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13 Ellul 5763 - September 10, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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HaRav Mordechai Shmuel Leifer, Hy'd
by Y. Ariel

HaRav Mordechai Shmuel Leifer Hy'd son of the Admor of Nadvorna-Haifa, passed away on Friday at the age of 27 following injuries he sustained during the bloody attack on the 2 bus in Jerusalem on August 19. His petiroh brings the number of murders from the terror attack to 22.

Nadvorna Chassidim in Haifa were shrouded in mourning upon receiving news of his passing. The large levaya was held on Friday afternoon in Netanya's Kiryat Tzanz. Just one week after the families of other victims from the tragic bus bombing finished sitting shiva, another victim joined the list of kedoshim, a dear avreich who spent more than two weeks wracked with yissurim as he fought for his life with the help of numerous tefillos for his recovery. But early Friday morning he returned his pure, refined soul to his Maker.

The petiroh marked the second time the Kiryat Tzanz community was struck by tragedy recently after HaRav Sholom Mordechai Reinitz, the spiritual director of the talmud Torah in Kiryat Tzanz, and his son Yissoschor Dov, were murdered in the bombing. Now another korbon tzibbur was summoned to the Yeshiva Shel Maaloh, one of the neighborhood's leading avreichim and the beloved son of the Admor of Nadvorna-Haifa, HaRav Chaim Alter Dovid Leifer, who also serves as the rov of the Tzanz kehilloh in Haifa.

HaRav Mordechai Shmuel was born on Asoroh BeTeves 5736 (1976) in Tzfat. At the time his father, son of the Admor of Nadvorna-Tzfat HaRav Aharon Yechiel Leifer, was serving as the rov of the city's Tzanz kehilloh. His mother, is the daughter of HaRav Elchonon Halperin, the nosi of the Association of Chareidi Communities of London. As a child Mordechai Shmuel, who was named after HaRav Mordechai of Nadvorna and HaRav Shmuel Engel of Radomishla, was part of the sixth generation of the illustrious Tzanz dynasty, which included the Ropshits, Premishlan, Barezan and many other important families.

From a very young age his pure and refined soul made itself apparent. An outstanding talmid at Talmud Torah Yacheil Yisroel in Haifa's Ramat Vishnitz neighborhood, after his bar mitzvah he left home to study at the yeshiva in Kiryat Tzanz in Netanya, where he again rose to the top ranks of talmidim. He climbed the rungs of Torah scholarship, studying day and night and setting an example for his peers. He was even given the title of "chover," in the tradition of Yeshivas Tzanz, when he was successfully tested on over 600 dapim of gemora with Rashi and Tosafos by heart.

At the age of 18, on Rosh Chodesh Elul 5754, he married the daughter of HaRav Mordechai Shabsai Eisenberger tlct'a, one of the leading ramim at Yeshivas Tzanz in Netanya. They set up their home in Netanya on the pillars of Torah and Chassidus. HaRav Mordechai Shmuel spent the last nine years as one of Kiryat Tzanz' outstanding avreichim.

All of his time was devoted to toiling in Torah and refining his middos. Two years ago he received smichas chachomim from gedolei Torah who tested him on the halachos of Shabbos, Yom Tov and Chol Hamoed. The gedolei Torah who tested him were so impressed by his concrete, clear and profound knowledge that his mentor and rebbe, the Admor of Tzanz, awarded him a certificate of honor at a festive event held on 21 Adar 5761. Recently HaRav Mordechai Shmuel was set to complete his studies and review of the halochos of ribbis--one of the toughest areas of halocho--and to be tested on them.

Never idle, he dedicated all of his free time to Torah study. During his fateful trip to the Kosel Maarovi he took along a volume of the Tur Shulchan Oruch to fulfill "uvelechtecho vaderech." In the aftermath of the attack emergency workers found his sefer, its margins filled with his notations and chiddushim on some of the most complex sugyos and its pages splattered with flesh and blood--which mixed with the sweat of Torah already absorbed into the pages.

Just as HaRav Mordechai Shmuel had the merit to rise up in Torah he also rose up middos -- . . . yir'oso kodemes lechochmoso. He shared his achievements in ruchniyus with others, setting time aside to study with bochurim and avreichim he felt needed a boost. Many avreichim and bochurim made great gains in Torah and Chassidus by taking part in chaburos he led and all who drew near were delighted by his uplifting talks and the opportunity to be close to a unique ben aliyoh. He was noted for his distinctly noble character.

Miraculously his wife and four children were spared. Two of his children left the bus unscathed, wandering among the mangled bodies in search of their parents until they were gathered up by kindhearted people at the scene of the explosion.

After the attack HaRav Mordechai Shmuel was taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem in critical condition. Despite his grave injuries he remained conscious and whenever he woke up from the heavy pain-killers the doctors administered to ease his suffering he would inquire about his good friend Mordechai Reinitz, Hy'd, who stood next to him on the bus and spoke with him during the last moments before the blast. At these times he would also discuss his Torah learning as best he could with the relatives at his bedside.

A few days before his petiroh he lost consciousness. He spent a total of 18 days suffering while the entire world was hoping for his recovery, praying fervently and learning and taking on resolutions in his merit. At the same time the doctors and nurses at the hospital made every effort to save his life.

Throughout the difficult two-week period HaRav Mordechai Shmuel's family members and avreichim from the Tzanz kehilloh made themselves available to help. During the last few days his condition vacillated and before his light faded they had time to say tefillas Nishmas and pesukei Yichud in a minyan at his bedside. At 2:30 am Friday morning his condition suddenly deteriorated and he was summoned to Yeshiva Shel Maaloh.

The somber levaya set out Friday afternoon. The first of the eulogizers was the deceased's grandfather HaRav Elchonon Halperin, who spoke via telephone from his home in Golders Green and his divrei hesped were amplified for the thousands gathered in Netanya. He was followed by the father, the Admor of Nadvorna-Haifa, who said, "Hashem nossan, veHashem lokach. Yehi sheim Hashem mevorach mei'atoh ve'ad olom." He then described how his cherished son was recognized from a young age as a child holy in all of his ways, from tefilloh to Torah study, and Hashem took him away "beshleimuso." He also noted that his son passed away late Thursday night at a time he was normally engaged in Torah study. The Admor said the initials of his name (Mem- Shin-Lamed) could be arranged to spell the word, "sholeim," which accurately described his wholeness in Torah and yir'oh. As his son was dedicated to avodas Hashem in This World, the Admor asked that he dedicate himself in the World of Truth as well, acting as a advocate before Kisei Hakovod to bring an end to the calamities befalling Am Yisroel.

The deceased's father-in-law, HaRav Mordechai Shabsai Eisenberger, said his son-in-law had been like a real son to him.

In bitter tones of weeping the deceased's mentor and rebbe, the Admor of Tzanz, said, "The difficult blow that has been brought down upon us is like a statute with no known cause or explanation, demonstrating that the young avreich plucked in his prime was not only holy in death but also holy in life, as the walls of the beis medrash and his home will attest." He also referred to the deceased as an "unblemished sacrifice," unblemished in Torah and unblemished in Chassidus and holiness.

The deceased's brother, HaRav Nachum Yehuda Leibish Leifer, spiritual director of Talmud Torah Tzanz in Jerusalem, asked for forgiveness in the name of the entire family and announced to the Admor of Tzanz and all the other admorim and gedolei Torah the setup of a fund to assist the widow and her fatherless children, calling on the public to help support the fund as well. (Contributions can be deposited into Postal Bank account number 8060347, or sent to Keren HaKadosh HaRav Leifer Hy'd, POB 5050, Kiryat Tzanz, Netanya.)

After the deceased's father recited Kaddish, Kaddish was said by the deceased's seven-year-old son as the entire crowd wept. HaRav Mordechai Shmuel Leifer Hy'd was buried near the ohel marking the holy grave of the Admor of Tzanz, zechuso yogen oleinu. He is survived by two sons and two daughters ranging from two to seven years old, his grandfather, his parents, his siblings and his wife.


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