Volover Rov to Mark Second Yahrtzeit of His Son, Rav Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum Hy”d


aryeh-leibish-teitelbaumIt is hard to believe, but  two years have already passed since those tragic days that held Klal Yisroel in suspense when we became aware that terrorists in India had captured several Jews, including two kashrus mashgichim, Rav Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum Hy”d and Rav Ben Zion Chroman Hy”d.

All across the globe, people were watching with apprehension as the attacks unfolded. There were several targets, including hotels and a train station, resulting in hundreds of victims killed or maimed. The response of the Indian police and army largely exposed their incompetence. But the incident really hit home when it became apparent that the Nariman Chabad House in Mumbai was a target as well and that several Jews were trapped inside. Jews everywhere were mispallel for the safe return of all of them. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. As was later determined, the two mashgichim had been the first ones to be killed. The blood-soaked body of Rav Aryeh Leibish was found hunched over a Gemara he was studying.

Perhaps this may well be a reflection of the incompetence of the US security agencies. As has recently been reported, the US government had been warned of the liaisons of David Headly two years before the attacks. Headly himself has admitted that the Chabad center was a chief target for the terrorists as they planned the attacks.

The father of Rav Gavriel Holzberg Hy”d, the Chabad representative in Mumbai who was killed with his wife Rivky, related that his son worriedly told him several months before the attacks about some unseemly visitors who made him uneasy. He wasn’t able to identify exactly what bothered him, but he was concerned. As a result, he had video monitors installed in the entire center, but of course, that was not something that could protect him or anyone else inside.

It is noteworthy what travelers who met Rav Aryeh Leibish on their business trips recounted during the week of shivah. They related that watching his behavior – how he never changed his dress code, his food choices, his commitment to Torah study and other matters related to Yiddishkeit – ‘obligated’ them to their Yiddishkeit as they traveled abroad.

It was that diligence to Torah that brought Rav Aryeh Leibish to the Chabad House in the first place. Rav Aryeh Leibish and Rav Ben Zion had finished their supervision of a kosher production a day earlier than anticipated, and there were no direct flights that day back to Israel. So they went to a hotel near the airport, one hour away from Mumbai. They checked in to the hotel and immediately had the chauffeur drive them to the Chabad center so they could find a minyan and learn a bit before returning to the hotel for the night. The chauffeur was waiting for them outside the Chabad center when the attack began. When their luggage was retrieved from the room later on, both the room and the luggage were found unopened. They had dropped their bags and went straight to shul.

Although Jews everywhere were deeply affected and followed every aspect of the tragedy as it unfolded, it naturally impacted the immediate families of the kedoshim in the long term. The widow of Rav Aryeh Leibish strives to maintain her husband’s adherence to every detail of Torah and halacha, and attempts, with G-d-given strength, to continue raising their children according to the principles he set forth. She has had to assume the burden of providing for her family, even during these difficult times.

The yahrtzeit of Rav Aryeh Leibish will be marked this Shabbos, Parshas Toldos, at the bais medrash of his father, the Volover Rov, Rav Nuchem Ephraim Teitelbaum, at 5808 11th Avenue in Boro Park, Brooklyn. A Kiddush will take place following the davening Shabbos morning.

A Keren Yesomim was established for the purpose of providing for the children when it is time for them to get married and establish their own homes. Donations l’illui nishmas Rav Aryeh Leibish may be sent to Keren Yesomim of Cong. Nachlas Aron, 5808 11th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11219, or contributions may be made at www.kerenyesomim.com.

{Yossi Schneider-Matzav.com Newscenter}