Yechezkel Levenstein

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Yechezkel Levenstein
Yechezkel Levenstein.jpg
Born 1895
Died 1974 (aged 78–79)
Bene Berak
Education Raduń Yeshiva, Kelm Talmud Torah

Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein (Rav Yechezkel HaLevi Levenstein),[1] known as Reb Chatzkel, (1895 - 18 Adar 1974), was the mashgiach ruchani of the Mir yeshiva, in Mir, Belarus and during the yeshiva's flight to Lithuania and on to Shanghai due to the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in World War II. He was a leader of several yeshivas in Europe, America, and Israel, and raised several generations of Torah-observant Jewry. He was a disciple of Simchah Zissel Broide.[2]


Rabbi Levenstein was born in Warsaw.[3] His mother, Zlota, died when he was just five years old; his father, Reb Yehuda, subsequently remarried.[3] He studied for 2 1/2 years in the yeshiva in Łomża, where he was imbued with mussar, then in Raduń Yeshiva under the Chofetz Chaim and the famous mashgiach Rav Yeruchom Levovitz, and finally in Kelm.

His rebbetzin, Chaya, was an orphan. He had "rejected glowing offers made to him by wealthy men who wanted him for their daughters" saying They'd "be unable to share a life of privation and restraint and of subsisting on the bare essentials."[3]


News reached Shanghai Adar 5703 (1943), where the Mir spent the war years, of the murders of so many of Lithuanian Jewry. The eulogy of the martyrs by the mashgiach was published in a book, Mimizrach Shemesh.[4]


The Yeshivos that he founded or strongly influenced include:[5]

  • Before World War II
  • Mir Yeshiva (Poland), as Mashgiach Ruchani
  • After the War
  • Mir Yeshivah (Yerushalayim)
  • Ponovezh Yeshivah (B'nei Brak)


  • Or Yechezkel, a seven volume[5] work of musar
The Mir yeshiva in the Beth Aharon Synagogue, Shanghai; Rabbi Levenstein is seated in the front row, first on the right (left of picture)

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