Rephoel Baruch Sorotzkin
BornFebruary 5, 1917
DiedFebruary 10, 1979
NationalityLithuanian & American
SpouseRachel Bloch
ChildrenYitzchok Sorotzkin
Binyomin Sorotzkin
Eliyahu Meir Sorotzkin
Rassia Busel
Chenia Schulman
Shoshana Herzka
Chassie Brog
ParentsZalman Sorotzkin and Miriam Gordon
DenominationHaredi Orthodox Judaism
Jewish leader
PredecessorChaim Mordechai Katz
SuccessorMordechai Gifter
PositionRosh Yeshiva
YeshivaTelz Yeshiva
EndedFebruary 10, 1979
BuriedHar HaMenuchot

Rephoel Baruch[1] Sorotzkin[2] (February 5, 1917 - February 10, 1979) was the Rosh Yeshiva of the Telz Yeshiva in Cleveland and among American Jewry's foremost religious leaders.

He was born on February 5, 1917 (13th of Shevat, 5677) in Zhetl, in the Grodno Governorate of the Russian Empire (present-day Belarus). His father, Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin was the town's rabbi. As a young man, Sorotzkin studied under Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman in the Baranovich Yeshiva, and then under Rabbi Baruch Ber Lebovitz in Kamenitz.

In 1940, Rabbi Boruch Sorotzkin married Rochel Bloch, daughter of the Telzer Rav and Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Bloch.

Sorotzkin was involved in the "tension" over visas needed to flee: the two factions were "those from Lithuanian versus Polish Yeshivot;"[3] control of the Kobe committee was by "students from the Polish yeshivot."[4] The rabbi and his wife fled Europe at the start of World War II, via Shanghai, and made their way to the United States. There, they joined his wife's uncles (and his own cousins) Rabbi Eliyahu Meir Bloch and Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Katz who had re-established the Telz Yeshiva in Cleveland, Ohio.


In 1943 Sorotzkin began delivering classes in the yeshiva. In 1953 Sorotzkin was appointed associate dean of the yeshiva.

In 1962 Sorotzkin became dangerously ill and the name Rephoel was added to his name.[2] In 1964, when the Telz Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Katz died, Sorotzkin together with Rabbi Mordechai Gifter assumed the leadership of the yeshiva.

In the Telzer tradition, Rabbi Sorotzkin extended his sphere of activities to include even more areas of communal responsibility, such as working for Chinuch Atzmai, Torah Umesorah[2] and Agudath Israel of America where he served as one of the youngest member of its Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah - Council of Torah Sages.

In 1977, with the establishment of the Yeshiva in Israel, Rabbi Mordechai Gifter left to head the Yeshiva in Israel.

Sorotzkin died on Saturday, February 10, 1979. The Hebrew date - 13 Shevat - was the same date as his birthday. He is buried on Har HaMenuchot.[5]


He is survived by two sons and three daughters.

His daughter Rebetzin Rassia Busel died in March 1998.

His sons:

His sons-in-law:

Many of his lectures on Talmud have been posthumously published, under the title Sefer Habinah V’habrachah,[9] by his children. Rabbi Sorotzkin's wife died in November 2006.[10]


  1. ^ Anglicized Boruch by Jewish Telegraphic Agency/JTA
  2. ^ a b c "Rabbi Boruch Sorotzkin Dead at 61". JTA (Jewish Telegraphic Agency. February 12, 1979.
  3. ^ Efraim Zuroff (1999). The Response of Orthodox Jewry in the United States to the Holocaust: The Activities of the Vaad Ha-Hatzala Rescue Committee, 1939-1945. KTAV Publishing. ISBN 978-0-88125-666-6.
  4. ^ Silberklang, David (1979). Yad VaShem studies (Volume 13). p. 344. ISBN 978-1571818485.
  5. ^ "Rabbi Rephoel Baruch Sorotzkin".
  6. ^ "Petira of Hagaon HaRav Elya Meir Sorotzkin ZATZAL, Rosh Yeshiva of Springfield". Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  7. ^ "Rav Elya Meir Sorotzkin zt"l". November 27, 2020. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  8. ^ "". November 3, 2020. Retrieved 14 November 2020. External link in |title= (help)
  9. ^ "This Day In History 13 Shevat/February 9". Hamodia.
  10. ^ Rebbitzen Rochel Sorotzkin A”H