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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rabbi Pesach Oratz ZT'L

Birkas Tanchumin to the Oratz family on the untimely loss of Harav Pesach Oratz, zeicher tzadik livracha, on erev Rosh Hashanna.

Rabbi Pesach Oratz was a much loved teacher of Tanach, who left behind many hundreds of talmidim and talmidos to whom he imparted a a lasting love of, and a desire to strive for deeper understanding of, limud hatorah. (see, e.g., http://www.yucommentator.com/2.2843/it-and-not-about-it-1.299219)

Rabbi Oratz's legacy continues to walk the Earth in the persons of his proudest achievement, children who manifest in their own lives his mesora of ahavas hatorah, kiruv levavos, and seiver panim yafos.

The family is not sitting shiva anymore, because Rosh Hashanna was mafsik, but condolences can be sent to
945 East 7th St
Brooklyn, NY 11230
Tel: 718-258-3171


המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך אבלי ציון וירושלים

Rabbi Yitzchak Oratz shlita sent a few beautiful and inspiring stories about his father. I am copying them to the post so that more people can learn from his legacy.

My father taught Torah to thousands of Talmidim & Talmidos in numerous venues. Most recently in Stern College and Shulamis High School, where he primarily taught various classes in Tanach -- but has been teaching in numerous places for close to six decades. From Kiruv in JSS, NCSY, Torah Institute where there are dozens of familes of Shomrei Mitzvah today because of his influence, to Gemara classes to adults in Flatbush, Queens and elsewhere,to teaching at Esther Shoenfeld Bais Yaakov, Summers at Camp Morasha and the Morasha kollel, Night Seminaries, guests lectures and much more. He taught Talmidim & Talmidos, old & young, Gemara & Tanach, in a perfect Yiddish (Chasidish or Litvish), a Modern Hebrew, or a flawless English. He was simply a melamed Torah in its purest form. I rarely go anywhere where I don't meet someone who was his talmid.

Growing up on the lower East Side of NY he also had the zechus to interact with great gedoley Yisrael such as Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Henkin, Kapishnitser Rebbe ZT"L. He also had to do with the Ponovhizer Rav, various Amshinover Rebbes, Rav Dovid Lifshitz, the Lomzher Rav, Rav Zeidel Epstein, Rav YD Soloveitchik, Rav Mendel Zaks, ZT"L -- some of who were his Rabbeim.

Decades after it occurred he would relish telling over fascinating stories and interactions that he had with them -- remembering the details & the exact words & expressions they used.
Delete


Just one example of a story my father Rav Pesach Oratz hk"m had with Rav Moshe ZTVK"L.

My father was sitting & talking to Rav Moshe. Rav Moshe had his back to a full bookcase of Seforim & was facing my father. My father mentioned a sevara & Rav Moshe says "yeh, das iz a b'feirishi Rashba in Yevamais" (my father did Rav Moshe's accent perfectly). While saying this, Rav Moshe while still looking directly at my father sticks his hand behind him to the bookcase, without looking or turning around, pulls out a Rashba on Yevamos, puts his finger on a place, pulls it in front him & flips it open, all without looking(!!), and begins reading the Rashba flawlessly & seamlessly without having to look even a second for the place. My father sat there stunned and with his mouth open not believing.

This is the type of story he loved to share & retell. He loved Gedoley Yisrael.

Even more important is the hadracha he gave based on Gedoley Yisrael. During that same conversation Rav Moshe gave my father advice quoting a certain ma'amar Chazal. My father wanted to clarify or question & said "aber far vas etc." Rav Moshe immediately interjected & said "nein, oib Chazal zaggen azai is es azai". My father took that Mussar haskil on the Chashivus of a maamar Chazal with him the rest of his life.

(Just to clarify, my father wasn't CH"V doubting the Chazal, he just wanted to clarify -- but he learned from Rav Moshe the chashivus of a maamar Chazal & the choymer we take their words.)

If anyone has any Divrei Torah, stories, or memories of my father or how he influenced their life -- please send to RPOmemories@gmail.com.

It would be especially appreciated because the family really didn't get to sit Shiva because of Rosh Hashanna.

Thank you.

Yitzi Oratz

Update- October 1, 2009:
I received the following email.
I didn't know Rav Pesach Oratz zt"l at all, however I was very close friends with Meir Oratz of Yeshivas Mir in Jerusalem and I was מקבל on myself to learn משניות מס' טהרות לע"נ ר' פסח זעליג בן ר' ישעי' זאב, תנצבה.

Gut Yuntiff,
Reb Chaim HaQoton

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for posting this.

YES, this is the Rav Oratz that in recent years traveled frequently to E"Y and has children in E"Y.

My father taught Torah to thousands of Talmidim & Talmidos in numerous venues. Most recently in Stern College and Shulamis High School where he primarily taught various classes in Tanach -- but has been teaching in numerous places for close to six decades. From Kiruv in JSS, NCSY, Torah Institute where there are dozens of familes of Shomrei Mitzvah today because of his influence, to Gemara classes to adults in Flatbush, Queens and elsewhere,to teaching at Esther Shoenfeld Bais Yaakov, Summers at Camp Morasha and the Morasha kollel, Night Seminaries, guests lectures and much more. He taught Talmidim & Talmidos, old & young, Gemara & Tanach, in a perfect Yiddish (Chasidish or Litvish), a Modern Hebrew, or a flawless English. He was simply a melamed Torah in its purest form. I rarely go anywhere where I don't meet someone who was his talmid.

Growing up on the lower East Side of NY he also had the zechus to interact with great gedoley Yisrael such as Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Henkin, Kapishnitser Rebbe ZT"L. He also had to do with the Ponovhizer Rav, various Amshinover Rebbes, Rav Dovid Lifshitz, the Lomzher Rav, Rav Zeidel Epstein, Rav YD Soloveitchik, Rav Mendel Zaks, ZT"L -- some of who were his Rabbeim.

Decades after it occured he would relish telling over fascinating stories and interactions that he had with them -- remembering the details & the exact words & expressions they used.

If anyone has any Divrei Torah, stories, or memories of my father or how he influenced their life -- please send to RPOmemories@gmail.com.

(Or you could obviously post here as well)

It would be especially appreciated because the family really didn't get to sit Shiva because of R"H.

Thank you.

Yitzi Oratz

Anonymous said...

Just one example of a story my father Rav Pesach Oratz hk"m had with Rav Moshe ZTVK"L.

My father was sitting & talking to Rav Moshe. Rav Moshe had his back to a full bookcase of Seforim & was facing my father. My father mentioned a sevara & Rav Moshe says "yeh, das iz a b'feirishi Rashba in Yevamais" (my father did Rav Moshe's accent perfectly). While saying this, Rav Moshe while still looking directly at my father sticks his hand behind him to the bookcase, without looking or turning around, pulls out a Rashba on Yevamos, puts his finger on a place, pulls it in front him & flips it open, all without looking(!!), and begins reading the Rashba flawlessly & seamlessly without having to look even a second for the place. My father sat there stunned and with his mouth open not believing.

This is the type of story he loved to share & retell. He loved Gedoley Yisrael.

Even more important is the hadracha he gave based on Gedoley Yisrael. During that same conversation Rav Moshe gave my father advice quoting a certain ma'amar Chazal. My father wanted to clarify or question & said "aber far vas etc." Rav Moshe immediately interjected & said "nein, oib Chazal zaggen azai is es azai". My father took that Mussar haskil on the Chashivus of a maamar Chazal with him the rest of his life.

(Just to clarify, my father wasn't CH"V doubting the Chazal, he just wanted to clarify -- but he learned from Rav Moshe the chashivus of a maamar Chazal & the choymer we take their words.)

Yitzi Oratz

Barzilai said...

Thank you for the biography- strange, that I knew and heard very little about your father, but from the little I knew, it was clear that this was a rare and precious neshoma- and thanks for the story with Reb Moshe. I once offered to buy Reb Moshe a new set of Shitta Mekubetzes because the set he had was falling apart-- you could barely turn a page without losing pieces. He firmly declined, and said that he preferred the ones he was used to.

Anonymous said...

A little story; after Rabbi Oratz had his seventh child, someone asked him whether that was enough, and he answered that "the שביעי של פסח is not the אחרון של פסח."

Anonymous said...

Off topic: Apropos of anonymity: he who controls the past controls the future.