Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg

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Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg

Hebrew: הרב חיים פינחס שיינברג
Birthplace: Ostrów, Ropczyce-Sędziszów County, Podkarpackie Voivodeship, Poland
Death: Died in Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel
Place of Burial: Jerusalem, Israel
Immediate Family:

Son of Yaakov Yitzchok Scheinberg and Yospa Scheinberg
Husband of Basha Scheinberg
Father of <private> Alpert (Scheinberg); <private> Rosengarten (Scheinberg); <private> Weiner (Scheinberg); <private> Altusky (Scheinberg) and <private> Scheinberg
Brother of אברהם נתן Scheinberg; הרב שמואל Scheinberg and <private> Soloff (Scheinberg)

Occupation: Rosh Yeshiva of Torah Ore; Mora D'Asra of Kiryat Mattersdorf; and a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah
Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg

Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, who has died in Jerusalem aged 101, was one of the most important ultra-Orthodox leaders of the post-war era – and one of the few remaining Torah scholars to have received an education in the greatest religious seminaries of pre-Holocaust eastern Europe. Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg 6:58PM GMT 22 Mar 2012CommentsComment He was born on October 1 1910 in Ostrov, Poland, but moved in 1919 to New York’s Lower East Side, where he was educated at the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School. Subsequently, he attended the Beis Medrash Le Rabbonim Yeshiva in New Haven, Connecticut, and the Rabbi Elchanan Theological Seminary in New York. Scheinberg’s outstanding scholarship soon attracted the attention of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Herman – the key figure in American Orthodoxy of the early 20th century – who rapidly commended the 16-year-old prodigy to his family as a potential spouse for his 12-year-old daughter Bessie. The couple married five years later, with Scheinberg simultaneously receiving his first Semichah (rabbinical ordination) under the marital canopy. Their union lasted 81 years, until her death in 2009 . Scheinberg was dispatched by his father-in-law to learn at the Mir Yeshiva in eastern Poland, the most prestigious of such seminaries, located in an impoverished small town without running water or pavements. He also studied at the Kaminetz Yeshiva, where he took another Semichah. Scheinberg soon sought out Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan, otherwise known as the “Chofetz Chaim” (1838-1933), the leading figure in the Yeshiva world at the time. When the Chofetz Chaim was informed that the young scholar had come from America for a blessing, he replied: “Moses came all the way from Heaven to teach the Yidden [Jews] Torah. What’s the big deal about coming from America to Europe?” The Chofetz Chaim nonetheless duly bestowed the benediction . Scheinberg returned to America in 1935 to teach in the Yeshivah Chofetz Chaim in New York, latterly founding his own Yeshivah, Torah Or (“Torah Light”). In 1965, long before it became fashionable, he was the first of the American Torah heavyweights to relocate his seminary to Israel, moving to Kiryat Mattersdorf in Jerusalem: when the Six Day War broke out, many Yeshivah students left for home, but all of Scheinberg’s stayed on. Scheinberg was unique amongst the Gedolei Israel (great Torah sages of Israel) in that English was his native tongue. He thus became the first port of call for many Anglo-Saxon immigrants, who found it easier to raise their concerns over points of complex Jewish religious law with him than with any of the other Torah scholars of comparable seniority (who were either Yiddish or Hebrew speakers). Although Scheinberg was a man of great spirituality – he wore 150 Tallesim, or prayer shawls, for much of his life, making him appear much bulkier than he actually was – he nevertheless remained very accessible to Jews at any level of learning or holiness. His American heritage also made him particularly sensitive to the needs of Orthodox women: one of his most important works was Heart to Heart Talks: Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg talks to women (2000). Few other Orthodox scholars of similar standing would have been willing to address female concerns so publicly. Scheinberg visited Britain annually until last year, and was greeted enthusiastically by hundreds of pupils on his trips to Hasmonean High School and Jews’ Free School in London, many of whom became more observant under his inspiration. His blessings proved, however, to be uniquely efficacious for thousands of his co-religionists: 70,000 attended his funeral on the Mount of Olives. He is survived by four daughters and a son, Rabbi Simcha Scheinberg, himself one of the most distinguished rabbinical educators of his own generation, who succeeds him at the helm of Yeshiva of Torah Or. Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, born October 1 1910, died March 20 2012

Rabbi Scheinberg was born circa 1910 in Poland, the son of a tailor. He moved to America at the age of nine and he attended public school, afterwards he left to attend the Rabbi Jacob Joseph yeshiva (RJJ) until the age of fourteen. He then studied in Rabbi Yehuda Levenberg's Bais Medrash LeRabbonim Yeshiva (at the time located in New Haven, Connecticut). At seventeen Rabbi Scheinberg progressed to the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, now affiliated with Yeshiva University. There he learned under Rabbis Shlomo Polachek - known as the "Meitcheter Illui", Moshe Soloveichik and Shimon Shkop (who lived in New York for a short period). Scheinberg received semicha from Rabbi Borch Ber (Bemechitzosom book by R. Shlomo Lorincz Z"L).

After marrying the daughter of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Herman at the age of 19, the couple embarked for the Mir Yeshiva in what was then Poland (and is now Belarus), where he studied for 5 years. The Mir had very few American students, although his brother Shmuel Scheinberg and others such as Rabbi Shachne Zohn and Rabbi Nosson Wachtfogel (future Mashgiach of the Lakewood Yeshiva) also learnt there.

While studying in Mir, Rabbi Scheinberg once visited a leader of Ashkenazi Jewry at the time, the Chofetz Chaim. When informed of a group of students who had travelled all the way from America in order to learn Torah, the Chofetz Chaim was not overly impressed. He quipped, "If G-d came down all the way from heaven to earth in order to give us the Torah, a student can be expected to travel from America to Europe in order to learn His Torah".

Upon returning to the USA, Rabbi Scheinberg became a faculty member of his alma mater, the New Haven Yeshiva, which ultimately closed in 1938. He then became the Mashgiach at the Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim founded by Rabbi Dovid Leibowitz.

In the 1960s, Rabbi Scheinberg relocated from the United States to Israel, where he has lived since. Among other things, he is famous for wearing many layers (numbering perhaps near one hundred) of tzitzis at the same time. Although he has never publicly revealed the reason, one conjecture is that he does this to satisfy diverging rabbinical opinions as to exactly how this mitzvah must be fulfilled. Another is that he took on this practice while his daughter was ill so that he took the wearing of the multitude of tzitzis upon himself as a vow, resulting in increasing mitzvos being performed in her merit.

He is popular among students at yeshivas geared towards American students due to his fluency in English and his familiarity with the issues faced by American Orthodox teenagers studying in Israel. Scheinberg is the Mora D'Asra (akin to "Chief" Rabbi) of Kiryat Mattersdorf, and is also a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah.

His son-in-law was Rabbi Nisson Alpert.

On October 21, 2009, Rabbi Scheinberg's wife Basya died after a marriage of 80 years, one of the longest on record.

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Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg's Timeline

October 1, 1910
Ostrów, Ropczyce-Sędziszów County, Podkarpackie Voivodeship, Poland
March 20, 2012
Age 101
Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel
March 21, 2012
Age 101
Jerusalem, Israel