By Rabbi Yair Hoffman

The Far Rockaway and Five Towns community is in a complete state of shock at the sudden loss of the beloved executive director of Yeshiva Darchei Torah, Rabbi Yehudah Harbater, z”l.

Rabbi Harbater believed strongly in the mission and goals of Yeshiva Darchei Torah and deeply appreciated his role in being part of the remarkable Chinuch institution that it is.  He managed to perform the near impossible feat of implementing tuition policy and being loved by the parent body as well.  Rabbi Harbater had a profound love and respect for Rav Yaakov Bender Shlita, Darchei Torah’s Rosh Yeshiva and cherished the fact that he worked alongside him and helped implement his vision.  He approached each day with a combination of a great sense of achrayus as well as a fantastic sense of humor.  He brought cheer and joy to coworkers, Moros, Rebbeim, and parents alike.

The Midrash Saichel Tov (49:13) asks why it is that the Torah preceded Zevulun to Yissachar, as Yissachar was both older and his tribe had greater Torah scholars.  The Midrash answers that it is because Zvulun goes and brings sustenance to Yissachar – for if there is no flour there is no Torah.   Rabbi Harbater z”l fulfilled his role as the Zvulun of the Yeshiva but was also a Talmid Chochom in his own right. 

Rabbi Harbater was a down-to-earth, genuine, passionate person who had a strong sense of hakaras hatov to anyone who had ever helped him, a strong love of people, and a profound recognition of the importance of the unique loving brand of Chinuch that Yeshiva Darchei Torah is known for.  He treated each parent with a deep level of respect.  Rabbi Harbater was a loving husband, parent and grandfather.

He will be sorely missed and deeply mourned by those who knew him.  Yehi zichro boruch.

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