Monday, October 31, 2011

Rabbi Benny Eisner zt"l

To my great dismay Rabbi Benny Eisner passed away this Sabbath.

Here's a little bit about Rav Benny:
Rav Binyamin Eisner, affectionately known as “Rav Benny” is Rav and mentor to thousands of talmidim throughout Eretz Yisrael and the United States. Friends and talmidim have been captivated by the initial greeting of “Shalom, ani Benny”, his infectious smile, his passion for Torat Eretz Yisrael, and the warmth of his wife and children. Today, Rav Benny and his family reside in Abu Tor. Rav Benny’s daily shiurim in Yeshivat Torat Shraga, Yeshivat Morasha, Eli and Ateret Kohanim continue to inspire hundreds of talmidim in Eretz Yisrael to this day!

Rav Benny was born in Har Hatzofim in Yerushalayim, attended elementary school in Tel Aviv, and spent his High School years in Kibbutz Yavneh. Following High School the Rav was inducted into the army and fought in the 1967 war. Rav Benny was part of a small brigade of officers with aging rifles and a short supply of bullets looking uphill at opposition tanks. Miraculously, the tanks fled and soon after the brigade recaptured the sacred area of Kever Rachel. Upon realization of the land they had reclaimed, Rav Benny exclaimed, “Rachel Rachel you can stop crying…your children have returned”.

Rav Benny began developing a close relationship with Rav Tzvi Yehuda hakohen Kook zt”l during his army service. He yearned to find a yeshiva that embraced Limud Hatorah together with Ahavat Eretz Yisrael. He found this combination in Rav Kook, developed a close personal relationship, and became his personal driver to many important meetings. Rav Benny’s entire family enjoyed a close connection with Rav Kook which they all treasure to this day.

Soon after the war, Rav Benny met his wife, Sarah Ulman. With the encouragement of his wife Sarah, Rav Benny embarked on his first teaching position in Kibutz Yavneh followed by several years in Ohr Etzion in Merkaz Shapiro.

Having cultivated a following of Israeli talmidim, Rav Benny embraced American talmidim at Yeshivat Beit Midrash L’Torah and concurrently began teaching in Yeshiva L’Tze’irim Merkaz Harav.

In the early 1980s, the organization Shlach Et Ami – “Let my People Go” was established in the Eisner home. Avital Sharansky pining for the release of her beloved husband, Anatoly became close friends with the Eisner family and the families have remained friends ever since.

As the years went by the Eisner home was filled with talmidim – and their own children (3 boys and 8 girls). The dining room lights and kitchen oven stayed on until the early hours of the morning as talmidim dropped-in for a lesson on Rov Kook, Torat Eretz Yisrael, Kedusha – or simply a late night snack. Their home was a revolving door and an address for Torah, warmth and acceptance.

The talmidim’s love and devotion continue to this day. The Eisner continue to take part in the lives of their tamidim, regularly traveling to weddings, brisim, and r”l other life cycle events.

Rav Benny has been invited to speak and lecture in Batei Knesset and Yeshivot throughout Israel and the United States. Rav Benny has had the privilege and longevity to have students who are second generation talmidim, young men whose parents were students of Rav Benny.

Shortly after Pesach of 5771 (2011), Rav Benny faced a diagnosis and a new challenge – an ailment (and treatment) that challenge his physical strength.

Nonetheless, having seen his share of challenges, he is faithfully and whole-heartedly committed to rising above and continuing his holy work; living life, serving God, living in the Holy Land and inspiring and loving Jews wherever they may be.

Unfortunately, Rabbi Eisner is no longer with us. His soul has been freed of the shackles of earthly existence. He lives on in the minds and hearts of his students, friends, and family. Fortunately, some of the shiurim have been recorded:

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