How Maran Rav Shteinman Z”tl Was Secretly Whisked From The Levaya To A Kevura With Only 30 Witnesses

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In the aftermath of the massive Levaya of Maran HaGaon HaRav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman ZT”L, the story was revealed how he was secretly whisked from the scene of the Levaya to a Kevura with only 30 witnesses.

The police chief of the Tel Aviv District drew far-reaching conclusions following the deadly tragedy that took place during the funeral of HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Halevy Wosner ZT”L. Police began preparing for the potential Levaya of Rav Shteinman Z”tl a year and a half in advance, when the dreaded day would come.

BeChadrei Chareidim reports this was what led to a series of police actions at Rav Shteinman’s levaya. The police were proactive, taking immediate control of the Levaya convoy, and carried out an exercise – which, of course, did not receive prior approval from anyone, but was very significant in pulling off the huge funeral with hundreds of thousands of participants within a short period of hours, all while eliminating risk of injury.

A long convoy of Police, United Hatzalah and MDA vehicles accompanied the Ezra L’Marpeh ambulance carrying the Niftar from Mayanei HaYeshua Hospital to the Levaya, in front of Rav Shteinman’s home at 5 Chazon Ish Street in Bnei Brak. When the convoy reached Chazon Ish from Rabbi Akiva Street, the ambulance continued driving down the street, unbeknownst to anyone in the crowd.

Rabbi Yaakov Rosenstein – Kobi, as he is known to many – one of his confidants and one of the closest to Maran, called the driver in the ambulance, an individual who also drove Maran in his lifetime, and said: “Sagiv stop!” However, the driver adhered to the instructions he received from Police officials, and continued driving as he was instructed. At this time Tehillim was being recited over the speaker system.

The ambulance carrying the Niftar continued to travel, while the rest of the long convoy of emergency vehicles remained in place, with only a few vehicles escorting the ambulance. Thus by the time they finished reading Tehillim, the ambulance was already far ahead up Chazon Ish Street, near HaNevia Street. He kept on driving slowly accompanied by police vehicles in the direction of the cemetery.

In the meantime, in front of 5 Chazon Ish, at the conclusion of the Hespedim and words of Chizuk, an announcement was made that the Niftar is now being driven to the cemetery. The large convoy of emergency vehicles proceeded very slowly from Maran’s home with the police escort.

Since the emergency vehicles had not yet begun to travel, those present mistakenly thought that the Niftar was in one of the ambulances still in place, while in fact, the Aron had long left the scene. It was only after more than 30 minutes since the Niftar arrived at the Ponevezh cemetery that the public began to understand that the Niftar had long since left, and began walking toward the cemetery. By that time Police had secured the exterior of the cemetery to block additional people from entering.

This was the decision of Police commanders, which conducted the operation at the district level (Tel Aviv) and not local level, (Dan) without updating or sharing the plan with persons close to the niftar.

Apparently, this move, along with the lack of telephone and Internet service in the entire area, prevented most reporters from reporting on the exact location of the Niftar, so that the public who did not see the ambulance leave the scene, or did not even know which vehicle it was in, remained standing near Maran’s home.

It is interesting to note, that without realizing it, police fulfilled the true wish of Maran in his tzava’ah (will) who requested only a small crowd at his Levaya, saying “even 10 people would be enough.” It is reported Maran was buried in the presence of only 30 people.

The small crowd at Rav Shteinman’s Kevura

READ: A Glimpse Into The Life Of The Gadol Hador, Maran Hagaon HaRav Aron Leib Shteinman ZATZAL

Photo Essay: Levayah Of Hagaon HaRav Shteinman Zatzal – Part 1

Photo Essay: Levayah Of Hagaon HaRav Shteinman Zatzal – Part 2

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ESSAY PART 1 – MARAN RAV SHTEINMAN

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ESSAY PART 2 – MARAN RAV SHTEINMAN

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ESSAY PART 3 – MARAN RAV SHTEINMAN

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ESSAY PART 4 – MARAN RAV SHTEINMAN

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ESSAY PART 5 – MARAN RAV SHTEINMAN

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ESSAY PART 6 – MARAN RAV SHTEINMAN

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)




21 COMMENTS

  1. Why did they do it though? I don’t get it. There was a massive levaya crushing on the ambulances they thought had R’Shteinman ZTZL anyway, so how did it help?

  2. Seems like the police and security forces acted decisively and wisely to assure the levayah was conducted with all due respect and with minimal risk to the tzibur.

  3. So in other words, thousands upon thousands of Yidden were robbed of their opportunity to be mikayaim the Mitzvah of Liveyas Hames of the Gadol Hador! How is that a “Good” thing?! I don’t understand.

  4. I understand that it is the responsibility of the police to protect the people and to act to reasonably minimize the risk of any loss of life or limb at such an event – but surely they should have informed the family of their plans ahead of time and coordinated their actions with the family in real time. If they did not then I think that the local police commanders overreached and should be reprimanded.

  5. yochy December 13, 2017 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm
    so the hundred of thousands were all denied the mitzvah of being melaveh the meis which is presumably why they came?
    Not getting involved December 13, 2017 1:13 pm at 1:13 pm
    So in other words, thousands upon thousands of Yidden were robbed of their opportunity to be mikayaim the Mitzvah of Liveyas Hames of the Gadol Hador! How is that a “Good” thing?! I don’t understand

    No Maran zatzal did receive the proper kovod achron. First of all the aron was not in the cemetary yet when the levaya started moving. it was on chazon ish near ger. so anyone walking up chazon ish was being melavah

  6. “If people didn’t act like behemos at big levayas and other occasions.”

    How about if people didn’t act like behemos under any circumstnaces where police are trying to maintain order and public safety. Somehow, there is a segment of the tzibur r who believe that their personal need to be physically close to a chashuve rav (alive or niftar) somehow trumps the directions of security personnel

  7. I am not sure, but I am wondering, maybe the reason why Hashem gave the green light to this trick and Hashem did not stop it, due to the fact, that if even only one Yid should get hurt, the whole thing was not worth it. Every single Yid means so much to our father Hashem. This is called success, no one got hurt, Baruch HaShem no one had to go to the hospital.

  8. If someone planned to do a mitzva and through no fault of his own was unable to do so, it counts as if he has done the mitzva (Brachos 6.), so nobody was robbed of their mitzva and it seems that was the will of the Tzadik, to be buried humbly without a massive crowd

  9. Based on the comments here, some people prove to act or think selfishly. The reason for going to a funeral isn’t because it’s all about YOU or YOUR mitzvah, but it’s to comfort and show respect. One should go with the intention of whether it’s a mitzvah or not. The point is ( and as YWN illustrated) the Rav didn’t want thousands in presence. It’s a simple instruction by a Gadol.

  10. “so the hundred of thousands were all denied the mitzvah of being melaveh the meis”

    Ever heard of the inyan ‘Pikuach Nefesh docheh KOL Hatorah – which includes the above Mitzvah? (which they did do in a way…)

    One life was MORE than enough for people who think you have to kill to be mekayim that “mitzvah” up close with all Hidurim!

  11. To all those following comment #1- refer back to it. צדיק גוזר והקב״ה מקיים! That’s the only logical explanation for how this was carried out.

  12. There are numerous ways through which one can show kavod for the niftar other than physically rushing in front of the levaya procession or pushing aside police escorts in an effort to touch the vehicle. There are likely some literalists who feel that physical contact or close proximity is a prerequisite to being mekayim the mitvah and it is those whose actions cause most of the public safety issues that required the police here to take this extraordinary diversionary action.

  13. Brilliance on the part of the authorities, indeed and fir two not-yet-mentioned reasons.
    A) If the crowd had been able to be melaave all the way by foot, the kevurah would not have been within six hours as the tzaava’ah states.
    B) The olam would have been in a difficult race to get home in time for Chanuka lighting time.

  14. In future, with these massive crowds at future funerals, a more radical method shall be required albeit it won’t be popular at first, but this is the way of the future:- Hold such funerals @a gigantic stadium, which can accommodate such crowds [like Daf Yomi Siyumim are held @a stadium]. This shall make overcrowding of narrow streets a thing of the past. As for the cemetery, only allowing very limited number of people in, is necessary and correct.