Rav Yitzchok Dershowitz zt”l

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It is with great sadness that Matzav.com reports the passing of Rav Yitzchok Dershowitz of Lakewood, NJ. He was 74 years old.

Rav Dershowitz sustained serious injuries upon falling on Simchas Torah and fell into coma. Since then, doctors battled on his behalf. He passed away on Erev Shabbos.

Rav Yitzchok was a son of Rav Aharon Menashe Dershowitz zt”l, who, prior to settling in Lakewood, served as the chief rabbi of Newport News, VA, as well as various cities across Wisconsin.

A talmid of Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l, Rav Dershowitz spent his life between the hallowed walls of Beth Medrash Govoha, where has learned for many decades. It was Rav Dershowitz who undertook the daunting task some years ago of authoring an authoritative biography about his rosh yeshiva, Rav Aharon. The product, a comprehensive volume called The Legacy of Maran Rav Aharon Kotler, is distributed by Feldheim.

Rav Yitzchok and his wife, Chaya, resided on Sixth Street in Lakewood, near the yeshiva to which Rav Yitzchok was so closely connected. His sudden medical crisis threw his many admirers and chaveirim into turmoil, as they davened for his recovery, but the Ribono Shel Olam took this special person to the Kisei Hakavod. 

Hashgacha orchestrated for Rav Yitzchok to be taken to the Olam Ha’emes on the very yahrzteit of his rebbi, Rav Aharon, 2 Kislev.

The levaya will be held Sunday morning, at 9 a.m., at the Bendheim Bais Medrash of Beth Medrash Govoha, located at 617 Sixth Street in Lakewood, NJ. Kevurah will follow at Mt. Hebron Cemetery, located at 130-04 Horace Harding Expressway in Flushing, NY, at 2 p.m.

Yehi zichro boruch.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. he was A big tzaddik.

    no coincidence to be niftar on the SAME DAY as the book he authored of “the legacy of maran haRav Aharon Kotler ZT”L”=time for international klal yisroel teshuva

    may his neshama have an aliya

  2. Chanan Grossman – redo your math. Rav Aharon zt”l just had a 54th yartzeit so Rav Dershowitz, now 74, was 20 years old, starting out as Rav Aharon’s talmid and staying on to learn under Rav Shneur zt”l.

  3. Rabbi Dershowitz zatzal was the quintessential Ben Torah. Anyone, who came into contact with him, was immediately taken by his exemplary middos tovos. R’ Yitzchok always spoke softly, with a smile and great warmth in his eyes, and always to the point. Whether it were in lomdus, hashkofa, or milei dealma, he was perfectly logical and clear, while at the same time giving his partner in the conversation full attention and equality, despite, very often, a vast difference in age and knowledge. Never the condescending and right-from-the-first-words expert, he always gave his opponent the patience needed, and explained the underlying issues lucidly and pleasantly, and repeated himself, when needed, without any discernible annoyance. To have witnessed his vehement disagreement in hashkofa, delivered in almost a whisper, with that same calmness and smile, was a lesson in both humility and dignity. He knew when he was correct, yet never insisted on his view being accepted and even when disagreed with till the end, he parted the argument with a big smile, intimating his enjoyment of the preceding conversation. It was a pleasure to speak with him and to be in his presence.
    His hasmoda was a legend; I knew him for decades, and never once witnessed him wasting a moment, being late, or engaging in idle talk. Yet, he always had the time for anyone who needed him.
    In learning, one had a sense that R Yitzchok knew everything. He was familiar with every far-flung topic, and fully conversant in every sugya, with meforshim. Every action of his had a source in halacha.
    When I came to the BMG, he was one of the people that were pointed out as true talmidei chachomim and real bnei Torah, who LIVED their Torah learning, who personified the heights to which a yeshiva yungerman could rise. Quiet and unassuming, R’ Yitchok was one of those few about whom it was said that they could have easily been famous roshei yeshiva, but chose to sit and learn lishma, without fame or fanfare. I was one of the lucky ones who got to know him, to speak with him in Torah, to learn by example.
    His passing is a huge loss to those who knew him, but an even greater one to those who will be learning at the BMG in the future, and won’t be able to be inspired by this amazing tzadik.
    Yehi zichro boruch


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