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Section: Stories   Category: Gedolim Biographies
Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler - The Pulse Of The 20th Century Torah World

After the Chazon Ish met Rav Dessler for the first time he said that if there are any questions that need the word of Hashem, speak to Rav Dessler.  "He is the Urim V'Tumim of our generation."

Rav Dessler was born in 1891 to family rich in Torah and Mussar.  As a young boy he learned in the famed Yeshiva of Kelm where he mastered the entire Shas by heart by the age of 17.  He also devoted a great deal of time to Sifrei Chasidus.  During this period, the leading Mekubal of the generation, Rav Shlomo Elyashiv the Ba'al HaLeshem, wanted to teach Rav Dessler kabala.  However Rav Dessler avoided this opportunity and regretted it for the rest of his life.  At his core Rav Dessler was a talmid of Kelm and was very close with the Mirrer Mashgiach Rav Yeruchom Levovitz.

Rav Dessler was privileged to be well connected with the Gedolei Hador, through his uncle Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky who was very fond of him.  Rav Chaim Ozer would invite him to join his meetings with the Chofetz Chaim and the Rav Chaim Brisker as they would discuss important matters that pertained to the future direction of Klal Yisroel.  These meetings left an indelible mark on Rav Dessler who was amazed by the degree of L'Shem Shamayim of every measured word.

In 1920 Rav Dessler married the granddaughter of the Alter of Kelm.  After his marriage, Rav Chaim Ozer invited him to join his Bais Din in Vilna.  For unknown reasons he turned down the offer.  He then spent the next seven difficult years totally unsettled.  In 1927 he opened a new chapter in his life as he arrive in London.  He became a Rov a Shul and the Menahel of the Talmud Torah. 

In 1941 he was hired to be Rosh Kollel of the newly formed Gateshead Kollel.  For the next four and a half years he divided his week between Gateshead and London and the difficult journey that it entailed.  It was this period where his shmuesen gained acclaim and he became recognized as one of the Gedolei Mussar of the generation.

In 1947 he started his second career when Rav Yosef Shlomo Kahanaman brought him to the Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak to become the Mashgiach Ruchni after the petira of Rav Abba Grossbard.  It was from this pulpit that his words rang out to the entire Yeshiva world.  His talmidim, including Rav Chaim Friedlander and Rav Aryeh Karmel published a the legendary multi-volume shmuesen of Rav Dessler called Michtav MeiEliyahu.

Rav Dessler returned his pure and holy neshama to the Yeshiva Shel Ma'ala on 25 Teves 5714/1953 but not before leaving his unique mark on the conscience and hashkafa of the Torah world.  Yehi Zichro Boruch!

(Based on Kedoshim Asher Ba'aretz - Rav Dovid Rossof)

RELATED ARTICLES:biography  Gateshead  London  Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky  Rav Eliyahu Dessler  Reb Yeruchom Levovitz  Yeshivas Kelm  Yeshivas Ponevezh

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