Rabbi Aharon David Chadash, who served as the spiritual leader and a Mussar lecturer at the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem—one of the largest and most famous Talmudic colleges in the world—passed away Dec. 2, 2020, at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem after a sudden deterioration in his condition after having contracting COVID-19 and being hospitalized in October. He was 90 years old.

Chadash would deliver Mussar lectures in Hebrew and Yiddish at his home, adjacent to the yeshivah, and was known to be demanding with regards to punctuality. He influenced the lives of thousands of students and maintained contact with them long after they had left. Owing to his phenomenal memory, he could recall their names and other character traits even decades later.

He enjoyed hosting students for Shabbat meals and when they sang traditional Shabbat hymns together.

The rabbi would work behind the scenes assisting students who were struggling financially, especially making sure that they were able to purchase new clothes for Jewish holidays.

Chadash was born in Jerusalem in 1930. His father, Rabbi Meir Chadash, was a mashgiach in the Chevron Yeshiva “Knesset Yisrael” (in Jerusalem since 1929), and his mother, Tziviah Leah (nee Hutner) came from an esteemed Lithuanian rabbinic family. At the age of 2, he traveled with his mother to Lithuania and paid a visit to Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan (1838-1933), known as the Chofetz Chaim, one of the most influential Jewish figures during the pre-World War II era.

The Hebrew news site Bechadrei Chareidim reported that at an early age, his family and fellow pupils noticed that he was a child prodigy, destined to follow in the footsteps of his father and play an important role in the cultivation of Torah learning in Israel.

In recent years, his health had declined; he suffered from fatigue and respiratory issues, using a portable oxygen tank to assist with breathing, reported The Yeshiva World. Yet despite such difficulties, he somehow found the strength never to miss the daily prayers at the yeshivah.

His siblings also served in rabbinic positions in various yeshivahs in Israel.

He was predeceased by his wife, Chasidah (nee Finkel), who passed away in 2014. He is survived by three sons and two daughters; in addition to grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Thousands took part in the rabbi’s funeral procession during the height of the pandemic. Hadash was buried in the Har Hamenuchot cemetery in the Givat Shaul neighborhood of Jerusalem.

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