Rabbi Yosef Betzalel Rabinowitz zt”l


candle-small6It is with deep sadness that Matzav.com reports the sudden passing of Rabbi Yosef (Seffie) Betzalel Rabinowitz zt”l, the beloved tenth grade rebbi at Mesivta Toras Emes Kamenitz in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

Rabbi Rabinowitz suffered a heart attack and was niftar a short time later, as his talmidim were waiting for him to arrive to deliver shiur.

Rabbi Rabinowitz was a son of Rav Yaakov Moshe Rabinowitz, rebbi and dean at Yeshiva University for over 50 years and author of Yemin Yaakov. Rabbi Rabinowitz was a 1983 musmach of Yeshiva Rabbeinu Yitzchok Elchonon.

Rabbi Rabinowitz, who was formerly a rebbi at YTT in Staten Island and later at Toras Emes Kamenitz, was a well-respected talmid chochom and greatly devoted to his talmidim, who were greatly impacted by his love and care for them, inspired by the personal example he set for them in Torah and avodas Hashem. He was a unique personality who endeared himself to every person he came in contact with and always made himself available to help and uplift one and all.

The greater community, as well as the mispallelim of Khal Tiferes Yaakov, Rav Avrohom Schorr’s shul, where Rabbi Rabinowitz davened, have been plunged into sadness upon learning of this devastating besurah.

The levaya will be held tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. at Yeshiva Toras Emes Kamenitz, located at 1904 Avenue N in Flatbush.

Rabbi Rabinowitz is survived by his parents, Rav Yaakov Moshe and Mrs. Toby Rabinowitz; his wife, Mrs. Chavi Rabinowitz; his brothers, Rabbi Boruch Rabinowitz and Rabbi Dovid Rabinowitz; his sisters, Mrs. Esti Shulman and Mrs. Faigy Novegroder; and his sons, R’ Avigdor Rabinowitz and R’ Dovi Rabinowitz.

The family will be sitting shivah at 2078 New York Avenue, between Avenues L and M, in Flatbush.

Umachah Hashem dimah mei’al kol ponim.

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Baruch Dayan Ha’emes,
    Rebbe, Rebbe, we will miss you.
    Your impact on me in YTT made me who I am today.
    Your simchas hachaim, your ahavas hatorah, your dedication to your talmidim.
    I am sick to my stomach as I think back to my wonderful connection to you which extended well after my years in YTT as I would meet you occasionally davening maariv at the Agudah and you always always had words of chizuk for me and my family.
    May Hashem give your wife & family and My Rebbe R’ Baruch the strength.

  2. BDE,
    you will be missed. had the zechus to have r’rabinowitz for 10th grade bekius in YTT and bh had the zchus to have you at my wedding and to bump into you from time to time on the street- always a big smile always how is your wife and kids always warm loving person… we will miss you and you will live on via your family and thousands of talmidim

  3. oy vey! oy vey!
    what a yid! what a tzadik! what a person!
    this is too devastating…..

    He was such a personality, such a chiyus for torah and for teaching torah and for helping others.
    who didn’t love him…..

  4. BD’E I will miss seffy dearly. He was a very special person to all who new him. A very special gift to my family and I. The world has lost a special neshama. love always. ch

  5. BDE. This is truly sad and shocking news. Rabbi Rabinowitz was my Rabbe in 10th grade. I will truly miss him, and his precious words of wisdom, and the Torah he taught me. He was a tzadik that was dedicated to his talmidim, and the yeshiva.He will be truly missed.

  6. My son is/was in his 10th grade class. My son loved him and will greatly miss his Rebbe. Rabbi Rabinowitz was warm and caring person with a love for learning and his talmidim.
    I’m in shock.

  7. a true loss to klal yisroel
    an unbelievable rebbe who gave my son (loirech yomim) a derech and a geshak in learning
    he was a warm and caring rebbi who will be sorely missed

    he was a true eved hashem and you knew that he meant what he preached because he acted that way

    may the family have a true nechama

  8. BDE. Like many, I too feel a pit in my stomach. Like so many others I had the zchus to have Rabbi Rabinowitz as a Rebbe and he was a true inspiration and role model to all of us. He possessed a unique combination of Ahavas Hatora and Lebedikite that was transmitted to all of us. I can still hear, 20 some odd years later, his melodic and enthusiastic voice ringing through the classroom. My only hope is that his family can take comfort in this and that he be a Malitz Yosher for all of us.

  9. BDE. I too am sick to my stomach. He was my rebbe in Hillel Yeshiva High School, in deal NJ. He will be sorely missed by all of his students.

  10. I cry as I write this I knew this man at least 24 years he was a true tzadik a real real mentch he always had a smile on his face, always had a nice thing to say about everyone even if he didn’t know who the person was he didnt have a bad bone in his body.He will sorely be missed. May he be a meletz yosher for his family and Klal Yisroel.

  11. what a great loss, may his widow children and of corse parents find nechama quickly. May this be a kapara for Klal Yisroel and Hasten the Geulah.

  12. I am deeply saddened by the passing of my friend, chavruta and roommate for years– Rabbi Yosef Betzalel Rabinowitz whom we knew as ‘Sefy’. Even in his youth he was a person to admire and emulate. He always had a kind word, a smile, a joke, love, warmth and understanding. This radiated from the depths of his neshama. His devotion to HaShem, to Torah, to Klal Yisrael , to the person standing in front of him, his concern for others far away, was so constant that I took it for granted that I could always count on these qualities to be present and joyously shared. Even when he was saddened by something he did not let it affect the rest of us around him. I do not have the words to properly describe nor to express my feelings at this time.

    From Sefy I heard how hachnasat orchim was taught to him: My parents taught me this your bed until someone else needs to sleep there. So it never bothered me to give up my bed

    Sefy once told me of a man whose child passed away just before or after the onset Shabbos. This man was the only person present at the bedside in the hospital at the time of death. After arranging the proper care of the body for the duration of Shabbos, the man returned home, celebrating Shabbos with all present, giving no clue as to what had happened, heroically fulfilling the halacha of no anninut-mourning on Shabbos. At the conclusion of Shabbos he sat down and burst into tears. If I recollect correctly Sefy said the man was his grandfather. Sefy was in awe of the man’s self-control. I feel that Sefy took guidance from this story throughout his life, as he assiduously avoided dampening another person’s mood, and instead sought opportunities to raise and lighten the mood of all.

    From Sefy I learned the story of the “Wicker Rebbe” which, if you haven’t yet heard it, I will share with you another time, bs”d.

    I regret that, as life became more complex, that I did not pursue a closer relationship with him. Such a precious, unique and beloved person! A real Jew! What a loss for all! Remembering him will be a blessing to all.

    • Rabbi Yasgur,

      As I sit here, thinking of my precious Uncle Sefy several yrs post his petirah, I can tell you that your comments bring back such fond memories of him. You really nailed down one of the areas of Uncle Sefy that I looked up to the most about him. Namely, the uncanny ability to stow away any hardships he was going through in order to present a besaiver panim yafot to those around him. And so, thank you for your kind words.

  13. He was my Rebbe many years ago in YTT. His passion for Torah, for ruchnius, as well as his simchas hachaim and energy, were so contagious. He brightened and energized a room just by walking in. He was down-to-earth and friendly and showed genuine affection to each individual talmid, and he had a great sense of humor. In addition to the ahavas hatorah he gave over to his talmidim, he also helped them acquire the skills necessary for them to learn on their own. He therefore has a share in all my learning, and in all the torah learning of all his many lucky talmidim. He was a treasure, and he will be sorely missed.

  14. over 20 years ago Rabbi Rabinowitz was my teacher in hillel yeshivah.. i remember him always with a smile and a kind word.. Even as a young teenager i knew he was genuine in his love of torah and others.. one of the greatest memories is how happy we all were when he was married..the school threw a festive shevah beracot. may his family be comforted by the warm memories that all his former students carry with them to this day.

  15. BDE. OY Rebbi you loved to teach. You always wanted too make sure your talmidim would grow up too be bnei Torah. That was your tachlis not just to teach but to make sure your talmidim were mevakshim and had a shuka for Torah. Rebbi you were a walking Sefe

    Anonymous former ytt talmid

  16. BDE. OY Rebbi you loved to teach. You always wanted too make sure your talmidim would grow up too be bnei Torah. That was your tachlis not just to teach but to make sure your talmidim were mevakshim and had a shuka for Torah. Rebbi you were a walking Sefe


  17. Baruch Dayan Haemes. I was a friend of his son Dovi, and once stayed by his house for Shabbos. He was a person who emanated true warmth and geshmak. May his family find Nechama and may such sad news soon cease to be heard forever with the coming of mashiach amein

  18. Anyone know if there will be Hespedim? Also, will there be an audio hookup or phone number to call for out of towners to hear levayah?

  19. I am stunned and grieved at the passing of my dear friend and Chavrusa, R. ‘Seffy’ Rabinowitz. A tremendous ????? ???,he never realized what a mind in Torah he possessed. More than that, I have never encountered a ???? such as his. There was no one for whom he would act, no one whose joy he didn’t share or whose pain he didn’t feel. There was no mitzva he wouldn’t jump to do.

    There are so many stories that flood my memory. At my wedding, he had the presence of mind to pass on a tzetl to pray for a sick little girl. He travelled the globe to Australia to spread Torah on YU Counterpoint. He would travel to Western Queens from Washington Heights so we could keep Kollel Seder, when my son was a baby. And on and on.

    My regrets? That I let the ??? ??? of distance keep me from staying in contact.
    ??? ?? ?????? ????? ?????? ?? ???????.

  20. He will be missed dearly. One of the most Geshamke Rabbeim that I had throughout my years in yeshiva. He personified what a Ben Torah should be and act.He was a true mentch and a ish emes. Together with his wife, he opened his home and heart to everyone he met and taught. Even just saying hello to him when I met him in the street made my day. He had a great sense of humor and his shiur was always geshmak and lively,he never gave the impression that learning was a chore, but that it is exciting and enjoyable and as a result his talmidim got to get that same chiyus from learning that he had. He leaves an impossible void to fill in Mesivta Toras Emes. Yehi Zichro Baruch, May we only hear of simchos in the future

  21. ??? ???? ????? ??? ?????? ?? ?????,???? ?????,???? ?????,????? ??????? ?????? ?????????? ?? ????? ????? ??? ???? ????? (???)????????
    ??? ??? ??? ????? ????? ??? ???? ??? ???? ????? ????? ?????? ???? ????? ??? ??? ?????
    ??? ??? ????? ???? ???? ????? ???? ?????? ???? ?? ?????.??? ????? ????? ??? ??? ???? ???? ???? ?? ?????? ?? ??????? ????? ??? ?? ??????? ?????? ???????? ??? ?????? ????? ?? ?????.
    ??? ????? ????? ????? ????? ???? ??? ????? ?????? .
    ??? ????? ???? ????? ??????
    ???? ???? ????

  22. All I can say is that I was lucky to be his Talmid for the last 8 months of his life in Mesivta toras emes kaminetz. A very special person who will always be missed.

  23. My tears of pain and sorrow are making this writing a daunting task but I feel compelled to do so. Reb Yosef Betzalel’s passing begs of us to say the brochoh of BDE with very great kavonoh. Only the Kadosh Baruch Hu knows why He took this extraordinary beloved individual from our midst. Reb Yosef was just the perfect example of someone who advanced Hakadosh Baruch Hu’s mission in this world. From our human perspective Reb Yosef’s histalkus must be a kaporoh for us we have lost such a jem.
    I knew Sefy for over 50 years and I can tell you that all the above comments are so true however few of you are not aware of the nisyonos this special person went through. This of course is not the forum to specify, however just to imagine how Reb Yosef was so successful in bringing simcha to others not only the great simcha of Torah learning but simcha to everyone with whom he came into contact is something to marvel at. In my family we knew that when Sefy was coming over the house would be lit with joy, he was the model of a ben torah, he was an oved Hashem b’simcha.
    His kibud av v’em was something to be admired. He comes from a special family where torah was not just learned but was lived I personally benefited from their their boundless chesed and Reb Yosef continued everything he received from his precious home.
    I don’t know how to be menachem a mother and father that just buried their son especially one that brought so much nachas and fulfillment,everything that has been said in previous comments serves as testiment. Let us just try to be mefashfesh b’ma’aseinu so that we can be zocheh to a geulah shlema with techiyas hamiesim with Reb Yosef Betzalel amongst them. Sefy I miss you so much.
    May Hashem provide a nechama shleima to the entire mishpochoh

  24. I knew him when we attended Yeshivah University together some thirty five years ago, and recall him fondly. I haven’t met him since then, but when I heard of his petirah I felt such sadness. My heart goes out to his father, as well, a former dean at YU whose door was always open (and he wasn’t even my dean–I wasn’t in his division).
    Such a loss! Such a loss!
    May his family find comfort.

  25. I agree with Rabbis Jeffrey Woolf and Jordy Yasgur 100% He was an exceptional person. A type that we need so badly to bridge the gaps betweem the yeshivish and YU worlds. I’m so sorry I’ve been out of touch with him for so many years> He will be sorely missed. My wishes of nechama to his family

  26. I was heartsick when I read of Sefy’s petirah. We haven’t seen each other in over 30 years, and every once in a while, I would recall great memories of us working together for Yeshiva University’s youth kiruv seminars. I would look on facebook and the internet to try to see where he is and what he’s doing. People have written about his tzidkut, simchat ha-chaim, tremendous warmth and openness to everyone, and his huge and prevalent smile that indicated a deep contentment and abiding closeness with Hakadosh Baruch Hu. I remember that he moved quickly- to davening, to give a shiur, to talk to a group of teens, he rushed to mitzvot and modeled derech eretz in a substantive way. Yehi Zichro Baruch, and comfort to his dear family.

  27. Words can not describe the deep sadness I felt when I received the news of Sefy’s passing. His constant smile, simchat chaim and menchlicheit is what I remembered most about him from over 30 years ago from our time in the RIETS dorm and then afterwards at Ahavas Chesed in Boro Park.
    To his parents,Rabbi and Mrs. Rabinowitz, and family, I wish nechama for you. Yehi Zichro Baruch.


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