By Andrew Friedman/TPS
Rabbi Aharon Yehudah Leib Shteinman (Steinman), the head of the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak and the head of the Degel HaTorah political party’s Council of Torah Sages, died Tuesday morning. He was 104.
Rav Shteinman was born in Brisk, then part of the Russian Empire (now Belarus), and was educated at the illustrious Imre Moshe and Kletzk yeshivas. He fled his home during the 1930s in order to avoid being drafted into the Polish army, eventually making his way to Switzerland, where he was interned at the Schonenberg labor camp, where he spent the duration of the second world. Following the war, he immigrated to Israel and spent the rest of his life in Bnei Brak.
President Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin eulogised the rabbi as a “Torah giant” and a leader who gave direction and inspiration to tens of thousands of people. Rivlin also praised Steinman for staunchly defending his beliefs while also maintaining the ability to put his points across with a pleasant demeanor, with a sense of love for all Jews.
“The last time I met him I was treated to a special spark of the glorious Jewish history of Lithuania. The rabbi was tremendously dedicated to Torah study, he was a phenomenal scholar with a sharp eye and a good heart. He was rich with life’s experience, whose scholarship was exceeded only by his personal humility.
“His death leaves me with a deep feeling of loss. May his memory be blessed,” Rivlin said.
Opposition Leader MK Yitzhak Herzog also emphasised the rabbi’s modesty and spiritual power, and said his impact on haredi Judaism would continue to be felt for generations.
“Teaching Torah and imparting values for future generations was the centre of his world-view. That brought about many revolutionise for the world of Torah students,” Herzog said.
Rabbi Shteinman will be laid to rest Tuesday at 12:00 in Bnei Brak.