Four Torah Sages Died This Month

Shlomo Greenwald writes for The Jewish Press:

The Orthodox Jewish world mourns the loss of four prominent figures who passed away in recent days, Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum, Mr. Bentzion Dunner, Rabbi Moshe Fuller, and Rabbi Yitzchok Chinn, each of whom left a lasting contribution to the Jewish community at large.

Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum, director of Torah Communications Network and Camp S’dei Chemed International, brought the letter and spirit of Torah to hundreds of thousands of Jews during his lifetime, which was cut short at age 67 on Sunday.
Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum

He created Dial-a-Daf in 1981, a call-in service which offers recorded classes on every page of the Talmud. The service has received millions of calls over the years.

Always a fan of using technology for Torah, Rabbi Teitelbaum wrote in 1997, "We’re not far from the day when laptop computers will be in every classroom as well as in every Bais Medrash." He acknowledged, "Yes, there are many pitfalls…grave dangers…. but one must learn to use every invention in order to better serve his Creator."

Rabbi Teitelbaum taught in Brooklyn’s Yeshiva Torah Temimah for four decades. His students "were fascinated and mesmerized by his lessons," his principal, Rabbi Eliezer Rapaport, recalled. "He had inimitable control of a class."

He played trumpet, clarinet, violin, and guitar, and sometimes brought these instruments to the classroom. Storytelling was another pastime of his. He authored several books, including the children’s book A Living Nightmare.

In the 1960’s Rabbi Teitelbaum helped start the national siyumei mishnayos for children. The ever innovative rabbi also filled a gap by producing traditional Jewish music records and organizing a Pirchei boy’s choir.

"There was no word ‘can’t,’ " a family member said. "He might not have been the most brilliant song writer but he did everything because he felt that he should…. and he never ever took money."

"He was a legendary individual, multi, multi-multifaceted," Rabbi Rapaport said. "His achievements are legion."

His wife, two children, and several grandchildren survive him.

Bentzion Dunner, 45, who died of a heart attack Saturday night in England, was known by thousands as one of the most generous baalei tzedakah of his generation. Just this Purim, according to several published reports, he gave out what may have amounted to over a million dollars to poor individuals who approached him.

Mr. Dunner descended from a prominent rabbinic family in London. His grandfather was Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Dunner, the head of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations in London and head of its beis din. His father is Rabbi Abba Dunner, executive director of the Conference of European Rabbis.

Mr. Dunner, who made his fortune mostly in real estate, had strong connections to both chassidic and non-chassidic yeshivas, and gave millions of dollars to Bobov and Skver organizations, as well as to several yeshivas, including the Mirrer Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

The Bobover Rebbe, Rabbi Modche Dovid Unger, delivered a hesped, and the Skverer Rabbi, Rabbi Dovid Twersky, attended the funeral.

He is survived by his wife and children.

Rabbi Moshe Fuller, who was in his early 40’s, was the founder of Ohr HaNer, an outreach organization that brought Jewish children from Central and South America to the United States to learn about Torah – the boys studying at the Yeshivas Ner Israel campus in Baltimore, where Rabbi Fuller lived, while the girls study at a separate location.

Rabbi Yitzchok Chinn, 78, was the beloved and longtime rav of Gemilas Chesed Synagogue of McKeesport, Pa., and a community leader. He was the rabbi of the synagogue for 50 years, and was honored along with his wife at the shul’s banquet last November.

Rabbi Chinn also served as head of the Vaad Harabonim of Pittsburgh. He was a close student of Rabbi Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz and of the Klausenberger Rebbe.

He is survived by his three children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"He was a parent not just to his three children," said Cindy Guttman, chairperson of the banquet, "but to many in the shul and around the world."

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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