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Rav Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld: A Story Print E-mail

Rav Yosef Chaim ZonnenfeldThe 19th of Adar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Yosef Chaim (ben Avraham Shlomo) Sonnenfeld (Zonnenfeld), av beis din and Rav of Yerushalayim before the State of Israel was established. (1848-1932) Born in Vrbové, Slovakia, He lost his father when he was just five years old. After learning by the the Ksav Sofer, he moved to Yerushalayim in 1873. He was buried on Har Hazeisim.

 

My father zt”l loved to tell me the following about Rav Yosef Chaim, in order to teach me the meaning of true awe for a Talmid Chacham: When my father was eight-years-old, he learned in Eitz Chaim in the Old City of Yerushalayim. He said that whenever Rav Yosef Chaim would just walk by the building, everyone inside would rise and remain silently standing until he passed. “We just felt his presence even though we were inside the building and he was outside. It wasn’t an official policy; it was just our natural response to his greatness. I can remember the feeling even though it was more than sixty-five years ago!”

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