Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, Alter of Slabodka

Is your surname Finkel?

Research the Finkel family

Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, Alter of Slabodka's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel

Hebrew: הרב נתן צבי פינקל הסבא מסלבודקה Finkel
Also Known As: "Alter of Slabodka", "הסבא מסלבודקא", ""Alter of Slabodka""
Birthplace: Rasin , now Lithuania
Death: Died in Jerusalem
Immediate Family:

Son of Moshe Finkel and Miriam Finkel
Husband of Gittel Finkel
Father of Avraham Shmuel Finkel; Sara Liba Plachinsky; Mariasha Guttel Gitel שר Sher; Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel; Rav Moshe Finkel and 3 others

Occupation: מיסד ישיבת סלבודקה בקובנה ליטא
Managed by: Unknown
Last Updated:

About Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, Alter of Slabodka

Nosson Zvi (Nota Hirsh) Finkel was an influential leader of Orthodox Judaism in Eastern Europe and founder of the Slabodka Yeshiva.

From; http://www.eilatgordinlevitan.com/kovno/kovno_pages/kovno_stories_z_finkel.html

The Alter (or "Sabba") of Slabodka Yeshiva, Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel

(Born in Rasin in 1849 - died in 1927 in Jerusalem)

Nosson Zvi (Nota Hirsh) Finkel was also known as the

alter (elder and Sabba) of the Yeshiva of Slobodka

Born in 1849 in Raseiniai, Kaunas, Lithuania ( 50 kilometers from

Kelm) to Reb Moshe. He was orphaned at a young age. Was first educated

at the home of his relatives in Vilna. He studied in Kelm, and married

the granddaughter of the rabbi of Kelm at age 15.

In Kelm he took an important place amongst the Torah giants. He became

close to Reb Simcha Zisl Ziv and involved with the Musar movement. He

left Kelm. Using his unique talent and energetic personality he

spread the" Musar"system all over Lithuania. He settled in Kovno and

established Kolel in Kovno and its suburb; Slobodke, as well as

"Keneset Yisrael " Yeshiva in Slobodke. He was the spiritual leader of

the Yeshiva for fifty years ( 1877- 1927).

An Appreciation of the Alter of Slobodke by his talmid HaRav Meir

Chodosh -- "And they said, You have Revived us!"

by Moshe Musman


The following recollections of the Alter of Slobodke zt'l offer a

spiritual portrait of one of the greatest and most influential

educators that the modern yeshiva world has known. As well as

eminently qualifying him to elucidate the main ideas of the Alter's

outlook, HaRav Chodosh's standing as one of his closest talmidim for

over twenty years also qualifies him to demonstrate how the Alter

himself was their embodiment. From a close reading of the shmuess,

herein it seems clear that in addition, HaRav Chodosh intends to show

how the ideas which the Alter spread indeed addressed areas of general

human weakness, such as the fear of sin and the importance of

humility, with which a superficial acquaintance with Slobodke mussar,

with its emphasis on inspiring and uplifting and their distinct outer

manifestations, may have led outsiders to believe that the Alter was

less preoccupied with than were the proponents of other mussar


Indeed, the term gadlus ho'odom, the greatness of man or mankind, is

not fully understood today. Many mistakenly associate it with a

certain air of self assurance and style of clothing, as if this

approach achieved the improvement of the self image of bnei Torah by

having them dress smartly. In this shmuess, HaRav Chodosh sets out the

fundamental premise of gadlus ho'odom and shows how its correct

appreciation and assimilation led to the realization of the main goals

that all the different mussar systems shared.

HaRav Chodosh demonstrates that attaining yiras Shomayim is the work

of a lifetime and that success can only result if a person's efforts

are firmly founded upon a correct understanding of man's purpose in

this world. To achieve this, the Alter continually drew upon Chazal's

teachings concerning the greatness of Odom Horishon. HaRav Chodosh

goes on to show that the attainment of true wisdom and humility, as

well as refined and pleasant character traits, are both an outgrowth

of recognizing man's relationship with his Creator. Obviously, this

awareness will also require that interpersonal relationships are

handled with the utmost consideration for others. An understanding of

the soul of Slobodke mussar enables its outward features to be viewed

in their proper proportions.

Why didn't the Alter write seforim? Why was he continually speaking

about Odom Horishon? His home was open to all, twenty-four hours a

day, yet he lived a life of modesty and concealment. He was speaking

all day, yet he was a man of silence. Why did he speak softly, so that

people had to move closer in order to hear him? Why did he hold onto a

handkerchief or cloth during a shmuess? Some of the enigmas about the

Alter are explained herein.

The shmuess was delivered by HaRav Meir Chodosh on the twenty ninth of

Shevat, 5741, the Alter's yahrtzeit, in the beis haknesses of

Hisachdus Yeshivas Chevron in Bnei Brak. It was transcribed by Rabbi

Aharon Meir Kravitz, who is a grandson of HaRav Chodosh.

Write Them On Your Heart!

In the Torah world at large and especially in the yeshivos, the day

before Rosh Chodesh Adar is a day of introspection. This day marks the

yahrtzeit of the man who founded our holy yeshiva -- not merely with

regard to its material founding but also in the sense of having put

the yeshiva upon its feet, educating and guiding us so that we

developed spiritually. He taught us to tread along the path of Hashem,

[and showed us] an approach to serving Him.

The Alter left his Torah in oral form. He didn't record his novel

ideas in writing. On his way to Eretz Yisroel he travelled through

Berlin and went to visit one of the greatest of his talmidim, who was

one of the renowned rabbonim of the generation. The talmid asked his

rebbe, the Alter, why he did not record his [many] shmuessen, since

the Alter used to lecture day and night.

The talmid related that several other distinguished talmidim of the

Alter's had been with him earlier and he had asked them what the Alter

had been speaking about lately. By way of answer, they had tried to

repeat two or three shmuessen, but they couldn't remember a fourth

one. Since it seemed that the shmuessen were being lost, why didn't he

keep a written record of them?

The Alter answered him with another question. "You have conversed with

my talmidim -- are they the same as other people?"

"No, certainly not. The difference is recognizable at once."

"Those are my shmuessen," the Alter replied. "They are written down on

my talmidim!" for the rest go to http://www.eilatgordinlevitan.com/kovno/kovno_pages/kovno_stories_z_finkel.html



view all 12

Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, Alter of Slabodka's Timeline

Rasin , now Lithuania
Age 30
Age 31
Kelmė, Kelmė district municipality, Šiauliai County, Lithuania
Age 32
Kelmė, Kelmė District Municipality, Šiauliai County, Lithuania
Age 32
Kelmė, Kelmė district municipality, Šiauliai County, Lithuania
Age 35
Age 40
February 1927
Age 78
February 1927
Age 78