BDE: Haga’on Rav Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss, zt"l, Gaved Eidah Hacharedis, Yerushalayim
By: Yehuda Alter
With heavy hearts, we report to our readers of the passing of the Ga’avad Eida Hacharedis of Yerushalayim, a ga’on and posek, a leader who was followed by numerous kehillos, and who was widely respected and revered by Gedolim and lay people alike from across the spectra of Klal Yisroel.
He was 95 years of age, and had spent his life dedicated to learning Torah and ruling halachah.
Rav Weiss was born near Pressburg, in Czechoslovakia. When the war broke out, he was saved through a Kindertransport that took him to London, alone in the world, while his parents remained behind. The man behind his rescue, Nichola Winton, was a British Jew who saved close to 700 children from the claws of the Nazis. Rav Weiss had arranged to meet his savior on a visit to England, but Mr. Winton passed away before this could come to fruition. Instead, he penned a heartfelt letter to his family, expressing his eternal gratitude.
In London, he learned in the famed Yeshiva Toras Emes of Rav Schneider (here he would have been a chaver of his fellow leader of the Eida Hacharedis, ybl”ch, Rav Moshe Sternbuch, shlit”a, Ra’avad Eida Hacharedis).
After his marriage, he learned in the famed Gateshead Kollel, which was founded and led by Rav Eliyahu Dessler. Following the departure of Rav Dessler, the young talmid chochom was appointed in his stead.
After a number of years, he returned to London, where he continued his growth in Torah, and his reputation as a halachic authority began to spread.
IN 1967, he moved to Antwerp, where he was a highly-regarded rov, dayan, and Rosh Yeshiva, for thirty-seven years.
With the passing of Rav Yisroel Moshe Dushinsky in 2003, he was called to assume his place as the leader of the Eidah Hachareidis—a position that he occupied with tremendous dedication and leadership for close to two decades.
Simultanously, he served as a Rosh Yeshiva who loved to sit and learn—for hours upon hours. This is how he appears in an inordinate number of photographs; learning b’chavrusa or delivering shiurim.
He was an address for talmidei chachomim and lay people alike, who sought to glean from his light and Torah wisdom.
He harbored close connections to gedolei Yisroel from across the streams.
Over the last month, Rav Weiss was hospitalized with an infection. His situation deteriorated steadily. Klal Yisroel around the world poured out their hearts in prayer for his recovery. Alas, he returned his neshomah to its Maker in the early hours of Shabbos morning—plunging Klal Yisrole the world over into mourning.
The levaya on Sunday morning in Yerushalayim is expected to draw enormous crowds, and police have been working throughout the night to ensure that the event will take place safely—as Yidden from throughout the land will come to mourn a great leader in Klal Yisroel.