Friday 22 April 2016


            He was born in Birzh (Birzai), Lithuania, into a well-to-do household.  As a youth he moved with his parents to Boysk (Bauska), Latvia.  He attended religious primary school and the yeshivas of Volozhin, Slobodka, and Radun (with the Chofetz Chaim).  From 1903 he was yeshiva headmaster in a variety of cities in Lithuania, Russia, and Poland.  He lived as a refugee during WWI deep in Russia, later returning to Poland and becoming an active leader in Agudat Yisrael.  He was a member of the administration of Vaad Hayeshivot (Council of yeshivas) in Poland and of the yeshiva “Ohel Tora” (Tent of the Torah) in Baranovich.  Over the years 1936-1938, he was in the United States on behalf of Agudat Yisrael and his yeshiva.  He was the author of religious texts: Ohel tora (Tent of Torah), 3 parts ( Baranovich, 1924); Kuntres divre sofrim (Essay on the words of the scribes) (Pyotrikov, 1924); Kovets hearot (Compilation of notes); and others.  His philosophical works include: Ikvata demeshiḥa (Epoch of the Messiah) (Baranovich, 1935), written in Hebrew-Aramaic and Yiddish, speaking about the coming great Jewish catastrophe, and it also appeared in other editions (New York, 1936, 50 pp.; Jerusalem, 1955; and in English: London, 1948).  He was also the author of the Yiddish pamphlets: Al haemuna (On faith), thirteen philosophical considerations (Baranovich, 1935); Daas toyre, a belaykhtung fun yetstign idishn matsev al pi daas toyre (The wisdom of the Torah, an illumination of the contemporary state of affairs according to the wisdom of the Torah) (New York, 1936), 24 pp., which appeared in various editions, such as (Kovno, 1937; Baranovich, 1937).  He published articles in Yiddish and Hebrew Orthodox newspapers, such as: Der yud (The Jew) and Dos yudishe togblat (The Jewish daily newspaper)—in Warsaw; Dos vort (The word) in Vilna; Der idisher lebn (Jewish life) and Haneeman (The faithful) in Telts; Beys-yankev zhurnal (Beys-Yankev journal) in Lodz.  When the Germans occupied Poland, he escaped to Vilna where he lived until June 1941, later moving on to Kovno.  On July 7, 1941 the German dragged him from his home and together with other rabbis chased him through the streets of Kovno to the Ninth Fort where he died a martyr’s death.

Sources: M. Shonfeld, Harav e. b. vaserman (Rabbi E. B. Vaserman) (Jerusalem, 1940/1941); H. Zaydman, in Tog-bukh fun varshever geto (Diary from the Warsaw Ghetto) (Buenos Aires, 1947), p. 237; E. Oshri, Divre efrayim (The words of Efrayim) (New York, 1949); Asher Z. Rand, Toledot anshe shem (Tales of great men) (New York, 1950), p. 40; R. Zev Arya Rabiner, in Yahadut latviya (Judaism in Latvia) (Tel Aviv, 1953), pp. 266-67; Ela ezkera (These I remember), vol. 1 (New York, 1956), pp. 82-91.

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