Rav Naftoli Trop zt”l, On His Yahrtzeit, Today, Tzom Gedaliah

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rav-naftoli-tropRav Naftoli Trop zt”l (1871-1928) was the rosh yeshiva of the yeshiva in Radiń, Poland and one of the gedolei Torah of the early part of the last century. Born in Grodno, Rav Naftoli learned with his father, Rav Moshe Trop, who was rosh yeshiva of a local yeshiva. At 14, he left to learn in Kelm, where his chavrusah for ten years was the legendary Rav Yerucham Levovitz, who went on to become mashgiach of the Mirrer yeshiva. Rav Naftoli proceeded to briefly learn in Slabodka and Telz, where he became close to Rav Eliezer Gordon. He learned for a short time in the Novardok yeshiva in Slonim, where he formed a close relationship with the Alter of Novardok, Rav Yosef Yozel Horwitz. In 1889, Rav Naftoli returned to Slabodka, when Rav Yaakov Yitzchak (Itzele) Rabinowitz was appointed rosh yeshiva. He became a close talmid of Rav Itzele.

At the age of twenty-one, Rav Naftoli became engaged to a daughter of Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, the Alter of Slabodka.  However, the kallah died a few months before the wedding. In 1895, Rav Naftoli married Pesya Leah, a daughter of the well-known Rav Eliezer Yaakov Chavas of Yanishok. Shortly after the wedding, he returned to Kelm where he joined a large group of outstanding talmidei chachomim. He was greatly influenced by the mussar approach he chiefly absorbed in Kelm, but also in Slobodka and by means of his contact with Slonim. After four years of learning in Kelm, Rav Naftoli was appointed rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Or Hachaim in Slabodka by its founder, Rav Tzvi (Hirshel) Levitan.

In 1903, by invitation of the Chofetz Chaim, Rav Naftoli replaced Rav Moshe Landinski as rosh yeshiva in Radin, where he remained for the rest of his life and had a major impact. Among his talmidim in Radin were, Rav Yechezkel Sarna, Rav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, the Ponovezher Rov; Rav Dovid Leibowitz.  The Ponovezher Rov learned under Rav Naftoli for over five years in Radin.

Rav Naftoli’s wife Pesya Leah contracted typhus and died in 1920. His oldest son, Rav Avrohom, also served as a rosh yeshiva in Radin until the outbreak of World War II. He immigrated to the United States, where he became rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim in New York, and was later rosh yeshiva of Karlin-Stolin. He settled in Eretz Yisroel a year before his petirah in 1978.

Rav Naftoli’s second son Rav Reuven immigrated to Eretz Yisroel with the group of Slobodka talmidim who founded the Knesses Yisroel yeshiva in Chevron and later headed the yishuv yeshiva. Rav Naftoli’s oldest daughter Toiba married Rav Yehoshua Eizek Kaminetsky, one of Radin’s finest talmidim, also known as “Eizekel Kobriner”.” He and his family were murdered by the Nazis, Hashem yinkim domom.

Rav Naftoli ‘s second daughter Feige married the brilliant Rav Boruch Yosef Feivelson, who succeeded Rav Naftoli as rosh yeshiva of Radin, but was niftar only four years after his appointment.

Rav Naftoli was a gaon in Torah and middos and left behind talmidim who were gedolei Torah and carried on his legacy of unbelievable hasmada, clarity of learning, and refined character. His chiddushim were published by his talmidim as Chiddushei HaGrenat, a classic volume used in yeshivos and mekomos haTorah worldwide.

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


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