JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Yeshivas Kol Torah and the entire Torah world were plunged into mourning with the passing of Hagaon Rabbi Avraham Erlanger, known as the Birkas Avraham for his set of commentaries and novellae which cover the entire Talmud. Rabbi Erlanger had been hospitalized in Shaarei Tzedek hospital suffering from coronavirus and passed away Sunday night in his 90th year. In the last year Kol Torah lost two other Rosh Yeshivas to coronavirus- Rabbi Yehezkel Koren Ztz’l and Rabbi Shalom Povarsky Zts’l.
Rabbi Avrohom Erlanger was born in December 1931 in Lucerne, Switzerland. His father rabbi Shimshon Refoel was a prominent member of the local community and his grandfather Rabbi Avraham Erlanger who founded the community was a disciple of Rabbi Yitzhok Dov Halevi Bamberger.
Rabbi Erlanger’s mother, Toibe nee Varschner, attended the Knessia Gedola in Vienna and met with Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinski, who was so impressed that he said she is a great woman and people should stand before her. His mother, who died young, said that she was not afraid to die since “a mouth and ear which did not hear or speak even “dust” of Loshon Hora need not fear anything.
Rabbi Erlanger studied in the Lucerne yeshiva and then in Gateshead where he studied under Rabbi Leib Gurwicz. In Gateshead he was known as the “student who knows Nashim and Nezikin fluently.”
In 1952 he came to Israel and studied at the Mir yeshiva, where he was the chavrusa of Rabbi Nachum Pertzowitz Zts’l and the disciple of Rabbi Chaim Shmuelewitz Zts’l. Later he moved to Brisk and studied under Rabbi Yosef Dov, the son of the Brisker Rov. He would converse with the Brisker Rov every Motzei Shabbos and the Brisker Rov was very impressed with his knowledge.
In 1956 he married the daughter of Rabbi Chaim Yosef Yaakobowitz, one of the teachers in Yeshivas Kol Torah, who unfortunately passed away a short time later. Rabbi Erlanger, still in his 20’s, was asked to fill his place and after consulting with the Brisker Rov, agreed to accept the position. He taught in the yeshiva for many decades before retiring at the age of 70 to complete the Birkas Avraham on tractates which are not studied in the yeshiva.
His Torah lessons were extremely lucid, he would take each sugya (subject) and analyze the various aspects and then connect them afresh giving a new comprehension to the sugya.
Rabbi Erlanger was a tremendous masmid, studying Torah all of his life prodigiously and writing more than 20 books filled with Torah novellae. Many of the books were brought out in second editions with more additions. Rabbi Erlanger also wrote a mussar book on Shaarei Teshuva and Mesilas Yesharim and three other books of guidance on Torah study.
Rabbi Erlanger was also a tremendous yerei shamayim, who was totally devoted to service of G-d and performance of Mitzvos. He is survived by many children and grandchildren who continue to follow his holy ways. Two of his children passed away in his lifetime.
The levaya will leave his home on Yeshayahu street in Jerusalem on its way to Har Hamenuchos. May his memory be blessed.