JERUSALEM (VINnews) — BDE: Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, the founder and Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Nir Kiryat Arba, passed away Sunday at the age of 84. Rabbi Waldman’s levaya will commence in Kiryat Arba at 12:30 AM and he will be buried in the old Jewish cemetery in Chevron.
Rabbi Waldman was one of the prominent disciples of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook Zts’l and one of the leaders of the Gush Emunim movement which spearheaded the establishment of communities in Judea and Samaria after the Six Day War.
Born in 1937 in Petah Tikva, when he was three years old his family moved to the US and he studied under Rabbi Yitzhak Hutner as well as pursuing a degree in Yeshiva University in Philosophy and Psychology. Later he went to study in Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh under Rabbi Goldvicht and then moved to Merkaz Harav where he studied under Rabbi Kook, whom he considered his rabbinical mentor.
Rabbi Waldman became a lifelong friend of Rabbi Chaim Druckman, and initially served as a teacher in Rabbi Druckman’s Ohr Eztion yeshiva. Later he helped to establish the Jewish community in Chevron in 1968 and became the head of the Nir Kiryat Arba yeshiva in 1972. Rabbi Waldman served as the Rosh Yeshiva for many years. Currently his son Rabbi Noam Waldman is the Rosh Yeshiva at Nir Kiryat Arba.
Rabbi Waldman also served as a Knesset member for the Tehiya party from 1984-1990.
Rabbi Waldman based his educational path on the writings of Rabbi Kook. He saw the state of Israel as “the base of G-d’s throne in the world” despite its secular nature. He envisaged the state as the beginning stage of redemption.
Although Rabbi Waldman opposed individual acts of revenge over terrorist attacks, he did encourage refusal to obey orders to evacuate parts of the land of Israel.
Rabbi Waldman believed that Jewish prayer on Temple Mount should be “the most natural part of living in the land of Israel”. In the wake of the ruling by Rabbi Dov Lior that Jews can ascend to parts of Temple Mount, Rabbi Waldman also ascended to the mount.
Rabbi Waldman had numerous disciples among them Rabbi Yehoshua Schmidt the head of the Shavei Shomron yeshiva, Rabbi Eitam Henkin HyD, a prominent Torah scholar and researcher murdered by terrorists in 2015, and Rabbi Menachem Felix, one of the heads of the Gush Emunim movement.
Rabi Waldman is survived by his wife and eight children, grandchildren and thousands of disciples around Israel. May his memory be blessed.