Yaakov Weinroth, a one-of-a-kind Torah scholar and Israel’s most fabled litigator, passed away last Tuesday at the age of 71. Well-respected in the chareidi sector, he was a talmid chacham who learned b’chavrusa with Rav Baruch Dov Povarsky. He was also esteemed by non-frum as a brilliant nonpareil lawyer for many of the top officials, starting with the Netanyahus and including ministers of defense, Knesset members and captains of industry. To Americans, he was known as the father-in-law of American-Israeli writer Hanni Weinroth, a”h, who passed away a year ago.
The following incident is indicative of the values and priorities by which Yaakov Weinroth lived:
After studying in Yeshivat Yishuv HaChadash for high school, Yaakov Weinroth took the step of going to Ponevezh Yeshivah in Bnei Brak—which was unusual—and started a kevius in learning with Rav Baruch Dov Povarsky on Monday nights. After a while he asked to make it more frequent. “Studying with the Rav gives me life,” he said, and they increased the frequency to several times a week. One time Weinroth walked into the room and told Rav Povarsky that the shiur that evening was valued at $20,000, as he had a plane waiting for him at the end of the session. Weinroth had been working for a client in Spain who had requested his presence at a court session in that country. When Weinroth said that he couldn’t attend because he had a chavrusa with Rav Povarsky at the same time, the client dispatched his own private plane to bring him to Israel, wait on the tarmac for the shiur to finish, and then fly him back to Spain.