did not abandon his teaching when they grew older.

    Every place he learned as a child his rabbonim and chaveirim thought very highly of him. From the beginning he was dedicated to searching for emes, both in learning Torah and in avodas Hashem.

    When the Mir Yeshiva reached America after the end of the War, they continued to run it as it had been run in Mir and Shanghai. At first they did not want to take in bochurim who had grown up in America because they thought that in general they did not fit in well with the atmosphere of the yeshiva whose tone was set by mature chachomim who were very advanced in Torah and yiras Shomayim, as it had been in Lithuania in the earlier days. Hashgocho Elyona saw to it that one day they decided to change this approach a bit and to take in a few select bochurim from America including the niftar. From then he became permanently attached to his rebbe muvhak Maran Hamashgiach HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein zt”l, who made a special vaad for that group of American bochurim where he taught them the basics of yiras and avodas Hashem.

    When the Mashgiach went to Eretz Yisroel, the niftar went to learn by HaRav Aharon Kotler zt”l in Lakewood. His learning and his holy hanhogos made a big impact on the yeshiva, and when he told HaRav Aharon that he was thinking of going to learn in Eretz Yisroel, the Rosh Yeshiva asked him not to rush into doing that since his presence in Lakewood added a lot to the atmosphere. The niftar once told his oldest son that his great interest in the Torah of the Gra he got from HaRav Aharon. It is well known that HaRav Aharon studied the Torah of the Gra and in his shiurim he used to discuss what the Gra said and he used to praise the Gra and his Torah. This is what brought HaRav Brevda to dedicate himself so much to the study of the Torah of the Gra.

    Throughout this period he used to correspond with his rebbe the Mashgiach zt”l, who eventually told him that he should come to Eretz Yisroel and withdraw from the materialism that was rampant in the United States.

    When HaRav Brevda reached Eretz Yisroel and went in to see the Mashgiach, who at the time lived in Yerushalayim, the Mashgiach told him that he should go immediately to the Chazon Ish and to the Brisker Rov. HaRav Brevda developed a strong relationship with both of these gedolei hador. He would travel to Bnei Brak to speak with the Chazon Ish. Sometimes when he asked the Mashgiach something, the latter would send him for an answer to the Chazon Ish. One time after HaRav Brevda came out from speaking with the Chazon Ish, the Chazon Ish told one of his companions, Der bochur ken lernen (That bochur knows how to learn).

    HaRav Brevda would tell his chidushim to the Chazon Ish. The Chazon Ish enjoyed to chidushim HaRav Brevda told him and one time he even got up and kissed him after he had told him a particular chiddush.

    One time HaRav Brevda asked the Chazon Ish about the derech halimmud. The Chazon Ish answered, “Lema’aseh, everyone has to choose the way of learning that he feels is best for him. But my complaint is against those who say that one particular derech is emes and they say that every other derech is posul. We should not make a banner and write upon it, `I am searching for emes,’ and thereby invalidate, chas vesholom, everyone who does not follow this particular path.”

    At the advice of the Mashgiach, he would go to the Brisker Rov and tell him over his chidushei Torah.

    One time the Brisker Rov told him that he wants his son HaRav Yosef Dov Ber to begin saying shiurim, and he wants HaRav Brevda to be his first student. Therefore the Brisker Rov wanted to talk to him to see if he is truly worthy of this, and he made an appointment to do so. When HaRav Brevda arrived for the appointment, the Brisker Rov told his son HaRav Refoel to leave the room and to close the door behind him. The Rov sat down opposite him and drew close to him and told him several things in confidence. After that the Rov decided that he was worthy of being the first student in his son’s yeshiva. From then HaRav Brevda would learn with a chavrusa in Mir, and go to hear the shiurim of HaRav Soloveitchik. He would also go to the sichos that the Mashgiach used to say in his home for a select group of bnei aliya.

    In Tammuz 5714 he married Leah tichye, the daughter of HaRav Avrohom Boruch Greenblat zt”l of Yerushalayim, who had moved there from Brisk where he had learned in the yeshiva of the Imrei Moshe. Together they built a true Torah home, founded on Torah and chesed to the klal and to the individual.

    Right after his marriage he learned in the kollel of Kamenetz in Yerushalayim, but later he moved to Bnei Brak where he learned in the Kolel Chazon Ish and heard shmuessim from the Mashgiach who had moved there to be in the Ponovezh yeshiva. From time to time he would go to Yerushalayim to speak with the Brisker Rov. It was during this period that he began to put special emphasis on the Torah of the Gra.

    On the orders of his rebbe the Mashgiach zt”l, he used to be marbitz Torah in Eretz Yisroel and in chutz la’aretz. The Mashgiach always asked if he listened to him and gave droshos in public, speaking from his heart to arouse his audience to grow in Torah, tefillah and pure yir’oh.

    Once the Mashgiach asked HaRav Brevda to tell him over a particular droshoh that he had given. The Mashgiach listened to the whole droshoh with great seriousness, following every word. Anything that he did not hear clearly (the Mashgiach was hard of hearing in his later years) he asked him to repeat. At the end, when he had finished saying over his droshoh, the Mashgiach’s face was radiant with simchah and nachas and the Mashgiach said to him: “I see that you are successful. I bless you that you should continue to be matzliach.”

    In 5717 (1957) the Mashgiach sent him to New York City and he gave him amazingly detailed instructions on what to do to be mekarev people. He followed the Mashgiach’s instructions and indeed he was successful and saved many souls from falling to the pits and counselled them along the paths of righteousness.

    In 5722 (1962) he returned to Bnei Brak and to Kollel Chazon Ish, as well as to the Mashgiach with whom he was close for the next six years. He gave droshos of chizuk, as his rebbe insisted, and he counselled bochurim and avreichim that the Mashgiach used to send him.

    In 5723 there was a special kinus for chizuk of the kollelim in his home, with the participation of gedolei Yisroel ztvk”l and shlita, led by HaRav Shach and the Steipler Gaon. One of the main themes of the kinus was the importance of learning through toil, and after the kinus HaRav Brevda was charged with publishing the sefer Ameiloh Shel Torah that developed this subject. Gedolei Yisroel sent him articles on the subject that were included in the sefer.

    Maran Rosh Hayeshiva HaRav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman shlita, who participated in the kinus, was effusive in his praise of the kinus and the great benefit it brought to the cause of learning with toil and effort.

    Over the years HaRav Brevda used to go to HaRav Shach to speak over divrei Torah and hashkofoh. One time HaRav Shach visited HaRav Brevda on chol hamoed when he was not feeling well and he heard from him an explanation of something the Gra said. HaRav Shach was overjoyed at the explanation, and he told his talmidim, “Whoever has not heard and explanation like that one does not know what simchas yom tov is.”

    HaRav Shach wrote him a wonderful letter for his sefer Eifoh Shleimoh on Tefillas Channah and Chad Gadya.

    In his hesped, his son said that when his father had finished that sefer, he went to Maran HaRav Shach for a letter. HaRav Shach said that it was not a good time to write a letter. HaRav Brevda returned several times over a few months and each time HaRav Shach said that it was not a good time to write a letter for the sefer. Suddenly, late on erev Yom Kippur, there was a knock at HaRav Brevda’s door. It was HaRav Shach. He said that now is a good time to write a letter for a sefer such as HaRav Brevda’s and proceeded to do so.

    In part the letter read, “The Rav HaGaon worked and toiled and he was successful and his efforts bore fruit. He has great knowledge of the sayings of the Gra and he knows how to uncover hidden things and hints in the writings of the Gra. May Hashem help him to publish and to enlighten the world with the brilliant sayings of the Gra zt”l. And may the zchus of the Gra stand for him so that he will see the coming of Moshiach Tzikdeinu and binyan Ariel.”

    HaRav Shach also gave him $1,000 towards the expenses of the sefer, saying that he wanted to be a part of it.

    In 5728 the Mashgiach sent him to London where he had to undergo a difficult operation for one of his kidneys. The Mashgiach suddenly told him that he should leave as soon as possible and take his family with him. The Mashgiach did not explain why, but he of course followed the advice. When he arrived in London he had the operation right away and the doctor said that if had waited much longer it would have not been possible to save the kidney. About two weeks later it became clear that he was not finished with the ailment, but would have to remain in London for treatment. The Mashgiach advised him to stay in London and to spread Torah there. At that point it became clear why the Mashgiach told him to take his family with him. He spent around 13 years in London and had many important talmidim.

    In one of his letters, the Mashgiach wrote that although he should stay in London for now, “Your future is in Eretz Yisroel.” However, as long as the Mashgiach lived he did not give him permission to return to Eretz Yisroel and only several years after his passing he asked Maran HaRav Shach who said he could return. In 5739 he returned to Eretz Yisroel, fulfilling the words of the Mashgiach.

    HaRav Shach told him that he must continue to give his droshos, and the Steipler was also very insistent. The Steipler said that in earlier generations there maggidim in almost every shul, but now one does not hear a good word. So he must continue speaking about yiras Shomayim even in Eretz Yisroel.

    When he used to talk about the avodoh of the Cohen Godol on Yom Kippur, he made his audience feel like they were participating. When he spoke about yetzias Mitzrayim, the audience used to feel like they were going out. He did this for many times in the year, including Purim, Chanukah, the aveilus for the Churban and Yomim Noraim.

    Many changed their spiritual path after hearing his droshos. He spoke from his heart but with his mind. Talmidei chachomim and simple Jews eagerly came to hear him. The emes was always the light that guided him. As his son said in a hesped, he once called it “Emes, zichrono livrochoh.” Such a consistent and complete commitment to emes is not common these days.

    He used to give out hundreds of thousands of shekels a year from the donations of friends and followers to needy and deserving families. He once said that he could do more in this area but his rebbe the Mashgiach had made it clear that his main purpose in This World was to infuse spirituality into the souls of the Jewish people.

    He wrote many seforim that are admired and used, including, Amoloh Shel Torah, Leil Shimurim, Yiboneh Hamikdosh, Yemei Rotzon, Lehodos Ulehaleil, Kiymu Vekiblu. The climax of his Torah publications was his series of Eifoh Shleimoh on the commentaries of the Gra. Five volumes were published so far: Tefillas Channah and Chad Gadya, Sefer Yonah, and three volumes on Shir Hashirim. He carefully determined the correct readings, and also gathered cross references and parallels from the Gra’s many writings that shed light on his meaning.

    In 5748 Maran HaRav Shach advised him to seek treatment from doctors in the United States and since then he spent most of the year in the US, where he continued to spread Torah. He used to spend most of the yom tovim in Eretz Yisroel, and on occasion he would be able to spend other time in Eretz Yisroel as well. Whenever he was in Eretz Yisroel he would be extremely busy saying droshos all over the country, usually several each day.

    The last time he came to Eretz Yisroel was in Shvat 5772. In Adar of last year he became very sick and he had yissurim in several places in his body. On Tuesday night, 27 Teves, he began a treatment, and suddenly suffered a fatal heart attack.

    He is survived by his wife tichye, who was dedicated to him, his sons HaRav Chaim Chaikel, HaRav Yeshaya Zeev, HaRav Aharon, his sons-in-law HaRav Yosef Yosolovsky, HaRav Yaakov Yitzchok Altusky, HaRav Osher Druk, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and thousands of bereft students and listeners to his droshos, who mourn his passing.

  9. A Tribute to Rav Shlomo Brevda zt”l

    Remembering HaRav Shlomo Leib Brevda zt”l on his second Yartzeit on Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Va’era 5775.

    Remembering the day, Two years ago when Tens of Thousands mourned the passing of HaRav Sholom Brevda zt”l all over the world. HaRav Brevda zt”l passed away on 26 Teves 5773

    The Levaya that evening in Cong. Beis Yehuda in Boro Park. The Maspidim were HaRav Malkiel Kotler, HaRav Matisyohu Salomon, HaRav Dovid Shustal, HaRav Gershon Weiss, HaRav Chaim Eliezer Blau, his son HaRav Aharon, and others.

    The Aron arrived in Eretz Yisroel next afternoon. The weather in Eretz Yisroel was stormy the entire week with snow predicted that evening, but when the Aron was taken out for Kevurah the snow suddenly stopped till it was fully covered then it continued snowing. Thousands of people met the Aron at the airport and there were a few Hespedim said there. Then the Aron proceeded to Yerushalayim to Yeshiva Torah Ore. Thousands filled the Beis Medrash dining room and several other large rooms in and out of the building which were set up with loudspeakers.

    Because of the difficult weather that made it exceedingly difficult to get to Yerushalayim, a parallel Hesped was conducted in the Beis Medrash of the yeshiva Knesses Chizkiyahu in Kfar Chassidim and on Kol HaLashon etc. at the same time that the Levaya in Yerushalayim was going on.

    The first speaker in Yerushalayim was HaRav Yitzchok Ezrachi, Rosh yeshiva of Mir Yeshiva. HaRav Ezrachi said that HaRav Brevda was a man of blessing and even though he met him many times throughout his life he does not remember any time the he met him that he did not give him a blessing. He also said that HaRav Brevda was against the way that some people serve Hashem Melumodoh, through force of habit and only with their outward actions. HaRav Brevda spoke against this and was very effective with his Pikchus and his depth. As did many of the Maspidim say, he said that the Vilna Gaon would be expected to greet him since he dedicated so much effort to spreading his works.

    The Mashgiach HaRav Don Segal said that he was like Eliezer the servant of Avrohom who dipped and distributed the Torah of his master to all.

    His second son HaRav Velvel said that his father was dedicated to the Emes, truth, or, as he once put it, “Emes, Zichrono Livrochoh” meaning truth to a degree that is not found nowadays. He gave an example, that when his father finished high school in America, everyone, without exception, went to college. Someone suggested that he try something new called a “Yeshiva” so he joined the Mir Yeshiva for Elul and Yomim Noraim right after they arrived in NY. He was very impressed and won over. For the first time he saw how older men who seemed to be good people cried and worried over the Heavenly Judgment, Davening with tears.

    For Succos of that year he went back home to Crown Heights. His family Davened in a Shul of 800 As the only yeshiva Bochur in the Shul, something that was exceedingly rare in America, they asked him to say a few words. It was the first of thousands of speeches he gave throughout his life. The headline of his speech was”College Rachmono Litzlan.” (College g-d forbid) He said that when people grasped what he was saying they started throwing things at him and he had to hide under the table to save his life! Until they ran out of things to throw. Then he got up and finished what he had to say. His son also said that his father was full of Simcha when he praised his grandchildren who dress to the fullest extent of Hilchos Tznius, even dressing with a Shaul and a head covering (outside) as they did in Yrusalayim when Rav Brevda arrived there over 60 years ago, Rav Brevda blessed his grandchildren twice saying, that in the Zechus of their Tznius they will greet Moshiach in the near future.

    Part of HaRav Brevda’s Biography:

    HaRav Shlomo Leib Brevda zt”l was born in America on 5 Adar 5691 (1931) His father Rav Moshe Yitzchok z”l from Baranovitch was a Cheder Rebbe. His mother Miriam o”h was from the Kantrovitz family from Zhettel. The Chofetz Chaim also came from Zhettel as did HaRav Zalman Sorotzkin who was the Rov there.

    His father Rav Moshe Yitzchok was the seventh generation descendant Ben Acher Ben (from his father’s side) of the Admor HaRav Chaim Chaikel of Amdor (in Lithuania) who was the author of the Sefer Chaim Vechessed and a Talmid of the Gra then from the Maggid of Mezritch. His mother was also a descendant of HaRav Chaim Chaikel of Amdor. Her father was HaRav Efraim Mordechai Halevi Epstein zt”l from Novgrodek near Minsk who was the author of Meiro Dachya on Pirkei Ovos, Machane Efraim on the Maharsha, and Gevuros Ha’Ari, a biography of his ancestor the author of HaPardes HaRav Aryeh Leib Halevi Epstein zt”l who was the Rebbe of the Yesod Veshoresh Ho’Avodoh. HaRav Efraim Mordechai Halevi Epstein was also descended from the Levush, the Maharal of Prague, the author of Ma’asei Hashem and Yosef Lekach, the Mahari Mintz and other Gedolei Doros from this well-known family.

    Rav Moshe Yitzchok had a special talent from teaching Torah and giving it over to his young students. Even though that at that time in America most of the younger generation abandoned their traditions when they grew older and did not even remain Shomrei Shabbos,whoever learned by Rav Moshe Yitzchok remained a Shomer Torah and Mitzvos. This was very unusual and it is attributed to his emphasis on the sweetness of the Ruchniyus and his patient teaching of each child in his special way. Therefore his students did not abandon his teaching when they grew older.

    Every place where Rav Bevda learned as a child his Rabbonim and Chaveirim thought very highly of him. From the beginning he was dedicated to searching for Emes, both in learning Torah and in Avodas Hashem.

    When the Mir Yeshiva reached America after the end of the War, they continued to run it as it had been run in Mir and Shanghai. At first they did not want to take in Bochurim who had grown up in America because they thought that in general they did not fit in well with the atmosphere of the yeshiva whose tone was set by mature Chachomim who were very advanced in Torah and Yiras Shomayim, as it had been in Lithuania in the earlier days. Hashgocho Elyona saw to it that one day they decided to change this approach a bit and to take in seven selected Bochurim from America including Rav Brevda. From then he became permanently attached to his Rebbe Muvhak, Maran Hamashgiach, HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein zt”l, who made a special Vaad for that group of American Bochurim where he taught them the basics of Yiras and Avodas Hashem. In later years the Mashgiach said that when he’ll come up to the next world and they might not find him worthy to enter Gan Eden he’ll tell them that his Talmid is Rav Shlomo Brevda and that will be a Zechus that will help him get whisked into Gan Eden right away.

    When the Mashgiach went to Eretz Yisroel, the Rav Brevda went to learn by HaRav Aharon Kotler zt”l in Lakewood. His learning and his holy Hanhogos made a big impact on the yeshiva, and when he told HaRav Aharon that he was thinking of going to learn in Eretz Yisroel, the Rosh Yeshiva asked him not to rush into doing that since his presence in Lakewood added a lot to the atmosphere. Rav Brevda once told his oldest son that his great interest in the Torah of the Gra he got from HaRav Aharon. It is well known that HaRav Aharon studied the Torah of the Gra and in his Shiurim he used to discuss what the Gra said and he used to praise the Gra and his Torah. This is what brought HaRav Brevda to dedicate himself so much to the study of the Torah of the Gra.

    Throughout this period he used to correspond with his Rebbe the Mashgiach zt”l, who eventually told him that he should come to learn in Eretz Yisroel and withdraw from the materialism that was rampant in the United States.

    When HaRav Brevda reached Eretz Yisroel and went in to see the Mashgiach, who at the time lived in Yerushalayim, the Mashgiach told him that he should go immediately to the Chazon Ish and to the Brisker Rov. HaRav Brevda developed a strong and close relationship with both of these Gedolei Hador. He would travel to Bnei Brak to speak with the Chazon Ish in learning. Sometimes when he asked the Mashgiach something, he would send him for an answer to the Chazon Ish. One time after HaRav Brevda came out from speaking with the Chazon Ish, the Chazon Ish told one of his companions, Der Bochur Ken Lernen (That Bochur knows how to learn Torah) and offered HaRav Brevda to stay with him in Bnai Brak and be his daily Cavrusa, but at that point he was already in Brisk.

    HaRav Brevda would tell some of his Chidushim to the Chazon Ish. The Chazon Ish enjoyed the Chidushim tremendously that HaRav Brevda told him. One time he even got up and kissed him after he had told him a particular Chiddush.

    One time HaRav Brevda asked the Chazon Ish about the Derech Halimmud. The Chazon Ish answered, “Lema’aseh, everyone has to choose the way of learning that he feels is best for him. But my complaint is against those who say that one particular Derech is Emes and they say that every other Derech is Posul. We should not make a banner and write upon it, `I am searching for Emes,’ and thereby invalidate, Chas Vesholom, everyone who does not follow this particular path.”

    At the advice of the Mashgiach, he would also go to the Brisker Rov and tell him over his Chidushei Torah. One time the Brisker Rov told him that he wants his son HaRav Yosef Dov Ber to begin saying Shiurim, and he wants HaRav Brevda to be his first Talmid. Therefore the Brisker Rov wanted to talk to him to see if he is truly worthy of this, and he made an appointment to do so. When HaRav Brevda arrived for the appointment, the Brisker Rov told his son HaRav Refoel to leave the room and to close the door behind him. The Rov sat down opposite him and drew close to him and told him several things in confidence. After that the Rov decided that he was worthy of being the first student in his son’s yeshiva. From then HaRav Brevda would learn with a Chavrusa in Mir, and go to hear the Shiurim of HaRav Berel Soloveitchik. He would also go to the Shmuzen that the Mashgiach used to say in his home for a select group of Bnei Aliya.

    In Tammuz 5714 he married Hinda Leah Tichye, the daughter of HaRav Avrohom Boruch Greenblat zt”l of Yerushalayim, who had moved there from Brisk where he had learned in the yeshiva of the Imrei Moshe. Together they built a true Torah home, founded on Torah and Chesed to the Klal and to the individual.

    Right after his marriage he learned in the kollel of Kamenetz in Yerushalayim, but later he moved to Bnei Brak where he learned in Kolel Chazon Ish and heard Shmuessim from the Mashgiach who had moved there to be in the Ponovezh yeshiva. From time to time he would go to Yerushalayim to speak with the Brisker Rov. It was during this period that he began to put special emphasis on the Torah of the Gra.

    On the orders of his Rebbe the Mashgiach zt”l, he used to be Marbitz Torah in Eretz Yisroel and in Chutz La’aretz. The Mashgiach always asked if he listened to him and gave Droshos in public, speaking from his heart to arouse his audience to grow in Torah, Tefillah and pure Yiras Somayim.

    Once the Mashgiach asked HaRav Brevda to tell him over a particular Droshoh. The Mashgiach listened to the whole Droshoh with great seriousness, following every word. Anything that he did not hear clearly (the Mashgiach was hard of hearing in his later years) he asked him to repeat. At the end, when he had finished saying over his Droshoh, the Mashgiach’s face was radiant with Simchah and Nachas and the Mashgiach said to him: “I see that you are successful. I bless you that you should continue to be Matzliach.”

    In 5717 (1957) the Mashgiach sent him to New York and he gave him amazingly detailed instructions on how to be Mekarev Yidden. He followed the Mashgiach’s instructions and indeed he was successful and saved many many souls from falling to the pits and helped them along to the paths of righteousness and Kvishas Hayetzer.

    In 5721 (1961) he returned to Bnei Brak and to Kollel Chazon Ish, as well as to the Mashgiach with whom he was very close for the next six years. He gave Droshos of Chizuk, as his Rebbe insisted, and he advised Bochurim and Avreichim that the Mashgiach send to him.

    In 5723 there was a special Kinus for Chizuk of the Kollelim at HaRav Brevda’s home in Bnai Brak, with the participation of about 26 Gedolei Yisroel ztvk”l and Shlita, led by HaRav Shach and the Steipler Gaon. One of the main themes of the Kinus was the importance of learning through toil, and after the Kinus HaRav Brevda was charged with publishing the Sefer Ameiloh Shel Torah that developed this subject. Gedolei Yisroel sent him articles on the subject that were included in the Sefer. The Gedolim who participated in the Kinus, where effusive and praised the Kinus and the great benefit it brought to the cause of learning with toil and effort.

    Over the years HaRav Brevda used to go to HaRav Shach to speak over Divrei Torah and Hashkofoh. One time HaRav Shach visited HaRav Brevda on Chol Hamoed when he was not feeling well, and he heard from him an explanation of something the Gra said. HaRav Shach was overjoyed at the explanation, and he told his Talmidim, “Whoever has not heard and explanation like that one does not know what Simchas Yom Tov is.” HaRav Shach wrote him a wonderful Haskomah for his Sefer Eifoh Shleimoh on Tefillas Channah and Chad Gadya.

    In his Hesped, his son Reb Velvel said that when his father had finished that Sefer, he went to Maran HaRav Shach for a letter. HaRav Shach said that it was not a good time to write a letter. HaRav Brevda returned several times over a few months and each time HaRav Shach said that it was not a good enough time to write a letter for the Sefer. Suddenly, late on Erev Yom Kippur, there was a knock at HaRav Brevda’s door. It was HaRav Shach. He said that now is a good time to write a letter for a Sefer such as HaRav Brevda’s and proceeded to do so.

    In part the letter read, “The Rav HaGaon HaRav Brevda worked and toiled and he was successful and his efforts bore fruit. He has great knowledge of the sayings of the Gra and he knows how to uncover hidden things and hints in the writings of the Gra. May Hashem help him to publish and to enlighten the world with the brilliant sayings of the Gra zt”l. And may the Zchus of the Gra stand for him so that he will see the coming of Moshiach Tzikdeinu and Binyan Ariel.” HaRav Shach also gave him $1,000 towards the expenses of the Sefer, saying that he wanted to have the Zechus be a part of it.

    In 5728 the Mashgiach sent him to London with his family where he had to undergo a difficult operation for one of his kidneys. The Mashgiach suddenly told him that he should leave as soon as possible and take his family with him. The Mashgiach did not explain why, but he of course followed the advice. When he arrived in London he had the operation right away and the doctor said that if had waited much longer it would have not been possible to save the kidney. About two weeks later it became clear that he was not finished with the ailment, but would have to remain in London for treatment. The Mashgiach advised him to stay in London and to spread Torah there. At that point it became clear why the Mashgiach told him to take his family with him. He spent around 13 years in London and had many great Talmidim.

    In one of his letters, the Mashgiach wrote that although he should stay in London for now, “Your future is in Eretz Yisroel.” However, as long as the Mashgiach lived he did not give him permission to return to Eretz Yisroel and only several years after his passing HaRav Brevda asked Maran HaRav Shach zt”l who said he could return. In 5739 he returned to Eretz Yisroel, fulfilling the words of the Mashgiach.

    HaRav Shach told him that he must continue to give his Droshos, and the Steipler was also very insistent. The Steipler said that in earlier generations there where Maggidim in almost every Shul, but now one does not hear a good word of Chizuk. So he must continue speaking about Yiras Shomayim even in Eretz Yisroel to the Bnai Torah.

    When he used to talk about the Avodoh of the Cohen Godol on Yom Kippur, he made his audience feel like they were participating. When he spoke about Yetzias Mitzrayim, the audience used to feel like they were going out. He did this for many times in the year, including Purim, Chanukah, Aveilus for the Churban and Yomim Noraim.

    Many thousands changed their spiritual path after hearing his Droshos. He spoke from his heart but with his mind. Talmidei Chachomim and simple Jews eagerly came to hear him. The Emes was always the light that guided him. As his son said in a Hesped, he once called it “Emes, Zichrono Livrochoh.” Such a consistent and complete commitment to Emes is not common these days.

    He used to give out hundreds of thousands of shekels a year from the donations of friends and followers to needy and deserving families. He once said that he could do more in this area but his Rebbe the Mashgiach had made it clear that his main purpose in This World was to infuse spirituality into the souls of the Jewish people.

    He wrote many Seforim that are admired and used, including, Amoloh Shel Torah, Leil Shimurim, Yiboneh Hamikdosh, Yemei Rotzon, Lehodos Ulehaleil, Kiymu Vekiblu. Since his passing his sons have been writing more of his Droshes, Seforim by the name “Lev Shlomo” the editor in chief is his son Reb Aharon Shlit”a. The climax of his Torah publications was his series of Eifoh Shleimoh on the commentaries of the Gra. Six volumes were published so far: Tefillas Channah and Chad Gadya, Sefer Yonah, and Four volumes on Shir Hashirim. He carefully determined the correct readings, and also gathered cross references and parallels from the Gra’s many writings that shed light on his meaning.

    In 5748 Maran HaRav Shach advised him to seek treatment from doctors in the United States and since then he spent most of the year in the US, where he continued to spread Torah. He used to spend most of the Yom Tovim in Eretz Yisroel, and on occasion he would be able to spend other time in Eretz Yisroel as well. Whenever he was in Eretz Yisroel he would be extremely busy saying Droshos all over the country, usually four to seven each day.

    The last time he came to Eretz Yisroel was in Shvat 5772. In Adar he became very sick and he had Yissurim in several places in his body. On the 26th of Teves 5773, he suddenly suffered a fatal heart attack..

    He is survived by his wife Leah Tichye, who was dedicated to him, his sons HaRav Chaim Chaikel, HaRav Velvel, HaRav Aharon, his sons-in-law HaRav Yosef Yosolovsky, HaRav Yaakov Yitzchok Altusky, HaRav Osher Druk, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and thousands still bereft and listeners to his Droshos on Kol HaLoshon etc. for Chizuk looking for real Emes.

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