Monsey Memories: Rav Shlomo Mordechai Breslauer, zt”l
By: Yitzy Fried
One of Monsey’s most legendary and senior rabbonim was Rav Breslauer, who came to the area from a strong tradition of Ashkenazic Jewry and proceeded to transform thousands of lives through more than four decades at the helm of Beis Tefilloh, and more than half a century of shaping young talmidim in Yeshiva of Spring Valley.
Rav Breslauer was born in Fürth, Germany, in the year 1930. His father, Rav Yedhua was the rov in the town. During the Kristalnacht pogroms, their shul was vandalized and he was arrested for several weeks. This is when the family knew they had to flee Germany.
They arrived in America, and settled in the community of Washington Heights, where there was a large contingent of German Jews. Rav Yehuda became the rov of Kehillas Yaakov.
Young Shlomo spent years in Yeshiva Torah Vodaath and in the Mirer Yeshiva, where he excelled, and he received semicha from Rav Avrohom Kalmanowitz, the Rosh Yeshiva of the Mir.
He married the daughter of Reb Eliezer Lippman Spitzer. They were originally from Vienna, and they settled in Williamsburg, where they were part of the transplanted Viener kehillah.
While he was a chosson, Rav Shlomo was offered a teaching job in Yeshiva Spring Valley—a position he would hold, and faithfully execute, for 54 years. His talmidim from throughout the decades describe the incredible foundations that he instilled in them, which stood by them even decades later.
He would spend his afternoons learning in Beis Medrash Elyon, under the leadership of Rav Reuven Grozovsky, zt”l.
In 1976, Rav Breslauer was asked to become the rov of Beis Tefilloh. It was Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky who prevailed upon him to accept this position. Rav Yaakov himself would daven in the shul during the weekdays for many years.
While he was possessed of beautiful middos and would be flexible and accommodating when dealing with others, he was unflinching when it came to matters of halachah and mitzvos. He was the epitome of emes, straightness, and yiras Shomayim.
He oversaw a kashrus agency for many years, and here too, there was no such thing as flexibility when it came to the standards that he had set forth.
One of his greatest points of pride was the kolell that was established in his shul about twenty-five years ago, which finds balebatim and retirees plumbing the depths of Shas alongside great talmidei chachomim and marbitzei Torah.
His leadership of his community was characterized by his strong Ashkenazic roots of adherence to the ways of Torah with no compromise, and this is the way he lived his every day on this earth.
He was niftar on 7 Adar of the year 2019, leaving behind a legacy of a family of talmidei chachomim and an incredible career of teaching and spreading Torah.