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23 Tammuz 5760 - July 26, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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The Admor of Zutchka, Zt"l

by A. Cohen

This past Monday, a throng of thousands accompanied the Admor of Zutchka, HaRav Yitzchok Eizek Rosenbaum, zt"l, on his last earthly journey. He was niftar at the age of 95.

The levaya, leaving his beis medrash on Be'er Mayim Chaim Street in Bnei Brak, was attended by many admorim and rabbonim, headed by the Admor of Vishnitz, the Admor of Gur, the Admor of Sadigora, the Admor of Alexander, the Admor of Sanz, the Admor of Lublin, the Admor of Strikov, the Admor of Nadvorna, the Admor of Czernoble, the Admor of Machnovka, the Admor of Bohush, the Admor of Cleveland, the Admor of Kretchinef, the Admor of Darag and the Admor of Viaslava.

Before the departure of the procession, hespedim were delivered by HaRav Shmuel HaLevi Wosner and HaRav Shmuel Unsdorfer, who announced that in line with the custom of the Admorim of Nadvorna, all sons of an admor who has passed away then preside as admorim. Thus, the niftar's son, HaRav Nosson Dovid, will preside in the niftar's beis medrash in Bnei Brak, while the sons who live abroad will preside in their places of residence.

Hespedim were also delivered by the Admor of Nadvorna- Hadera as well as by HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, the av beis din of Ramat Elchonon, and by the niftar's son, HaRav Nosson Dovid.

In Jerusalem, the levaya set out from Kikar Shabbos, where the niftar's son, the Admor of Stanislav -- arriving from abroad directly to the levaya in Jerusalem -- delivered a hesped. Yet another hesped was delivered by the niftar's mechutan, the Admor of Erloi. From Kikar Shabbos, the levaya proceeded on foot to Har Hazeisim, where the niftar's forbears are buried.

Among the masses of mourners in Jerusalem were many admorim, including the Admor of Belz, the Admor of Shomrei Emunim, the Admor of Rachmastrivka, the Admor of Mazhmigrad, the Admor of Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok, the Admor of Zevihl, the Admor of Stropkov, the gaavad of the Eida HaChareidis, members of the BaDaTz and many prominent rabbonim and marbitzei Torah.

Toward twilight, the Admor of Zutchka was buried in the cemetery on Har Hazeisim, where hespedim were delivered by the Admor of Shomrei Emunim and the Admor of Cleveland.


The Admor, HaRav Yitzchok Eizek Rosenbaum, zt"l, was born ninety-five years ago on Teves 21, 5666 (1906), in the city of Czernoble in the Bokivina region of Romania. His father was HaRav Isomor, the venerable Admor of Nadvorna, and his mother was the righteous Malka, daughter of HaRav Osher Yeshaya Rubin of Kolbisof, grandson of the Rav of Rupschitz. HaRav Yitzchok Eizek was named after his grandfather, HaRav Yitzchok Eizek of Komarna.

From his youth, he was known for his tremendous hasmodoh and industriousness, traits which characterized him throughout his entire life, even in his final days. His father hired one of the prominent Chortkover chassidim, Rabbi Yitzchok Shapira to teach his sons.

When HaRav Yitzchok Eizek was eight, he and his family moved to Austria, and from there to the home of his grandfather in Kretchinef. Later on, they returned to Czernoble, where he married Chana, o"h, daughter of HaRav Nosson Dovid Hacohen Hollander, the rav of the Galician city of Amsana. Immediately after his wedding, his father asked him to preside as rav and admor in the city of Vashkowitz. Two years later, he moved to Zutchka.

During the Holocaust, HaRav Yitzchok Eizek left Zutchka on foot, along with his family and the entire community. On his back he bore a bag which contained his manuscripts, of which he said: "This is my share of all my toil." Nazis, suspecting that they were espionage documents, confiscated them. In order to salvage the documents, the Admor gave all of his money to a Nazi officer who promised to return the manuscripts. Of course, the promise was not kept.

During the Holocaust, while residing in the city of Balta, he experienced a miracle. The Admor, who occupied an upstairs room, hid 50 Jews in the cellar. Nazis arriving at his dwelling conducted a search, and found the Admor reciting Tehillim. They decided to hang him then and there, and asked: "Are you afraid of G-d?"

"Yes!" he decisively replied. They snatched the Tehillim and threw it out of the window, into the muddy yard. (He saved that sefer Tehillim until his final day.) Then they removed the rebbetzin and the children from the room and placed a rope around his neck. The Nazi jeered: "Now pray."

The Rebbe began to say Vidui from: "Oshamnu, bogadnu. . ." until "Rachum vechanun."

When he reached these words, the Nazi stopped him and said: "Enough!" A commanding officer then entered and said, "Let the rabbi live a bit longer."

As the Nazi was leaving, the Admor's son heard the Nazi mutter: "He's a saintly man. G-d will punish."

The Admor publicly commemorated that miracle every year.

Immediately after the war, the rebbetzin fell deathly ill. However, she recovered miraculously and lived until 5742 (1982). After the war, the Admor reached Prague, and in 5707 (1947) published his Hame'oros Hagedolim about the aseres hadibros. At the end of the sefer, he printed a letter of gratitude to his brother-in- law, the Admor of Kachnia of the United States and to the Admor's wife, his sister, tibodel lechayim tovim ve'arukim who helped secure his release. He then left for America, where he resided until 5733 (1973).

He established his beis medrash in Boro Park, where he was beloved by all. He was best known for his efforts to safeguard the honor of Shabbos Kodesh. During that period, a number of Jewish stores in the area were open on Shabbos. When he tried to correct the situation, people attempted to dissuade him, claiming that the storekeepers wouldn't listen to him out of fear that competitors might deprive them of their livelihoods. But he ignored these warnings and, every Shabbos, went to the stores with his chassidim and pleaded with the storekeepers in a genial manner to close their shops. Sometimes he was forced to promise them financial help, in exchange for the "damage" which they believed would be incurred by closing their shops on Shabbos.

For ten consecutive years, he grappled with this problem, until he finally succeeded in closing all stores on Shabbos. He also succeeded in closing a nearby movie theater that was operating on Shabbos. Today, no one believes that stores were open on Shabbos in the heart of a chareidi neighborhood.

He innovated a novel idea in the United States of those days. He would place a set Shabbos table on an open truck. A driver would then drive through the Jewish neighborhoods and announce the time of candle lighting.

For many years, he tried to find halachic solutions for the problem of opening bottle caps on Shabbos. In time, he founded the Shoneh Halochos enterprise in Bnei Brak for the review of hilchos Shabbos.

In 5724 (1964), his daughter Shifra, who had been the wife of the Admor of Varadan, HaRav Yosef Leifer, passed away. She was survived by three small daughters. HaRav Yitzchok Eizek accepted his lot with love.

He was outstanding in his kibbud ov vo'eim, even in his final days. A long time after his father had passed away, he would send letters to his sisters every erev Rosh Hashonoh, saying that by honoring his oldest sister he was fulfilling the mitzvah of "lerabos ochicho hagodol."

After the petirah of his father, he moved to Eretz Yisroel and began to preside in his father's beis medrash in Yad Eliyahu, Tel Aviv, where he was active on behalf of the education of Jewish children.

In 5741 (1981) he established his beis medrash in Bnei Brak, and two years later, moved to the current beis medrash on Be'er Mayim Chaim Street, where he founded a kollel and talmud Torah. Later on, he also built a mikveh in the building.

His home was open to all Jews at all hours, and he refused to designate reception hours. He claimed: "The Jews who seek me need a yeshua or an eitzo now," stressing that this practice might arouse rachamim with Hakodosh Boruch Hu, so that all hours would be those of rachamim and eis rotzon.

His tremendous diligence was exemplary. Once a great-grandson from abroad who was studying in Eretz Yisroel came to visit him. The Admor was so immersed in his studies that he didn't recognize his own kin, and asked who he was. When the youth explained that he was the Admor's great- grandson, the Admor blessed him, and returned to his studies. In his sefer, Hatsniyus VeHayeshua, he apologized to his offspring for this behavior.

He poured over his seforim day and night, and the old- fashioned typewriter on which he personally typed out his many chiddushim was constantly on his table.

His avodas hakodesh was remarkable. He would go before the teiva on Rosh Hashonoh and Yom Kippur during all of the services: from the eve of the holiday until its end, including the Torah reading and the shofar blowing. After the prayer services, his face would glow, and he didn't seem tired from the exertion.

He would often restore sholom bayis to families, and make peace among people. He did this in a most unassuming manner. He drew many closer to their Father in Heaven.

Once a baal teshuva told him about his many difficulties. The Admor advised him to study Orchos Tzaddikim. When the young man claimed that he had no one with whom to study, the Rebbe held a daily shiur with him, which continued for two years. When questioned about that practice, the Admor replied: "What can I do if I benefit from the shiur?"

Recently, he became very weak, and the community was asked to daven for his recovery. He recuperated, and during the weeks in which he felt better, he would shower brochos upon Am Yisroel.

On Sunday, 13 Tammuz, he felt ill, and was taken to Laniado hospital. During the ride to the hospital, his situation deteriorated. At the hospital, efforts were made to revive him, and top-ranking doctors were brought to his bed. At 1 A.M., he returned his pure soul to its Maker. At the time of his petirah he was surrounded by a minyan which recited pesukei hayichud and nishmas.

Despite the late hour, the bitter news spread rapidly throughout the Kiryat Sanz neighborhood, and at 2:15 A.M., the levaya left the hospital and headed towards Bnei Brak.

He is survived by an illustrious family: 13 years ago, he merited to see a fifth generation. His sons are: Rabbi Meir of Caracas, HaRav Yisroel of Stanislav, HaRav Nosson Dovid, the rav of the Chassidei Zutchka community, and his sons-in- law, HaRav Osher Yeshaya of Nadvorna-Hadera and HaRav Yosef Leifer of Varadan. He is also survived by grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom are following in his footsteps.

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