Jerusalem – Tens of thousands of people attended the levaya of one of the greatest Roshei Yeshiva of our generation, a shining light who was responsible for the limud Torah of tens of thousands of yeshiva bochurim and kollel yungerleit.
The streets of Yerushalayim were rendered completely impassable, as hundreds of policemen, dozens of ambulances and thousands upon thousands of mourners came to pay their respects to R’ Nosson Tzvi Finkel, zt’l, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Mirrer Yerushalayim, who was niftar late last night at the age of 69 after a sudden heart attack.
Businesses in Yerushalayim shuttered their doors and both R’ Sholom Yosef Elyashiv and R’ Aryeh Leib Shteinman instructed all talmud torahs, yeshivos and kollels in Yerushalayim to come out and attend the levaya which took place in the Beis Yisroel neighborhood, home of the famed Mirrer Yeshiva, the largest in Israel and, according to some, possibly even the largest in the world.
The streets of Beis Yisroel began to fill with people in the early morning hours as people tried to face the loss of a Gadol Hador whose words of Torah inspired countless of thousands. Bereft talmidim with tear filled eyes tore kriya for the Rosh Yeshiva as the paroches was removed in the yeshiva and the hanhala implored the heartbroken talmidim to continue in their learning up until the moment of the levaya so that the Kol Torah should continue to resound, as always, in the hallowed halls of the Mirrer, even at this darkest moment.
The Rosh Yeshiva was taken from his home at 11:30 AM Israeli time, and brought to the Yeshiva, where the levaya began with the recital of Tehillim, led in a broken voice by R’ Shmuel Yaakov Borenstein, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Kiryas Melech, a long time close friend and chavrusa of the Rosh Yeshiva, zt’l, followed by eulogies by some of the biggest names in the Torah world.
“There is great joy and happiness in shomayim with the arrival of a soul so clean and so pure,” said R’ Aryeh Leib Shteinman in his hesped. “We are grieving here but in the heavens, they are rejoicing as they are joined by a Yid who devoted literally his entire life to the Torah.”
R’ Shteinman also announced that the position of Rosh Yeshiva at the Mirrer would be transferred to R’ Nosson Tzvi’s eldest son, R’ Leizer Yehuda Finkel.
R’ Aryeh Finkel, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Mirrer Brachfeld, spoke tearfully of his mentor, calling him, “my father and my mother. My father in matters of ruchiniyus and my mother in matters of gashmiyus. The Aron Hakodesh has been taken from us. He was a giant in Ahavas Hatorah. May he be a meilitz yosher for your family and the entire yeshiva.”
“The yeshiva lost the Sar Hatorah who continuously brought us higher and higher,” said R’ Rafael Slomovitz. “We ask mechila in the name of the entire yeshiva if we did not give the Rosh Yeshiva the kavod he deserved. He was a meilitz yosher for all of us.
“You were a father to thousands,” said R’ Leizer Yehuda Finkel. “You lived with strengths that were above the normal ways of the world. You had no body or even the image of the body because everything about you was completely holy. The Aron of Hashem has been taken. You were a Mishkon of Torah; your entire life spent in learning. You demanded from us that we too rise to even greater heights. Oy Tatte, please go up to the kisei hakavod, tear the shaarei shomayim so that Hashem will bring an end to all of our tzaros and rebuild the Beis Hamikdash.”
R’ Shmuel Finkel, another son of the niftar, spoke about how despite the size of the yeshiva, R’ Nosson Tzvi loved each one of his talmidim and made sure to know their names.
“His mesirus nefesh in spreading the Torah, his every present love of Torah, that is something rare. He would close the door and learn with one bochur until 2 AM, and at 4 AM he would be learning with another bochur. He would spend all of Friday, until the arrival of Shabbos, immersed in his learning. Each one of us should take on some of the hanhagos of the Rosh Yeshiva to strengthen himself and my father will be a meilitz yosher for us.”
The streets of Yerushalyaim were closed as the levaya left the yeshiva at 2 PM. Helicopters swirled overhead as the procession traveled, on foot, along Rechov Meah Shearim down Malchei Yisroel, along Sarei Yisroel, Torah Mitziyon, Rechov Hatzvi, Shderot Weitzman, Rechov Yirmiyahu, through the Givat Shaul neighborhood until Akiva Azulai before turning into the Beis Oylam on Har Menuchos.
Umacha Hashem Elokim dima mayal kol panim.