JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Rabbi Aharon Chodosh, the son of Rabbi Meir Chodosh and the Mashgiach of Mir yeshiva in Jerusalem, passed away late on Wednesday night after a long illness. Two months ago, Rabbi Chodosh fell sick with coronavirus and was hospitalized with breathing difficulties but recovered from the virus. However complications from his other conditions led to his passing at the age of 90.
The funeral left the Mir yeshiva at 12 PM Israel time.
Rabbi Aharon Dovid Chodosh was born in Jerusalem in 1930 to his parents, Rabbi Meir and Tzivya Chodosh. His maternal grandfather, Rabbi Naftali Hutner, was a disciple of the Chafetz Chaim and studied as Chavrusa with Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman Hy’D.
When he was two years old, he travelled with his mother to Lithuania to receive a blessing from the Chafetz Chaim together with his sister Shulamis, the wife of Rabbi Boruch Mordechai Ezrachi. Rabbi Chodosh was one of the few people still alive who merited seeing the Chafetz Chayim.
Rabbi Chodosh grew up literally within the Chevron yeshiva in Geula as his family lived on the first floor of the yeshiva. The house was open to yeshiva students daily, who would come in to drink tea or eat some of the biscuits which were always on the counters. Rabbi Meir and his wife made all the students feel at home in their house.
When Rav Aharon grew up, he acted similarly towards his own students. A steady stream of students would come to his apartment adjacent to the Mir yeshiva, to gain advice and talk over their problems.
Rav Aharon grew up in a house where Mussar (ethical behavior) was the focal point of study and he was deeply influenced by this, utilizing his recesses in Cheider to study Mussar books. At an early stage his friends discovered that he was versed in many Mussar works.
After studying in Tiferes Tzvi, the Yeshiva Ketana of Chevron, he continued on to Chevron yeshiva, where he grew in his studies and followed in his father’s illustrious footsteps. Rabbi Chodosh married the daughter of Rabbi Chaim Zev Finkel, the Mashgiach of the Mir yeshiva and the grandson of Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, the Saba of Slabodka. In 1965 Rabbi Finkel passed away and Rabbi Chodosh was appointed as Mashgiach in his place.
For 55 years Rabbi Chodosh served as Mashgiach in the yeshiva which now numbers over 9000 students, preferring to call himself Menahel Ruchani (spiritual supervisor). He often said that “a Mashgiach is not a policeman. A policeman’s success is measured by when he catches people redhanded. A Mashgiach is the exact opposite.”
Rabbi Chodosh did not give his Mussar talks in the yeshiva itself, preferring to give a Vaad (group talk) in his own home to different students. Foreign students would hear a Vaad in Yiddish on Tuesdays and Israelis on Sundays.
Rabbi Chodosh conditioned receiving a room in the yeshiva’s dorms on davening for an entire year in the yeshiva. Prior to this every student had to find rooms for rent in the vicinity of the yeshiva. This revolutionized the yeshiva, with all students striving to participate in the yeshiva’s Tefilos in order to merit a place in the dorms.
Rabbi Chodosh insisted on knowing and meeting with every student in the yeshiva and taking stock of his spiritual progress, a seemingly impossible feat in such a large institution. Yet students maintain that Rav Aharon held within his brain the names of some 50,000 past and present students, and remembered their names and when they studied in the yeshiva.
Rabbi Chodosh would study in the main hall of the yeshiva but every evening he would go to the other Batei Midrash in order to assess the situation of the students studying in them. Rav Aharon knew the different buildings of the yeshiva, who was studying in them and what he was studying.
Rabbi Aharon’s wife passed away in 2014 and since her death he became weaker and sick a number of times, but recovered enough to continue his duties in the yeshiva. Despite his recovery from coronavirus, Rabbi Aharon grew steadily weaker until his passing Wednesday night.
May his memory be blessed.