Rabbi Aharon Kotler


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About The Rabbi

Rabbi Aharon Kotler zt”l

born:February 2, 1892 (2 Adar 5652)

died: November 29, 1962 (aged 71)

Successor: Rabbi Shneur Kotler

Position: Rosh yeshiva

Yeshiva: Beth Medrash Govoha, Lakewood Township, New Jersey

Buried: Har HaMenuchot

Rabbi Aharon Kotler zt”l was an Orthodox Jewish rabbi and a prominent leader of Orthodox Judaism in Lithuania and the United States; the latter being where he founded Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood Township, New Jersey.

Kotler was born Aharon Pines in Śvisłač, Russian Empire (historically Lithuania, now Belarus) in 1892. He was orphaned at the age of 10 and adopted by his uncle, Yitzchak Pines, a rabbinic judge in Minsk. He studied in the Slabodka yeshiva in Lithuania under Nosson Tzvi Finkel, and Moshe Mordechai Epstein. Subsequently, he joined his father-in-law, Isser Zalman Meltzer, to run the yeshiva of Slutsk.

After World War I, the yeshivah moved from Slutsk to Kletsk in Belarus. With the outbreak of World War II, Kotler and the yeshivah relocated to Vilna, then the major refuge of most yeshivoth from the occupied areas.

The smaller Yeshivos followed the lead of the larger Yeshivos, and either escaped with them to Japan and China, or were arrested by the communists and sent to Siberia or Kazakhstan.

At first, he settled in New York City’s Upper West Side, and in 1949, he moved to the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.

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