Anyone who met Rav Benny was privy to observe his unique character traits. A random stranger was instantly impressed by his infectious love. His colleagues reminisce of a lifestyle that was dedicated to chessed and a constant pursuit of spreading Torah values. Lastly, Rav Benny’s students recollect an impactful educator, role model, and surrogate parent, as highlighted by his developing personal relationships with countless talmidim, leaving them with a passionate love for Eretz Yisrael, Torat Yisrael, and Am Yisrael. His messages and the way he conducted himself were a lesson for all. Torah Letzion, along with a dedicated group of former Rav Benny talmidim, have endowed a scholarship allowing for Rav Benny’s legacy to continue, in the hope that Rav Benny’s teachings will be passed on to future generation. Scholarship recipients will be provided with Torah Letzion’s unique resources to furthering their pursuit of Torah and mitzvoth, allowing for Rav Benny’s overarching goals to be inculcated into future generations. Torah Letzion strongly believes that although Rav Benny is no longer with us, his message can still live on and reach the hearts and minds of future generations; the ultimate way to pay tribute to such an incredible individual. Recipients of the scholarship will partake in unique experiences and benefit tremendously throughout their time in Eretz Yisrael:
• Recipients will receive a scholarship to help defray their costs of yeshiva or seminary in Israel.
• An opportunity to utilize Torah Letzion’s very own “anywhere in Israel” program. Thereby, creating an opportunity to spend Shabbat in different parts of Israel with adopted families.
• Torah Letzion helps all scholarship recipients financially plan for their year in Israel beyond the initial scholarship.
• All recipients will meet in Yerushalayim in the home of Rav Benny’s family and will be greeted by his wife and children for a banquet. This banquet provides an opportunity to develop a relationship with the Eisner family that will offer consolation and pride to the Eisner’s, while at the same time allowing the recipients to see and learn how Rav Benny lived his life with his family.
• Throughout the year recipients will spend Shabbat with some of Rav Benny’s talmidim, who now live in Eretz Yisrael with their own families, observing Rav Benny’s teachings in those who were inspired by them most.
• Recipients will write periodic Divrei Torah reflecting their growth in developing Rev Benny’s core values. Torah Letzion hopes to one day compile these Divrei Torah together and publish as sefer in memory of Rav Benny.
• Recipients will write thank-you cards at the beginning and end of the year illustrating their specific goals and reflections on the year, respectively. These cards will be shared with Torah Letzion’s dedicated donor network.
[tab:Bio of Rav Benny Eisner]
Rav Binyamin Eisner, affectionately known as “Rav Benny” was a Rav and mentor to thousands of talmidim throughout Eretz Yisrael and the United States. Friends and talmidim have been captivated by the initial greeting of “Shalom, ani Benny”, his infectious smile, and his passion for Torat Eretz Yisrael. Rav Benny lived with his family in Abu Tor, Yerushalayim in simple home overlooking the Old City walls. Rav Benny’s daily shiurim in Yeshivat Torat Shraga, Yeshivat Morasha, Michinat Eli and Yeshivat Ateret Kohanim provided a platform to inspire hundreds of talmidim throughout Eretz Yisrael!
Rav Benny was born in Har Hatzofim in Yerushalayim, attended elementary school in Tel Aviv, and spent his High School years in Kibbutz Yavneh. Following High School, Rav Benny was inducted into the army and fought in the Six-Day war. Rav Benny was stationed in southern Yerushalayim with a small brigade of officers with aging rifles and a short supply of bullets looking uphill at opposition tanks. Miraculously, the tanks fled and soon after the brigade recaptured the sacred area of Kever Rachel. Upon realization of the land they had reclaimed, Rav Benny exclaimed, “Rachel Rachel you can stop crying…your children have returned”.
Rav Benny began developing a close relationship with Rav Tzvi Yehuda hakohen Kook zt”l during his army service. He yearned to find a yeshiva that embraced Limud Hatorah together with Ahavat Eretz Yisrael. He found this combination in Rav Kook, developed a close personal relationship, and became his personal driver and chevruta. Rav Benny’s entire family enjoyed a close connection with Rav Kook, which they all treasure to this day. Rav Benny was often fond of saying that “Rav Tzvi Yehudah saved my life,” as that relationship inspired Rav Benny to adhere to a life filled with a love of Torah.
Soon after the war, Rav Benny met his wife, Sarah Ulman, and with her encouragement, Rav Benny embarked on his first teaching position in Kibutz Yavneh, followed by several years in Ohr Etzion in Merkaz Shapiro.
Having already cultivated a following of Israeli talmidim, Rav Benny embraced and yearned for a connection with American talmidim. He found Yeshivat Beit Midrash L’Torah (BMT) as the home for this new endeavor, while simultaneously teaching at Yeshiva L’Tze’irim Merkaz Harav.
Always looking for another opportunity to help out a fellow Jew, Rav Benny established in the early 1980s the organization Shlach Et Ami – “Let my People Go” in the Eisner Family home. The organization sought the release of Russian Jewry. Amongst those saved was Natan Sharansky, who eventually became a minister in the Israeli Government. The Eisner and Sharansky families have enjoyed an extremely close relationship ever since.
As the years went by the Eisner home was filled with talmidim – and their own children (3 boys and 8 girls). The dining room lights and kitchen oven stayed on until the early hours of the morning, as talmidim dropped-in for a lesson on Rav Kook, Torat Eretz Yisrael, and kedusha – or simply a late night snack with their Rav. Their home was a revolving door and an address for Torah, warmth and acceptance. The talmidim’s love and devotion to Eisner family continues to this day. The Eisners continue to take part in the lives of their tamidim, regularly traveling to weddings, brisim, and other life cycle events.
Throughout his selfless life, Rav Benny gave shiurim and lectures in Shuls and Yeshivot throughout Israel and the United States. Rav Benny had the privilege and longevity to have students who are second generation talmidim, young men whose parents were students of Rav Benny.
Shortly after Pesach of 5771 (2011), Rav Benny faced a diagnosis and a new challenge – an ailment (and treatment) that challenged his physical strength. Nonetheless, having seen his fare share of challenges in life, he faithfully and whole-heartedly committed to rising above and continuing his holy work: living life b’simcha (with happiness), serving God, dedicated to the Holy Land and inspiring and loving Jews regardless of the background or beliefs.
Unfortunately, over Sukkot of 5772 (2011), Rav Benny was taken to Share Chessed Hospital in Yerushalyim, which amazingly he viewed as just one more location to teach Hashem’s Torah. On Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan 5772 (2011), Rav Benny finally succumbed to his hard fought battle.
Rav Benny was buried in Yerushalayim on Har HaZeitim on Saturday night, following a funeral attended by thousands of talmidim, friends, and Jews from all walks of life.
Rav Benny’s life and teachings continue to serve as a source of light, inspiration, and guidance to us all.
[tab:Divrei Torah of Scholarship Recipients]