Rav Chaim Tzvi Hollander was niftar on Monday, January 4, and buried in the Mount Of Olives Cemetery, Jerusalem. He was more than just a Rabbi to myself and my whole family. That is because when we left the Absorption Center ten months after making Aliyah, the hand of Hashem arranged that we should find an apartment directly above that of Rav Hollander and his wife Eva in Neve Yaakov, a suburb of Jerusalem.
Rabbi Hollander was a person who my whole family could approach for anything, and I really mean anything. He helped my boys with their learning when they had any problem understanding Gemorah, Chumash or almost any other kind of subject. These were subjects which I never had the opportunity to learn at their age, so our family was amazed how he would go out of his way to help.
Rabbi Hollander was there for me to answer any question I had about almost anything and I felt very comfortable asking him the most basic and simple question. His wife Eva made me even more comfortable offering me something to drink and eat. He even wanted to learn Gemorah with me so there was a time when I would go down to his apartment at 7am Shabbat morning and he would patiently spend time going over a Mishna. We would then look into the Gemorah to help explain it.
I always had the impression that Rabbi Hollander was a very serious person. But there is one story which my whole family will never forget that stands out in my mind. It clearly illustrates that Rabbi Hollander knew when to have fun as well. Our daughter Miriam had just been married and we gave Sheva Brachas in our apartment.
Rabbi Hollander agreed to come and give a speech that night and we were all grateful he and his wife agreed to join us. When the time came for Rabbi Hollander to speak, he rose from his chair with a gigantic smile and pulled out a paper from his suit jacket pocket. I admit I was a bit surprised because I watched Rabbi Hollander speak many times but could not remember if he ever needed to have a written speech to read from. Soon the mystery was solved.
Before uttering a single word, Rabbi Hollander began singing a clever tune which took all our guests by total surprise. Soon all the men joined in and Rabbi Hollander delivered such a thoughtful and enjoyable “singing speech” that it was very clear Rabbi Hollander spent many hours writing it. After he finished, Rabbi Hollander handed Miriam the speech, which Miriam is positive that she still has. This clearly shows what a special man Rabbi Hollander was.
To his wife Eva and the whole Hollander family-
MAY HASHEM COMFORT YOU AMONG THE MOURNERS OF TZION AND YERUSHALAYIM