Memory Lane: Rav Tuvia Goldstein, zt”l, the Emek Halacha

Memory Lane: Rav Tuvia Goldstein, zt”l, the Emek Halacha

A legend in the world of Torah and p’sak, a vestige of the prewar Torah world who imbibed the fire of the Gedolei Olam of the prewar Torah world through the Torah he drank at their feet—Rav Tuvia, zt”l, bequeathed our generation the gift of his brilliance and clarity in Torah, and the image of his superhuman hasmadah in Boro Park for more than three decades which continues to inspire his numerous talmidim and those who continue to drink from his Torah, which is still being published. 


From an early age, Rav Tuvia began exhibiting a unique ehrlichkeit, a seriousness, and hasmodoh. He was chosen as the leader of the local Pirchei Agudas Yisroel, and as a young bachur he entered the Włodawa branch of Yeshiva Beis Yosef-Novaradok. When he was sixteen, he was sent to Baranovich, with glowing recommendations. He became close to Rav Elchonon, and was zoche to be meshameish him for years, even meriting to spend the leil haseder at his home one year. When Rav Shmuel Berenbaum, zt”l, arrived in Baranovitch, it was Rav Tuvia who took him under his wing. In 1937, he made his way to Kamenitz, where he became davuk in the Torah of his Rebbi, Rav Baruch Ber, and by extension, of his Rebbe, Rav Chaim Brisker. 

Rebirth: A New Era of Harbotzas Torah 

As though to close the glorious chapter of his yeshiva years among the gedolim of yore, one of Rav Tuvia’s final encounters with greatness was the trip he took to Vilna to visit Rav Chaim Ozer, zt”l—moments that would remain etched in his memory for the rest of his life.

Following the war, he married his Rebbetzin, who aspired to marry a true Ben Torah. She would remain by his side as he embarked his next half century of harbotzas Torah. He landed with his Rebbetzin on the Lower East Side one Erev Shabbos in 1947. Rebbetzin Shima Feinstein immediately arranged an apartment for the couple. 

His subsequent kesher with her illustrious husband, Rav Moshe, zt”l, was legendary. Rav Moshe would call him on many occasions—sometimes in middle of the night—to go over complex she’eilos. They were neighbors for years. Rav Tuvia taught in Yeshiva Rabbeinu Jacob Joseph for decades, before relocating to Boro Park, where he opened Yeshiva Emek Halachah. 

The Yeshiva was opened in a shul on 2032 62nd Street and later moved to 1763 63rd Street. These shuls declining in membership, and so the Yidden of the shul saw a mutual benefit in bringing in the yeshiva. 

With this relocation, and the establishment of Emek Halacha, began a new chapter of three decades in which Rav Tuvia charted a path, serving as a demus of Gadol who exuded a bren in Torah, Ga’onus and novelty in chidush—in addition to the fiery Torah that he gave over as a direct channel from his heilige Rebbeim—and these qualities were only matched by his no’am hamiddos, his exceptional character. 

Eventually, the people of the neighborhood opened a kehillah inside the Shul, which they asked the Rosh Yeshiva to lead. He did so with dedication and with exemplary middos and consideration for every individual. 

It was this fusion that forged hundreds of talmidim over the years who became talmidim for life; they saw in Rav Tuvia a ‘sugya’ that could be studied for life. The image of Rav Tuvia bent over his seforim and his writing in Camp Ma Navu—oblivious to all the commotion around him—is one that will remain etched in the memories of thousands of campers who will remain inspired by it. 

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