On Lag Ba’omer 5777, the candle of a world extinguished.

The shining flame of spiritual life – was the life of the Rabeinu HaGadol, Rabbi Shmuel Ya’akov Bornstein, ZT”L.

Since the illumination of his candle over seventy years ago, the flame has been shining, rising more and more,

purifying in the hardship of Torah and with immense devotion to the Creator, until it became a real fire, illuminating the entire world.

his candle was stationed to the ground, walking between us and very close to our hearts, lighting our way and warming our hearts, we were very close,

but his head reached heaven, living a noble life, an uplifting life from all the materialism of this world.

This flame is burning with Torah fire. Every hour, every minute and even every second is spent to the fullest effort of Torah and its understanding.

It is already long after midnight, and he is still leaning on the stender in his room, immersed deeply in the sugya trying to understand it’s intricacies. Preparing the shiur to be delivered the next day to his beloved disciples at the holy yeshiva.

Even when difficult days of hardship and pain came, they all failed to turn off the light, the light of the Torah. Constant fire always glowed on the altar of the love to Hashem. The sedarim remained the same, the hours remained the same hours, and the adherence – the adherence also remained the same, and on the contrary, all these intensified the adherence more intensely.

And when asked by a close student: “Rabbi, how is it possible?”

he answered in one sentence spanning his entire life, a sentence carved out of the depth of his soul and spirit: “Lulei toratcha sha’ashuai az avadeti b’onyi.”

Lucky is the one who saw the work of his heart – the prayer.

the uplifting spectacle, the way he stood and davened before the master of universe, like a son before his father. Every prayer was wrapped with the same excitement and the same unforgettable power.

His voice blazing with flames of fire, Sacharis, Mincha and Ma’ariv – his voice echoed and is still engraved in our bones and resonating strongly in our ears.

and who can describe in words the miraculous vision of citing hallel, while dancing in his place in great, immense joy.


Ner l’echad, ner l’mea

A flame and another, all burning in the fire of love, the love of a rabbi for a student, which is the love of a father to his son.

And when a father sees that his son is in need for something, he will not spare himself any effort or hassle, and will do as much as he can to succeed, in material and of course in spirit. A student would often approach him with his worry in his heart and he would cry with him and share his troubles.

And if in times of agony then of course in times of joy. He was happy and delighted with all good news. Birth, marriage, and salvation that was coming, all these brought upon him a great excitement and joy, as if it was his own simcha.

He devoted many hours of his precious time to his students, not only at the time of shiur, but every day, and even on Shabbos and Moed he would host them joining then during their meals.

Indeed, they were all his sons, loving him like a son loves his father, and he returned to them the love of a father, as stated in the Ramban he would quote every opportunity: “ki hatalmidim hem habanim hamoilim ba’olam haze u’be’olam haba”, “because the students are the sons who we benefit from in this world and in the next world.”


But they were not his only sons. He has a special feeling of love in his heart for his holy books and essays, “zeh chelki mikol amali”, “this is my part of all my labors” he would say with longing, feeling they were the ones who left him a name in the world, as he had not merited leaving children after him.

Writing his seforim occupied a very important place in his life’s work, and ever since he was a young boy he had been writing all of his chidushim, the outputs of his work and effort. Until the end of his life he had invested the essence of his blood in this work. He loved them dearly and was they were very precious to him.

“When I lived in Yerushalayim,” he said on several occasions, “a fire broke out in the house and caused havoc. The fire destroyed the living room covering everything in it with flames, but …. miraculously, the flames stopped and retreated at the entrance to the book room, where there were hundreds of notebooks with chidushim I wrote”. “If this miracle had not happened, I would have to be hospitalized for a mental illness”, he said.


From Yerushalayim to Bnei Brak

When he moved and set residence in Bnei Brak, he transferred all his belongings in a transport truck as is customary. But he his precious writings he did not send by truck as he feared for them, saying: “I am willing to take a risk on all my possessions, but I will never risk these writings!” He added: “ki zeh chelki mikol amali.”

And the writings were sent respectfully to his home with a faithful messenger.

“This week I am marrying off a son” he said to his friends and acquaintances, and replied to their amazement – “This week my new sefer was published, is it not equal to the joy of marrying of a child?”

And indeed, his sons who commemorate his name in all the generations are his books, written with sweat and labor. They will remain alive and well in the world forever!


Lag Ba’omer 5779

Two years have passed since that bitter day of tears, cry, and brokenness in room no. 6, on the fourth floor of the Ma’aynei HaYeshua hospital, and the soul of our beloved rabbi elevated from his body.


At 2:00 and 10 minutes, the life full of action and spirit came to an end.  The Torah scrolls were burnt, but letters flew upon in the air, millions of letters of Torah, thousands of chaburos, lessons, articles, va’adim conversations, everything filled the air.

A labor of years, standing and hovering in space, awaiting to be written in a book that will engrave on its pages those many hours of sweat which he tirelessly devoted to learning.

All of these lay on a scale. Will they be shelved, or will they be perpetuated on a sheet of paper?

His soul elevated in midst his work. He spent his last days writing several of his essays.

And now, the many ​​scriptures that he left behind in all the Torah, Torah, halacha, legends, Shas and moadim, morality and thought, all these are waiting for our answer. Will we return love to the one who loved us with all his soul and fulfill his life’s desire to publish all these, or not.

Our answer is clear and engraved with fire and with an illuminating flame of Torah and work,

And when we decide not to let his work fade and disappear, we will wait and expect to see the glow on his face at the time of tchiyat hametim, and we will see him happy, beaming cheerfully towards us, telling us in his bright face “Thank you!” “Thank you, my son, for working to perpetuate my Torah and toil.” “Thank you, my son, for not forgetting me, and for lifting my soul.”

And we will tell you, Rabeinu, the joy of our heart: our love for you has not been damaged, your image is engraved in our hearts, and we will fulfil your request and ambition is. And you, Rabbeinu, do not take your lover away from us forever, and act from your place for us, pray for us and recommend us well before the master of all.

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