Rav Moshe Wolfson zt”l // The Life of the Mashgiach, Rav Moshe Wolfson zt’l

The world’s lights dimmed this week. Rav Moshe Wolfson, a beacon of Torah, chasidus, and yiras shamayim, has left us. For 99 years, with a charm that seemed supernatural, he elevated countless Yidden and fundamentally changed lives in ways both subtle and profound. Boro Park, and indeed the Jewish world, will no longer be the same.
The grief runs deep, touching souls across generations. Four generations of talmidim, along with countless others influenced by their teachings, looked to Rav Moshe Wolfson as their guiding star.
“When a rav leaves us, another rav can take his place,” bemoaned Rav Wolfson’s son-in-law, Rav Mottel Silber, rav of Toldos Yitzchak Stutchin. “When a rosh yeshivah leaves us, another rosh yeshivah takes his place. But the shver was a chiddush—he is irreplaceable.”
Rav Moshe Wolfson, founder and longtime rav of Beis Midrash Emunas Yisrael, and mashgiach of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath for over 60 years, passed away suddenly on Motzaei Shabbos.
Rav Wolfson was deeply venerated across all kehillos, his influence transcending communal boundaries. In recent decades, as the beis midrash he founded grew into one of Boro Park’s largest, he emerged as the neighborhood’s elder gadol, consulted on all major issues. His impact is inestimable, with four generations of talmidim from his six decades of teaching and leadership going on to inspire others in an ever-widening ripple of Torah.
“He influenced hundreds of talmidim,” Rav Shmuel Duvid Hardt, rav of Emunas Yisrael in Beitar, said tearfully at the levayah on Sunday, “and those talmidim had talmidim, and they in turn had talmidim, who influenced so many.”
Perhaps the last living talmid of Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, zt”l, Rav Wolfson carried forward the legacy of his rebbi to the letter—“dos huhr vahr un dos pintele chasidus—the hairbreadth of truth and the essence of chasidus.” This commitment, combined with his sagacity and keen insight into human nature, made him a beloved mentor to all, from young bachurim to elder talmidei chachamim.
Above all, emunah guided his life. He implored his followers to view the Eibershter as a real father listening to our tefillos.
It was in this vein that Rav Wolfson followed current events, keeping abreast of what was happening in the world. Once, after the Mississippi River overflowed its banks, flooding thousands of homes, he spoke about the tragedy to those in his beis midrash. “The Ribbono Shel Olam means [for this to be a wake-up call for] us,” he declared.
In 2012, as Iran crept closer to acquiring a nuclear weapon, Rav Wolfson sought to awaken people to the danger. He began addressing it during his weekly talks, and then he decided to call a dramatic midweek assembly for his kehillah.
“Why are we quiet? Where is the awakening? Why is everyone so apathetic?” Rav Wolfson questioned. “Everyone is busy with narishkeiten—do we not hear the alarm? Do we not know that we have to pierce the heavens, begging for rachamim from the Ribbono Shel Olam?

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