Rav Shaya Shimanovich, zt”l
The Yeshiva began with Harav Shaya at its helm. Reb Shaya’s connection with Stolin went back a long time before that; he had also been offered the leadership of the yeshiva in Linunetz founded by the holy Harav Avraham Elimelech of Karlin, zt”l, Hy”d, after the departure of Harav Shach, who had been his chavrusah in Slutzk.
Rav Shaya was born in Rubizevitch, Poland. At the age of ten he was sent away to learn in the Yeshiva in Bialystock, where his rebbe was the young Steipler Gaon, zt”l. After becoming Bar Mitzvah he enrolled in the yeshiva of Slutsk, where he became a talmid muvhak of Rav Ahron Kotler, zt”l, and developed a lifelong relationship with Rav Elazar Menachem Man Shach, zt”l.
At the age of fifteen, Rav Shaya moved on to Kaminetz to learn with Rav Boruch Ber Leibowitz, zt”l, remaining there until his early twenties, when he went to Radin to learn Kodshim b’chavrusa with Rav Mendel Zaks zt”l (the Chofetz Chaim’s son-in-law) for over three years in the Chofetz Chaim’s house. When Rav Shaya was 25 years old, he was invited to join Rav Leizer Yudel Finkel’s select chaburah in Yeshivas Mir. He remained a lifelong “Mirrer,” keeping up the close relationship with the Mirrer talmidim who survived the war.
He married the daughter of one of the prominent and dedicated Stoliner chassidim, Reb Menachem Zalman Briskman. Reb Shaya becam e the first Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Stolin. When Rav Aaron Kotler was once asked who the greatest lamdan in America was then he replied, “Reb Shaya.” He was a brilliant person and an excellent listener — and this made him an effective marbitz Torah.
From Stolin, Reb Shaya went to Yeshiva Rabbeinu Yaakov Yosef (RJJ), where he remained for decades and impacted countless lives. His chiddushim were published as Amudei Sheish.
He was niftar on 22 Adar, 5758.