*NOTE TO READERS: Although a transcription, the work below was done live and therefore is not perfect. While most ideas were captured, we did not get everything. Click here to see the actual funeral that was recorded. Additionally, a few very minor typos have been fixed.*        -April 22, 2015 + May 12, 2015


RAV AHARON FUNERAL (April 21, 2015 / 2 Iyar 5775 , 10:00 AM)

From the transcribers: We will b”H be translating live the Hespeidim as they happen, from within the Gush Beit Midrash. On a laptop the document should update live, as it should on the GoogleDoc phone app, but on a phone browser you will have to regularly refresh. There will likely be a large number of streamers, so please bear with us for slow reception. ברוך דיין האמת.

For the sake of transcription, Rav Aharon Lichtenstein zt”l will be referred to as RAL.


Rav Shlomo Brin (RA”M, Moderator):

We will start with two Perakim of Tehillim. Tehillim 84 and Tehilim 85 {Recited}.

We came to show honor to our great Rabbi, our leader, Rosh HaYeshiva, who led the entire world. To show final respects, the one and special, whose personality was founded on truth and honesty, genius, Chochmah, Tehorah. Rabbenu who gave everything to the yeshiva, is lying before the Sifrei Kodesh and the aron. All his students will testify how we taught was was contained in the aron. He was a flag bearer for torah, and he fell today. His bechor, the Rosh HaYeshiva Rav Mosheh Lichtenstein (RML) will eulogize now.

Rav Mosheh Lichtenstein (son, co-Yeshivat Har Etzion):

“אור זרוע לצדיק ולישרי לב שמחה (repeated). אשרי אדם עוז לו בך.” We had 24 hours to prepare this eulogy, to try to organize our thoughts, but they did not come out organized. {Mizmor Ledavid (Quoted, Tehilim 23)}. This words are directed to heaven, they are the correct words for today. I want to tell them to you (RAL) to. I permit myself to say that you led us through Mei Menuchot, and even today in the valley of death you are with us, your staff and actions are with us and will comfort us. If you were here, you could explain the difference between Shevet and Mishan. We cannot forget how you were in a valley of death at a young age, you were almost murdered at age of 8.

You accomplished so much in this room, led a generation of students, lovers of Torah, your family, your students of students. Your students become sons, and sons students. I am your son and your student. I go back to when I am 8 or 9 years old, holding your hand on the way down the slide, on the way to Shul on shabbat, and I asked you questions on everything connected to tefillah. You answer in your special way. We would learn shabbat afternoon, in NY, Jerusalem, and Alon Shvut. I see you in the hallways playing with my children, them on your shoulder, no matter where you are. 15 minutes before landing, you say Tehillim, on every flight you were on. I remember in the Beit Midrash of Netiv Meir, you would come visit me, you would pick up from the airport to NY. I remember the letters you sent me in NY, how they showed your genius in Torah and in personality. All these experiences built a deep connection between us. You taught me how to be a father, how to have Ahavat Torah, a deep understanding of the reality, our responsibilities. We are going in your path from love. Your death is Shalem.

I again go back, I see myself in the Moadon of the yeshiva, remembering the masechtot we learn. I remember how much you invested into Torah, into the institution that you founded. I am in my house with my wife, and I remember how you supported us through Michal’s (wife) illness. I know you did this for hundreds of other people, even if you didn’t know them so well. I remember one morning seeing you before Shacharit talking on the phone. I didn’t understand why you didn’t go to Shacharit. You said a mother who had her son killed in a terrorist attack, who called you for some comfort, even though she didn’t know you before, and I know of many stories like this. You saw your family as the most important thing in your life. In your illness the fruits of your labor surrounded you. I see you in the living room, helping poor people manage budgets. RAL was always home and always available. I see you sitting here, Rosh HaShanah and yom kippur learning here. Father, leader, head of a family. I see you standing here with excitement in the Beit Midrash teaching, you dancing at weddings to be mesameach chatan. Chesed VeEmet Nifgashu. Many people didn’t understand the Regishut (feeling) and Sechel (understanding) that met within you. Lev Shel Da’at and Lev Shel Regesh (Gemara in Bava Batra). You had Emunah, which was not always recognizable to others.

I sat this morning, I didn’t look for any Mekorot to discuss your legacy. There is nothing better than the first Mishnah in Avot - The torah stands on three things: On Torah, on Avodah, and on Gemilut Chasadim. Also, Hevei Metunim Badin - who was Matun like you? Who had talmidim like you? Who cared about Torah like you? So many Pesukim that you loved described you. You saw in dedicated work a religious imperative, in Torah and in everything. You gave a shiur in Cleveland about a Rambam about hard work. In everything you did we say your passion. You were eternally young, always passionate. Talmidei Chachamim have no rest, in this world and the next. This is not the time to talk about your accomplishments in Limud, I just want to point to the foundation. You were a total Eved Hashem. That was the basis of your existence. The responsibilities of man are what drove you.  You often quoted John Milton, loving the quote “they also serve who only stand and wait” (said in English).

I have no doubt that VaYamat sham aharon eved hashem. I will suffice with one story. I told one day in shiur that Rebbe, the Rav, got upset that his talmidim didn't know a pasuk. It turns out that it is not peshat, rather a Sifrei. You were so impressed how the midrash became peshat for him, so you went over chumash with parshanim and midrashim. You led talmidim to be leaders in the whole land, with humility. there was no difference between inside and outside. RAL doesn't drink on purim, because his inside is the same as his out. Many families do Siyumim at smachot. You believed that Bnei Yeshiva should learn with their families, that girls learn as well. You were Zocheh to found eretz yisrael, to help found torah in Israel. When you got a prize in Yeshiva University (YU), you said that it was for teaching is Israel. When you go into Din, God asks you a few questions, and you saw those questions as the basis for our values - Torah, Mishpacha, responsibilities, etc.

We see a departing ship, the connection is leaving, the ship going over the horizon. Yesterday the ship disappeared. How much did we receive from the ship, from Abba?

Hakarat HaTov he had, from his father, he always thanked everyone for what they did. It is obvious we can’t thank everyone for their help, but he would have wanted us to. I thank everyone who supported us. I want to personally thank the doctors who treated help, alum of the yeshiva, who helped him. Dov Karol (RAL’s assistant), for being with my father for the past few years. thank you for everything. {Line of gratitude spoken in English to a specific person - RAL’s personal assistant - didn’t type.} Abba when he moved here felt at home in Alon Shvut, which enveloped him.

God gave and god Took, may his name be blessed. I want to conclude with a song you wrote when you was around age 12. What you said then still holds true now. (poem).

May your nefesh be stored in Tzeror Hachaim.

Rav Shlomo Brin (RA”M, Moderator):

Hesped from Yitzchak Lichtenstein, RAL’s son.

Rav Yitzchak Lichtenstein (son):

To eulogize a great man is hard. What can you talk about the genius, the bekiyut, the understanding of all of torah. We see in chazal that they would find a specific point in a persona’s life that was their essence, like Moshe did for Aharon, the hesped for Shmuel hakatan. {Crowd stood up for Sephardi Rav who walked in.} Abba, I can say, humility, a Shakdan. His anavah was his whole life. Hillel - be a talmid of Aharon, love peace, pursue peace. Anavah lets man love others, he doesn’t look at their flaws. This was Hillel’s greatness, this was Abba’s strength.

Avot said that everyone who has a great Eye is a talmid of Avraham Avinu. Everyone who knew Abba knew what a great eye he had. All his students saw that. Ruach Nemucha, this is humility. Nefesh Shefeilah - someone who is not concerned with his body. desires of the body are not important to Abba. Rabbenu Bechaye- Ruach is humility, Nefesh Shefeilah is that you humble yourself. Abba walks like a simple man, no one knew how great a tzaddik and chacham he was.

Avot - there should be Aniyim in your house. Meiri - it should be Anavim. Abba had so many poor people over, and he gave to them with great tzedakah. Rambam - to keep “VeHalachta” (“והלכת בדרכיו”), you have to walk the middle path. There are two that you should be on the extreme - Anava (humility) and Ka’as (anger). They are connected. One who is arrogant gets upset because he thinks he deserved more. Hillel didn’t get angry, and thus he is remembered as a huge Anav. Abba didn’t know what anger was, he never got angry. Tzara’at comes from Lashon HaRa and arrogance. One who is arrogant puts his friends down through Lashon Hara - it is the source. One who is Anav, is happy when others are happy. abba never spoke Lashon HaRa, didn’t have a yetzer hara for it, because he was such an anav. There is another middah - Shakdanut (diligence) and Hatmadah (consistency).

The gemara says in Sukkah - Rabbi Eliezer HaGadol never spoke a wasteful conversation in his life. They saw how he spent his time, and that is how they knew. I cannot remember Abba ever sitting down without learning or doing something productive that he thought was a mitzvah, just to pass the time. Abba never talked Sicha Beteilah in his life. We would talk for a few minutes, then he would say bye, he had to learn. one friday night in the hospital gave a shiur to me and my sons in his sleep. There are those that do not waste time because they are impatient. Abba always greeted people with a smile. He was a true talmid of Hillel HaZaken. There are other things, but there are other eulogizers.

I want to ask forgiveness for every time I didn’t act properly, that i caused you pain. Whenever i asked your forgivenss eerev yom kipppur, you alwasy said there was nothign to forgive. I have to ask forgiveness for everything I did. I used to speak with him every Erev Yom Kippur and ask for Mechilah for what I did wrong. Go in peace, and may we zocheh for God to remove embarrassment from His people.

Rav Shlomo Brin (RA”M, Moderator):

Rav Meir Lichtenstein, son, will eulogize now.

Rav Meir Lichtenstein (son):

{We apologize for the technical difficulties, the wifi is losing connection. We are still taking notes, please stand by.}

24 years ago in the first intifada they asked everyone except essential personnel to stay at home. The first day abba you stayed at home. the next day you got up and started working to spread torah, because that was essential in your eyes. That is how you lived. With the mindset of a soldier serving God, a general leading his flock. Your post is here. The shulchan aruch says in hilchot hesped that for a chacham, you put his coffin where he was doresh. Here is where you learned, where you gave shiur klali in 6 sedarim of shas. You spread before us the sugya, from this very spot. You spoke mussar from here, you gave us ahavat hashem, you told us your innovative experiences. Your sichot on Shabbat and the chagim were given here. You were our Neir Tamid. A lot of places have the ner tamid facing the aron, but you were ours. I remember well a sicha you gave on Tetzaveh many years ago. You discussed LeHa’alot Ner Tamid, how to punctuate it. Is the Ner Tamid, or the Ha’alah? You fulfilled both perushim. You were the ner in your tireless dedication to torah and its values.

The sefer torah is alive thanks to you. Not like other roshei yeshivot who focused on chiddush, you focused on understanding the entire thing from beginning to end. Shas was in your head. I wanted to learn one year Niddah, and we asked Abba what the masechet was about. He knew where every sugya started and ended in the masechet. Halfway through we stopped him, but I wish we hadn’t. You always were demanding of yourself - every time you taught something, you prepared it anew. Someone who learned methodologically had similar conclusions every time, but you continued. You were so happy when new Perushim came out. You were a consciousness for Am Yisrael, you made torah heard to the nation. You never despaired or rested, running with your books. We always argued about who could carry your books, but you always took them. The Gemara says that if a Rav is a Malach, people should demand torah from him. People thought you were a malach Hashem, you were an anav who didn’t know he was anav. You stood on line with the students in the lunchroom. You said hello to everyone. Since you left us, many stories were told about you. Not stories of miracles, rather about personality, ben adam lachevero, from someone who was among the greatest of the great. We, your talmidim, saw you as someone who was the same inside and out, and so we demanded torah from you. You were an angel in other ways - you had a Shelichut that never left you. A Shaliah has a commandment to tell his meshaleach that he completed his task. Abba: we have completed your tasks.

Gemara Shabbat - Ner Chanukah represents Pirsum HaNeis, represents the community. Ner HaShabbat represents the family, so that the family can eat together. Ner HaShabbat takes priority. You never put the community before your family. You learned this from the Rav, our grandfather. You learned with all of us.

You would go to the beit midrash in Netiv Meir to learn with us. People didn’t understand how you made time to learn with us, but you didn't see anything more important. You didn’t have to choose between the candles, you were Zocheh to learn with both. The Gemara says that one who is zocheh to light will be zoche to lead a family. The Rishonim explain that one who lights more will have more children. The Ran explains that the one who lights more refers to the ner shabbat and ner chanukah. You abba, who lit both were Zocheh to lead children, both in your home and in the yeshiva, talmidim who spread torah all over the world. The tosfot there explain that the two candles were lit by him and his wife.

Mommy was a great partner to your work, and everything you did was helped and supported by her. You lit your own candle, and she learned as well. You told me over 50 years ago that it was hard to learn with me, but for me it was very hard. I would cry, and it would be hard, but you saw that I kept going.

Our last conversation I will share with everyone. Friday night people are Noheg to bless their children. You wouldn’t bless us before kiddush, rather before we went to sleep. Friday night you went to sleep first, and my children asked for brachot. I asked for a bracha, and you refused. You said you would do it only if we could learn together first, but you were unable to.

We were zocheh that you brought us to life in this world and the next, as our father and rebbe. I thank you for teaching all your Torah. I apologize if we didn’t meet your expectations. Your Ner Elokim continues going on, you were the ner HaTamid that kept us going, that lit so many other candles. Every light that came from you wasn’t a copy, rather its own individual flame. I was zocheh to be lit from you, and I hope that you get nachat from that. I am happy over your full and meaningful life. You told us how your childhood dream was to teach torah in Israel, and we are so happy that you got to do so. You were zocheh to help build Israel. We call on you - “Ashrei Ish SheLo yishkachecha uven adam yitametz bach. Ashrei adam oz lo bach.”

Go in peace Abba. You never rested, and it is strange to see you rest here. We are responsible to continue the Ner Hatorah in eretz yisrael. TNTBH.

{Wifi was acting up during the above speech, fragments may be missing.}

Rav Shlomo Brin (RA”M, Moderator):

Daughter, Esti Rosenberg.

Esti Rosenberg (daughter):

“אָבִי אָבִי רֶכֶב יִשְׂרָאֵל וּפָרָשָׁיו”. My father was in this world and his head reached the Heavens. Every person is convinced that his father is the tallest and strongest. We knew more than that- our father was in this world and his head reached the Heavens. You received both from your father and your mother. You treated them with so much respect and honor. You taught all of your students and Am Yisrael. There was Gadlut, Mussar, Chessed, humility. You had broad Torah.

There are students from near and far. They follow your ways and learnings. Uprightness and humility. And thus you have reached Heaven. We, your children and students, are a ladder that reaches this world. It is one of humility, Torah, understanding. We have stories. They are stories from home. You would put us on your knees and help us out, we felt your connection. Us, our families and children, felt your help as you put us on this ladder. Your deep involvement in spiritual life. You put special time in learning with us, each and every one of us. THere were words that you used. Again and again you would take us places. A heaven of tzedek and Milton and Shakespeare. A heaven that we would never give up, to go all the way, to never apologize, and again to never apologize. Building the kitchen again and again. Loving the normal life. Shiur klali after shiur klali. You would read out trua, and tekia, and trua even this past rosh hashana. You said Or zarua latzadik, as rav moshe  quoted  you just now. Your closeness with Rav Amital. Your dancing on purim, drunk with love of God. You touched heaven on Pesach. On Tisha B’av you reached the truest tears with Kinnot and Eicha.

I never even tried in over forty years to reach heaven as far as you did, but because of your great father-ness, it came down to me. No matter what you and mom, helped us: on tiyulim even.To be the children of RAL, even in the last few years you would tell us about the love that you had. Last year on the wednesday after Shemot, when you went to the doctor we started talking Torah. Until then we hadn’t realize how bad the process of deterioration would be. You kept repeated the same pasuk over and over again. I would then start going over that pasuk myself. I understood your life. My connection to you, to the depth that you had in your life. How much connection you had to God. Even when you were in the ambulance, you talked about Torah. About the connection to to people and words of torah. They are the essence of your life. We now ask to the kisei hakavod, you have passed away in the month of iyar. the month you were born in 82 years ago.

You continued in the last year and a half to tell מעשה קה. Again and again you returned to the holiness, ולמוות לא נתני. From all the bad things you have gone to the heaven that you always aspired towards. פתחו לי שערי צדק אבא בם אודה קה, זה שער לה’ צדיקים יבואו בו. I know that you always a tzaddik, these gate will open for you. I thank for all those things you did for God, for what you did for us, the Torah, the family you built for us. The warmest hug in the family. The grandchildren thank you. The whole yeshiva, yediya, and everyone else who helps makes this yeshiva what it is. Thank god who gave us torah in order to praise his name. I thank you for the all the torah, the gadlut and initiative that you gave this world. My children thank you for all that you gave them, even in difficult times. You always knew what to say. I thank Dov who helped you and worked for you in respect. The amazing doctors who always knew who to help you with affection. Dr. Judah Goldberg, his talmid. Akash {next line in English to helper:} thank you so much for helping us, for helping father, who you loved. And he loved you too.

All of the grandchildren, thank you. May your memory be blessed. God gives and god takes. May God be blessed.

Rav Shlomo Brin (RA”M, Moderator):

Next will be son, Shai Lichtenstein.

Shai Lichtenstein (son):

Father, Father, the world is upside down, I am above and you are below {standing on podium above RAL}. In the last years I can say that I worried about you, your hearing wasn't the same, and then the cry of “Father” the cry following your life starting in Paris where you taught yourself to read at age two. Throughout America, where you became the student of rav hutner and rav soloveitchik, the path that came through yerushalayim and ends here in alon shvut. How many times have you described what the chances are that one jewish boy from a jewish family can be such a person. When I answer people that I am the son of rav aharon lichtenstein, I forget and I am confused, and I would like to say some words as a son.

Father I am lacking so much that you are gone, I have tried in the last years to come here as often as I could for the brit of Uriah. Oh how I missed aba, sitting and learning, spending yamim tovim with him, I miss his seriousness, the seriousness with which he played scrabble, scoring a word that began with the letter Q. Whoever saw him saying hallel at leil haseder! It is indescribable. Seder Night was a demonstration of joy out of trembling and trembling out of joy. Worrying if he put out enough drink for meals. Speaking divrei Torah at shabbos meals, the meals themselves. I remember the meals here, in yerushalayim. I miss learning with abba, on shabbatot, here in yeshiva. I miss hearing stories from you, about your childhood, we would sit in the kitchen, in alon shvut, after you learnt all shabbos without resting. Oh how I miss you, when you would call me up to tell me a chiddush you found in a sefer which connects to some chiddush of yours. I miss seeing you come to breakfast in Hispin.

I am glad that I was able to say most of what I wanted to say to you. I knew that the right pillar would not fall. When you came to grandfather’s funeral you cried, but still your strength did not wane. At the end of a week you would always ask what you can do for us, not what we can do for you. I am looking around at the funeral and hespedim are not just for the family, but for the students. For me you were the older man responsible, a firm ground not just for me but for students.

I want to discuss his dedication {“dedication” said in English}. Only we, the family, could describe how you got home late not having eaten, having helped a student. After his plane landed he would immediately run to yeshiva to give his shiurim. This was dedication. His will to pass on the great Masoret (tradition) which he received.

You said that rav hutner was a man from whom you tremble “par excellence”. Father, you were a man from whom we tremble par excellence.

We saw him become a grandfather figure. He was a figure of ahavat torah, a figure who demanded and people demand of themselves dedication to torah. And this I would ask from the people here: To strengthen the values that Abba would want to be strengthened.

The fact that he was machmir not to carry on shabbat within the eruv in yerushalayim, how he would analyze the fine hairs of a ramban.

And the great energies that he had, like a lion. I would come into the bet midrash and wonder why it must be so large, why such a high ceiling, and then I realized that a smaller building would not be able to contain abba’s energy. This is all completely on par with what Esti said. His attention to others’ personal needs and details. He was the great architect. Building sugyot and showing their basic construction.

We saw a letter two years ago from Rav Hutner to Rav Tzvi Yehuda, and we can say that being in eretz yisrael, what rav Hutner did not merit, you merited. You came to the barren hills of gush etzion from the honor and prestige, leading american torah jewry and YU. And you built an empire here. How many people merit this?

I apologize if I will speak in English: “Let me be among the english poets” (John Keats). And for him the quote was “let me be among chachmei HaMesorah”. And we must all realize that he really was part of the transmitting of the mesorah starting from moshe rabbeinu on.

The last time we learnt together, learning together the last time to seal eighty years of scholarship and shakdanut. He taught me to ride bicycle. He would hold on to me so I would not fall and then let go telling me that he is watching.

Rav Shlomo Brin (RA”M, Moderator):

Words of Hespeid from his daughter, Toni Mittleman.

Toni Mitelman (daughter):

Yesterday morning Esti called me telling me to come quickly and I was saying the tehillim for the second day of the week, you were in an ambulance and I was in a play with my children. You said “in your hand i entrust my soul, you redeemed me Hashem the God of truth” (“בידו אפקיד רוחי...”) accepting your fate.

Abba would not say tehillim, he would cry out. And I would hear him in his office crying the tehillim, and I would ask why and he would answer that he was Davening for someone else’s trouble. And this was real heart-felt prayer, not just tehilim. The hallel at lel HaSeder as well. Your prayer changed worlds. Yours, the upper world, and our world as well.

And whenever the army or the government was in trouble, doing something you did not think was appropriate or that would not end well, one could sense the worry from you.

Your Tefilot on the yamim nora’im, not as a ba’al tefillah but as a true mitpale’l. And you would end your shemoneh esreih with the verse, the next verse “what worth in my flesh when i go to the grave …” (“מה בצע בדמי”). When you gave a hesped at saba’s funeral you said that saba did not want to die that way. And I am sure that you and we hoped to continue learning and teaching in full strength.

We wanted more, we wanted our young kids to know you, not to just hear about you, to learn more from your torah. Have you lead us through נהרדעא and פומבדיתא as though they were yerushalayim and alon shvut. We wanted you to continue being with us every step of our lives.

“As orphans we were without a father”. You asked what the meaning of this verse is - certainly orphans have no father - so you explained that because we are orphans, there is no father to cry to. And I have been feeling this for the last couple of months when you did not have that ability to be the father to cry to. “His father brings him to olam hazeh and his rebbi LaOlam habah.”

You were so much a part of our lives, doing laundry in the house, and taking pictures of us, learning with us, and bringing us into the world of the bet midrash. I knew learning with you BeChavrutah, but I wanted to hear a shiur from you and you made a shiur in midreshet migdal oz. You fit into your schedule to give a Shiur there, you drove there and took it very seriously.

The vessels are unable to contain the influence. And you with mother merited to have vessels to contain your great influence and teachings, we hope.

A midrash that abba would quote is “man is ‘meod,’ very much.” I think that when the midrash differentiates between ‘meod’, very much, and adam, man, he had you in mind. A man that uses all of his strengths for the good of the public while still reaching as far as he himself can.

We knew the limits, we knew not to take too much ketchup on our plates as well as not to carry because we aren’t someich on the eruv yerushalayim. You set only high standards and not solid ones.

The scholar with might, taking us into a sefarim sale and buying any sefer he was surprised that young children did not have yet. You brought us into your world, the world of the yeshivot, and you came into our world as well. You came to our plays and parties, knowing the names of our friends. He would send me pages of mekorot , of sources whenever I needed to give a lecture about a certain topic and a few days later calling me giving some more sources and perspectives and I did not have the heart to tell him the lecture already happened.

When he moved to alon shvut, he left a tefach zecher LaChurban and I asked him why if he did not do so in yerushalayim and he explained that nobody did it in yerushalayim so it would look haughty, and in alon shvut everyone is doing it. only to not stand out would he give up on something he held so important. In the conversation that was brought up before, he told me, "Toni, you are my mezinka {a Yiddish term that means the last child to be married off whose wedding features a special dance which some people also call "mezinka"}." Music has the job of passing on the Mesorah to the next generations. I promise that I will do this.

Hashem gives and Hashem takes, may the name of Hashem be blessed.

Rav Shlomo Brin (RA”M, Moderator):

{Read Poem}. Rav Baruch Gigi will speak next.

Rav Baruch Gigi (co-Rosh Yeshivat Har Etzion):

The gemara in moed katan folio 24 says that shmuel said about rav at his passing, here has gone a man from whom we tremble,

This time is a time of heat, and it will be that any time we learn any sugya, saying this is what he said here and there, always thinking about what he would have said. But most importantly here has passed a man from whom we tremble - we all know how difficult it was to approach him - his lack of understanding when you didn’t know the obscure source he would answer for your question.

How many times have we felt “a man from whom tremble” in torah. In his avodat hashem, in his middot, his morality, his great persona. A walking sefer torah, a walking code of morals has left us. We are as orphans with no parents - there is no father - there is no one from whom to tremble. Our master and teacher, building a torah empire in eretz yisrael, and he gave greatly to the in-depth study of torah and religious zionism as a whole. Many yeshivot learn differently, but all take his example to learn everything seriously and in depth, in all six sedarim of the mishnah, in taharot and zera’im. And lectures in zevachim and menachot. He showed us his organized and methodical approach to everything, and I can say personally that aside from what I learned from him, his perspective to open our eyes and see everything in torah I learned as well. I have no doubt that all torah that I have in me stems from him. And I am sure many of his students can say the same, namely, that it is because of his endless dedication.

The rambam in discussing the Mitzvah of loving hashem explains with the following midrash. To make God beloved on others, the rambam explains that if one loves someone truly he would want nothing more them to bring his love for that someone to the whole world.  

Rav Aharon would always tell us that he feels bad that he was able to learn from rav hutner and rav soloveitchik and his talmidim do not have that opportunity. And I would ask him “but we have you,” and he would respond to me that it is simply not the same. His true humility. And whenever he would speak to the Ramim about improving, or whether we are doing our jobs appropriately, he would be saying this first to himself. And whenever he saw a student not reach his full potential he would feel terribly, and we saw this, true despair and sadness.

He was not just the pillar of torah. To us, those who heard his lectures, all of his lectures were works of art, constructed perfectly, considering every word, every letter, analyzing deeply.

His Tefillah was the tefillah of mevakshei panecha - those who want to truly seek God. But quietly “not in the great sound is the Lord,” standing silently unmoving. But there was one moment reading shir HaShirim on Yom yerushalayim, at the moment when the lover says “you are beautiful my beloved” the meeting finally after all of the searching.

“There is no man that one can say ‘like this great man.’” Some explain rashi - there is no man - only angels like this man. And there are others that explain, only to be a man like this has fulfilled the potential of being a man.

The great work of his life he used to say was his family. But both his family and his students have merited to be in this beit midrash between this pillars where he laid torah foundations, where torah will continue. May his memory be a blessing may his soul be cloaked in the cloak of life.

Rav Shlomo Brin (RA”M, Moderator):

The Hespeidim will conclude with Rav Ezra Bick, RA”M in this Yeshiva.

Rav Ezra Bick (RA”M since ‘77):

At the time of the funeral one must learn from the hespedim, from the departed, In all of my years with my rebbi he never gave me rebuke explicitly. Once when I fell asleep in his lecture, he said to me later “I hope you are feeling better now.” I never fell asleep in the middle of a shiur after that.

We heard from rav yitzchak what the chinuch says about giving charity with joy. Rebbi, I accept upon myself to give charity with joy.

Most people here are students of Rav Aharon. Old students, young students, some who have only been around for a few months. I am one of his students. I have been one of his students all my life. I came into his shiur when I was 15 and have been following him around ever since. I ask myself, what does a student do if he is just a student and he has no rav?

So i will instead ask - in what respect were we his students? Did he give us a derech limmud? Certainly, he taught me how to read the rishonim, and this is how i learn, in that way that he taught me. Ahavat Torah? Certainly, his Dveikut, constantly learning. And his Dveikut to the truth, even though he always presented many different sides to ideas, but a constant connection to the absolute truth. {Crowd stood up for Sephardi Rav who left.}

There are people with many different attributes, but there are other people as well. The amount of attributes which Rebbi had were included in one attribute, and they all came from it. And that it is Avodat Hashem. The feeling that all that I have inside of me exists to be a servant of God. Simply, all of his great attributes stemmed from his being an unbelievable Oveid Hashem.

Rebbi was a Chacham, very brilliant. And many brilliant people ask what they will do with their brilliance. But with rebbi that wasn’t a question, because the obvious response was Avodat Hashem.

He did not realize how different he was, saying once that he had to shorten his learning one day to a mere 10 hours.

Many people took from Rav Aharon Heteirim, Heteirim to read books for example. But if that were just a Heteir, then Rav Aharon wouldn't do it; rather, to him it was a necessity - first to learn and to do chesed and to try to understand and to read.

This is called in the language of the Mishna “Aderet.” We do not know many of the personal nuances of Eliyahu HaNavi - we do know of the dedication to Avodat Hashem. And we could see from this how he got his student as the verse says when eliyahu first sees elisha (Melachim Alef 19) he threw his Aderet, his cloak, what encompasses his whole body, his whole being, and then elisha follows eliyahu to be his student.

I remember Rav Aharon giving his first shiur because it was different and memorable. But to be a student, a true student, is because of Avodat Hashem. This is the cloak that was thrown to me, and because of this I have followed him.

And when he left to eretz yisrael, leaving me in chutz la’aretz, I followed him. It has been exactly 50 years when my master has now set me free forever. What does a student do when his rebbi passes, when he is without his master?

There are two cloaks. There is the cloak that eliyahu first threw to elisha, and another on the last day of eliyahu’s life. As he tries to get elisha to go home and leave him, elisha asks for a double portion of eliyahu (Melachim Bet 2):

יב  וֶאֱלִישָׁע רֹאֶה, וְהוּא מְצַעֵק אָבִי אָבִי רֶכֶב יִשְׂרָאֵל וּפָרָשָׁיו, וְלֹא רָאָהוּ, עוֹד; וַיַּחֲזֵק, בִּבְגָדָיו, וַיִּקְרָעֵם, לִשְׁנַיִם קְרָעִים.        12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried: 'My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof!' And he saw him no more; and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
יג  וַיָּרֶם אֶת-אַדֶּרֶת אֵלִיָּהוּ, אֲשֶׁר נָפְלָה מֵעָלָיו; וַיָּשָׁב וַיַּעֲמֹד, עַל-שְׂפַת הַיַּרְדֵּן.        13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of the Jordan.

Eliyahu answers that he will receive it if he can see the parting of his rebbi. And as eliyahu went up to shamayim elisha cried “אָבִי אָבִי רֶכֶב יִשְׂרָאֵל וּפָרָשָׁיו”, “the chariot of israel and the horsemen thereof.” Chariot because he led us - what do we do when there is no one to lead us?!

And so elisha takes the cloak of eliyahu and uses it to split the river. There is the cloak thrown to us and there is the cloak which remains after the passing the pure avodat hashem, and it is this that we must do. We must take up the avodat Hashem, the absolute avodat Hashem in every aspect of our lives, to take up the cloak of eliyahu, of Aharon.

In the last few years I have been asking myself why I love Rav Aharon so much. I never received a hug from him. Many people were afraid of him, as I was.

You are his students not because of his Lomdus, but because of avodat Hashem. For this you do not have to emulate him, not be a tzaddik like him, not a talmid chacham like him, but to give yourself over in Avodat Hashem. And chazal explains that elisha was able to receive double eliyahu’s power because he had eliyahu’s cloak, and his own attributes with it. We must simply give ourselves over in the service of HJasShem.

Rabbeinu Aharon was for many of us the kohen gadol. We have the Pesukim from Malachi (Perek 2):

ה  בְּרִיתִי הָיְתָה אִתּוֹ, הַחַיִּים וְהַשָּׁלוֹם, וָאֶתְּנֵם-לוֹ מוֹרָא, וַיִּירָאֵנִי; וּמִפְּנֵי שְׁמִי, נִחַת הוּא.

5 My covenant was with him of life and peace, and I gave them to him, and of fear, and he feared Me, and was afraid of My name.

ו  תּוֹרַת אֱמֶת הָיְתָה בְּפִיהוּ, וְעַוְלָה לֹא-נִמְצָא בִשְׂפָתָיו; בְּשָׁלוֹם וּבְמִישׁוֹר הָלַךְ אִתִּי, וְרַבִּים הֵשִׁיב מֵעָו‍ֹן.

6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not found in his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and did turn many away from iniquity.

ז  כִּי-שִׂפְתֵי כֹהֵן יִשְׁמְרוּ-דַעַת, וְתוֹרָה יְבַקְשׁוּ מִפִּיהוּ:  כִּי מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה-צְבָאוֹת, הוּא.

7 For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

There were a few times in which Rav Aharon gave a Pesak which differed from others and I thought to myself perhaps rav aharon is mistaken. And I came to the conclusion that it is better to be mistaken with Rav Aharon than to be correct with someone else. But we can testify that “עַוְלָה לֹא-נִמְצָא בִשְׂפָתָיו”.

We will continue to be students without Rav Aharon. We must overcome the challenges to do Avodat Hashem. “כִּי מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה-צְבָאוֹת, הוּא”. In his life he was a Malach, so too in his death for us. In Ahavah, in Yir’ah, which will not terminate ever. יהי נשמתו צרורה בצרור החיים.

Rav Shlomo Brin (RA”M, Moderator):

We ask from everyone in the Beit Midrash and in the halls outside to stay in place for now. Soon the mourners will recite Kaddish.

From the transcribers: We hope that this was a proper translation/transcription. Thank you very much to the following for making this happen:

Rav Moshe Taragin (RA”M)

Ori Putterman (‘14)

Noam Shachak (‘14)

Benjy Koslowe (‘13)

Jason Greenspan (‘12)