Dovid Lifshitz

Dovid Lifshitz
Rabbi Dovid Lifshitz

Rabbi Dovid Lifshitz (1906–1993) was a distinguished Rosh yeshiva in the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) for almost fifty years. He was appointed upon the invitation of Rabbi Samuel Belkin in 1944. He was also known as the "Suvalker Rav", due to his previous position as the Rabbi of the European town of Suvalk, which he maintained until its capture by the Nazis in 1940. His lectures on the Talmud were later compiled and published as "Shiurei Rav Dovid Lifshitz".

Early years

Rabbi Lifshitz was born in Minsk, then Imperial Russia, in 1906. In 1919, his family moved to Grodno, where he was a foremost student of the famed Rabbi Shimon Shkop in the Sha'arei Torah yeshiva. He later studied in the Mir yeshiva, staying until 1932, receiving Semicha and becoming well known as an outstanding scholar. In 1933, he married Tzipporah Chava Yoselowitz, the daughter of the renowned rabbi of Suvalk, Rabbi Yosef Yoselowitz. Upon the death of his father-in-law in 1935, Rabbi Lifshitz became chief rabbi of the important city and its 27 congregations, where he developed a reputation as a warm and involved spiritual leader, concerned with all Jews. He remained in Suvalk until the Nazis captured the city in 1940.

Relocation to America

In 1941, Rabbi Lifshitz reached America along with his wife and daughter, and was appointed a rosh yeshiva of Beis Midrash LeTorah in Chicago. Rabbi Lifshitz was soon accorded immense stature among his fellow rabbis, his students and the rest of the Chicago community. His reputation as an outstanding rosh yeshiva spread throughout America and he received offers for several positions. He accepted the invitation of Rabbi Samuel Belkin and in 1944, was appointed rosh yeshiva of RIETS in New York. There he taught Torah for almost 50 years to thousands of students, many of whom came to be distinctively known as "Reb Dovid’s students". His efforts on behalf of the community were numerous. He served as a member of the presidium of the Agudas HaRabbonim of America and Canada for many years. During the final 17 years of his life, he served as president of Ezras Torah. His discourses in Jewish concepts such as Chochma and Mussar were compiled and published by his students and given the title "Tehillah LeDovid". His lectures on the Talmud were also published as "Shiurei Rav Dovid Lifshitz".