23 May Q AND A WITH RABBI EYTAN FEINER
Rabbi Eytan Feiner currently serves as the full-time Rav of Congregation Kneseth Israel,
more popularly known as The White Shul, in Far Rockaway, New York. The Rav lectures
extensively throughout the New York area and beyond, and is the summer Rabbi of Chai
Lifeline’s Camp Simcha.
Rabbi Feiner previously served as a Maggid Shiur and Senior Lecture at Aish HaTorah in
Yerushalayim, taught weekly in Yeshivat HaKotel, Michlala, the Gra Shul in Sha’arei Chesed,
and at various Yeshivos and Seminaries throughout Eretz Yisroel, and lectured for the popular
Gateways programs. The White Shul has just recently celebrated its 101st anniversary.
What is your Rebbetzin’s favorite flower?
We both love orchids.
What is your most prized sefer?
There are two answers: probably my most valuable sefer, that was
given to me as a gift by a Balabus. It is a first edition of Shailos
U’Teshuvas Rivash. It is a very valuable sefer and I love it. Probably
my most precious sefer is my Gemara Maseches Brachos where I have
my Ha’aros and Mar’ei Mekomos filling the margins of the Gemara.
It is a Gemara I was zoche to learn many times. It’s one of my favorite
Masechetos in Shas, and I spent many hours filling up the pages. I
would say, if there was chas vishalom ever a fire and I had to rescue a
sefer, it would probably be these two seforim.
“Aseh Lecha Rav”-Who is your Rav? To whom did you ask the most
My Rebbe muvak, Rav Tzvi Berkowitz shlita. I learned under Rav
Berkowitz in Yeshivas Ner Yisroel for five years. Now over 30 years
later, I call him at 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock in the morning. He’s always there
Name a chesed that the Rav has performed where the Rav gained
more out of it than the recipient.
I would say when I was at the bedside of my predecesor, Rav Pelkovitz
zt”l, holding his hand, saying Viduy with the Rav of the Shul where I
grew up. The Rav who was my role model and inspired me to enter
the Rabbinate. Being there with his family as his neshama left him,
and being able to say Viduy with him. I, myself, got a lot out of this.
If you had an extra hour a day, what would you do with it?
I would sit and learn and try to maximize my learning time.
Who is your son, Shaya’s, favorite Jewish singer?
That’s a great question. I would have to say, even though he loves
and enjoys many, the singer he loves and reacts to the most is
Mordechai Shapiro. He loves Shweky and Eitan Katz, as well, but he
loves excitement and Mordechai Shapiro’s music gets him excited.
Mordechai once gave a private concert for my son in our home for
over a half hour.
In one word, what is the secret to a happy marriage?
I would say mutual love and respect are crucial. But in one word,
friendship. In two words, “best friends.” That’s the secret to a great
marriage: “rei’im ha’ahuvim.”
Favorite person in Tanach
Favorite Yom Tov
There are so many great ones but I would say Rabbi Paysach Krohn. I
grew up with the Maggid books & I quote them all the time.
Who was your favorite professional athlete growing up?
I grew up a Dallas Cowboy’s fan and I always wanted to be a
quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. Then I switched to being a
Seattle Seahawks’s fan. I would say that when I was growing up, my
favorite players were quarterbacks Roger Staubach & Joe Montana.
If I had to pick one, it would be Joe Montana.
Name someone that has lived in your lifetime that represents TRUE
Rav Dovid Trenk zt”l. I think that is what made him so very special.
There’s a story that someone went to Rebbetzin Trenk and said we
love your husband. Even with people that smelled of alcohol and
marijuana, he would still bring them into the house. His wife said, “by
my husband, they didn’t smell. That’s my husband. He didn’t notice
the smell. He didn’t see the marijuana, he didn’t see the vapors.” I met
him a few times, once with his brother. He was so purely genuine.
If the Rav could be a fly on the wall & witness something in history,
when would it be?
We say that Ma’amad Har Sinai & Krias Yam Suf were the greatest
miracles of all time, but my answer would be when the Vilna Gaon
learned with Eliyahu Hanavi & the Avos Hakedoshim. To be a fly on
the wall when the Vilna Gaon was plumbing the depths of kabbalah.
To be in Vilna & to closely observe the intensity of the Gra, that would
be my fly on the wall answer.
If you could have three dinner guests, anyone from the beginning of
time for a Friday night dinner, who would the Rav invite?
1- My wife
2- My son
3- The Chazon Ish, whom my son Avraham Yeshayahu, Shaya, is
If you could have a chavrusa for a half hour with anyone from the
beginning of time, whom would you pick?
To tell you the truth, anytime someone’s asked me this question…
People know that I am a true Gra fan. I love Sifrei HaGra. What I would
first say is that I would love to learn with the Vilna Gaon.
But when I think about it, that is not my final answer. My answer is: as
people know, I’ve been married for 27 years. My wife and I have one
child, a special son who is currently 15 years old and was born after
12 and a half years of infertility. He has many pictures with Gedolei
Yisrael. He is an adorable child, but he doesn’t speak. He can’t say an
aleph or a beis. He is seriously physically and cognitively impaired
because of something that occurred shorltly after birth regarding his
amino acids; it is a miracle he is alive today. The doctors told us he
was going to die within three days. So if I was asked the question of
whom I would like to have a chavrusa with and I could go with any
one person in the entire world, it would be my son, if Hashem gave
him a refuah shelaima and he could talk. The Vilna Gaon would be
mochel me. Moshe Rabbeinu would be mochel me.
But I would choose to learn with my precious son.