By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Moshe Yehuda Leib Landa, one of the most renowned Chabad rabbis in recent times whose influence spread far and wide than his official title, passed away on Motzei Shabbos, 24 Adar II, 5779.
He was 83.
He was born in Israel to Mrs. Chaya Mina and Rabbi Yaakov Landa, a Lubavitcher chossid who was called “the courtyard rabbi” by the fifth Chabad Rebbe, Rabash in Rostov, Russia.
A year after he was born, the family moved to Bnei Brak, a city in central Israel known for its mostly frum population. It is the fifth most densely populated city in the world. Rabbi Yaakov Landa served as its chief rabbi.
As a child, Moshe Landa studied in Yeshivas Ohr Yisroel in Petach Tikva, the large litvish Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak and Chabad’s Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim in Lod under Rabbi Boruch Shimon Schneerson and the Mashpia Rabbi Shlomo Chaim Kesselman.
Following his marriage, Rabbi Landa served as a Maggid Shiur in the Central Tomchei Tmimim Yeshiva in Kfar Chabad, a position he held for 23 years. He also assisted his father in rabbinics and kashrus.
Upon his father’s passing, the Chassidic Mayor of Bnei Brak Moshe Oirenstein announced that in accordance with Rabbi Yaakov Landa’s will, he is appointing his son Rabbi Moshe as the new Chief Rabbi of Bnei Brak.
The announcement was met with fierce opposition from litvish rabbis because of Rabbi Landa being a Chabad chossid. They proposed the posek Rabbi Shmuel Wosner instead. Rabbi Wosner himself publically accepted Rabbi Landa’s successorship.
When he had doubts about the difficulty of his position, the Rebbe commented to him, “It has already been decided in the Heavenly Court that you will be a Rov of a large and known city, and you have doubts?”
Rabbi Landa went on to be recognized as chief Rabbi by the Bnei Brak municipality, while Yemenite Rabbi Shlomo Korach was appointed to the same role by on behalf of the state.
Despite reconciliation efforts by Rabbi Nissim Karelitz, chairman of the beis din tzedek of Bnei Brak, litvish rabbis and their followers ran a decades-long ban on Rabbi Landa, refusing to recognize his role or his kosher certification.
Nevertherless, Rabbi Landa went on to become one of the most respected rabbis and halachic authorities in Israel and was renowned for his kosher certification, one of the most reliable and trusted kashrus agencies in the world.
Rabbi Landa continued his father’s custom not to charge food manufacturers and restaurants for providing them supervision to maintain the impartially of his and his mashgichim’s decisions.
Over the years, litvish opposition to Chabad and Rabbi Landa has waned. In 5770, Rabbi Karelitz and the late Gaon Rabbi Aryeh Leib Steinman supported Rabbi Landa’s son in law Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Belinow‘s appointment as Goad Av Beit Din of Bnei Brak.
Kiryat Motzkin Rabbi Dovid Meir Drukman, a student of Rabbi Landa in Yeshiva, called him “an ancient figure of a true rabbi who knew neither compromise nor fear of anyone. He was a descendant from several generations of rabbis. The greatest rabbi of Israel fell today.”
He is survived by his wife, their children Rabbi Yitzchok Aizik Landa, Maggid Shiur at Yeshivas Chassidei Chabad Lubavitch in Tzfas, Israel; Mrs. Dina Belinow – Bnei Brak; Rabbi Yisroel Landa, Director of Beth Chabad Israeli Community in Ontario, Canada; Rabbi Yosef Landa – London, England; Rabbi Zalman Landau, a Mashpia in the Chabad community in Bnei Brak; Rabbi Menachem Landa, Director of Chabad Israeli Community of The Bay Area of California; Mrs. Shulamis Vinkler – Bnei Brak; Rabbi Schneur Landa – Shliach at the Netanya Academic College in Netanya; Mrs. Mina Weinberg – Bnei Brak, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He is also survived by his brother Rabbi Eliyahu Landa, a Rosh Yeshiva at the Central Tomchei Tmimim Yeshiva in Kfar Chabad, Israel.
The Levaya began Motzei Shabbos in Beis Medrash Ohr Nechemia in Netanya, and will continue Sunday from the Beis Medrash of Rabbi Landa in Bnei Brak from 12 pm. The levaya will pass by the Central Tomchei Temimim Yeshiva in Kfar Chabad at 1:30 pm, and continue to Jerusalem, passing by Toras Emes in Jerusalem on the way to the Chabad Section of Har Hazeisim.
Baruch Dayan Haemes: Moshe Yehuda Leib ben Yaakov.
VIDEO: Rabbi Landa speaks at the Siyum Harambam 5749