Rav Grainom Lazewnik Leaves This World at 106, Severing the Last Link to Novaradok
By: Yehuda Alter
Until this past Shabbos, there resided just short distance from Boro Park, a link to the world of Torah and mussar that lived in Novaradok.
Rav Grainom was born in a small town in Belarus, where his father was a prominent balabos.
As a young bachur he entered Yeshivas Beis Yosef-Novaradok in Pinsk, where he rebbi was none other than the Steipeler Ga’on. Here, he was ‘bitten with the bug’ of mussar, and it would define his life for close to a century.
The war would interrupt his spiritual path, and he was forced to fight along with the partisans—sabotaging the Nazis. Every moment was fraught with terrible danger to his life. But the moment the war ended—in typical mussar’dig fashion—he was right back at his gemara, teaching and learning.
Arriving in America, he continued his career, teaching thousands of talmdim over the years, and serving as the longtime rov of Mossad Adar Gbyr on Avenue O in Flatbush. The place was like a miniature Novordoker mussar shtiebel, understated, unchanged—and with a tremendous emphasis on Torah and mussar.
Every utterance and every movement from Rav Lazewnik was defined by mussar, living lessons too all who observed him, and his hasmodas haTorah and ahavas haTorah were simply immeasurable.
His grandson described how once, following a surgery to save his life, he awoke, and his first request was to have a gemoro krisos brought immediately. He had four questions…
Once, when he was very sick in the hospital, he had a dream that his rebbi, the Steipeler came to him and told him that he will recover completely. Then and there, he promised his rebbe that he would say over from the Kehillas Yaakov during his droshoh. And since that time, he never failed to weave in a chiddush from the Kehillas Yaakov in his Shabbos Hagodol drosho—including the one he was already preparing for this year!
But it was not to be.
This centenarian who was energized with his Torah and avodah was taken from our midst this past Shabbos—following 106 years of uninterrupted hasmodoh and avodas hamidos.
The levaya took place Sunday afternoon, and the aron was flown to Eretz Yisroel for kevurah.