Rav Nosson Dov (Benjamin) Sharfman z”l


It is with great sadness that Matzav.com reports the passing of Rav Nosson Dov (Benjamin) Sharfman z”l.

Rabbi Sharfman, a well-known rov of over forty years, was raised in Newark, NJ, where his father served as a shochet. He attended public school and would go to his father’s slaughterhouse every day to learn with him. This sufficiently prepared him for immediate acceptance into Mesivta Torah Vodaas. Eventually, he followed his rebbi, Rav Dovid Leibowitz zt”l, when he opened his own yeshiva, Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim, as one of the founding talmidim. He learned there for many years until receiving semicha and entering the rabbonus.

Rabbi Sharfman was a co-author of The Pentateuch and Rashi’s Commentary: A Linear Translation Into English, a five-volume set of Chamisha Chumshei Torah translated into English. Decades ago, before the advent of ArtScroll, Rabbi Sharfman’s Chumash was the staple for those seeking a translation of Chumash and Rashi in English. Known as “the blue set,” Rabbi Sharfman’s Chumash was used by scholars and students alike and could be found in almost every shul and frum home.

Rabbi Sharfman’s first position was as the rabbi of Ridgewood, Queens, where he remained for over ten years. He then moved to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, serving as rov for over thirty years, until he retired. During his tenure, he fixed the community mikvah, which was in disrepair, and was an active member of the Rabbinical Council of America. He then retired and resided in Flatbush.

Rabbi Sharfman always credited his success to his late wife, Rebbetzin Hilda (née Weitzman) Sharfman, whose stability as a public school teacher enabled her husband to pursue his dream in rabbonus.

Rabbi Sharfman is survived by his daughters, Mrs. Baila Skovronsky, Mrs. Libby Schwartz and Mrs. Penina Lew (Gaffney). He was predeceased by his youngest child, his ben zekunim, Rav Dovid Sharfman zt”l, beloved mashgiach ruchani at Yeshiva Toras Chaim Toras Emes of Miami, who passed away last year.

The family is sitting shivah at 1810 Avenue N, #2C E, between East 18th Street and East 19th Street, in Flatbush until Wednesday morning.

Yehi zichro boruch.

{CB Frommer-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Rabbi Dr. Sharfman z”l was א טייערע איד (Yiddish expression meaning a precious Jew), and a very accomplished person, over a long life of close to a century. I spoke with him just a few months ago, and he shared memories of his rebbe Rav Dovid Lebowitz zt”l, the early days of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim (Rabbinical Seminary of America), and more.

    “Eventually, he followed his rebbi, Rav Dovid Leibowitz zt”l, when he opened his own yeshiva, Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim, as one of the founding talmidim.”

    He told me that he was too young to be with Rav Dovid at the actual founding as one of the founding talmidim (he was born in 1920, IIRC, and the yeshiva was founded 1933. Since it was a yeshiva gedola, the talmidim were typically older than thirteen). Rather, his older brother (by a few years) Rabbi Dr. Solomon Sharfman z”l, was one of the founding talmidim of Chofetz Chaim, and secretary to Rav Dovid zt”l, and he joined it a few years later.

    “He then moved to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn……….He then retired and resided in Flatbush.”

    He lived in Cherry Hill, NJ (where there is a Chofetz Chaim branch) for decades in between.

    ת נ צ ב ה

  2. Rabbi sheps talmid-
    Please check your facts
    Before posting.
    Rabbi Sharfman included his brother in law Rav sheps in the project Rav sheps didn’t want his name in print and used a pseudonym. Rabbi Sharfman was the scholar who worked day and night and became nearsighted from the strain and effort, and authored the translation.

  3. Rav Sheps Talmid:
    Please check your fact before you write. Hashem wrote the Chumash.
    “Rabbi Sharfman was a co-author of The Pentateuch and Rashi’s Commentary: A Linear Translation Into English, a five-volume set of Chamisha Chumshei Torah translated into English. “

  4. Response to Rav Sheps Talmid.
    If you knew the rosh hayeshiva (Rav Sheps) then you are familiar with the fact that he did Not speak english well.
    It was the Master of the World who gave us the holy Torah , Rashi who wrote his commentary and Rabbi Sharfman who was the first to translate the Rashi into english so that can learn a posik chumash with rashi.
    As a former talmid of Torah Vdaas, we have to give tremendous “hakoras hatov” to Rabbi Sharfman for allowing his brother-in-law the Rosh Hayeshiva to benefit from the proceeds of the chumash so that he could continue being the Rosh yeshiva he was.


    The mini-biography here quotes the title of the work: “The Pentateuch and Rashi’s Commentary: A Linear Translation Into English.” We need to highlight the word “Linear” to point out that this was a LINEAR translation of both the Chumash and the Peirush of Rashi. A linear translation is a translation that is formatted that right next to EACH WORD of the original text, or each two or three word PHRASE of the original text, there is printed THE TRANSLATION of that word or phrase. Thus, it is a very excellent study aide, especially for beginning students, who have very limited knowledge of the words of the language of the original text. So here, they can clearly see what is the meaning of each original text word.

    So, understandably, following this monumental pioneering work of Rav Sharfman, ZT’L, both the Artscroll-Mesorah Publications company and the Metsudah Publications company have continued this immense Avodas HaKodesh – this immense sacred task with publishing numerous linear translations of many parts of our Torah literature.

  6. When my parents took me to visit the Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon in Los Angeles, the Rosh Yeshiva then, Rav Elazar Simcha Wasserman, ZT’L, showed us this linear Chumash & Rashi of Rav Sharfman and told us to buy it. Boruch Hashem, my parents did that, and for the next several subsequent years, it very greatly helped my entry into the world of Torah learning.

  7. We are a gaggle of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
    Your site provided us with helpful information to work on. You’ve performed an impressive job and our whole neighborhood
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  8. Rabbi Sharfman was a special person and a Talmid Chacham. The above obituary unfortunately omits a key part of his life. Rabbi Sharfman remarried and had a wonderful, loving wife Edith for forty years. They moved to Cherry Hill NJ in 1989 where Rabbi Dr. Sharfman continued his psychology practice, (he received his P.H.D. from Columbia University)as well as becoming a pillar of the Orthodox Jewish community, while leading daily shiurim and teaching many students Torah. Rabbi Dr Sharfman and Edith had a loving marriage and were very devoted to one another. May their memory be a blessing.

  9. Rabbi Sharfman was an amazing person. I received his case while he was 95 years old. In trying to find some form of engagement for him while he wasn’t learning I thought maybe doing something he would like would be best. I though maybe I’d learn to read Hebrew, it wouldn’t hurt. For 3 months he taught me Aleph, Bais… then we moved on to Vowels… then on to reading sentences. He was a very patient man and he made my entrance into working with Jewish families in the future a breeze. Imagine a Jamaican girl entering your home on the holidays saying Gut Yom Tov! Or a Gut Gbench Yur! Funny right? He was a special man, caring and kind. 96 years old giving 20 shiurim a week.

  10. Davea, that was beautiful, Rabbi Sharfman was a very great man and tremendously appreciated your kindness and hard work on his behalf..


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