It is with great sadness that we report the petirah of Maran Hagaon Rav Dovid Feinstein zt”l, one of the gedolei haposkim of the Jewish world and rosh yeshiva of Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim.
Born in 1929 in Luban, in the former Soviet Union, Rav Dovid was a son of the gadol hador and posek hador, Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, and Rebbetzin Shima Feinstein.
Rav Dovid was named after his zaide, Rav Dovid Feinstein, rov of Uzdan and a great-grandson of the Vilna Gaon’s brother. Rav Dovid’s wife was a descendant of Rav Yom-Tov Lipmann Heller, the Shelah Hakadosh, and Rashi.
Rav Moshe served as rov of Luba?, where Rav Dovid was born, for sixteen years. Rav Moshe and Rebbetzin Shima, nee Kustanovich, married in 1920 and had four children, Pesach Chaim, Fay Gittel, Shifra, Rav Dovid and Rav Reuven.
The Feinsteins immigrated to American and settled in New York City in 1936, where Rav Moshe led Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim, which Rav Dovid would later helm. Rav Dovid’s brother, Rav Reuven, became rosh yeshiva of the branch of the yeshiva in Staten Island
Rav Dovid assumed his father’s position at Tiferes Yerushalayim when Rav Moshe was niftar in 1986.
Rav Dovid spent his life engaged in limud haTorah, harbotzas haTorah and p’sak halacha, yet hid – or tried to hide – his greatness in a cloak of simplicity. Rav Dovid never put on classic rabbinic garb, sufficing with a simple down hat and frock. His attempts to hide his gadlus were not successful, for the Torah world recognized that on the Lower East Side, where Rav Dovid lived, resided one of the greatest talmidei chachomim, poskim and masmidim of his generation.
Rav Dovid was said to have completed Shas and Shulchan Aruch hundreds of times, and was sought by people from across the globe for his opinion on all matters of halacha. Especially after the passing of Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l, Rav Dovid became the address for the most difficult halacha question from people and communities across the globe.
Rav Dovid authored a number of works, including seforim on halacha, Torah and the Jewish calendar, all published by ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications, for which he served as a guiding light for decades. Rav Dovid encouraged the founder of ArtScroll, Rav Meir Zlotowitz, in many of the projects that ArtScroll undertook, and Rav Dovid ultimately served, as well, as the leading rabbinic figure guiding the Mesorah Heritage Foundation.
Rav Dovid, as rosh yeshiva of Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim, was meshameish many bnei Torah in practical halacha. His weekly Friday Chumash shiur was popular among many people, who traveled from across the tri-state area to attend and hear Rav Dovid’s brilliant expositions on Chumash, always presented with his characteristic pashtus and humility.
ArtScroll’s classic Stone Chumash features, at the end of each parsha, an explanation, authored by Rav Dovid, of that parsha‘s Masoretic note, just one component of Rav Dovid’s brilliance, chiddush and depth of Torah knowledge.
The title of Rav Dovid’s seforim, Kol Dodi, originated in the 1970s, when Rav Moshe was still alive, as Rav Moshe would not allow his own name to be used. The first three letters of Dodi spell the name Dovid.
Rav Dovid was a longtime member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudas Yisroel of America.
Rav Dovid’s passing is a colossal blow to the Olam Hatorah, which has lost its leading light, its preeminent posek, its humble leader, a man who represented the greatness and beauty of Torah while possessing extraordinary scholarship and erudition. Klal Yisroel is bereft.
The levayah will be held Sunday morning from 930 am to 1030 am in front of Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalayim in Manhattan. The Aron will then be flown to Eretz Yisroel for kevurah there.
Naflah ateres rosheinu.
Yehi zichro boruch.