A crowd of thousands led by gedolei Torah, roshei
yeshivos, admorim and rabbonim laid HaRav Tzvi Hirsch
Rosenbaum, the Admor of Kretchinev zt"l, to rest in
Jerusalem at the age of 86. His histalkus meant the
loss of a great tzaddik and godol beTorah who
rebuilt Kretchinev Chassidus after the Holocaust.
Tzvi Hirsch was born on Erev Shabbos, 14 Cheshvan 5680 (1920)
in his grandfather's home in the town of Sighet, located in
Romania's Marmuresh Region, to HaRav Nisan Chaim, the eldest
son of the Admor, HaRav Eliezer Zeev of Kretchinev.
When refugees began to reestablish themselves after World War
I, HaRav Eliezer Zeev moved from Kretchinev to Sighet. In
5684 (1924) Tzvi Hirsch's father was appointed av beis
din of Bradshin, a town located near Stanislav,
Recognizing his exceptional abilities his grandfather sent
the boy to study under the town's leading melamdim.
From a young age he formed a close bond with his grandfather
and looked to him as his rebbe and his main wellspring of
Torah and yir'oh.
At the age of 13 he went to study at Yeshivas Ohr Torah in
Stanislav under HaRav Dovid Halevy Ish Horowitz, the av
beis din of Stanislav and author of Imrei
In the winter of 5697 (1937) he traveled to the city of
Satmar, not far from Sighet, where he learned under his
uncle, HaRav Meir Dayan. While there he received
semichoh from the Gavad of Riskeve and other
gedolei Yisroel and formed ties with the Gavad of
Satmar, HaRav Yoel Teitelbaum. In the summer of 5697 he
returned to his grandfather's courtyard, not leaving his
During World War II, when Polish and Galician refugees began
to arrive, he made every effort to help them, despite the
danger it entailed.
The day after Purim 5704 (1944) the Germans entered Sighet,
quickly setting up a ghetto. On 3 Iyar 5704 (1944) the
Nazis took away his grandfather, the Admor of Kretchinev and
all of the members of the household, putting them on a train
to Auschwitz. After six weeks in Auschwitz he was transferred
to the forced labor camp in Shuterberg. Through a series of
miracles he managed to get a kitchen job, which allowed him
to avoid non-kosher foods. On several occasions he was caught
trying to smuggle food to his fellow Jews.
Every Shabbos night he would make Kiddush on bread
before hundreds of Jews and he made extraordinary efforts to
keep the mitzvah of tefillin. He had a pair of
tefillin he kept hidden and would lend them to other
Jews who wanted to lay tefillin early in the morning
before reporting to work.
In Auschwitz he risked his life to save his brother-in-law
and uncle, later the Admor of Kretchinev-Rechovot. He managed
to send whole packages from one camp to another. Once he got
caught by the camp commander carrying food out of the
kitchen. When the commander discovered he had taken more than
just potatoes, as he claimed, he was already reciting
Vidui when suddenly one of the commanders came by,
saying, "He's a good worker. You shouldn't kill him." Thus he
was miraculously spared from the jaws of death.
After his release from Buchenwald he immediately set about
mending the brokenhearted. Hundreds of young men gathered
around him. On 28 Tammuz they were released and taken to a
place near Paris where he began to disseminate Torah and heal
the wounds of Holocaust refugees.
On 28 Tammuz 5705 (1945) he arrived in Eretz Yisroel
leading a group of young men. The next year he married
the daughter of his uncle, the Admor of Nadvorna, who was
still in Romania.
With the encouragement of the Admor of Belz HaRav Aharon, and
his brother, the Rov of Bilgorei, he opened his first beis
medrash in his home in Botei Ungarin and prayers were
held there daily. After the wedding he continued giving
shiurim to the group of young men who had come with
him to Eretz Yisroel. During this period he renewed
his ties with the Satmar Rov, the author of Vayoel
Moshe, who was living in Jerusalem at the time, as well
as with the gavad of the Eida Chareidis, HaRav Reuven
Zelig Bengis, with the Imrei Emes of Gur and with HaRav
Aharon Roth of Shomrei Emunim.
After Chanukah 5708 (1947) he joined his Chassidim in Haifa
and the North, making his home in Kfar Ata. He rented a hut
at Rechov Hameyasdim 1, which served as his home and beis
medrash for several years until a proper beis
medrash and talmud Torah were built.
He went on to build a housing complex for Kretchinev
Chassidim, a girls' school and other communal institutions.
In 5735 (1975) he built his beis medrash in Bnei Brak
and in 5740 (1980) built another beis medrash in
Jerusalem on Rechov Avinoam Yellin.
In recent months the Admor fell ill. When word was received
that he was in critical condition on Motzei Shabbos hundreds
of talmidim and Chassidim began to stream toward the
Tel Hashomer Medical Center to pray for him and be near his
room during his final moments. His sons and several
admorim stood at his bedside, with hundreds of
Chassidim filling the corridors and singing niggunim
at his request.
After reciting Nishmas Kol Chai suddenly a great cry
of Shema Yisroel burst forth as his pure soul departed
When the mittoh arrived at his beis medrash in
Jerusalem, Tehillim, selichos and piyutim were
recited as a large crowd filled the nearby streets.
Words of parting were offered by his faithful shamash
and talmid, HaRav Simchoh Hershkovitz. Based on the
wishes of the deceased and the Kretchinev community, his
eldest son HaRav Nisan was appointed to head his beis
medrash in Jerusalem and his son HaRav Zeida Eliezer Zeev
was appointed to replace his father as head of the beis
medrash in Brooklyn.
The levaya proceeded on foot, headed by gedolei
Yisroel shlita, admorim rabbonim, dayonim and
masses of Beis Yisroel. HaRav Yitzchok Aryeh Weiss, av
beis din of Kol Rinoh Horodenka in Manchester, delivered
words of parting in the name of the Kretchinev Chassidim of
Europe at Chelkas Kretchinev at Mount of Olives Cemetery.