Rav Shneur Kotler zt”l, On His 30th Yahrtzeit, Tomorrow, 3 Tammuz


rav-shneur-kotlerRav Shneur Kotler zt”l was the son of the Lakewood rosh yeshiva, Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l. Upon the passing of his father in 1962, Rav Shneur became the rosh yeshiva of Bais Medrash Govoah in Lakewood, New Jersey. Born in Slutsk, Russia, where his maternal grandfather Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer was the rosh yeshiva and rov, Rav Shneur escaped to Mandatory Palestine in 1940. There, he studied under leading gedolim of Yerushalayim, among them Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer who had moved there previously.In 1947, after World War II, he moved to Lakewood to join his father, who had brought his yeshiva there from Europe. Rav Shneur assumed the leadership of the yeshiva with his father’s petirah in 1962. He transformed Lakewood into a flagship center of excellence and fulcrum of the yeshiva world. It was under his leadership that the yeshiva grew.

Whereas his father had actively restricted enrollment to a select group of talmidim, Rav Shneur opened the yeshiva doors.From a group of approximately 200 talmidim, the yeshiva grew to almost a thousand talmidim by 1981.

Rav Shneur Kotler in his younger years.
Rav Shneur Kotler in his younger years.

Rav Shneur sent out groups of yungeleit, pioneers, to establish kollelim in major communities across America, from Philadelphia in the East to Los Angeles in the West. The members of these kollelim would divide their time between learning and spreading the experience of Torah learning to the local Jewish populations. There are now Lakewood satellite kollels operating in 30 cities across North America.

Rav Shneur was active in communal organizations and issues. He held leadership positions as a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudas Yisroel of America and was on the rabbinical boards of Torah Umesorah and Chinuch Atzmai. Rav Shneur was also very active in helping Jewish refugees from Russia and Iran.

Rav Shneur was niftar in 1982 in Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston. He was 64. Tens of thousands assembled at the levaya in Yerushalayim; even vaster throngs had attended the levaya in America.

He was survived by his wife, Rebbetzin Rischel telita; a sister, Rebbetzin Sarah Schwartzman of New York; eight children, and many grandchildren. With his untimely petirah, his son, the current rosh yeshiva, Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, took over the leadership of the yeshiva, together with three other grandchildren of Rav Aharon Kotler, Rav Dovid Schustal, Rav Yeruchem Olshin and Rav Yisroel Neuman.

Yehi zichro boruch.

{Casriel Bauman-Matzav.com Newscenter}