Today, 5 Av, is the yahrtzeit of Rav Binyomin Paler zt”l, rosh hayeshiva of Yeshiva Mekor Chaim. Rav Paler, who was 92 when he was niftar 13 years ago, was a talmid muvhak of the Brisker Rov, Rav Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchik zt”l. His mother was a direct descendent of the Rama.
Rav Paler was born in Brisk to his parents, Rav and Rebbetzin Yitzchok Paler. Rav Yitzchok Paler, a noted talmid chochom, was so well respected in the community of Brisk that when the Brisker Rov was not available to serve as a sandek at a bris, Rav Yitzchok served in that capacity instead.
As a child, Rav Binyomin gained a reputation as a child prodigy. He originally learned in the yeshiva in Brisk headed by Rav Moshe Sokolovsky zt”l, author of the Imrei Moshe. As he grew older, in 1931, he was allowed to join a small circle of select individuals who had the privilege to learn directly with the Brisker Rov. Even during World War II, Rav Binyomin did not leave his beloved rebbi, the Brisker Rov, and followed the Rov to Vilna.
While learning in Brisk, Rav Binyomin’s chavrusah was Rav Berel Soloveitchik. The two learned eight dafim of Gemara every day. Rav Binyomin was reputed to have learned the entire Seder Nezikin in one winter zeman. He was also reputed to have been an expert in the all seforim of the Rambam.
Eventually, Rav Binyomin traveled with the Mirrer Yeshiva to Shanghai, where he drew a kesher with the legendary mashgiach, Rav Yechezkel Levenstein zt”l. He escaped the horrors of the Holocaust in Europe by finding refuge with the Mirrer Yeshiva in Shanghai.
After the war, Rav Binyomin Paler joined his close friend Rav Leib Malin from the Mir in establishing Yeshivas Beis Hatalmud in Brooklyn, New York. The next year, he was appointed as a maggid shiur at Yeshivas Chasan Sofer, the yeshiva headed by his father-in-law, Rav Shmuel Ehrenfeld, the Mattesdorfer Rov. Rav Binyomin eventually became the rosh yeshiva in his father-in-law’s yeshiva.
In 1965, he left Chasan Sofer to open his own yeshiva, Yeshiva Mekor Chaim, which he led for 33 years. The name of his yeshiva was given by Rav Moshe Feinstein to show that Rav Binyamin was continuing the tradition established by Rav Chaim Brisker. In 1976, a mesivta attached to the yeshiva was opened, headed by Rav Chaim Blum. Following his petirah, Rav Paler was succeeded as rosh yeshiva of Mekor Chaim by his three sons.
Yehi zichro boruch.