Dov Schwartzman

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Rabbi Dov Schwartzman
Position Rosh yeshiva
Yeshiva Bais Hatalmud
Began 1965
Other Rosh yeshiva, Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia
Rosh yeshiva, Ohr Somayach
Personal details
Birth name Dov Schwartzman
Born 1921
Nevel, Russia
Died 7 November 2011 (aged 90)
Jerusalem
Buried Mount of Olives
Denomination Haredi
Residence Jerusalem
Parents Rabbi Yehoshua Zev Schwartzman
Alma mater Hebron Yeshiva

Dov Schwartzman (1921 – 7 November 2011), also called Berel Schwartzman, was a Haredi Jewish rabbi and rosh yeshiva (dean) of Bais Hatalmud, which he founded in the Sanhedria Murhevet neighborhood of Jerusalem and led for over 40 years.[1][2] He also founded and led the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia together with Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky, and co-founded the first yeshiva in Israel for baalei teshuva (returnees to the faith). He taught and influenced tens of thousands of students,[3] many of whom received semicha (rabbinic ordination) from him and went on to lead their own communities.[2] He was renowned as a Talmudic genius and was conversant in all areas of Torah and Kabbalah.

Early life[edit]

Schwartzman was born in Elul 1921 in Nevel, Russia to Rabbi Yehoshua Zev Schwartzman, a graduate of the Slabodka yeshiva.[3] In the 1930s, his family escaped Communist Russia and immigrated to Tel Aviv, where his father served as a Rav. Schwartzman enrolled in Yeshivas Bais Yosef Novardok and learned under Rabbi Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky, the Steipler Gaon.[1] In 1933, at age 12, he transferred to the Hebron Yeshiva in the Geula neighborhood of Jerusalem, where his hasmadah (diligence) was evident and widely admired.[3] During one period, he would study for 40 hours at a time. He would begin learning on Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m. and continue straight through till Monday night, with short breaks for prayers and eating. He would sleep on Tuesday night, and then rise early on Wednesday for another 40-hour stretch. His roommate in the yeshiva, Rabbi Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, never saw him in the room, since Schwartzman would come in after Lefkowitz was sleeping and leave before he awoke.[1]

Rabbi Aharon Kotler, rosh yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha (the Lakewood Yeshiva), chose him as a son-in-law after visiting Israel and witnessing Schwartzman's genius and diligence.[1] In 1946 Schwartzman came to America to marry Rabbi Kotler's daughter and began learning at the Lakewood Yeshiva, where he led chaburas (small-group learning sessions).[3]

In the mid-1950s,[1] as part of Lakewood Yeshiva's effort to establish out-of-town yeshivas, Schwartzman and Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky were sent to head the new Talmudic Yeshiva of Philadelphia. In 1955 Schwartzman departed to open his yeshiva in Israel and was replaced as rosh yeshiva by Rabbi Elya Svei.[4] From 1961 to 1962 he was a maggid shiur (lecturer) at Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin.[3]

Israeli rosh yeshiva[edit]

Schwartzman moved back to Israel in the early 1960s. He established a yeshiva in Ramat HaSharon,[1] and in 1965 founded Yeshiva Maron Tzion in the Bayit Vegan neighborhood of Jerusalem, which evolved into Yeshivat Bais HaTalmud, now located in Sanhedria Murhevet; Bais HaTalmud now includes a yeshiva ketana, yeshiva gedola, and kollel.[3] In addition to delivering a daily blatt shiur (lecture on two pages of Gemara) and a weekly shiur klali (lecture to the entire yeshiva), he traveled abroad frequently to raise funds for the yeshiva's upkeep.[1]

His lifelong dedication to Torah study produced a scholar who was completely at home in the breadth and depth of Judaism's holy works. He was fluent in the works of the Maharal and had a thorough mastery of Jewish philosophical works, Hasidic thought, and Kabbalah. His shiurim were known for their depth and clarity. In his Gemara shiurim, he presented the pshat (simple understanding of the text) in such a way that it was clear this was indeed the only meaning. He was also known for his Friday-night shiur in the yeshiva on Mizmor Shiur L'Yom HaShabbat, which presented a different explanation each week of Psalm 92. He enlivened his students with his excitement for learning, and also endeared them with his paternal concern for their needs and his pleasant and humble personality.[1][3]

Schwartzman was one of the fathers of the Israeli baal teshuva movement. In the early 1970s, he co-founded the first yeshiva for baalei teshuva, Shema Yisrael, with Rabbi Mendel Weinbach, Rabbi Nota Schiller, and Rabbi Noach Weinberg. After this yeshiva evolved into Ohr Somayach yeshiva, Schwartzman continued on as a rosh yeshiva, delivering shiurim and guiding the staff in establishing policies for the new and untested field of baal teshuva education.[3]

Final years[edit]

Schwartzman's health worsened in his last years, forcing him to give up his duties as rosh yeshiva of Beis HaTalmud.[1] He died on 7 November 2011 (10 Cheshvan 5772) and was buried on the Mount of Olives.[2]

Family[edit]

With his first wife, Schwartzman had three sons and three daughters. With his second wife, Yehudis Moller, daughter of Rabbi Meir Moller of Paris,[3] he had another son and five daughters. His sons and sons-in-law are Torah scholars and educators in Israel and America. His eldest, Rabbi Yaakov Eliezer Schwartzman, who is also the eldest grandson of Rabbi Kotler,[5] is the rosh yeshiva of Lakewood East in Jerusalem.[6] His second son, Rabbi Zevulun Schwartzman, heads the kollel in the Etz Chaim Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and his third son, Rabbi Isser Zalman Schwartzman, is a maggid shiur at Yeshivas Hadera in Modiin Ilit.[3] Two of his sons-in-law, Rabbi Yeruchem Olshin and Rabbi Yisroel Neuman, are roshei yeshiva at the Lakewood Yeshiva in America.[3][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Birnbaum, Rabbi Avraham (2011). "Rav Dov Schwartzman, zt"l". Yated Ne'eman. Retrieved 24 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Rav Dov Schwartzman, zt"l". matzav.com. 7 November 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Tribute: Harav Dov Schwartzman, zt"l". Hamodia, 10 November 2011, p. A14.
  4. ^ Tannenbaum, Rabbi Gershon (1 April 2009). "Rabbi Elya Svei (1924-2009) Rosh Yeshiva Philadelphia". The Jewish Press. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  5. ^ Schapiro, Moshe (8 September 1999). "An Inside Look at Lakewood of Eretz Yisroel". Dei'ah VeDibur. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  6. ^ "Study at Beth Medrash Govoha". International Education Media. Retrieved 28 December 2010. 
  7. ^ Freund, Rabbi Tuvia. "'There is a Future for Torah in America': A roundtable discussion of Hagaon Harav Aharon Kotler's accomplishments and legacy, with the roshei yeshivah and administrators of Bais Medrash Govoha". Hamodia Magazine, 15 November 2012, pp. 8–11.

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