Deep mourning descended on all Beis Yisroel and in particular on Sadigur chassidim with the spread of the news of the passing of kvod kedushas the Admor of Sadigur, HaRav Avrohom Yaakov Friedman ztvk"l, the elder of the Admorei Rozhin and one of the tzaddikim and geonim of our generation. The Admor was a tremendous masmid who worshiped Hashem with a wonderful deveikus throughout his life, as well as a survivor of the Dor Dei'ah and a faithful guide for his community that grew in all ways under his stewardship. He was called to the Heavenly yeshiva on Tuesday morning, 19 Teves.
He had led the Sadigur community since the passing of his great father on 29 Nisan, 5739.
Soon after the sudden petiroh there was a mass movement of Sadigur chassidim and other mourners to the Sadigur beis medrash on Gutmacher Street in Bnei Brak. As time passed the crowd swelled as people came from all over Eretz Yisroel. They gathered around the orphaned beis medrash that had been a drawing-stone for so many chassidim and other ovdei Hashem over the years.
According to custom, there are no hespedim for Admorim. The large levaya left, led by gedolei Torah, and chassidus, roshei yeshiva, rabbonim and talmidim. As the levaya prepared to leave, Rav Elimelech Shapira read out the will of the Admor ztvk"l, which said that he asked that his only son be chosen to fill his place as the Admor.
The levaya then left, going down Gutmacher, Reines, along Hashomer streets until Yeshivas Rozhin on Ezra Street. From there it went to the beis hachaim in Nachlas Yitzchok, where the Admor was buried next to his father and the other Admorim of Rozhin.
Kvod kedushas HaRav Avrohom Yaakov of Sadigur was born on 5 Elul, 5688 in Vienna, Austria. His father was Kvod kedushas HaRav Mordechai Sholom Yosef zt"l, other of Knesses Mordechai. The family was among the illustrious descendants of the Admor HaRav Yisroel of Rozhin who was descended from Rabbi Avrohom the Mal'ach and the Maggid of Mezritch. His mother was Raizel o"h, the daughter of the gaon HaRav Yosef Aryeh Feldman zt"l.
Even as a youth he had a reputation as one of the top students, distinguished by his hasmodoh and his great yir'as Shomayim. It was clear that he was destined for greatness. His great yir'as Shomayim was evident in everything he did. He had no interest in the normal games of youth and no desire for the pleasures of this world. His thirst was only to learn Torah and works of mussar and chassidus.
In 5694 his father moved to Peshemishel and founded the yeshiva Meshivas Nefesh. His young son, who was only six years old at the time, used to speak with the bochurim of the yeshiva, and continually rose along the road to the House of Hashem.
In 5697, at the age of nine, he joined his father in attending the Knessia Gedola of Agudas Yisroel in Marienbad. In this way his father managed to have him meet the tzadikei hador, an experience which left is imprint upon him his whole life.
Less than three months before the outbreak of World War II, in Sivan 5699, the entire family went to Eretz Hakodesh and were thus spared from the horrible holocaust that seen engulfed European Jewry.
Upon arrival in Eretz Yisroel, the Admor began to learn in the Novardok Yeshiva in Tel Aviv. After that he went to the Lomzha yeshiva in Petach Tikva, where he stood out for his great hasmodoh, as he learned day and night, thirsty for Torah. At the same time he also learned with HaRav Yehoshua Menachem Ehrenberg zt"l, the av beis din of Tel Aviv. They learned Tur and Shulchan Oruch until the Admor received the keser horo'oh.
After the War, his father opened a beis medrash in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, which drew many Sadigur chassidim who arrived on American shores as refugees. His father used to divide his time between America and Tel Aviv, and he would sometimes join his father on the trips to America.
He married his rebbetzin, Moras Tzipporah o"h, the daughter of HaRav Yosef Aryeh Feldman zt"l, in 5713. Together they built a Torah based home as he continued his efforts in avodas Hashem.
As an avreich his life served as a road map for anshei chassidus, who saw him as an avreich with a wall of kedushoh around him. He would learn in the beis medrash in Tel Aviv and he would often learn through the night without planning to in advance. His gadlus in Torah was widely recognized, and he was known for his broad familiarity with all aspects of Torah. He prayed fervently and his whole essence was dedicated to Hashem.
In 5715 he helped his father and other rabbonim of Rozhin in establishing the Rozhin yeshiva in Tel Aviv. Despite the many hardships that were associated with founding and maintaining a yeshiva in those days, he worked very hard at making it a success.
For several years he lived in the USA where he served as the rav of the Sadigur community there. He was a posek and marbitz Torah to the community.
He was called back to Eretz Yisroel in 5732. He came and founded the Rozhin Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, a yeshiva gedolah and a yeshiva ketanoh, as well as a talmud Torah for younger boys. These institutions are operating successfully to this day. He gave deep shiurim in gemora subjects, as well as sichos mussar that inspired the talmidim. He was also deeply involved in all aspects of the education of every single bochur. This continued throughout the years.
On 29 Nisan 5739 his father was niftar and he was appointed his successor.
Under his leadership, Sadigur institutions flourished and spread throughout Eretz Yisroel and the entire world. Botei medrash were founded in Bnei Brak, Yerushalayim, Modi'in Illit, Beitar, Ashdod and Elad. Also in London, Antwerp and New York.
On Shabbos and yom tovim he was joined in his beis medrash by a large crowd of chassidim, who eagerly listened to his deep divrei Torah based on Torah, chassidus and roz. Many used to walk to his beis medrash on Pincus Street in Tel Aviv from Bnei Brak to join him. In recent years he moved the center of his activity to Bnei Brak on Gutmacher Street.
His sichos and sayings were published in his seforim Ikvei Abirim which were well received throughout the world.
He served for decades on the nesius of the Moetzes Gedolei Yisroel of Agudas Yisroel. Maran HaRav Shach thought very highly of him and praised his middos and hanhogos.
In recent times he felt weak, but he kept up his avodas hakodesh. Last week he participated in the pidyon haben of his great-grandson. Last week he developed a severe pneumonia. On Tuesday morning he had trouble breathing and lost consciousness. Hatzoloh was summoned and they took him to Maayenei Hayeshua Hospital where the doctors worked hard to save him. Nonetheless, just before 9 a.m. he returned his pure soul to his Maker.
He is survived by his only son HaRav Yisroel Moshe shlita, up until now the av beis din of Sadigur in London, his son-in-law HaRav Pinchas Shapira, rav of the Sadigur beis medrash in Tel Aviv, his son-in-law HaRav Shmuel Zanvil Sharf of the United States, as well as children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and a community of chassidim who mourn bitterly his passing.