The Torah world was orphaned on Shabbos Kodesh when it lost
one of our generation's great baalei mussar and
conveyors of Torah, HaRav Mordechai Zuckerman zt"l at
the age 92. On his last earthly journey he was accompanied by
thousands, led by gedolei Torah and mussar.
HaRav Zuckerman was born in Samargon, Lithuania in 5672
(1912) and raised in a home of Torah and chesed. In
his youth he studied at Yeshivas Lida under HaRav Yaakov
Neiman before traveling to Radin to learn at the Chofetz
Chaim's yeshiva where he studied assiduously for eight years,
including two years of close ties with Maran the Chofetz
Chaim. During the Chofetz Chaim's elderly years, when he
would step out for a walk with his talmidim, HaRav
Zuckerman was among them.
After transferring to Kelm, HaRav Zuckerman continued to
shape his character, maintaining a daily schedule with
precise hours for tefilloh, Torah study and Mussar--
diligence and scrupulousness for which he was known for the
rest of his life.
After World War II broke out he arrived at the Kovna Ghetto
where he became a disciple of HaRav Avrohom Grodzensky. As a
talmid muvhok during an extended period he was trusted
to record all of HaRav Grozhinsky's Torah learning in
After his rebbe passed away HaRav Zuckerman acted as
guardian for his daughters, who eventually married leading
roshei yeshivos and baalei mussar.
While in the Kovna Ghetto he worked hard to uphold Torah,
gathering together all of the children to teach them Torah
and imbibe them with yiras Shomayim. His efforts riled
the Germans, who sought to kill him. On one occasion they
managed to track him down, but one of HaRav Grozhinsky's
daughters pleaded with the would-be murderer to leave him
alone since he was in the middle of prayer. He acquiesced,
saying next time his life would not be spared.
When the war ended toward the end of 5705 HaRav Zuckerman was
convinced the Moshiach would arrive by Rosh Hashanah and was
bewildered when his prediction failed to materialize.
He traveled to France, married and came to Eretz Yisroel.
Upon his arrival he consulted with the Chazon Ish, who
advised him to settle in Jerusalem. He also recommended HaRav
Zuckerman to an elite kollel, but with space lacking
he was not accepted. Later the kollel agreed to accept
him on Shabbosim.
During this period HaRav Yechezkel Sarna asked him to serve
as spiritual director of Yeshivas Chevron, but HaRav
Zuckerman's wife asked her husband to continue his learning.
He spent the next several years studying at Beis Knesses
Achvoh in Zichron Moshe, where he continued to grow in Torah
and mussar. Afterwards he was appointed Rosh Kollel
Chevron at Beis Medrash Prushim in Givat Shaul, where he
learned and taught Torah to thousands for over 56 years.
An emblem of diligence in Torah, a group of lomdei
Torah and anshei mussar formed around him. With
his astounding yir'oh, numerous people came to seek
his advise and blessings. He would receive everybody
graciously and would bless each of them from the depths of
his pure heart, imparting to them bounty, faith and trust.
Throughout his lifetime he invested prodigious energy into
his prayers which burned like fire, and the brochos he
recited were remarkable.
He had a study chavrusa with HaRav Shlomo Wolbe
ylct"a for many years, and passed on the fundamentals
of mussar to his many talmidim.
In his approbation for HaRav Zuckerman's unsigned book on
Shaarei Teshuvoh HaRav Shach wrote, "Since [he]
prefers to remain anonymous I am informing the masses that
all this emanates from a man of purity, filled with wisdom
and yiras Hashem and who has been learning Torah
industriously for years and years."
HaRav Zuckerman prayed Shacharis kevosikin all his
life. During the month of Elul he was thoroughly removed from
earthly concerns as he prepared for the Day of Judgment. He
lived meagerly throughout his lifetime.
On the 3rd of Elul he fell sick, but despite his severe
weakness he continued to display deveikus, never
ceasing to utter phrases of bitochon and
yeshuoh. In his 92nd year he had begun to regularly
recite the 92nd chapter of Tehillim, "Mizmor shir leyom
haShabbos" and hinted he would like to pass away on
Shabbos Kodesh. Rotzon yerei'ov yaaseh--indeed on
Shabbos Vayeiroh his soul rose up to Heaven from Jerusalem's
Shaarei Tzedek Hospital.
The levaya set out on motzei Shabbos from Beis Medrash
Prushim in Givat Shaul, his fixed place of Torah and
tefilloh for decades. Eulogizers included HaRav Shlomo
Wolbe, HaRav Avrohom Yitzchok Ulman, HaRav Chaim Sarna, HaRav
Mendel Chachik and his sons HaRav Nechemia and HaRav Zalman
HaRav Mordechai Zuckerman zt"l is also survived by his
son Yitzchok Ze'ev, sons-in-law and grandchildren,
talmidei chachomim yirei'im veshleimim following in
his path of Torah and mussar.