Aharon Leib Shteinman

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Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman
Aharon Leib Shteinman.jpg
Position Rosh Yeshiva
Yeshiva Ponevezh Yeshiva L'Tzi'irim
Personal details
Birth name Aharon Leib Shteinman
Born 1912 or 1914
Brest, Russian Empire
Denomination Orthodox
Residence Bnei Brak
Spouse Tamar Kornfeld

Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman (Hebrew: אהרון ליב שטיינמן‎), also Shtainman or Steinman (born 1912[1] or 1914[2]) is a prominent Haredi rabbi and posek (halakhic authority) in Bnei Brak, Israel.[3] Following the death of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv in 2012, he is widely regarded as the Gadol Hador, the leader of the non-Hasidic Lithuanian world.[2]

Early life[edit]

Shteinman was born and raised in Brest (Brisk), then part of the Russian Empire.[4] He studied in Yeshivas Imrei Moshe, headed by Rabbi Moshe Skolovsky, in Brest, and attended shiurim (Torah lectures) given by Rabbi Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchik, the Brisker Rav.[5] He also studied in Kletzk under Rabbi Aharon Kotler.[4]

Upon reaching draft age in 1937, he was subject to the Polish draft, as Brest had come under the control of the newly established Polish state in the aftermath of the First World War. He and his close friend, Rabbi Moische Soloveitchik (a grandson of Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik) tried to evade the draft by starving themselves, but they were declared fit to serve by the draft officer. The two then fled with other Brisk students to Montreux, Switzerland, where they returned to Torah study in Yeshivas Etz Chaim. With the outbreak of World War II, the two became war refugees and were incarcerated in the Schonenberg labor camp near Basel, where nearly all the inmates were Torah-observant. Shteinman and his friend were put to work laying roads, but due to his thin frame and short stature, Shteinman was soon released from manual labor and assigned to a desk job.[5][6]

Shteinman was the only member of his family to survive the war. While still in Switzerland, he married Tamar (Tema) Kornfeld (d. 2002), the daughter of Rabbi Shammai Shraga Kornfeld. She had been sent to Switzerland from Poland to cure her respiratory problems and had also become a refugee when World War II broke out.[5]

In Israel[edit]

During his initial years in Israel, Shteinman headed the Ponevezh Kollel. In 1955, the Ponevezher Rav, Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, opened the yeshivah ketanah of Ponevezh, called Ponevezh L'tzi'irim, and asked Shteinman to serve as rosh yeshivah together with Rabbi Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz.[4][7] Shteinman stopped giving his regular shiur in 1998, but retains the title of rosh yeshiva.[4] He is also rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Gaon Yaakov, which is led by his son-in-law, Rabbi Zev Berlin.[4]

Shteinman is also the popular author of a series of kuntresim (pamphlets) on Torah subjects such as emunah (faith), chinuch (education), and hashgacha (Divine providence). The pamphlets are based on shiurim (Torah lectures) which he began giving to Ponevezh Kollel students in his home in 1994, and on shmuessen (ethical talks) which he began giving to students in Yeshivas Gaon Yaakov in 1978. Ranging in size from 24 to 100 pages, the pamphlets quickly sell out. An English-language translation of many of these subjects was published in 2013 by Israel Bookshop under the title Leading with Love: Guidance for Our Generation from Maran Harav Aharon Yehudah Leib Shteinman shlit"a on Torah, Emunah, Chinuch, the Home, and More.[4]

Israeli politics[edit]

Rabbi Elazar Shach, the founder of the Degel HaTorah political party, when consulted for advice, would at times refer people to consult with Shteinman.[8]

Shteinman is a leader of the Haredi Degel HaTorah political party and exerts much political power in the United Torah Judaism (UTJ) political coalition. UTJ is an alliance of Degel HaTorah and the Agudat Israel party. He was close with the Gerrer Rebbe, Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter, a major supporter of Agudat Israel.

Travels abroad[edit]

When he was in his nineties, Shteinman undertook to visit and strengthen key Haredi and religious communities outside of Israel.[6] In 2005 he visited a number of cities in North America with significant Haredi populations or institutions, including in Brooklyn, New York, and Passaic, meeting with many American Haredi rabbis including Rabbi Aharon Schechter of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin.

He travelled to the Jewish community of Los Angeles on Lag Ba'omer in 2006 during a trip to America. Over five thousand individuals attended the gathering. He planned to travel together with Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter, the Gerrer Rebbe, to Montreal in May 2006, but they delayed their trip to avoid protests from the Neturei Karta. After visiting Montreal, the rabbis parted ways. The Gerrer Rebbe continued to New York and then returned to Jerusalem, while Shteinman went on to visit the Jewish communities in several South American cities, including Mexico City and Buenos Aires.[citation needed]

In May 2007 Steinman visited France, then England, where he addressed large gatherings in Manchester and Gateshead. In June 2010 Shteinman visited the Jewish communities of Odessa, Berlin, and Gibraltar.[6][9] In 2012 he traveled to Paris to deliver talks to the French Jewish community.[2]

Personal[edit]

Shteinman is known for his extremely modest lifestyle. His apartment is sparsely furnished and has not been painted in many years.[10]

Works[edit]

Shteinman originally published his main works on the Talmud anonymously under the name Ayelet HaShachar (alluding to his initials in Hebrew, as well as the "morning star" of Psalms 22).

Ayeles HaShachar al HaTorah

Ayeles HaShachar on Shas

Chessed Umishpat on Maseches Sanhedrin [1]

Yimaleh Pi Tehilasecha 1 2 - Mussar talks

Mipekudecha Esbonan - Talks on Yomim Noraim

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman". rabbimeirbaalhaneis.com. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Sharon, Jeremy (3 September 2012). "Leading Haredi Rabbi Holds Rally for French Jewry". Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Ettinger, Yair (October 22, 2008). "Election season leaves Haredi politicos no time for repentance". Haaretz. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Heimowitz, Rabbi Yehuda (16 September 2013). "At Rav Steinman's Side". Mishpacha. pp. 76–91. 
  5. ^ a b c Blum, Aryeh. "The Early Years: The scent of Switzerland – Rav Aharon Leib Steinman". Mishpacha, 27 September 2012, pp. 44–45.
  6. ^ a b c Gottesman, Shlomo (21 July 2012). "When the Mountains Danced: Travels with HaRav Aharon Leib Steinman, shlita". Mishpacha. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  7. ^ Hamodia - Tens of Thousands Attend Levayah of Harav Lefkowitz, zt"l BY HAMODIA STAFF http://www.hamodia.com/inthepaper.cfm?ArticleID=956
  8. ^ Harav Schach: Shehamafteach B'yado by Moshe Horovitz. Keter Publishing House, Jerusalem. 1989. page 153
  9. ^ Bernstein, Dovid (7 June 2010). "Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman to Embark On Whirlwind Visit to Europe". matzav.com. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  10. ^ Finkelman, Shimon (2008). Living the Parashah: A treasury of insights and stories on the weekly Torah reading 3. Mesorah Publications, Ltd. p. 246. ISBN 1422608824. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • The Rosh Yeshiva by Shai Pe'er - Mishpacha Magazine - 13 Kislev 5766 12.14.05 - pgs. 28-33