Monsey Memories: Rav Tzvi Elimelech (Hershel) Waxman

Monsey Memories: Rav Tzvi Elimelech (Hershel) Waxman

Yitzy Fried 

Rav Hershel Waxman was one of the pioneers of the Monsey community, having settled there when it was little more than a hamlet, and the few families around Beis Medrash Elyon lived in “bungalows” in the vicinity. Through his years in Monsey, he was a central pillar of the community, a respected personality who was as renowned for his Torah as he was for his middos and yiras Shomayim. 

Rav Waxman was born in New York in 1925 and named for his illustrious ancestor, the Bnei Yisoschor. For all his life, he proudly said over the Torah of the Bnei Yisoschor and urged his descendants to carry this legacy proudly. 

Hershel grew up in Williamsburg to a G-d-fearing father and mother, and naturally, he went to learn in Yeshiva Torah Vodaath by Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz. While in Torah Vodaath, he became a talmid of Rav Reuven Grozovskt and merited to learn from Rav Shloime Heiman, zt”l. 

He was a natural fit for the elite chaburah that formed Beis Medrash Elyon in Monsey. His original plan was to remain there for one year, but he would remain in Monsey, and around the yeshiva, for life. 

He married Rebbetzin Esther (nee Brooks) whose father was a chazzan, and an ardent Amshinover chossid, and the young couple settled in Monsey, where Rav Hershel continued learning with tremendous diligence. Life in Monsey in those days required great mesirus nefesh. 

Following a stint as the executive director of Beis Medrash Elyon—during which time he continued learning b’hasmodoh—he founded Beth Medrosh of Monsey Kollel with the blessing of gedolei Yisroel. This institution has been a central pillar of Monsey’s Torah landscape for decades, and Rav Waxman was a true demus of Torah and yiras Shomayim at the helm of the Kollel, which has produced countless yungeleit who are great in Torah. 

He was a noted talmid chochom, and he authored a number of volumes under the title Tiferes Elimelech. 

Later in life, he founded a night kollel in Lakewood in the name of his son, who served as the administrator of the Lakewood Cheder and as the gabbai of Beis Medrash Gavoah. 

Rav Hershel was niftar in the winter of 2021 at the age of 96, following a lifetime dedicated to Torah, leaving behind generations of bnei Torah who followed in his ways. 

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