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Rabbi Meir Bransdorfer Passes Away at 74

May 14, 2009

The Jewish world was shocked to hear the terrible news of the sudden passing of Rabbi Meir Bransdorfer, one of the leaders of the Rabbinical Court of the Eidah Hachareidis, the anti-Zionist community in Jerusalem. He was one of the foremost Jewish legal authorities of this generation. He passed away yesterday at the age of 74.

He was the author of the multi-volume responsa Knei Bosem. He was also an expert mohel, and was renowned as a pillar of charity in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Brandsdorfer was born on September 7, 1934 in Antwerp, Belgium to his parents Rabbi Shlomo and Frumet. During World War II, the family went into hiding in France, and in the summer of 1945 they moved to Jerusalem.

Rabbi Bransdorfer became close to Rabbi Ahron Roth (1894-1946), the Shomer Emunim Rebbe , who was a prominent anti-Zionist leader. After Rabbi Roth’s passing, he grew close to his successor, Rabbi Avrohom Yitzchok Kahn, Toldos Aharon Rebbe (d. 1996), who would cite him as a prime example of incredible diligence in Torah study and love of Torah. Rabbi Kahn would stand up in honor of Rabbi Bransdorfer when he entered the room, despite Rabbi Bransdorfer’s much younger age.

Rabbi Bransdorfer received rabbinic ordination at the age of 22, and at the age of 30 became a legal authority and rabbi of Toldos Ahron. Rabbi Yitzchok Yaakov Weiss, late rabbi of the Eidah Chareidis, entrusted Rabbi Bransdorfer with all matters of ritual slaughter.

Rabbi Bransdorfer was also close to Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, who referred legal inquiries to him. He was greatly esteemed by rabbis everywhere.

In 1961 he was appointed to oversee all matters of kosher meat and ritual baths. He was also very dedicated to assisting couples with their marital problems. He would travel around to give lectures in many places.

Rabbi Bransdorfer became one of the most sought-after experts on halacha, and he received questions from all over the world. He was called upon 24 hours a day. Everyone knew that he was almost always available, as he was awake for most of the night, immersed in Torah study.

It was well known that Rabbi Bransdorfer lived a very simple lifestyle. He lived in a one-room apartment in the Batei Ungarin neighborhood. His wife stood at his side with unbelievable dedication. She was the daughter of Rabbi Shimon Dov Krischevsky, who had served as secretary of the Diskin Orphanage, as well as the secretary of Dr. Moshe Wallach, head of the famous Shaarei Zedek Hospital.

Together with his close friend Rabbi Moshe Halberstam, Rabbi Bransdorfer became a member of the Rabbinic Court of the Eidah Chareidis in 1996, when the head of the court, Rabbi Moshe Aryeh Freund, passed away.

A few weeks ago he collapsed; the doctor told him he had ruined his health because he had given so much of himself to the public.

On Wednesday night, he suffered a severe heart attack, and all efforts to arrive him were to no avail. The funeral was held on Thursday.

May his memory be a blessing.