Brooklyn, NY – Noted Charedi NY Rabbi Passes Away At 78

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    Brooklyn, NY – Charedi rabbi and noted posek Rabbi Chaim Yisroel Belsky passed away this evening at the age of 78 at Maimonides Hospital in Borough Park.

    Rav Belsky, zt’l, was a remarkable talmid chochom, a posek for the world’s largest kashrus agency and the rabbi of Camp Agudah in Liberty, New York for many years.

    Rav Belsky spent his formative years in Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, whose founders included his grandfather Reb Binyomin Wilhelm. He was a talmid of Rav Moshe Feinstein zt’l and later learned at Beis Medrash Elyon in Monsey.

    He received his semicha from Yeshiva Torah Vodaath in 1962 and later received shimush from Rav Moshe.

    Rav Belsky’s breadth of knowledge was extraordinary. He was well known for his recall of every Tosfos in Shas as well as his familiarity with Tanach and exceptional grasp of halacha, giving him the knowledge to pasken countless shaylos on a wide variety of issues.

    Rav Belsky’s ability to calculate complex mathematical calculations that pertained to halacha was also well known.

    A beloved figure at Camp Agudah, Rav Belsky was adept at giving deep gemara and halacha shiurim as well in educating campers in worldly matters. With a solid grasp of astronomy, botany and biology, he would often lead campers on trips where he was able to identify trees, plants, insects and constellations.

    That same breadth of knowledge made Rav Belsky an authority in the world of kashrus where he served as one of two poskim at the Orthodox Union. He had a deep grasp of the manufacturing process and had no qualms about getting physically involved in the investigation of a product seeking kashrus supervision.

    Rav Belsky, who was also a mohel, went to great lengths to provide both halachic guidance and support to those who came to seek his counsel.

    In one instance, a complicated question arose when a husband passed away leaving his wife both childless and a widow. Since the man had a brother, the possibility of doing the mitzvah of chalitza arose, but as the brother was mentally retarded it was unknown if he was eligible to play a part in the mitzvah.

    Rav Belsky visited with the family of the niftar, making a determination about the status of the brother while comforting and consoling the parents on the untimely death of their son. In fact the parents were so grateful to Rav Belsky for his care and concern that they thanked the individual who had contacted Rav Belsky who they referred to as a “wonderful holy rabbi.”

    Just a few months ago, Rav Belsky arranged for an agunah to receive a get from her husband who had violated the trust of numerous young people. Rav Belsky’s unique personality played a instrumental role in this endeavor, as reported to this author by the agunah herself.

    Three years ago Rav Belsky developed a life-threatening illness, but a miraculous recovery allowed him to resume his many activities at the yeshiva, the OU and Camp Agudah.

    Rav Belsky’s imprint on Torah Judaism in the past half century will certainly have an impact for generations to come. Nafla Ateres Rosheinu.

    The author can be reached at yairhoffman2@gmail.com.

    Below Video: Rabbi Belsky paying a Shivah call to Gabriel Sassoon who lost 7 of his kids in a tragic house fire in 2015.

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    19 COMMENTS

    1. He was a giant in every aspect
      Im sitting here in shock
      The most patient posek in the world even when i knew he was in a rush he would patiently answer all my questions no matter how trivial. The whole world came on to him even those hashgocos that officially dont rely on the OU used his ingredients and knew he is tge only man that can be trusted because of his erlichkeit and genius knowledge of everything. When klal yisroel faced the shaitel dillema he spent time going through thiusands of pages and watching videos of india (according to his own words) just in ordrr to put an end to the madness. We can write and write but no room he also fought all these faith based healers from research he fid in order to htlp yidden. The list goes on and on. We are in trouble now! יהי זכרו ברוך

    2. He was a great man in many ways. One of the young ladies who works in the OU mail room told me she visited him in the hospital more than once and he picked up his hands in a pained effort to say hello. I was surprised that she felt so close to him to visit in the hospital. She told me that whenever Rabbi Belsky saw her in the OU office he always made it his business to say hello and wish her well. it’s sometimes the small things that make a person a giant. Yehei Zichro Baruch.

      • Its not so simple.
        R Belskey was a very fast pace spontaneous take action individual. The chesed that he did was astronomical. His house was open fro weirdos 24/7. I personally saw first hand the many people he helped. And there is no question the he knew literally kol hatorah kolu even the most random stuff. due to his spontaneity and no nonsense approach at times such as by din torahs, gitten or other flashpoints he did overreact , offended and harmed people. But I think ts not up to us to judge. And I think I would venture to say that if you were honest and counted the aggregate his good way overwieghed the bad.
        And by the way I was one of the individuals that were harmed from his rashness. Yet overall I think he was a good man.

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