Baruch Sorotzkin

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Rephoel Baruch Sorotzkin
Position Rosh Yeshiva
Yeshiva Telz Yeshiva
Began 1964
Ended February 10, 1979
Predecessor Chaim Mordechai Katz
Successor Mordechai Gifter
Personal details
Born February 5, 1917
Dzyatlava, Grodno Governorate, Russian Empire (Belarus)
Died February 10, 1979
Buried Har HaMenuchot
Nationality Lithuanian & American
Denomination Haredi Orthodox Judaism
Parents Zalman Sorotzkin
Spouse Rachel Bloch
Children Yitzchok Sorotzkin
Binyomin Sorotzkin
Eliyahu Meir Sorotzkin
Rassia Busel
Chenia Schulman
Shoshana Herzka
Chassie Brog

Rephoel Baruch Sorotzkin (February 5, 1917 - February 10, 1979) was the Rosh Yeshiva of the Telz Yeshiva in Cleveland and among American Jewry's foremost religious leaders.

Sorotzkin was born on February 5, 1917 (13th of Shevat, 5739) in Zhetl, in the Grodno Governorate of the Russian Empire (present-day Belarus). His father, Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin was the town's rabbi. As a young man, Sorotzkin studied under Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman in Baranovich, and then under Rabbi Baruch Ber Lebovitz in Kamenitz.

In 1940, Sorotzkin married Rochel Bloch, daughter of the Telzer Rav and Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Bloch. Rabbi Sorotzkin and his wife fled Europe at the start of World War II and made their way to the United States. There, they joined his wife's uncles (and his own cousins) Rabbi Eliyahu Meir Bloch and Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Katz who had re-established the Telz Yeshiva in Cleveland, Ohio.


In 1943 Sorotzkin began delivering classes in the yeshiva. In 1953 Sorotzkin was appointed associate dean of the yeshiva. In 1962 Sorotzkin became dangerously ill and the name Rephoel was added to his name. In 1964, when the Telz Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Katz died, Sorotzkin together with Rabbi Mordechai Gifter assumed the leadership of the yeshiva.

In the Telzer tradition, Rabbi Sorotzkin extended his sphere of activities to include even more areas of communal responsibility, such as working for Chinuch Atzmai, Torah Umesorah and Agudath Israel of America where he served as one of the youngest member of its Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah - Council of Torah Sages.

In 1977, with the establishment of the Yeshiva in Israel, Rabbi Mordechai Gifter left to head the Yeshiva in Israel.

Sorotzkin died on Saturday, February 10, 1979. The Hebrew date - 13 Shevat - was the same date as his birthday. He is buried on Har HaMenuchot


He is survived by three sons and three daughters.

His daughter Rebetzin Rassia Busel died in March 1998.

His sons: Rabbi Yitzchok Sorotzkin serves as dean of the Telz Yeshiva and Mesivta of Lakewood, New Jersey; Rabbi Binyomin Sorotzkin is dean of Ateres Shlomo in Israel; Rabbi Eliyahu Meir Sorotzkin is dean of Yeshiva Tiferes Boruch Of North Plainfield, New Jersey. His sons-in-law, Rabbi Yaakov Busel is dean of RJJ of Edison, New Jersey, Rabbi Aryeh Schulman is rabbi of Kiryat Telz-Stone, Israel, Rabbi Nosson Boruch Herzka is a Rabbi in Lakewood, New Jersey, Rabbi Yisroel Brog is dean of Tiferes Avigdor Wickliffe, Ohio.

Many of his lectures on Talmud have been posthumously published by his children. Sorotzkin's wife died in November 2006.[1]