Hespedim for Hagaon Harav Gershon Edelstein, Zt”l

By Matis Glenn

Hagaon Harav Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Ateres Yisrael, being maspid. (Shuki Lehrer)

Hagaon Harav Dov Landau, Rosh Yeshivas Slabodka, who learned with Harav Eldelstein zt”l together in yeshiva:

Hagaon Harav Dov Landau, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva of Slabodka, being maspid.

In the Sefer Ha’drashos from the Nesivos (Harav Yaakov M’Lisa), a hesped is printed that the Nesivos gave on two Gedolei Hador who passed away at the time, and I will note the words which are relevant to us:

“In Mesechta Moed Katan (25b), it says that when Rebbi Avahu passed away, the pillars of Kisri poured out water. The Nesivos explains this Gemara by citing Chazal’s teaching that the world rests of three things, Torah, avodah and gemilus chassadim. Sometimes there is a tzaddik who is only involved in Torah, and for him, it is fitting only to eulogize him for Torah; only for the pillar of Torah that was lost is it fit to cry over. And there is another type of tzaddik, whose entire activities are in the realm of gemilus chassadim. When he passes away, no one will take on (to eulogize him extensively), but on such a person, it can be said that the pillar of gemilus chassadim cries for him. And so too, with a tzaddik who is only involved in avodah; the pillar of avodah cries for him. But when Rebbe Avahu passed away, a destruction came to all three pillars of the world; to Torah, avodah and gemilus chassadim. And he (the Nesivos) said derech melitzah that all of the pillars cried.

“We can say on Moreinu v’Rabbeinu, Rosh Hayeshiva, that all his days from the dawn of his youth were filled with hasmadah, and that he raised many talmidim, who themselves raised many talmidim. In regards to, his avodah, through his noble and elevated hanhagos, he radiated immense fear of Heaven, in matters between man and Hashem and in matters between man and his fellow…he would speak a lot about issues such as vatranus, and to honor and be pleasant with people. And in his gemilus chassadim, downtrodden people would constantly seek his home.”

While the Rosh Yeshiva carried the Olam Hayeshivos on his shoulders, I’d like to add a personal note. I will try to explain the deep appreciation and reverence (for the Rosh Yeshiva) at the time we were learning together, even before his marriage…there was an unusual honor and yiras hakavod. And I remember that they would say over in the name of the Chazon Ish many praises on him.

“His sons and his sons-in-law are great gedolei Torah, marbitzei Torah…and I will conclude with the perush of Rabbeinu Chananel in Meseches Yoma (28b) on the Avos. It is written there that they knew secrets of time, and that they were zekeinim, sitting in yeshiva…Rabbeinu Chananel writes that the Shechinah was with them! These two words of Rabbeinu Chananel need no further explanation.

Let us all express our lament…Oy! Who will give us his replacement? May his pure soul be bundled in the bundle of life, Amen.”

Hagaon Harav Baruch Dov Povarsky, Rosh Yeshivas Ponevezh, a close personal friend of Harav Edelstein:

Hagaon Harav Baruch Dov Povarsky, shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Ponevezh, saying a hesped. (Shuki Lehrer)

“I am so pained for you, my brother, your love for me was so pleasant. For 70 years we have stood together as one man, endeavoring to teach Torah to Hashem’s people. Chazal say that anyone who learns Torah, and it’s not sweet like honey and milk, he should not teach. Seventy years…generations of talmidei chachamim learned Torah which was sweeter than honey, and then raised their own students, generation after generation…they say “I remember this and you…this entered my heart, and they grew to spread Torah.”

Harav Povarsky continued, in tears: “Oy Reb Gershon! If there ever was a concept of humility, it was Reb Gershon. I sat next to the Brisker Rov, when a talmid chacham asked him…the Gemara says that when Rebbi Yehudah Hanasi passed away, humility ceased to exist. Rav Yosef said, “but I am here.” The talmid chacham asked the Brisker Rav, how is this humility? The Rav answered that “someone who doesn’t know what humility is shouldn’t ask.”

“Reb Gershon…his middah was a humility like no other. The Gemara in Moed Katan says that Hashem is happy when the pure neshama of a tzaddik comes to him, and we cry.

Seventy years we sat together… Moshe Rabbeinu wrote “and the man Moshe was the most humble of all people,” how must he have felt? But he needed to be Moshe. And this too, was Reb Gershon. “I” was not a factor to him. Hashem is happy when a the pure neshama of a tzadik comes to him…all of us here felt it palpably that we needed to go to Reb Gershon with any questions we had.”

“Who comes to his ankles?” The Rosh Yeshiva continued.  “Avraham said, “I am dust and ashes… We have no replacement for Reb Gershon.

“All Reb Gershon ever did was sanctify the name of Hashem.

He taught Torah that is sweeter than honey; Reb Gershon was pure and a tzaddik, the epitome of humility…May Hashem have mercy on us that we merit to continue in our Rebbe’s ways, and may Hashem comfort us with the consolation of Tzion and Yerushalayim.”

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