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Switzerland - Loss To Klal Yisroel: HaGaon Rav Kopelman Zt'l Passes Away at 106

Published on: June 17, 2011 02:46 PM
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Switzerland - Klal Yisroel just suffered a major loss, Maran HaGaon Rav Yitzchak Dov Koppelman, one of the most outstanding Rabbonim of our generation, and one of the oldest Roshei Yeshivah, the Rosh Yeshivah of Lucerne, Switzerland passed away at the age of 106, at the home of his daughter in Zurich,  where he was surrounded by his family and his close talmid Rav Yisroel Duvid Shlesinger from Monsey, NY.

Born in the Kharov, Ukraine in 1905, Rabbi Koppelman held the distinction of not only being the oldest living Rosh Yeshiva of our time, but also as being someone who was beloved and respected by all.  Not one to be involved in politics, R’ Koppelman was concerned only with disseminating the light of Torah everywhere he went.  People all over the world responded to this venerable tzaddik with love and warmth, rushing to hear the pearls of wisdom that were his divrei Torah and shmuzen.

R’ Koppelman opened his first yeshiva in Heida before World War II and was a talmid muvhak of R’ Shimon Shkop at the famed Yeshiva Shaar Hatorah in Grodno, where he learned for eighteen years. In addition to transcribing many of the Rosh Yeshiva’s shmuzen, R’ Kopelman saved many of R’ Shkop’s manuscripts from invading Nazi armies by hiding them in a concealed pocket in his coat until after the war.  These Talmudic writings were the basis of the volume Chiddushim of Rav Shimon Yehuda HaKohen, a sefer that is used in yeshivos to this day.

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After enduring five years of hard labor in Siberia during World War II, R’ Koppelman set to work reigniting the flames of Torah and in 1946 he established Yeshiva Eitz Chaim in Kapellen, Belgium.  Together with R’ Chaim Yaakov Rottenberg, he traveled to Prague where he assembled a core group of approximately ten talmidim and brought them back to the yeshiva.  In time, many other refugees from all over Europe joined the ranks of those who were learning in Kapellen.  In later years the yeshiva moved and is presently located in Wilrijk, a suburb of Antwerp.

After spending more than ten years in Belgium, R’ Koppelman moved to New York where he founded Yeshiva Shaarei Yosher in Williamsburg, currently located in Borough Park.  The yeshiva is named after the well known sefer by the same name written by R’ Shimon Shkop.

In 1948, R’ Koppelman took over as Rosh Yeshiva for R’ Moshe Soleveichik at the yeshiva in Lucerne, Switzerland, which had been founded as a retreat from the outside world, enabling students would be able to focus solely on their learning.  Sixty three years later, third generation talmidim return to the same beis medrash in Lucerne that their grandfathers once attended, still hearing shiur from the same Rosh Yeshiva.  The yeshiva boasts talmidim of all types, from all over the world, including Europe, North America, Australia and Israel.

R’  Koppelman was close to the Satmar Rebbe, R’ Yoel Teitelbaum, zt’l and it is difficult to comprehend how a person who lived at a time when he had the zechus of being able to hear the Chofetz Chaim in person, was still vibrant enough to travel as recently as six weeks ago, when R’ Koppelman paid a visit to New York.

His last visit to New York, six weeks agoHis last visit to New York, six weeks ago
The Luzeren YeshivaThe Luzeren Yeshiva

 


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Read Comments (24)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 17, 2011 at 02:48 PM mtl514 Says:

burich dayan emes

2

 Jun 17, 2011 at 02:50 PM Anonymous Says:

BDE....there are a dwindling number of these pre-War alte rabbonim left and we are losing them quickly. There are few left who of his madregah to plead the case for klal yisroel with the ebeshter.

3

 Jun 17, 2011 at 02:57 PM OberBoberGrober Says:

BDE. I knew him well, was a big tzadik and a great loss to klal yisroel.

4

 Jun 17, 2011 at 03:09 PM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

He lived a rewarding life full of accomplishment, piety, service and respect. Let us be thankful that after spending a lifetime and a half he may rest from his labors and begin his studies again under the best of teachers.

5

 Jun 17, 2011 at 03:21 PM Anonymous Says:

He was so far from our dor, we can't understand the loss. A link in the chain of mesoras hatorah.
He saw reshonim kemalochim.

6

 Jun 17, 2011 at 03:31 PM MosheM Says:

BDH

7

 Jun 17, 2011 at 03:50 PM Minyan Regular Says:

BDE. He was THE oldest. That means that he TAUGHT the longest. Thousands and thousands of Talmidim through the years. A great zechus. A great man. We are lucky that we lived in his generation. I was a Talmid on 14th Avenue and 41st Street. That was fifty (50) years ago. Chaval Al D'avdan.

8

 Jun 17, 2011 at 03:49 PM RebSimcha Says:

Bd"h! Evel Gudol Layehudim!

9

 Jun 17, 2011 at 03:48 PM reder Says:

BDE: Rav Kopelman a"h (I can't believe that I am writing this) was an amazing human being: a tzadik; a talmid chochom second to none, and most of all - the most compassionate father-figure any man (or woman) could imagine.
Long after his talmidim left the Yeshiva their kesher with him just grew stronger. They realized that they had the privilege of having learned with a unique tzadik of whom there were very few.
Our family was very close to him and had the opportunity to spend much time with him.
He was a litvak who was also the Divrei Yoel's chosid. It was the Satmarer Rebbe (zt"l) who told him to open a yeshiva in W'msbg (Shaarei Yosher.)
Although he was 106 years old, in reality he was ageless. His memory, his mind, his koach hadibur did not wane. When he was here on Pesach he still gave a powerful shiur of over an hour and a half.
What a loss to us, to his talmidim, and most of all - to Klal Yisroel!!

10

 Jun 17, 2011 at 03:36 PM Babishka Says:

BD"E he had amazing arichus yomim, no doubt in the zechus of bringing so many Yidden to Torah. ZT"L.

12

 Jun 17, 2011 at 05:33 PM omglol Says:

BD"E its very sad.

13

 Jun 17, 2011 at 06:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
Babishka Says:

BD"E he had amazing arichus yomim, no doubt in the zechus of bringing so many Yidden to Torah. ZT"L.

Petty comment: Not all who have the same zechus get the same reward, so maybe only Hashem knows why he had arichas yomim.

14

 Jun 18, 2011 at 03:41 PM CBD Says:

BD'E.
He should keep davening for us in shomayim tzi dem reboine shel oilem.
Mir hobben neitig a yeshua altz zol zaig git!

15

 Jun 18, 2011 at 05:48 PM Anonymous Says:

Levaya in yeshivas Mir on Sunday night @ 7:30 PM

16

 Jun 18, 2011 at 11:32 PM Paulie123 Says:

Reply to #13  
Anonymous Says:

Petty comment: Not all who have the same zechus get the same reward, so maybe only Hashem knows why he had arichas yomim.

Why did you have to spoil the positive flow of comments?

17

 Jun 19, 2011 at 01:10 AM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

Reply to #9  
reder Says:

BDE: Rav Kopelman a"h (I can't believe that I am writing this) was an amazing human being: a tzadik; a talmid chochom second to none, and most of all - the most compassionate father-figure any man (or woman) could imagine.
Long after his talmidim left the Yeshiva their kesher with him just grew stronger. They realized that they had the privilege of having learned with a unique tzadik of whom there were very few.
Our family was very close to him and had the opportunity to spend much time with him.
He was a litvak who was also the Divrei Yoel's chosid. It was the Satmarer Rebbe (zt"l) who told him to open a yeshiva in W'msbg (Shaarei Yosher.)
Although he was 106 years old, in reality he was ageless. His memory, his mind, his koach hadibur did not wane. When he was here on Pesach he still gave a powerful shiur of over an hour and a half.
What a loss to us, to his talmidim, and most of all - to Klal Yisroel!!

But with so many students his example will have created dozens, maybe hundreds of replacements. We mourn the loss of one drop. But if it gives rise to a mighty river our sorrow is tempered by joy.

18

 Jun 19, 2011 at 03:39 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

But with so many students his example will have created dozens, maybe hundreds of replacements. We mourn the loss of one drop. But if it gives rise to a mighty river our sorrow is tempered by joy.

you have a lot of chutzpah and very little kovod.

only an am oretz would describe the loss of a gadol like this as a "drop" in a mighty river.

You should beg mechila for your arrogance.

19

 Jun 19, 2011 at 07:50 AM sigeteinikel Says:

raw kopelman szl took over the lead of the yeshiva in lucerne in 1963 (ellul 5723) from raw moshe solowiejczyk szl. he served in this position for nearly 48 years, after having been rosh yeshiva in belgium and brooklyn for 17 years.

20

 Jun 19, 2011 at 08:08 AM Anonymous Says:

Thank you Hashem Yisborach for giving Klal Yisrael such a great great person. We are heart broken to see him go to the world of Emes since of what he did here.

21

 Jun 19, 2011 at 08:30 AM Bigboy Says:

Bd"e, it's so sad and shocking that I doesn't even go in to my mind!

22

 Jun 19, 2011 at 09:23 AM Yossi Says:

Whenever he was in America, he kept Shabbos, according to the European time-zone, because, that was his home.
He argued, that the real way would be, to follow the time-zone of Yirusholaim, because that is where the Shechinah keeps Shabbos.

23

 Jun 19, 2011 at 11:04 AM moshe Says:

Having had the Zechus to learn in Lucerne yeshiweh in 1956, the Rosh Yeshiwe was Harav Moshe Soloweitchik Zatza"l, so Rav Kopelman Zatza"l only became Rosh yeshiweh in about 1958 and not 1948.

24

 Jun 19, 2011 at 01:58 PM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

Reply to #18  
Anonymous Says:

you have a lot of chutzpah and very little kovod.

only an am oretz would describe the loss of a gadol like this as a "drop" in a mighty river.

You should beg mechila for your arrogance.

Anonymous, you need to work on your reading comprehension. Of course, we're sad at his passing. But that sorrow is tempered by the joy we take in the good he did and all the rabbis and teachers who are here because of him. We are poorer for his passing but richer for his life.

25

 Jun 21, 2011 at 10:27 PM iphone Says:

Baruch Dayan Emet. I am so sorry to hear this devastating news.

26

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