Aug 22, 2011

Rav Raphael Halperin Succeeded By Working Hard

Rav Raphael Halperin died on Shabbos after a prolonged illness.

I just read a fascinating profile of Rabbi Halperin. It wasn't just what he did during his life, but that he excelled in each stage of his life and in what he was taking on, and he excelled by throwing himself completely into it and working hard to become a success.

That includes his early days as a champion weight-lifter, to the professional wrestling days where he held the world champion title twice (he was in the professional wrestling in the United States and he wore white wrestling shorts with a blue magen david on his tush. He then took on karate and made it to the dan 7 level of black belt. Along the way, he opened and built up a number of businesses in the USA and then in Israel. In the early 70s he became religious, sold his businesses and went to study in yeshiva, eventually becoming an ordained rabbi. He worked many years in the field of kiruv, and in trying to strengthen people's awareness of Shabbos. In the 80s Halperin opened his optometry shops and built it up to a successful national chain.

Curiously, the following video of a clip from his early wrestling days, surfaced last year. He fights like the classic WWF (now its called WWE) wrestler, and I would have liked to see him take on Hulk Hogan or Randy Macho Man Savage (another Jewish wrestler).

I thought it was strange to see this video publicized on a haredi website Kikar Shabbos (though some will say the site is not a haredi site). While anybody would find the early days of such an interesting person intriguing, it seemed strange to see this on a [officially] haredi website.

and just to compare, this is the other video I could find of Rav Raphael Halperin from his older age at some sort of rally in which he can be seen whispering to, and kissing the cheek of, Rav Wosner....


  1. Wow, what a story.

    Did you ever see the video of Hulk Hogan trying to do a Kosher BBQ. It was funny and I kind of felt sorry for the guy as he tried so hard and didn't get it right.

  2. I think Rav Halperin also published an encyclopedia of hachmei Yisrael, or some other such scholarship, no?

  3. IIRC, he is the one who published the Encyclopedia L'Bayit HaYehudi

  4. Baruch Dayan Haemet. Sounds like he was a very good man.

  5. BD"H.

    He should have been the one on the "Dos Equis" commercials. He kinda looks like him too.

  6. Baruch Dayan Haemet. I didn't know he was niftar. here's a piece I wrote on Rabbi Rafael Halperin in 2002; Baruch Dayan Haemet. I didn't know he was niftar. here's a piece I wrote on Rabbi Rafael Halperin in 2002: . My understanding, from his book and from various sources was that he was alway religious and that he was talmid of the Chazon Ish who, knowing his dedication to Yiddishkiet, gave him a Bracha when he went to the US to wrestle. The book says that he went to the US to make money to come back to Israel and build gymnasiums throughout the country to build up Jewish men.


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