Harav Yechiel Tauber, zt”l, the founding Rosh Kollel and Av Beis Din of Machon L’Horaah of Monsey, was niftar late Tuesday night. His sudden petirah came as a shock to the community. He was 74 years old.
During the decades of his leadership, the elite Kollel produced generations of prominent marbitzei Torah and Poskim, whom he both mentored and inspired by personal example as a model of what it means to dedicate one’s life to limud haTorah.
“He was a Gaon Olam with no connection whatsoever to olam hazeh, but it was all with unassuming quietness, amazing anavah,” one relative told Hamodia.
“He was one of the first to start a kollel for Choshen Mishpat and in general to train Rabbanim in America; it changed the whole world of limud haTorah.”
In the years since its opening, Machon L’Horaah has become a vital part of the Monsey community and beyond. In addition to its kollel, consisting of over 100 choice avreichim, it maintains a beis din, a kashrus certification service, a beis horaah to answer she’eilos and a kehillah, all of which fell under the auspices of Rav Tauber. Yet nearly all day, every day, was spent by Rav Tauber in Machon L’Horaah’s beis medrash, engrossed in learning, personally setting the high standard that he demanded of the Kollel and its members.
Rav Tauber was born in 1943 in Budapest to Reb Aharon, z”l, and Roiza (nee Gestetner) Tauber, a”h. Reb Aharon managed to shield his family from deportation, and with great mesirus nefesh was succesful in saving many other Jews as well. After the war, the Taubers moved first to Antwerp and then to Eretz Yisrael, arriving in the United States in 1954.
The family settled in Williamsburg and joined the Pupa kehillah. As a bachur, young Yechiel learned in Yeshivas Shaarei Yosher under its founding Rosh Yeshivah, Harav Yitzchok Dov Kopelman, zt”l. With his sharp mind and dedication to learning, he showed early promise, and soon developed into an accomplished talmid chacham. In those years Rav Tauber attached himself to Rav Kopelman, absorbing his Rebbi’s probing derech halimud and uncompromising dedication to emes both in Torah and in all other areas of avodas Hashem. Rav Kopelman, who taught and mentored talmidim for over 75 years, remarked on more than one occasion, “Reb Yechiel was one of the very best.”
Rav Tauber also studied under Harav Yaakov Greenwald, zt”l, the Pupa Rav. All his life he often quoted the Rav’s opinions on matters of psak halachah and extolled his elevated yiras Shamayim.
In the early 1960s, Rav Tauber married, ybl”c, Yittah Wosner, daughter of Harav Moshe Yidel Wosner, sheyichyeh, one of the founders and a prominent resident of New Square, where the couple lived for several years. During this period, Rav Tauber joined the Skverer Kollel and grew close to several of the kehillah’s talmidei chachamim. He also developed a bond with the Skverer Rebbe, Harav Yaakov Yosef Twersky zy”a. Rav Tauber did all he could to learn from the tzaddik’s lofty ways. In later years he became close to the Skulener Rebbe, Harav Eliezer Zishe Portugal, zy”a.
In the mid-1970s, with the financial backing and logistical assistance of his brother, ybl”c, Harav Ezriel Tauber, Rav Yechiel founded Machon L’Horaah. The institution was a relative novelty in America for its focus on learning Choshen Mishpat to produce the next generation of Rabbanim and Dayanim.
Above all, Rav Tauber’s vision for the beis medrash was that its members should live up to the responsibility of someone who studies in a kollel. He made it clear that interrupting learning for any but the most urgent of situations should be anathema to a ben Torah. This attitude of complete immersion in Torah was not something that Rav Tauber expected only during learning sedarim, but rather an approach that he felt should permeate all aspects of the life of a kollel yungerman. Stressing always that an avreich’s growth in Torah must be founded on yiras Shamayim, he established a mussar seder in the kollel’s daily schedule.
Rav Tauber spent untold hours in the beis medrash, learning with all the concentration and enthusiasm of a yeshivah bachur, putting effort into anything that he learned until he could explain it with amazing clarity. His phenomenal knowledge spanned all areas of Torah. Whoever discussed topics in Torah with him was often astounded, as he could quote even the most seemingly minor details of a sugya as if he had just finished learning it.
The levayah was held on Wednesday afternoon at Machon L’Horaah, followed by kevurah in the Vizhnitzer beis hachaim in Monsey.
Rav Tauber is survived by, ybl”c, his wife and children, as well as by many grandchildren.
Yehi zichro baruch.
Updated Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 7:57 pm