Rav Zundel Kroizer zt”l


rav-zundel-kroizerIt is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rav Zundel Kroizer zt”l. He was 90 years old.

Rav Kroizer was one of the tzaddikei hador and gedolei Yerushalayim who spent his life immersed in Torah and tefillah away from the limelight. Unknown to many beyond the olam hatorah, Rav Kroizer was an Ish Elokim, residing in humble quarters and in Botei Broide in Yerushalayim.

Rav Kroizer, who was a close talmid of Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer zt”l, was well-versed in nigleh and nistar. He was the mechaber of Ohr Hachamah and other volumes on all of Tanach and Shas.

The levaya was held today in Yerushalayim.

The following is from an article by Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz:

Rav Chaim Brim, a Yerushalayimer giant who was steeped in Torah and all its secrets, is quoted as saying that if there are two people in this world in whose merit the world stands, they are Rav Chaim Kanievsky and Rav Zundel Kroizer.

If so, you will ask, how can it be that a man of such caliber remained unknown in a generation in which giants are so needed and so venerated?

It is actually a gift from Hashem, says Rav Chaim Kanievsky. He remarked that it must be that Hashem loves Rav Zundel more than he loves Rav Chaim, because He keeps Rav Zundel hidden, and people don’t bother him with shailos; for brachos and tzorchei tzibbur the way they bother Rav Chaim. Since he did not become famous, he is able to learn Torah uninterrupted, day and night.

And he did. He woke up around chatzos every night to learn until daybreak, at which time he davened Shacharis kevosikin. He did so for as long as anyone can remember. Every Shabbos morning, after davening, the bochurim in his presence were treated to the special zechus of being able to ask him any question on any sugyah in Shas and receiving his answers.


The learning didn’t always come easy. There was a manuscript of his chidushim on Maseches Kesubos which Rav Zundel uncharacteristically wouldn’t lend out. Finally, a young talmid chochom who was learned in that mesichtah pestered him to the point where Rav Zundel loaned it to him. The fellow took it with him to Meah Shearim and lost it. He was shattered and couldn’t conceive of returning to Rav Zundel without the manuscript. Finally, he mustered up the courage and told Rav Zundel the truth: the manuscript was gone.

Rav Zundel consoled him over the loss of the “hefteleh.” The fellow walked away regretfully, assuming that was the end of the story and those chiddushim.

Several months later, a man came to Rav Zundel with the booklet of his writings and asked if they were his. The man was a collector of antique seforim. One day as he was trying his luck, going through piles of sheimos before they were buried, a handwritten pamphlet grabbed his eye. He took it home, miraculously saving it from burial. He later showed it to someone who recognized that the handwriting to be Rav Zundel’s. And so, the precious manuscript was returned to its owner.

Rav Zundel thanked the man and shared with him a remarkable story. He said the booklet of chiddushim was written with tremendous mesirus nefesh in 1948 as Yerushalayim was being bombed. While everyone huddled in the dark, cramped bomb shelter, he found it impossible to learn there, so he returned to his home.

“Bombs were exploding, the windows were shattering,” related Rav Zundel, “but I didn’t move from that room. It was under those harrowing conditions that I learned Kesubos and was mechadeish the Torah that is written there. I knew it couldn’t be permanently lost. I knew it would come back.”

Rav Zundel rarely talked about himself, but sometimes the truth escapes and people get a glimpse of his spiritual stature. A story went around Yerushalayim about an incident that took place when Rav Zundel was already older and learned by himself at home. People would come by to check up on him, and make sure that all was in order. One day, Rav Yaakov Trietsky arrived at Rav Zundel’s apartment and found him lying in his bed, badly bruised and unable to move. Alarmed, Rav Trietsky asked Rav Zundel what happened. Rav Zundel told him that he had collapsed and fallen on the floor.

“But how did you get up on to the bed?” asked Rav Trietsky.

The response floored him. “Der chavrusah hut mir oifgeheiben un geleikt oif der bet – My chavrusah picked me up and put me on my bed.”

“But you don’t have a chavrusah,” wondered Rav Trietsky.

“That’s all I’m telling you,” said Rav Zundel. “No further questions.”

Everyone who knew Rav Zundel was certain Eliyahu Hanovi had picked him up off the floor and put him on his bed. That’s the type of Yid he was.

Until a few years ago, Rav Zundel refused to give brachos. Then he became very ill. His talmidim approached him and told him that when Rav Elazar Menachem Man Shach was approximately 75 years old, he became very ill. He felt that Hashem had kept him alive so that he could help people. Until that time he was well known to talmidei chachomim but generally did not involve himself in public matters. After he recuperated, though, he overcame his previous reluctance, and involved himself in all communal affairs. Rav Shach lived for another 30 years.

The talmidim proposed to Rav Zundel that if he would undertake to give brachos to people in need of yeshuos, in that zechus he would recover from his grave illness. Until that time, Rav Zundel had been reticent to give brachos and engage in activities that would take him away from his learning. When convinced that people would derive chizuk from his brachos and that through them, Jews would strengthen their emunah and bitachon, he agreed.

Since then, his fame slowly spread beyond the parameters of Yerushalayimers and talmidei chachomim; many people sought his brachos and receive chizuk from them.

Rav Gedaliah Sheinen, who heads a yeshiva in Yerushalayim, tells of the time he brought a wealthy American to Rav Zundel for a bracha. The man wished to express his gratitude with a gift of money. Rav Zundel refused to accept it. “Ich tor nisht nemen gelt far mir. Ich bin a gevir. Ich hob ah dirah. Ich hob vos tzu esen. Ich bin a gevir.”

He told the man that he couldn’t accept anything for himself because he’s a wealthy person. “I have a house. I have what to eat. I am a rich man,” he said. He wasn’t saying it to be cute. He meant it. And hearing him say it, you knew it was true.

Yehi zichro boruch.

{Matzav.com Israel News Bureau}


  1. BDE
    this is horrific & tragic. our Gedolim are leaving us on a weekly basis & its just getting worse R”L. do you remember just a few years ago-before this mageifa of Gedolim started-when we only heard once or twice a year c”v that a tzaddik was niftar?

    11 Gedolei Hador have passed away already this year in the past 4 months R”L

    is it even POSSIBLE for someone to say this is coincidence?
    will WE EVER start doing teshuva?

    I’m sorry to be the one to say this & it brings tears to my eyes, but righteous tzaddikim don’t belong staying in a world of people who won’t do teshuva, they belong with Hashem & his shechina in olam Haba.

    If we want Hashem to give us these Tzaddikim to guide us through the generation then we need to listen to them %100 & we need to do teshuva to be deserving of their guidance & Torah.

    May we all start doing Teshuva ASAP before any other Tzaddikim are niftar C”V

  2. There are many of us who indeed knew of him. I had the zchus of meeting him on a couple of occasions. For those who knew about him, it was often said that he was one of the ‘lamed-vav’ tzadikim in this world. A Gadol from a different generation. May he be a ‘Maylets Yosher’ for our entire ‘dor’! A huge loss for Klal Yisroel

  3. “If so, you will ask, how can it be that a man of such caliber remained unknown in a generation in which giants are so needed and so venerated?”

    What is the question? Why do we have to secularize everything? For other chacmos lehavdil then part of the greatness is gaining fame. For torah, fame is irrelevant. In fact, gedolim avoided it. R Kroizer’s greatness is not and should not be based on fame.