Rav Betzalel Tennenbaum, zt”l
Having headed the Yeshiva for more than a decade, Harav Betzalel is remembered for his tremendous dedication to the talmidim.
Rav Betzalel was the Rebbe zichrono livrachah’s personal choice. Rav Betzalel revered the Rebbe, and the Rebbe spent hours in discussion with him.
During this time, the bachurim in the yeshiva were housed in a building a bit far from the shul on Rodney Street, and came to daven with the Rebbe only on Shabbos Mevorchim. However, through Reb Betzalel there was a constant connection, as the Rebbe would inquire from him about the welfare of individual bachurim.
Rav Betzalel was from the elite Mirrer talmidim. He grew up in the city of Kobryn with Harav Aaron Leib Shteinman, ybl”ch, and he learned under Harav Pesach Pruskin, also the rebbi of Harav Moshe Feinstein, excelling in learning and middos, for which he was known to the end of his life.
In the Mir he learned under Rav Leizer Yudel Finkel and Harav Avraham Tzvi Kammai. Although he was among the older bachurim in the Mir, his anavah and other middos tovos made him accessible to all. In Shanghai, he was active in seeking the welfare of his fellow talmidim and their rebbeim.
He was also close to Harav Yerucham Levovitz, the Mashgiach of the Mir, who would send him over to the amud immediately following a shmuess because his koach in davening was legendary. When he came to America he was instrumental in founding Yeshiva Bais Hatalmud.
Invited to take the helm of the Stoliner yeshiva, he accepted—and the rest is history.
Reb Chaim Kugelman speaks about Rav Betzalel’s dedication: “I was visiting the Rosh Yeshivah in the hospital. That day the doctor came in to give him his diagnosis, which turned out to be a harsh one. I stepped out of the room, of course, and when I returned, Reb Betzalel’s face was ashen. But it was only a moment before he regained his composure and immediately said, “What will be with the yeshiva… we must find someone to lead it.”
He was niftar on Acharon Shel Pesach 5720 (1960), and is interred in the Stoliner chelkah in Washington Cemetery, New Jersey.