Yechezkel Levenstein

Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein (Rav Yechezkel HaLevi Levenstein),[1] known as Reb Chatzkel, (1885 - 18 Adar 1974),[2] was the mashgiach ruchani of the Mir yeshiva, in Mir, Belarus and during the yeshiva's flight to Lithuania and on to Shanghai due to the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany in World War II. He was a leader of several yeshivas in Europe, America, and Israel, and raised several generations of Torah-observant Jewry. He was a disciple of R' Nachum Zev Ziv son of R' Simcha Zissel Ziv.[3]

Yechezkel Levenstein
Yechezkel Levenstein.jpg
Died1974 (aged 88–89)
Bene Berak
EducationRaduń Yeshiva, Kelm Talmud Torah


Rabbi Levenstein was born in Warsaw[4] (5656)[5] His mother, Zlota, died when he was just five years old; his father, Reb Yehuda, subsequently remarried.[4] He studied for 2 1/2 years in the yeshiva in Łomża, where he was imbued with mussar, then in Raduń Yeshiva under the Chofetz Chaim and the famous mashgiach Rav Yeruchom Levovitz, and finally in Kelm.

His rebbetzin, Chaya, was an orphan. He had "rejected glowing offers made to him by wealthy men who wanted him for their daughters" saying They'd "be unable to share a life of privation and restraint and of subsisting on the bare essentials."[4]

From 5695 (1935), for about 2 years[5][6] he served as mashgiach of Yeshivas Lomza in Petach Tikvah, "despite the very difficult, poverty stricken life he led in Petach Tikvah."

His impact was not only on the yeshiva but on some students who became "well known roshei yeshiva."[5][7][8]


News reached Shanghai Adar 5703 (1943), where the Mir spent the war years, of the murders of so many of Lithuanian Jewry. The eulogy of the martyrs by the mashgiach was published in a book, Mimizrach Shemesh.[9]


The Yeshivos that he founded or strongly influenced include:[10]

  • Before World War II
  • Mir Yeshiva (Poland), as Mashgiach Ruchani
  • After the War
  • Mir Yeshivah (Yerushalayim)
  • Ponovezh Yeshivah (B'nei Brak)


  • Or Yechezkel, a seven volume[10] work of musar
The Mir yeshiva in the Beth Aharon Synagogue, Shanghai; Rabbi Levenstein is seated in the front row, first on the right (left of picture)


  • Kasnett, Yitzchak (2007) Reb Chatzkel. Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein - Guardian of Torah and Mussar, Artscroll Mesorah Publications, ISBN 9781422605387

External linksEdit


  1. ^ The title of this book notes that he was a Levi. Or Yechezkel : Rav Yechezkel HaLevi Levenstein (7 Vol.). Retrieved 2017-02-19.
  2. ^ "Yartzeite of Rav Yechezkel Levenstein is the 18th of Adar." "Yartzeite of Rav Yechezkel Levenstein: Learning".
  3. ^ Goldberger, Moshe. One Minute History Lessons: Six Millennia of Great Jewish Leaders. Targum Press. ISBN 9781568712383.
  4. ^ a b c "Rav Yechezkel Levenstein zt"l, Mashgiach of Mir and Ponevezh, On His 37th Yahrtzeit, Today". Matzav. Retrieved 2017-02-16.
  5. ^ a b c A. Bar Moshe (March 17, 1999). "And His Hands Were Faithful -- the Twenty Fifth Yahrtzeit of HaRav Yechezkel Levenstein Zt'l, Mashgiach of Mir and Ponevezh".
  6. ^ "When Reb Yeruchom passed away (on the eighteenth of Sivan 5697) however, the heads of the yeshiva asked Reb Chatzkel if he would agree to return ..."
  7. ^ "There were very few talmidim learning in the yeshiva ... attracted after he joined and both the yeshiva's size and reputation greatly increased. Many talmidei chachomim developed there, some of whom have become well known roshei yeshiva."
  8. ^ Sholom Schwadron, Rav Chaim Kanievsky, Rabbi Eliyahu Dushnitzer
  9. ^ "An Approach to the Suffering of the European Churban". Retrieved 2017-02-16.
  10. ^ a b Or Yechezkel : Rav Yechezkel HaLevi Levenstein (7 Vol.). Retrieved 2017-02-19.