Rosh Yeshiva of Toras Moshe Speaks On The Tragic Passing of Hakadosh HaRav Moshe Twersky HY”D

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2The following was written and sent to YWN  by Rabbi Moshe Meiselman, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshivas Toras Moshe, Yerushalayim

The world is reeling from the tragic slaughter of the four kedoshay elyon who were brutally slaughtered by bnay avloh while they were standing in front of HaKodosh Baruch Hu in tefillah. Someone who is killed because he is a Jew is a kodosh who dies al Kiddush HaShem. The gemoroh tells us that this is all the more so if he lived his life al Kiddush HaShem.

Among the kedoshay elyon, Rabbi Moshe Twersky was a gadol baTorah and a tzaddik in all ways. For the past twenty two years he was marbitz Torah in Yeshivas Toras Moshe in Yerushalayim. He raised countless talmidim in Torah and Yiras shomayim to very great heights. His talmidim are all over the world. They idolized him for they saw in him the true embodiment of all of the ideals of the Torah.

He was a descendant of two great dynasties – the dynasty of Chernobyl-Talner and the dynasty of Brisk. The intellectual brilliance and command of Torah that signified Brisk was natural and automatic to him. He toiled in Torah until late in the night. He knew major parts of Shas by heart and the rest was at his fingertips. Every one of his talmidim felt his love and he treated them as his own sons. His sons were his talmidim and his talmidim were his sons. He was a unique person in that he was just as scrupulous in chumros in bain odom lechaveiro as he was in bain odom laMakom. The avodah of chassidus burned deeply in him and he sought out gedolay ha-avodah to inspire him and learn the intricacies of avodah. This is what brought him to master kabbalah as well – something unique to someone so steeped in the traditions of Brisk.

The hespedim emphasized time and again his deep purity of soul that dominated his life. He was a talmid of his grandfather, Rav Yosef Dov Soloveichik, zatzal, Rav Dovid Soloveichik, shlita,and in kabbalah, Rav Yisroel Eliyahu Weintraub, zatzal. They all saw in him their true talmid, for whom they had an awed respect.

Klal Yisroel has suffered a great loss with the departure of a future gadol whose shlaimus in Torah, avodah and gemilus chasodim was recognized by everyone who came within his presence. Gedolim are few and far between and when a future gadol departs from us before he has reached his prime the loss cannot be repaired. Mi yitain lanu temuroso.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I cry as I read the words of the rosh hayeshiva shlita just as I did while listening to him yesterday. As a talmid of the rebbe, I would like to add that beyond his unprecedented yiras shomayim, hasmada, and dikduk b’halacha, he was such a soft spoken person, always with words of encouragement, always looking out for the best of his talmidim. Watching him and his avoda was a seder mussar in its own right. Rebbe – we will miss you.

  2. By Rabbi Baruch Noy
    Rebbe, Yeshiva K’tana of Waterbury; Yeshivas Toras Moshe, 2001-2004

    To call myself a talmid would be expressing a hope, but I can certainly say that Rav Moshe Twersky HY”D was my Rebbi.

    As with every Talmid who entered the Shiur, I too immediately became attracted to, and infatuated with, this seemingly physical manifestation of a Malach. No Talmid in the Shiur ever had a hesitation as to how to explain the words of the Chachomim “If your Rebbi seems to you as a Malach Hashem.” However, Rebbi was not a Mal’ach – he was a Kadosh.

    Anyone who claims that R’ Moshe Twersky HY”D is now a Kadosh for having been murdered Al Kiddush Hashem clearly never met my Rebbi in his lifetime. My Rebbi was a Kadosh in real life, not just with his death.

    As was pointed out my those that said the Hespedim, everyone that came into close quarters with Rebbi new very quickly that his existence was more appropriate in a previous generation. He was larger than our generation, both in his accomplishments and in his personality. This lends itself to a mistake, however. In fact, I remember the reactions of many when I revealed that I spoke to Rebbi about such mundane matters as which Yeshiva to continue on at after leaving Toras Moshe, or other practical life issues and decisions. Almost everyone said “You spoke to Rebbi about Olam Hazeh?!”

    I am not about to diminish the greatness of Rebbi by suggesting that he was anything less than a Mal’ach Hashem. I only want to point out that the true greatness lies in the fact that though Rebbi was so Kadosh, he could still lower himself down to the Talmid in order to raise the Talmid to greater heights. I have no doubt that he didn’t enjoy the content of those conversations about Olam Hazeh issues, but at the same time I have no doubt that he relished the opportunity to raise a simple person towards a loftier level, closer to himself.

    If I had to put it succinctly, I would say the following: I understand that Rebbi raised himself to the level where Avodas Hashem became natural. This was hard work, over many years, without any doubt. I, as a Talmid, do not expect to reach such lofty heights as the Rebbi. However, here is what Rebbi taught me: Think twice. Before you act, think again if this is really going to bring you to an elevated relationship with Hashem.

    I understand that from the day I met rebbi, some 13 years ago, he most likely did not need to think twice anymore. I also understand that I cannot expect to imitate this feat. But I can think twice. Before I click on a link, I think twice. Before I spend money, I think twice. Before I make a Brocha, I think twice. Before I eat from a suspicious Hechsher, I think twice. This habit I did not imitate, rather I was taught.

    Many times I wonder how even the Dor Dei’ah could possibly be inspired by Moshe Rabbeinu – it would be so easy to say; “Oh, that kind of thing is not for our level – that’s only for people like Moshe Rabbeinu!” So how, in fact, did Moshe Rabbeinu succeed? Thanks to my Rebbi, I know the answer: Moshe Rabbeinu was able to live on a higher level, while trying to honestly and sincerely draw the people closer to him, little by little. So it was with our Moshe Rabbeinu – we knew who he was, and he knew who we were. He wouldn’t cut us short, and we can’t let ourselves cut us short either. Will we ever be capable of needing to only think once? Perhaps not, but the experience of seeing someone who could, will forever impress upon me what Rebbi would want me to do on my level: Think twice.

    It goes without saying that I can write pages and pages of important lessons that I learned from my Rebbi, but I think that this is the one that I will stress as I begin to speak about my Rebbi for those that are asking for it.

    Besuros tovos.