Rabbi Shlomo Brevda, a teacher and author whose inspirational lectures drew capacity crowds in the United States and Israel for several decades, died on Jan. 8 in Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn after a long illness. He was 81.
An authority on the writings of the 18th-Century Vilna Gaon, Rabbi Brevda was the author of several books on traditional Torah topics. He was, the vosizneias.com website stated, “one of the greatest baalei mussar (experts on Torah-based ethics) of our times,” and his taped lectures are available at many congregations and on the Internet.
Rabbi Brevda, born in Crown Heights to an immigrant family from Poland, settled in Israel six decades ago, making the journey on a ship that almost sank twice; he returned to the U.S. frequently to give lectures on mussar (ethical rebuke) and to consult with members of the Orthodox community who sought his personal advice and words of blessing.
“He was very personable and warm and he genuinely listened to people,” says Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman, spiritual leader of Congregation Ahavas Israel in Passaic, N.J., where Rabbi Brevda regularly delivered mussar speeches over the last eight years. “People felt close to him and felt he heard their problems and cared for them. He also was friendly and warm and entertaining when teaching.”
Rabbi Brevda studied at first in Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchonon Theological Seminary before following prominent Torah leaders who were associated with such institutions as the Mirrer Yeshiva in Brooklyn, Beis Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, N.J., and prominent yeshivot in Israel. He traveled often to the U.S. to raise funds for poor families in Israel.
The rabbi was buried in Har Mamenuchos in Jerusalem. Rabbi Brevda is survived by his wife and six children.