Brooklyn, NY - Thousands Attend Funeral For Rabbi Yisroel Belsky
Last updated on: January 30, 2016 07:03 PM
Brooklyn, NY - Thousands turned out this morning at Yeshiva Torah Vodaath to give kavod acharon to Rabbi Yisroel Belsky who passed away yesterday at Maimonides Hospital at the age of 78 after a lengthy illness.
E9th Street in Brooklyn, was closed to vehicular traffic and streets around the yeshiva were a sea of black as the crowds over flowed the yeshiva’s beis medrash, auditorium and dining room, all of which were set up for the massive levaya, with an additional area arranged for kohanim at the dining room of the yeshiva ketana.
Thousands more joined in the levaya with a live stream set up by the yeshiva and two teleconferences arranged for those who preferred to listen by phone.
Standing in front of the aron kodesh, whose paroches was pushed aside in a sign of mourning, prominent rabbonim and family members eulogized Rabbi Belsky, passionately praising the niftar for his incredible ahavas haTorah, his continuous quest for limud haTorah and the compassion that he continuously lavished on those around him.
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Brother Rabbi Mendel Belsky spoke tearfully about Rabbi Belsky’s incredible sense of achdus and the special emphasis he placed on familial relationships. Rabbi Belsky’s oldest son, Rabbi Aryeh Belsky related his father’s tremendous hasagos for tzedaka, often giving beyond his means, and his incredible connection to the yeshiva where he served as menahel.
“He lived the yeshiva,” said Rabbi Aryeh Belsky. “He was here all the time ... He lived Torah Vodaath.”
Rabbi Aryeh Belsky shared his father’s incredible hislahavus for learning Torah, running to get a sefer when needed instead of sending someone else to get it for him and often leaving in the middle of an event, be it a dinner or a wedding, so that he wouldn’t miss a shiur.
Rabbi Avrohom Belsky spoke of how his father taught his children a love of learning by example.
“I remember growing up, waking up Shabbos morning ... before coming to shul, my father would sit with his gemara while we would eat breakfast and he would learn gemara. We would go out to Prospect Park sometimes and he would sit with his gemara ... He taught me to learn not by telling me to learn but by learning himself. That’s the way a father is.”
Rabbi Avrohom Belsky spoke of his father’s love for two other pillars of Judaism, avoda and gemilus chasadim, noting that his father was an accomplished baal tefilla who took the problems of others to heart and taught his children to do likewise.
“When somebody has a problem it has to become your problem,” said Rabbi Avraham Belsky. “That was my father. If someone had a problem it became his problem.”
Son in law Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz said that his father in law had no problem taking a stance that was unpopular if the halacha dictated that he do so.
“We didn’t lose a gadol hador, we lost a gibur hador,” said Rechnitz. “He had the mida of gevura. He said what needed to be said. He said the truth and there were repercussions and sometimes he was dragged through the mud, but he spoke the truth. What people would say about him didn’t matter. What it said in Shulchan Aruch, that is what mattered and he never ever said a bad word about people who would degrade him, speak lashon about him ... he was mivater every single time.”
Rechnitz also apologized to his father in law for not living up to the family standards of Torah learning.
“When I left kollel ... my shver said to me, ‘Shlomo Yehuda, if you are leaving because of money, i will support you with as much money as you are getting now. I will give it to you.’ I ask you mechila, that I let you down.”
Rechnitz also noted that Rabbi Belsky’s death came four years to the day after he suffered a serious heart attack, observing that in that time his father in law had the zechus to marry off his youngest son and see his growth in Torah and yiddishkeit.
Rabbi Belsky will be flown to Israel tomorrow night for kevura, with kavod acharon taking place tomorrow night at JFK airport.
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