Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

The Untold Stories

Aryeh Ehrlich

For close to a century, Rav Aharon Leib Steinman’s personal life remained a closed book, even to his family. But a new openness has uncapped a font of memories and chronicles about the quiet gadol whose Torah mastery and keen understanding of human nature wield global influence far beyond his famously bare Bnei Brak apartment.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

He’s already 100 years old (102 by some accounts), but for the first nine decades of Rav Aharon Leib Steinman’s life, his personal history was a closed book. His wife, Rebbetzin Tamar a”h — who passed away in 2002 — would share little information about her venerated husband, even with the most persistent petitioners. She’d deflect them with the ready response, “The Rav doesn’t let me speak about him. He made a deal with me: ‘I won’t talk about you and you won’t talk about me. We’ll talk about each other in Shamayim.’ ” But in the last two years, something changed. Rav Steinman has uncapped a fountain of personal memories — divulging many previously unknown stories, sharing the spiritual wealth of his early life and of a distant generation with the young people of today’s world. In his characteristically humble, self-effacing manner, he recently explained to a relative that the new openness is simply his hakaras hatov to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren who spend nights in his apartment so he won’t be alone. “People sit here for a whole night and expect me to talk to them. What will I tell them? A chiddush in gemara Gittin in the middle of the night? A shiur in Bava Kamma? I don’t think that young people have energy to hear chiddushim in the middle of the night… so I tell them stories from my youth.”

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you