Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel
Hebrew: הרב נתן צבי פינקל
|Also Known As:||"Alter of Slabodka", "הסבא מסלבודקא", ""Alter of Slabodka""|
|Birthplace:||Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States|
|Death:||Died in Jerusalem, Israel|
Son of Elihu Meir Finkel; Moshe Finkel; Sara Ita Finkel and Miriam Finkel
|Occupation:||Rabbi, Rosh Yeshiva of the Mir in Jerusalem, מיסד ישיבת סלבודקה בקובנה ליטא|
|Managed by:||Chana Bongart (Sultan)|
Historical records matching Reb Nosson Tzvi Finkel
About Reb Nosson Tzvi Finkel
Nosson Tzvi Finkel (Mir) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with Nosson Tzvi Finkel (Slabodka).
Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel Rosh Yeshivas Mir
Position Rosh yeshiva Yeshiva Mir yeshiva (Jerusalem) Began 1990 Ended 8 November 2011 Predecessor Rabbi Chaim Leib Shmuelevitz, Rabbi Nachum Partzovitz Successor Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel Personal details Birth name Nosson Tzvi Finkel Born 12 March 1943 Chicago, Illinois Died 8 November 2011 (aged 68) Jerusalem, Israel Buried 8 November 2011 Nationality United States, Israel Denomination Haredi Residence Jerusalem, Israel Parents Eliyahu Meir Finkel Sara Schwartz Spouse Rachel Leah Finkel Children Eliezer Yehuda Avraham Shmuel Yeshayahu Yitzchak Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Yehoshua Tanchum 6 daughters
Nosson Tzvi Finkel (12 March 1943 – 8 November 2011) was an American-born Haredi Litvish rabbi and rosh yeshiva (dean) of the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Israel. During his tenure from 1990 until his death in 2011, he built the Mir into the largest yeshiva in Israel with nearly 6,000 undergraduate students and over 1,600 avreichim (married students). Although he suffered from Parkinson's disease for over 20 years, experiencing involuntary spasms and slurred speech, he did not let his illness stop him from learning Torah for long hours, delivering regular shiurim (lectures), and fund-raising for his yeshiva around the world. He raised an estimated USD$500 million for the Mir over the last two decades. He was a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Degel HaTorah and was known for his Torah erudition and his great concern for his students. Contents [hide] 1 Early life 2 Illness 3 Growth of the Mir 4 Death 5 References 6 External links Early life
Nosson Tzvi Finkel was born in Chicago, Illinois to Rabbi Eliyahu Meir Finkel and his wife, Sara Schwartz, who ran a kosher catering business. He was a great-grandson of the Alter of Slabodka, after whom he was named. He had one brother, Gedaliah, who now teaches at the Mir yeshiva. After his parents moved to Israel in the 1980s, his mother published a best-selling kosher cookbook. Nosson Tzvi grew up as a "typical American Jewish boy" known as Natty who enjoyed playing baseball. He took his secondary education at the co-ed, Modern Orthodox Ida Crown Jewish Academy, where he was a starting centerfielder for the baseball team and president of the student council. During a visit to Israel at the age of 15, his cousin, Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel ("Reb Leizer Yudel"), the Mir rosh yeshiva, recognized his ability to think clearly and have patience for studying, and invited him to stay in Jerusalem to pursue advanced Talmudic studies at the Mir. But Nosson Tzvi's mother wanted him to return to Chicago to finish high school. At the age of 18, Finkel returned to Jerusalem to learn at the Mir and Reb Leizer Yudel provided him with top-notch chavrutas (study partners) to develop his skills. He learned diligently for the next six years. With one of his chavrutas, Rabbi Zundel Kroizer, he completed the entire Talmud each year. Finkel married Reb Leizer Yudel's granddaughter, Rachel Leah, the eldest daughter of Rabbi Binyomin Beinush Finkel, who was his second cousin. He and his wife had 11 children. He continued to learn with chavrutas at all hours, stopping at 2 a.m.; his wife would bring their children to visit him at the yeshiva so he wouldn't have to take the time to walk home. Upon the death of his father-in-law in 1990, Finkel was named rosh yeshiva of the Mir together with Rabbi Refoel Shmuelevitz (son of former Mir rosh yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Leib Shmuelevitz). Finkel took on the financial responsibility for the yeshiva. Illness
Finkel was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the late 1980s. Though he experienced much difficulty in walking and talking, and suffered from involuntary tremors and spasms and slurred speech, he continued to learn for hours every day and gave regular shiurim in the yeshiva, as well as embarked on regular fund-raising trips abroad. He steeled himself to control his spasms during his learning sedarim (study sessions). In later years, when he felt too weak to sit in a chair during the chaburas (small-group learning sessions) that he organized for students in his home, he would lie down on a couch and encourage the students to begin the session. He refused to take medication for his condition, since the drugs could make his mind foggy or cause memory loss and he didn't want to risk forgetting his Torah studies. Growth of the Mir
Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel (center, in wheelchair) participates in a Simchat Beit HaShoeivah at the Mir in 2006. When Finkel became rosh yeshiva, the Mir had less than 1,000 students. Under his stewardship, the yeshiva grew by leaps and bounds, enrolling nearly 6,000 undergraduate students and over 1,600 married students by the time of his death. This growth is credited to Finkel's open-door policy: whoever wished to learn at the Mir was welcome. Enrollment now includes Litvish, Hasidic, Ashkenazi, Sephardi and baalei teshuva students from Israel, the United States and Europe. Finkel was known for his great love and care for his students. Nothwithstanding the Mir's huge enrollment, he tried to remember the name of each student. He made himself available to learn with anyone who asked and went out of his way to help students with their material needs. He also remembered personal details about each of his alumni and donors abroad. His brother-in-law, Rabbi Aharon Lopiansky, rosh yeshiva of the Yeshiva of Greater Washington, said that at Mir dinners, 1,000 people could be waiting to speak with the rosh yeshiva, "and almost every single one on the line was someone he had had a personal connection with". In the late 1990s, Finkel began fund-raising for additional buildings, resulting in the opening of four new sites. He assigned separate battei medrash (study halls) for each group of students, making one for Israeli students, one for Americans, one for those who wished to study without a daily shiur, and so on. As enrollment continued to climb, several students of the main maggidei shiur (lecturers) began delivering shiurim in English, and Finkel raised the funds to open a new beis medrash in 2006 for these shiurim too. Yet another beis medrash was built in recent years. The Mir also opened a branch in the Brachfeld neighborhood of Modi'in Illit for Israeli students, where Finkel gave shiurim and occasional shmuessen (musar talks), and a yeshiva ketana in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood of Jerusalem. In an unusual move for a Litvish yeshiva, Finkel accepted 800 Hasidic students and allowed them to learn in their own chabura and follow their own customs, including a fartug (pre-dawn study session) before morning prayers. This group, known as Chaburas Ameilim BaTorah (the "Toiling in Torah" Study Group), was housed in a different neighborhood, but the week before his death, Finkel moved them onto Mir yeshiva premises. He participated in their Thursday-night study sessions as well as their seudot mitzvah (festival meals) marking a siyum, and Hanukkah parties. Finkel shouldered the responsibility for raising funds for this giant Torah enterprise. Despite his disease and its side effects, he traveled twice a year to England and the United States. In the past two years, the economic recession saw the yeshiva's debts mounting quicker than they were being met, with salaries and kollel stipends running months behind. Finkel was said to be very upset by this state of affairs. Death
At 6 a.m. in his home on November 8, 2011 (11 Cheshvan 5772), Finkel suddenly lost consciousness. EMS personnel attempted to revive him for 50 minutes while students of the Mir stood outside in the street praying for him. His personal doctor summoned to the home determined that he had died of cardiac arrest. An estimated 100,000 people attended his funeral, which began at the Mir yeshiva in Beit Yisrael and continued on foot to Har HaMenuchot, where he was buried next to Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz, a former rosh yeshiva of the Mir. The Edah HaChareidis ordered all Haredi businesses to close during the funeral, and Litvishe Torah leaders Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv and Aharon Leib Shteinman instructed teachers and students of Talmud Torahs, yeshivas, and kollels to join the funeral procession. The procession blocked the entrance to the city and halted operations of the Jerusalem Light Rail, as tens of thousands of mourners blocked the tracks on the Jerusalem Chords Bridge en route to the cemetery. Rav Finkel's death was a double blow for the Jerusalem Litvish yeshiva world, coming one day after the death of Rabbi Dov Schwartzman, another respected Litvish rosh yeshiva in Jerusalem. Rabbi Finkel participated in Rabbi Schwartzman's funeral on 7 November. At the funeral it was announced that Finkel's eldest son, Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, would succeed his father as rosh yeshiva. References
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Hagaon Harav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, zt"l: Leader of thousands, rebbi to each one". Hamodia, 10 November 2011, pp. A20, A26. ^ a b c d e f g "Jerusalem - Torah Chigri Sak! Hagaon Harav Nosson Tzvi Finkel, Zt"l". Vos Iz Neias?. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011. ^ a b c d Lipschutz, Rabbi Pinchos. "Inspiring a Generation". Yated Ne'eman. Retrieved 28 November 2011. ^ a b c d e f Donn, Yochonon. "'My Everyman Brother-in-Law Who Became a Gadol'". Hamodia, 17 November 2011, p. C3, C6. ^ a b c Ben Gedalyahu, Tzvi (8 November 2011). "Mir Yeshiva Rabbi Finkel Passes Away". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 8 November 2011. ^ a b c Ahren, Raphael (11 November 2011). "Rabbi Finkel, The Inspirational Yeshiva Head Who Grew Up Thoroughly American". Haaretz. Retrieved 28 November 2011. ^ Finkel, Sara (1989). Classic Kosher Cooking. Targum Press. ISBN 0944070140. ^ Adlerstein, Yitzchok (9 November 2011). "R. Nosson Tzvi Finkel zt"l". Cross-currents. Retrieved 28 November 2011. ^ a b c d e f g Heimowitz, Rabbi Yehuda (9 November 2011). "Special Tribute Edition: One Father, Myriads of Orphans". Mishpacha. Retrieved 10 November 2011. ^ "Sar V'gadol Nafal B' Yisrael (A Prince and Great Person Fell in Israel)". Hamodia, 10 November 2011, p. C6. ^ a b "Boruch Dayan Haemes: Harav Nosson Tzvi Finkel". Lakewood Local. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011. ^ a b "Photos: 100,000 Attend Levaya of Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel zt"l". matzav.com. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011. ^ "Mir Rosh Yeshiva’s Levaya Halts Jerusalem Light Rail". Yeshiva World News. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2011. ^ Sever, Yechiel (8 November 2011). "אלפים רבים בהלוויית הגאון הגדול רבי דב שוורצמן זצוק"ל [Thousands at the Funeral of the Great Torah Genius Rabbi Dov Schwartzman]" (in Hebrew). Yated Ne'eman: p. 1. External links
" Videos, Photos: Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel Arrives in the US, Speaks in Lakewood" (February 2010) "Blanket of Trust" by Howard Schultz, Chairman of Starbucks
Nosson Zvi (Nota Hirsh) Finkel was an influential leader of Orthodox Judaism in Eastern Europe and founder of the Slabodka Yeshiva.
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
Reb Nosson Tzvi Finkel's Timeline
Kelmė, Kelmė district municipality, Šiauliai County, Lithuania
Kelmė, Kelmė district municipality, Šiauliai County, Lithuania
Kelmė, Kelmė District Municipality, Šiauliai County, Lithuania
March 12, 1943
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States
November 8, 2011