Rav Chaim Baruch Wolpin, zt”l
The Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Chaim Baruch, zt”l, was a ga’on in learning, and an unrivaled masmid—and nevertheless never lost his down-to-earth personality, which so endeared him to the bachurim, and enabled generations of bachurim to be shaped by him.
It was the Torah that transformed this child of Seattle into one of the greatest masmidim of the generation. Hasmodoh was the quality for which he was known, even among the lions of Beis Medrash Elyon, where he spent years, following his time in Torah Vodaath, where he became a talmid muvhak of Rav Reuven Grozovsky.
He would repeat the Torah of his Rebbe to generations of his talmidim,
To enter the sphere of the Rosh Yeshiva was to become intimately acquainted with the world of his rebbeim—chiefly Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz and Rav Reuven Grozovsky, zt”l,
He was a stickler for halachah, and when he would notice a bachur at the amud, or otherwise, conducting himself contrary to Halacha, he would correct him. But to all of his talmidim, it was so clear that it came from a place of such purity… and humility… and this is why it was so easily accepted.
It was this humility that was really the Rosh Yeshiva’s secret. That, and his eidelkeit. He was a mushlam in both. For the thousands of talmidim who learned in his glow, his deep humility, his ability to stop to give rides to virtual children as he was driving down 18th Avenue on his way to Yeshiva, and his darkei no’am, were the klei kibbul for us—the vehicle through which we were able to be mekabel from him.
The Rosh Yeshiva was a completely unique phenomenon. From his youth in Seattle, to the very end of his close to 90 years on this earth, he did not stop learning. And his learning molded him into the lebediker mussar Sefer that he was for thousands of people who have been indelibly impacted through his example.