Baruch Dayan Ha’Emes: Hagaon Harav Shmuel Auerbach, Zt”l

Hagaon Harav Shmuel Auerbach, zt”l. (Yaakov Lederman/Flash90)

Klal Yisrael was plunged into sudden mourning Motzoei Shabbos upon learning of the sudden petirah of Hagaon Harav Shmuel Auerbach, zt”l, in Shaare Zedek Hospital in Yerushalayim. He was 86 at his petirah.

Harav Auerbach did not feel well when Shabbos began and didn’t deliver his weekly shiur after Maariv. Later that night, his condition worsened and medical professionals were called to his yeshivah, Yeshivas Maalos HaTorah, in Yerushalayim’s Shaarei Chesed neighborhood, where they attempted to resuscitate him.

Harav Shmuel Auerbach at Shacharis. (Shlomi Cohen/Flash90)

When the intensive care ambulance arrived, the Rosh Yeshivah was rushed to Shaare Zedek Hospital after his pulse had returned. In the hospital, he again suffered a heart attack and was niftar early in the morning.

Harav Shmuel Auerbach delivers a drashah in his yeshivah during Aseres Yemei Teshuvah. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

On Motzoei Shabbos, when the mittah of the Rosh Yeshivah was taken to his yeshivah, many talmidim gathered in shock at the yeshivah, tearing kriah as per the halachah for one’s Rebbi muvhak.

Harav Auerbach’s levayah will leave from Yeshivas Maalos HaTorah at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, to Har Hamenuchos. Thousands from across Eretz Yisrael are expected to accompany the Rosh Yeshivah on his last journey.

Hagaon Harav Shmuel Auerbach, zt”l, at an event less than two weeks ago. (JDN)


Hagaon Harav Shmuel Auerbach was the oldest son of the posek hador Hagaon Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l. He was born on Yom Kippur 5692/1931.

As a young bachur he learned in Yeshivas Eitz Chaim. He was noted for both his hasmadah and his genius. He devoted himself totally to limud haTorah, his greatest pleasure.

When he came of age, he married Rebbetzin Rochel, a”h, the daughter of Harav Pinchas Eliezer Paksher. She passed away in 5750/1990. Hagaon Harav Shmuel named a number of his sefarim Ohel Rochel in her memory.

A few years after his wedding, Reb Shmuel was already seen as a Torah giant and was appointed to several Torah posts. He served as Rosh Yeshivah in Yeshivas Amshinov, and he later he served as a maggid shiur in Yeshivas Itri, as well as other yeshivos.

In 5742/1982, Hagaon Harav Shmuel founded Yeshivas Maalos HaTorah in Shaare Chessed. The yeshivah was geared toward older bachurim. Over the years, Reb Shmuel had thousands of talmidim.

After the passing of his Rebbetzin, Reb Shmuel lived in the yeshivah.

Reb Shmuel was known as an outstanding gaon, fluent in all aspects of the Torah. He would sit and learn in the yeshivah for hours on end. He was also fluent in Toras haKabbalah, serving as nasi of Yeshivas Shaar HaShamayim for mekubalim.

Reb Shmuel served as nasi of a number of yeshivos and mosdos haTorah, as well as tzedakah and chessed organizations.

Harav Auerbach was very close with the Gedolim of the previous generation, notably Hagaon Harav Elazar Menachem Shach, zt”l, and Hagaon Harav Yosef Shlaom Elyashiv, zt”l.

He was a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Degel HaTorah as well as the Vaad Hayeshivos.

Being childless, Hagaon Harav Shmuel had especially close relationships with his talmidim and they would seek his counsel and brachos at the yeshivah. Many of his talmidim today serve as Rabbanim, Roshei Yeshivah and hold other Torah positions.

His petirah is a great loss to Klal Yisrael, the petirah of one of the last connections and links to the previous generations, and a formidable talmid chacham.

Zecher tzaddik livrachah.

Talmidim of Hagaon Harav Shmuel Auerbach, zt”l, recite Tehillim near his mittah, in the yeshivah on Motzoei Shabbos, with kriyah on their jackets. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A longer, more in-depth biography will follow.

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