Rav Chaim Aharon Weinberg zt”l

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It is with great sadness that we report the petirah of Rav Chaim Aharon Weinberg zt”l, longtime menahel of Yeshiva Ateret Torah in Flatbush, Brooklyn. He was 57.

Rav Weinberg, a chossid of the Vizhnitzer Rebbe of Monsey, Rav Mordechai Hager, was a respected mechanech whose advice and counsel were sought by thousands.

Rav Weinberg served as menahel of Yeshivat Ateret Torah since its inception in 1980 and was instrumental, together with the rosh yeshiva, Rav Yosef Harari-Raful, in making the institution a bastion of Torah in the Brooklyn Sephardic community.

Rav Weinberg was a longtime member of the Vaad Hachinuch of Talmud Torah Imrei Chaim of Vizhnitz, was one of the founders of Ichud Mosdos Hachinuch of Brooklyn, and for over 20 years served as the menahel ruchani at Camp Rayim in the Catskills. He was an active member as well of the Telshe Alumni Association and a popular speaker who inspired many thousands of Jews from all walks of life. He also authored many articles on chinuch and other topics, providing guidance and chizuk to so many.

Rav Weinberg was niftar today after battling illness for over a year.

Rav Weinberg grew up in the Bronx, where he learned in the local Lubavitcher yeshiva until sixth grade. Afterward, he attended Yeshivah Chofetz Chaim on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, which was founded by Rav Mendel Zaks zt”l, a son-in-law of the Chofetz Chaim, and, ybl”c, Rav Moshe Feigelstock, present rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Tiferes Elimelech.

Rabbi Weinberg then joined Telshe Yeshivah in Wickliffe, Ohio, which was led at the time by Rav Boruch Sorotzkin zt”l, Rav Mordechai Gifter zt”l, and Rav Chaim Stein zt”l. He stayed at Telshe Yeshivah for eleven years, including three years in kollel.

Rav Weinberg then became a rebbi in the fledgling yeshiva Mosdos Ohr HaTorah and was among the founders of the yeshiva. The next year, Rav Weinberg moved to New York, where he explored several job opportunities in chinuch. Early one morning, he received a phone call from Rav Yosef Harari-Raful, who invited Rav Weinberg to meet him later that day to discuss his plans to establish a yeshiva for Brooklyn’s Sephardic population that would match the level of the Ashkenazic education that was standard in the neighborhood. The meeting took place in the Gerrer Shteibel on Ocean Parkway. At the time, Rav Weinberg had no idea why Chacham Yosef had approached him. He presumed that Chacham Yosef must have heard that he had helped found the Cleveland Cheder and wanted to make use of this experience for his own yeshiva. It was only years later that Rav Weinberg found out that Rabbi Leibel Puretz, a prominent behind-the-scenes askan in Brooklyn’s yeshiva community, had mentioned his name to Chacham Yosef.

At their first meeting, Rav Weinberg told Chacham Yosef, “You must be making a mistake.” But Chacham Yosef would not take no for an answer.

Later, Rav Weinberg learned of the years of preparation Chacham Yosef had invested in the project that was about to come to fruition. And when he discovered the Chacham’s massive efforts, beginning five years earlier, to build mikva’os according to the special Sephardic halachos and minhagim to ensure the purity of the community, he was in awe of this gadol‘s mesirus nefesh for and love of his kehillah. Chacham Yosef said thirty years ago as he was laying the groundwork for his yeshiva, “I will burn out the am haaratzut – ignorance – here in the community,” and, boruch Hashem, he has achieved his goal.

Rav Weinberg told Chacham Yosef that he needed to discuss the offer with his wife and receive the Vizhnitzer Rebbe’s blessing before he could proceed with any plans. “Im yirtzeh Hashem, I will reply as soon as possible,” he said.

When Rav Weinberg got that fateful early-morning call from Chacham Yosef, he had just accepted a job as pre-1A rebbi in the Mirrer Yeshiva in Flatbush. Rav Weinberg had been accepted in the unique tradition of the Mir’s rosh yeshiva at the time, who wanted every rebbi in the yeshiva to be a talmid chochom.

In order to get that position – even as a pre-1A rebbi – one needed to speak in learning with Rav Shmuel Berenbaum zt”l. Rav Weinberg met that challenge and was asked to join their staff. However, he ultimately took the position at Ateret Torah and the rest is history, as Rav Weinberg played an integral role in the impact Ateret Torah had on the community.

The levaya will take place today at 12 noon at Yeshiva Ateret Torah, located at 901 Quentin Road in Brooklyn.

Yehi zichro boruch.

{Shmiel Gellman-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. I remember Rabbi Weinberg quite well.
    He was extremely smart and knew how to reach bochurim and be mechanech boys. He was well sttuned to their needs on an individual level.

  2. What a blow to the Ateret yeshiva. Even though he had been sick for a while and wasn’t with the yeshiva during that time he was still an isnpiration to all the students. His loss is devastating to all the talmidim.

  3. Boruch Dayan Haemes.

    It’s quite sad to me. He was a real tzadik. A special man who cared about his students, and all Jewish boys. May he be a mailitz yosher for all of us

  4. When I used to get the Hamodia magazine, I used to read his weekly D’Var Torah at the shabbos table each week. When I stopped getting the magazine, that was the part we really missed. Every D’Var Torah had so much depth to it & I looked forward to these weekly sources of inspiration every Shabbos. I can say that I feel a personal loss now that I know I can never count on hearing his words of wisdom anymore. Yehei Zichro Baruch!

  5. bd”e. He was my principal when i was in camp rayim. Mamesh a good, nice, special person, who really really cared about all his students. He should be a maylitz yoisher for all of klal yisrael. Mamesh not your typical person.

  6. Rabbi Weinberg will greatly be missed. His loss is tremendous. I was a student in Ateret and I can not imagine anyone else doing as great a job as he did. We all respected him and admired him. He was alot more than a principal, he went above and beyond. He was Chacham Yosef’s right hand man. He worked with such devotion and was truly an angel. He will be missed.


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