Monsey Memories: Rav Simcha Wasserman—A Pioneer in Chinuch

Monsey Memories: Rav Simcha Wasserman—A Pioneer in Chinuch

As we endeavor to chronicle the early settlement of the Monsey community, we come upon the incredible personality of Rav Simcha Waserman, a son of the legendary Rav Elchonon Wasserman, zt’l, Hy”d, who was a legend in the Los Angeles community for decades, where he shaped thousands of talmidim.

Agudas Harabanim was the union of orthodox Rabbis in America, which was founded around the year 1900, and was active through the 1970’s. Perusing through the directory of 1943, we come upon the following entry: Harav Elozor Simcha Wasserman, Wasserman S., ℅ Rabbinical School, P.O. Box, Spring Valley 1069, Monsey, New York.”

What was Rav Simcha doing in Monsey during the 1940’s?

He was at the helm of the Aish Dos organization, founded by Rav Shraga Feivel Mendelowitz, zt”l, with the goal of shaping American-born boys to serve as the mechanchim of the next generation.

Aish Dos, and its early founding in the solitude of Monsey, is deserving of an article for itself—but today we return to Rav Simcha.

He was born in 1899 to his illustrious father, he came to America before WWII on the instructions of his father. Following his work in Aish Dos, he strengthened Yeshiva Beis Yehuda in Detroit, with the assistance of the two Torah Vodaath Talmidim, Reb Avorhom Abba Friedman and Reb Sholom Goldstein.

In 1953, he founded Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon in Los Angeles, a central force in educating thousands in that community over the decades. He was an incredible talmid chochom who loved Torah, and he was deeply wise. His approach to life and to building Torah changed the lives of everyone around him. He was also instrumental in reprinting his father’s seforim.

Rav Simcha went up to Yerushalayim in his later years, where he spent his days immersed in Torah study, and was niftar there in 1992.

A fitting epilogue to his incredible legacy transpired 17 years after his passing:

Rabbi Shlomo Lorincz was a charedi member of the Israeli Knesset, who was niftar in 2009. Before his passing, he made a request of his family to bury him beside his chavrusa of many years in Kiryat Mattesdorf, Rav Simcha Wasserman, so that when his family visits his grave at his yohrtzeit, they would visit Rav Simcha’s burial place as well. Reb Shlomo passed away Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, when no hespedim are permitted, and they returned the following day, 2 Cheshvan, to pay proper tribute—the very day that marks the yohrtzeit of his neighbor during his life on this world, as well as after their passings, Rav Simcha Wasserman.

As it is the custom not to visit a grave on Rosh Chodesh, the Lorincs family often finds themselves on Har Hamenuchos on the second day of the month to mark both yohrtzeit’s—of their father, and of his neighbor and chavrusa who did so much for teh cause of Torah and chinuch, beginning in Monsey of the 1940’s.

The photo here—courtesy of Torah Umesorah—is of Rav Simcha with the first class of Aish Dos in Monsey of the 1940’s

Monsey Memories is dedicated to chronicling the Jewish history of Rockland County.

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