Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

20 Teves 5767 - January 10, 2007 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Admor of Zhamigrad zt"l

By A. Cohen

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 their rebbe.

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 midos.

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 tefilloh.

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 gemora."

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 area.

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.


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