RABBI CHAIM BERLIN (1832-1912)
Rabbi Chaim Berlin was born in 1832 in the Lithuanian city of Volozhin, and passed away in 1912 in Jerusalem. He was the son of Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin (known as the Netziv of Volozhin).
Rabbi Chaim Berlin became the chief rabbi of Moscow in 1865. In 1889 he moved to Volozhin where he was the head of the rabbinical court. In 1892 he became the chief rabbi of Kobrin (1892-1897) and of Elizavetgrad (1897-1906).
As the son of the Netziv of Volozhin, Rabbi Chaim Berlin and Rabbi Shmuel Salant (1816-1909), the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, were cherished friends early on in their lives and they corresponded very frequently.
Rabbi Chaim Berlin left Russia in 1906 and settled in Jerusalem. After the death of Rabbi Elijah David Rabinowitz Teomim in 1905, due to the efforts of Rabbi Shmuel Salant, Rabbi Chaim Berlin was elected to join the Rabbinate of the Ashkenazi community in Jerusalem in the capacity as Co-Chief Rabbi to assist Rabbi Salant in the affairs of Jerusalem and the Rabbi Meir Baal Haneis Salant charity fund. The Hebrew newspaper Chavatzeles, which was published in Jerusalem reports, in their issue of 12 Shevat 5669, that on the ninety-third birthday of Rabbi Shmuel Salant, a festive meal was celebrated attended by the great Torah sages of Jerusalem. Rabbi Chaim Berlin brought a cake to Rabbi Salant with a blessing in Hebrew whose numerical value was equivalent to that year 5669 (1909), a custom Rabbi Berlin had begun upon his arrival to Jerusalem.
Rabbi Salant passed away at the end of 1909 and Rabbi Chaim Berlin continued to stand at the helm of the Jerusalem Rabbinate and the Rabbi Meir Baal Haneis Salant charity until his passing in 1913.
Rabbi Chaim Berlin passed away in 1913 and was buried on the Mount of Olives Mount of Olives in the Perushim section near many of Jerusalem's great leaders, who were also his friends and colleagues; Rabbi Shmuel Salant, Rabbi Rabinowitz-Teomim, Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin, Rabbi Yitzchok Blazer, Rabbi Meir Auerbach, Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, Rabbi Eliyahu Kletzkin, and many others. May his memory be a blessing.