A heavy cloak of mourning descended on Zhamigrad Zanz
chassidim following the histalkus of the Admor of
Zhamigrad-Zanz, HaRav Aryeh Leibush Halberstam zt"l,
the great-grandson of the Divrei Chaim of Zanz, on Sunday at
the age of 97.
The bitter news of the passing of HaRav Halberstam, one of
the last vestiges of the great prewar Torah scholars and a
leader of Chassidus who helped many families build Torah-true
homes in Eretz Yisroel, spread quickly through the
streets of Bnei Brak and many of his followers arrived at his
beis medrash on Rechov Mintz to be near the
mittoh until the funeral began the next morning. The
paroches was taken down from the aron kodesh
and his chassidim did kriyo and wept over the loss of
The Admor of Zhamigrad-Zanz was born on 25 Elul 5670 (1910)
to the Admor HaRav Sinai Halberstam, the son of the Admor
HaRav Boruch of Gorlitz, the son of the Divrei Chaim. From
early childhood he was known for his fabulous shekidoh
and was considered destined for greatness.
Before the War he had the opportunity to observe firsthand
HaRav Dov Berish Weidenfeld, the gavad of Tchebin, Galicia.
The Tchebiner Rav held him in high esteem and praised the
young man for his high level of Torah study and elevated
As a prodigy and a masmid he was accepted at Yeshivas
Chachmei Lublin, where he spent two years as a talmid
muvhok of HaRav Meir Shapira. Later the Admor recalled
that during his two years at the yeshiva he slept on the
bench at night rather than going to bed, saying during this
period he made tremendous progress in ruchniyus
through his extraordinary toil in Torah study —
scrutinizing the gemora with Rashi, Tosafos, Rishonim and
Acharonim as he had been taught by HaRav Shapira and the
Tchebiner Rav. Throughout his lifetime he would reminisce
fondly about these years.
From a young age he served as an exemplar of yiras
Shomayim, shemiras einayim and hachno'oh in
When World War II broke out he fled to Cracow with his
father. During his subsequent exile they went to Russia and
were sent to Siberia, where they had to endure terrible cold
and hunger — but the suffering did not break their
spirits. Even during this trying period they continued to
study night and day.
He knew suffering and pain all his life, but he would always
say, "I've never had a hard day in my life for I always had
After the War he moved to Eretz Yisroel with his
family, settling in Bnei Brak, where he continued learning
while eking out a meager living.
Here he wrote Aryeh Sho'ag, a seven-volume work on the
Torah, holidays, middos and Shas, and a
veritable treasure trove of Torah, Chassidus, middos
tovos and Jewish thought.
His home was simple and his personal needs minimal. In recent
years, donors renovated his beis medrash and the
adjacent mikveh, turning the beis medrash into a
magnet drawing residents from throughout the surrounding
His home in Bnei Brak was a citadel of Torah and yiras
Shomayim. Many mevakshei Hashem would come to seek
his advice and blessings.
The Admor passed away at Laniado Hospital in Netanya on
Sunday after his state of health declined a few days earlier.
On Monday morning the levaya set out from his beis
medrash in Bnei Brak and he was buried at Har Hazeisim in
a plot he purchased during his lifetime.
The Admor of Zhamigrad Zanz zt"l is survived by his
sons HaRav Sinai of Boro Park, HaRav Yehoshua of Antwerp,
HaRav Chaim of Bnei Brak and HaRav Yechezkel of Williamsburg,
along with grandchildren and great-grandchildren and many
chassidim and admirers lamenting the loss of a venerable
admor from the prewar generation.