YWN regrets to inform you of the Petira of reb Yisroel Horowitz Z”L. He was 72.
The Niftar was brought up in Jersey City in a very beautiful family who were not yet religious. He had wanted to go to a Yeshiva but it did not work out. HIs mother was niftar when he was 12 and his father then gave permission to go to Yeshiva and he went straight to Ner Yisroel Baltimore. He joined fellow metzuyanim – and became lifelong friends- with yblcht HarRav Zevulun Schwartzman and HaRav Mordechai Yoffen. Although he started to learn at 12, by 16 he became a chavrusa of Rav Ruderman zt”l learning Maseches Zevachim together!
From Ner Yisroel he went to Yerushalayim to Yeshiva Bais HaTalmud where he became a Talmid muvhak of HaRav Dov Schwartzman zt”l. He is one of very few people in the world to receive semicha from Rav Schwartzman. He was known as an iluy who could learn for hours on end with total immersion and focus, and a minute later be concerned about another person, what they were doing, how they felt or what they needed, or talk with them in the sugya they were learning.
He mentored younger bochrim and had a profound influence on their lives.
He was described by Rav Schwartzman as having “ah glatte kop”- an unusual ability to analyze a sugya in a clear straightforward manner. Structure, stay true to the words, trying to figure out what the Gemara , Rishon, Acharon is actually saying and not what you think they are saying. He sought out consistency and uniformity within each shitah throughout Shas. He would spend hours pondering Rambam to build a beautiful complex tapestry in thinking. Rav Moshe Shapiro, who was a Maggid Shiur in Bais HaTalmud, described him as a clear thinker who could not tolerate “krumkeit”. He is the quintessential “klohr kop”!
He returned to the United States after nearly a decade in Eretz Yisroel and learned, mentored bochrim and said chaburos for years in Miami in Yeshiva Gedola Bais Moshe Chaim under Rav Yochnon Zweig.
He then came north to learn in Yeshiva Bais Yosef Novardok led by Rav Yaakov Yaffen and his old friend Rav Mordechai Yaffen. When Bais Yosef moved to Flatbush, Rav Yisroel joined the Mir Yeshiva and for the last 15 years has been learning there and saying chaburos a few nights a week for younger bochrim.
People would “talk with him” in learning all day- he was the barometer for solid analysis and thinking and he freely praised logical consistent learning.
He was very well versed in Chumash with major meforshim, Medrash and sifrei Machshava as well. A few years ago he published his sefer Yad Yisroel, a compendium filled with short, clear, incisive “lomdishe” pieces on Shas and a section on Chumash and Machshava. He was recently preparing the second volume for publication.
Rav Yisroel’s sensitivity to people and his understanding of their individual situations made all people around him re-think their own ability to analyze and plan course of action. He taught by example. Although reticent to accept from others, he deeply appreciated any effort made on his behalf and freely expressed his humble gratitude for even the smallest favor or expression of concern. He repeatedly expressed his enormous appreciation to Hanholas Mir Yeshiva for keeping him as part of the Kollel for the past 15 years and allowing him to be marbitz Torah within its walls.
He took ill last week and despite the heroic efforts of the head of Community hospital and a group of concerned friends he was niftar during the night of 12 Nissan.
He leaves behind grieving Talmidim, colleagues and friends.
Boruch Dayan HaEmmes…
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)