Harav Nechemiah Schreibman, Rosh Yeshivas Tiferes Moshe Betzalel in Yerushalayim, passed away on Wednesday afternoon after an extended illness at the age of 75. Reb Nechemiah disseminated Torah to multitudes over the past 50 years and was a well-known Gerrer chassid.
He was born in 5698/1938 in London, England. From the time he was very young, he always wanted to learn. He traveled to Gateshead Yeshivah, where he studied under Harav Leib Lopian, zt”l, and Harav Leib Gurwicz, zt”l. He delved into the masechtos, his face glowing as he learned.
His desire to excel in avodas Hashem prompted him to peruse sifrei Chassidus. In Tiferes Shlomo, he learned that in order to reach greater heights and become closer to Hashem, one must travel to a tzaddik. He accepted these words with emunah peshutah, and in 5718/1958, while still a bachur, he traveled to the Beis Yisrael of Ger, zy”a, in Eretz Yisrael and began learning in Yeshivas Sfas Emes. The Beis Yisrael recognized his abilities and drew him close, even inviting him for the Seder.
Reb Nechemiah’s arrival in Eretz Yisrael opened a new chapter in his life, one replete with ahavas Torah and yiras Hashem that lasted until his final day. He was close to all the Rebbes of Ger and followed their every directive.
His day began before dawn, and by four a.m. he was already learning. His sefarim would pile up until one could hardly see the table. They were also filled with his own handwritten chiddushim.
Reb Nechemiah married, tbl”c, the daughter of Reb Aharon Lev, z”l, of Yerushalayim. They established a home of Torah, yiras Hashem and sterling middos, and his rebbetzin stood devotedly at his side for the past 50 years.
After his marriage he continued learning in Sfas Emes, but a short time later he was asked to become a Rosh Mesivta in the Gerrer Yeshivah L’Tzeirim in Yerushalayim. He was perceived as a man of spiritual stature with deep understanding and the ability to explain things clearly, ideal for teaching young bachurim. For the next 20 years, he was one of the pillars of the yeshivah.
Those bachurim still remember his deep, riveting shiurim. Each shiur was a creation, they said. When he delivered them, there wasn’t a sound in the room; everyone listened attentively. He also gave individual attention to each bachur to ensure that they understood every detail of Rashi, the Rishonim and Acharonim on the Gemara.
The Beis Yisrael saw that Reb Nechemiah was a talmid chacham and refined personality who was able to influence others. Because he spoke a fluent English, he was the Beis Yisrael’s emissary to draw close those who came from abroad.
On the final Shabbos before the Beis Yisrael’s passing, the Rebbe summoned Reb Nechemiah to his tisch along with another talmid chacham, stressing that talmidei chachamim must be strongly respected.
At the end of 5748/1988, Reb Nechemiah established Yeshivas Tiferes Moshe Betzalel in Yerushalayim, in memory of Harav Moshe Bezalel Alter, Hy”d, the son of the Imrei Emes. He devoted himself entirely to the yeshivah, which began with just a few talmidim. He traveled around the world to raise money and also delivered shiurim at the yeshivah, infusing the talmidim with joy, ahavas Torah and yiras Hashem.
The Pnei Menachem once visited the yeshivah while Reb Nechemiah was delivering a shiur. He remarked, “How praiseworthy it is that he is a Rosh Yeshivah and also a maggid shiur.” The yeshivah has grown exponentially, and today it has both a yeshivah ketanah and a yeshivah gedolah.
He also delivered mussar shiurim in the yeshivah, the Gerrer cheder and in other mosdos. Many of his talmidim have become renowned scholars in their own right, teaching Torah all over Eretz Yisrael.
Whoever met him always heard a chiddush in Torah. Some of his chiddushim are recorded in many notebooks and binders that he compiled. He also put together an encyclopedia on all the subjects covered in the Torah, which is widely used by Torah scholars.
About eight years ago Reb Nechemiah had a stroke, and after that time he suffered greatly. His wife and children cared for him with endless devotion, and he learned with mesirus nefesh despite the difficulties. He would often gaze at his sefarim shelves, obviously distressed that he could not continue learning the way he had before the stroke.
He insisted on going to the kollel in the Gerrer beis medrash on Ralbach Street every day, where he learned with chavrusas. He went to the kollel this past Sunday and Monday.
On Wednesday, his chavrusa came to his house to learn because he felt weak. They studied the parashah and perused a Sfas Emes (Shelach 5638) on the passuk “Al tiru es am haaretz ki lachmeinu heim.” The Sfas Emes stresses, “The existence of the souls of Bnei Yisrael in this world is only through the hester [hidden] that is in the world, and we must rectify our actions — and through this, they can exist in this world. Because the primary share of Bnei Yisrael is in the Upper World. Therefore, when a person rectifies everything, he passes away. And then a person does not have to be repulsed by the many tribulations of this world…”
After studying this passage, he motioned to his chavrusa that he was too weak to continue, shook his hand in farewell, and began to recite Tehillim. That night, he didn’t feel well and passed away after a short while at home.
Reb Nechemiah was buried on Har Hamenuchos. He is survived by his wife, shetichyeh; one son, Reb Avraham Chaim, a member of the kashrus division of the Badatz Eida Hachareidis; and sons-in-law Reb Simchah Minke, Reb Avraham Yitzchak Grosskopf, Reb Avraham Shlomo Mosbacher and Reb Yisrael Klein, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Yehi zichro baruch.