Chovot Halevavot: Humility 1
The 25th of Shevat is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Zalman Ury (1924-2006). A great-great-grandson of Rav Dovid Teveli, author of Nachalas Dovid, Rav Ury was born in Stolpce, Poland, and studied at Yeshiva Etz Hayim in Kletzk under Rav Aharon Kotler from 1934-1941.
At the start of World War II, he was interned in a Siberian Concentration Camp, while his parents and siblings died at the hands of the Nazis. He spent the remainder of the war in Samarkand, Uzbekistan where he met his wife, Eva. They married soon after the war ended and emigrated to the United States in 1947, where he received his semicha at Lakewood. Rav Zalman received his B.S. from Washington University, St. Louis, then moved to Los Angeles in 1957. He earned his M.A. in Education from Loyola University and his Doctor of Education at UCLA.
For 47 years, Rav Ury worked with the Bureau of Jewish Education, building and nurturing the yeshiva day school system. Under his direction, yeshiva enrollment in Los Angeles increased from less than 1,000 talmidim to more than 5,500, and the number of schools increased from five in 1960 to 21 by the time of his passing.
He wrote over 100 articles and educational materials for journals and books, and authored the books, “The Musar Movement,” and “The Story of Rabbi Yisrael Salanter.” In 2001, he published Kedushas Avraham, a two-volume work containing chidushei Torah, mussar teachings and correspondences with gedolei Yisrael, including Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Henkin and Rav Simcha Wassermann, as well as an essay on his rebbe Rav Yosef Aryeh Leib Nanedik hy”d – the mashgiach at Yeshiva Etz Chaim. For many years he served as Rav of Young Israel Congregation of Beverly Hills.
Rabbi Ury gave me a set of Chovot Halevavot in 1981 urging me to study it every day and promising that it would change my life. It did. I post some offerings of the Chovot Halevavot in Rav Ury’s merit and honor: