Abba Berman

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Rabbi Abba Mordechai Berman (1919–2005) was a renowned Talmudist and Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Iyun HaTalmud. Reb Abba was born on Tu BiShvat 5679 (1919) in Łódź, Poland to his father, Rabbi Shaul Yosef Berman, rosh yeshiva of Toras Chesed in Lodz[1] and a student of the Chofetz Chayim. As a young child, Reb Abba's greatness was recognized by the Chofetz Chaim.[2] The Berman family were descendants of Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim Luntschitz[2].

Following his Bar Mitzvah, Reb Abba learned in Yeshivas Mir where he became especially close to the mashgiach Rabbi Yerucham Leibovitz.[3] Along with most of the student body of the Mirrer Yeshiva, Reb Abba fled to Shanghai during World War II and eventually migrated to America where he became one of the founding members of the Mir Yeshiva in Brooklyn. There he married Rebbetzen Itka Greenberg. He established Yeshivas Iyun HaTalmud in Beach 17th Street, Far Rockaway.[4] After several years, he emigrated to Israel and re-established Yeshivas Iyun HaTalmud in Bnai Brak. The yeshiva then relocated to Jerusalem, and then finally to the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Sefer in the West Bank. In his final years he served as rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Knesses Yitzchok of Chadera-Kiryat Sefer.[1] Reb Abba was recognized a Gadol, despite never having accepted a significant leadership post.[3]. He is supposed to have coined the idiom, "“From your viewpoint, you’re right. It’s your viewpoint that’s wrong.”[4]

He died on May 12, 2005 corresponding to the 3rd of Iyar, 5765. His Talmudic lectures were published posthumously under the title "Iyun HaTalmud" (עיון התלמוד).

He was survived by his wife and daughters. His wife died at the end of Cheshvan, 5770. One of his daughters, Mrs. Ornstein, runs the Hadar Seminary for Women in Jerusalem. Two other daughters teach at that seminary, including one who was married to one of his six sons-in-law, Rabbi Mosheh Twersky, the elder son of Rabbi Yitzhak Twersky of Boston, and a grandson of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, who taught at Yeshivas Toras Moshe and was murdered in a 2014 terror attack.

R' Yisroel Eliyahu Weintraub was a student of his.


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