“Tzaddik Of Bnei Brak” Appears In Dream To Fellow Kovno Ghetto Survivor: “I’m Already In Gan Eden”
Hagaon Harav Yitzchak Grodzenski, z’tl, known as the “Tzaddik of Bnei Brak,” who passed away last week at the age of 91, was one of the last survivors of the Kovno Ghetto.
A few hours after the Rav’s petirah last Tuesday at midnight, before he was even buried, he appeared in a dream to Harav Yitzchak Gibraltar (יבדלחט”א), his childhood friend and fellow survivor of the Kovno ghetto, and said to him: “I’m already in Gan Eden,” Kikar Hashabbat reported.
Rabbi Yitzhak Elchanan Gibraltar Describes the World of the Yeshivot in Kovno, Lithuania
Rav Gibraltar, who is known for the sefarim on emunah he authored following the Holocaust, went to be menachem avel the family on Thursday and told them what happened. He related that he went to sleep early on Tuesday evening and of course knew nothing about Harav Godzenski’s petirah (who passed away on Tuesday at midnight). In the middle of the night, he dreamed that he saw Rav Yitzchak, z’tl, who appeared happy and told him: “I’m already in Gad Eden.”
In the morning, when Rav Gibraltar remembered his dream, he felt perturbed and asked his sons what happened. They confirmed that Harav Grodzenski has passed away in the middle of the night.
The people at the shiva house who heard Rav Yitzchak’s story firsthand were extremely moved. One of those present told Kikar Shabbos: “You always hear stories third-hand and fourth-hand but this was first-hand testimony from a talmid chacham. There’s no doubt that the Tzaddik [of Bnei Brak] reached his place in Shamayim.”
“There’s a good reason that the niftar was zoche to appear in a dream and say he was already in Gan Eden,” he added. “He was a pillar of tefillah and anavah – that’s what Hagaon Rav Dov Landau [Rosh Yeshivas Slabodka] said.”
Harav Grodzenski, z’tl, the last living child of Harav Avraham Grodenski, h’yd, the Mashgiach of Slabodka, who was murdered by the Nazis, was born in Kovno. After surviving the Holocaust, he managed to reach Israel as a teenager through a certificate that his brother in law, Harav Chaim Kreiswirth, z’tl, obtained for him. In Eretz Yisrael, he learned in the yeshivas of Chevron and Be’er Yaakov and became close to the Chazon Ish, z’tl.
After his marriage, he moved into an apartment on Rechov Chazon Ish 5, one floor above Hagaon Harav Shteinman, zt’l, with whom he forged a deep friendship.
The Rav founded the Toras Avraham kollel, established in the name of his martyred father, and spent many years traveling with great mesirus nefesh to the States to collect money to support the avreichim in the kollel. He also made great efforts to record his father’s sichos mussar which were lost in the Kovno Ghetto, eventually publishing them in his sefer “Toras Avraham.”
The Rav served as the Ba’al Tefilah for the Yamim Noraim in Kollel Chazon Ish for decades, and the Steipler, z’tl, who sat next to him used to say: “The tefillos of Rav Yitzchak sustain the generation.”
Bnei Brak residents knew him through his unusually loving nature and warmth he showed to everyone he met and his diligence in answering “Amen,” at times spending hours in the Itzkovitz shul to “collect” as many as he could.
He was the last of the four surviving Grodzenski children (four perished in the Holocaust) to pass away. His sister Rebbetzin Rivka Wolbe, a’h, the wife of Harav Shlomo Wolbe, z’tl, passed away in 2018.
A second sister, Rebbetzin Leah Rosenberg, a’h, was the wife of Rosh Yeshivas Slobodka, Hagaon Harav Baruch Rosenberg, z’tl, and a third sister was married to Hagaon Harav Chaim Kreiswirth z’tl.