The following article was submitted to YWN by the Jewish Tribune Of London, and appeared in this weeks issue.
15 years since his passing, the influence of the famed Manchester Rosh Yeshiva Rav Yehuda Zev Segal ztl remains as strong as ever. In this special feature to mark his yohrzeit on the 22nd of Shevat, we consider just a few morsels of his gargantuan legacy to Klal Yisroel.
How does one evaluate the achievement of someone so great that even fifteen years after passing his loss is still felt by so many people and the pain of whose absence is still tangible? So many of the ongoing projects that take place in Manchester and in many other cities around the world are directly attributable to his enthusiastic support and devoted commitment. In how many homes and places around the world are two halochos of Chofetz Chayim still learned? How many people have been helped by suggestions he made?
The people that had close contact with the Manchester Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Yehuda Zev Segal ztl, can still often feel his presence when they consider, when making decisions, what he would have done or what he would have advised.
Anyone who was present in the Yeshiva for Yomim Noraim once will never forget the
atmosphere of kedusha that prevailed there. Listening to him learning; repeating phrases,
whilst struggling against extreme weariness, to achieve clarity in the text and reach the goals he
set for himself was electrifying. Hearing his emotional mussar nigun in the Beis Hamedrash was something one does not forget.
Spending a Shabbos or Yom Tov with him when he only spoke regarding Torah or Mitzvos and no other conversation, left lasting impressions. Even in times of illness, his purity and kedusha
stood out for even the hospital staff to see. His secret method was a youthful and unending
desire above all else to do retzon Hashem at whatever cost physically or materially. It is a secret we all have the ability and the obligation to emulate.
Yhi Zichro Boruch
Rabbi Moshe Kupetz
Son- in- law of the Rosh Yeshiva
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Yitzchok Goldberg has recorded some thoughts and memories relating to the way in which the Rosh Yeshiva, beginning with stories and anecdotes relating to the way he would spend Shabbos Kodesh. Many of these were heard from Rabbi Yisroel Ehrentreu (a grandson of the Rosh Yeshiva), with the remainder recounted by other close talmidim . Some of these have been previously published in publications of the Manchester Yeshiva Kollel and are reproduced here with permission.
Explaining the possuk v’ koroso laShabbos oneg etc, the Gemoro in Shabbos 113b says, your speech on Shabbos should not be like your speech during the week. Rashi explains that one should refrain from discussing business matters and from making accounts on Shabbos Rabbeinu Tam in Tosfos, however, says that the forbidding of that kind of speech is learned already from earlier on in that possuk . Therefore, quoting a medrash , he differs on those words, by saying that one should simply not speak as much on Shabbos as one does during the week. In line with this, the Rosh Yeshiva ztl,in addition to being a shomer piv uleshono himself and expending enormous efforts in the area of shmiras haloshon amongst Klal Yisroel throughout the week, on Shabbos he sanctified his speech even more by not speaking anything at all besides Torah and Teffil oh . When necessary he would use sign language instead of talking. In the eyes of the Rosh Yeshiva, that particular teaching of Chazal regarding the difference of speech on Shabbos, found yet another meaning. He would repeat in the name of seforim that one’ s davening on Shabbos should also be different to one’ s davening during the week.
Anyone having ever witnessed Rav Segal’ s teffilos during the week can testify that they were always said with the utmost concentration, devotion and hislahavus . His teffilos, which were simply and clearly like a child crying and pleading from his beloved and devoted father, will undoubtedly remain forever etched in the minds of anyone who merited to witness and experience them. On Shabbos, in fulfilment of the above saying of Chazal, Rav Segal’ s teffilos
reached yet even further heights of devotion and were davened with extra vigour. On Shabbos
mornings, the Rosh Yeshiva would arrive about an hour before the beginning of Shacharis and
in preparation for davening would give a shiur on Minchas Chinuch. This weekly shiur was also
given on his last Shabbos, the week before his sudden passing.
Throughout Shabbos, the Rosh Yeshiva’ s face clearly radiated holiness. Due to his immense
hislahavus whilst making Kiddush he would turn red in the face and tears used to form in his eyes. During this time, with the glorification of the holy Shabbos, the room would literally
Whilst walking home from the Yeshiva on Shabbos, the Rosh Yeshiva would delve into deep discussions in Divrei Torah with his esteemed son- in- law and successor Hagaon Rav Meir Tzvi Ehrentreu ztl. Children would eagerly await the Rosh Yeshiva during these walks home in order to see him and wish him Gut Shabbos. His shining countenance would leave an everlasting impression on those children and on anyone seeing him. His appearance and softly spoken words during his Shabbos afternoon mussar shmues in the Yeshiva would also leave a strong impression on all those present. Later on, following a fiery Maariv, he would also make havdolo in the Yeshiva Beis Hamedrash.
With the Rosh Yeshiva, there was no wasting time and whenever someone accompanied him on his way to the Yeshiva, which in his old age could take up to 45 minutes, they would have to repeat some Divrei Torah. If the person accompanying the Rosh Yeshiva was a bochur from his yeshiva, the youngster would be obliged to repeat the shiur.
A talmid once asked him from when onwards does the Rosh Yeshiva feel the kedushas Shabbos .
To this he answered, from when he washes himself in honour of the Shabbos.
During the year 5719 a sudden serious medical condition forced the Rosh Yeshivah ztl, to be
taken in to hospital on Shabbos. Whilst he was walking towards the ambulance, he noticed one
of his family members crying. The fiery tzaddik, whose Shabbosos are not to be forgotten, turned round and lovingly said “it’s Shabbos today, you must be b’simcha”!
* * *
The Rosh Yeshiva ztl, like in all his ways, was extremely meticulous in hilchos Shabbos . Many
talmidim appreciate the fact that their knowledge of hilchos Shabbos is the result of the weekly
shiur in Mishna Berura on this subject given by the Rosh Yeshiva between kabbolas Shabbos and
The Gemoro in Megilla 32a says that Moshe Rabbenu decreed that the Bnei Yisroel should inquire about and expound upon the halochos of the day – the laws of Pesach on Pesach, the laws of Shevuos on Shevuos and the laws of Succos on Succos. The commentators raise a difficulty: Earlier the Gemoro ( 29b) states that one inquires about the laws of Pesach thirty days before Pesach. Why, then, does the Gemoro subsequently state that this obligation is limited to Yom Tov itself? Following lengthy explanations for the purpose of resolving this query, the Rosh Yeshiva ztl concluded, saying, when one studies the laws of a Yom Tov during that particular Yom Tov he becomes infused with the sanctity of the day in a most unique way. This is why Moshe decreed that one should study the halochos of each Chag on the Yom Tov itself.
Similarly, taught the Rosh Yeshiva, the awesome light of the holy day of Shabbos can be found
and acquired through the learning of Gemoro Shabbos, its commentaries and codes over the
course of the holy day. Indeed, in keeping to this, he would very often be seen learning Gemoro
Shabbos on Friday nights.
The Rosh Yeshiva would forever warn people about the seriousness of being maavir sedrah
every week. This too he would stress, as cited in Kaf Hachaim in the name of the Arizal , serves to bring upon oneself the kedushas hashabbos.
The Rosh Yeshiva would deliver a weekly shiur on sefer Toras Habayis , by the Chofetz Chaim. Prior to his commencing of the shiur one of the talmidim would advise him on the place from where they are due to start in continuation of the last shiur . However, on the Wednesday night, two nights before his passing, the weekly shiur, which would be his very last one to be given, strangely began differently. That night, the Rosh Yeshiva opened up the sefer to a completely different section and said “ today we are learning here” , the subject then studied was regarding Olom Habboh . During the shiur the Rosh Yeshiva told his startled talmidim, “when I will come to Olom Ho’ emess I will say that they should take me into Gan Eden because we are an ehrlicher yid as it says in Shulchan Oruch that a yerei Shomayim is maavir sedroh and learns Chumash and Rashi every week, and we indeed adhered to this!
The Rosh Yeshiva was accustomed to comment “ people are in search of brochos , the Gemoro (Brochos 8b) – discussing the obligation of repeating the sedrah twice with the targum every week – gives us a brocho kol hamashlim parshiyosov im hatzibbur maarichin lo yomoyv ushnosoyv”. “Who would not take such a medicine for long life, a medicine which does not have any side effects” , added the Rosh Yeshiva, ztl.