Rav Zalman Leib Teitelbaum of Satmar Purchases Divrei Chaim’s Sefer Torah

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rav-zalman-leib-teitelbaum-rav-malkiel-kotlerMany of today’s chassidishe rabbinical families trace back to Rav Chaim Halberstam, zt”l (1793-1876), revered Sanzer Rav and author of Divrei Chaim, who was a leading chassidishe Rebbe during his lifetime.

The Divrei Chaim had fourteen children. The two youngest sons survived into their nineties and were murdered in the Holocaust. Miraculously, a few religious items that belonged to the Divrei Chaim survived the Holocaust and are priceless. They include a sefer Torah, a sefer Torah crown, a kiddush cup, and some other singular items.

The Rubin brothers of California were in possession of the sefer Torah. They are grandsons of Rabbi Moshe Halberstam, zt”l (d. 1919), Shiniva Rebbe; son of Rabbi Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam, zt”l (1813-1898), Shiniva Rebbe and author of Divrei Yechezkel; son of the Divrei Chaim. They inherited the sefer Torah from their grandfather. Though continuously offered huge sums of money for the sefer Torah, the brothers always declined. Many chassidishe rebbes and descendants of the Divrei Chaim would yearly journey to California to be called up for a reading in the special sefer Torah.

Last year, the Rubin brothers faced certain challenges. They sought the blessing of Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum of Satmar, adescendant of the Divrei Chaim. The brothers perceive the Rebbe’s blessing as having literally saved them. In return, the brothers decided to sell the sefer Torah to the Satmar Rebbe.

The Rebbe was overjoyed to hear their decision. He immediately called upon philanthropist Moshe Shmuel Zupnik to gather the wherewithal to acquire the sefer Torah. A check for one million dollars was immediately written and on Thursday, March 24, the sefer Torah was brought to the Rebbe’s residence on Bedford Avenue.

Plans have been announced to bring the sefer Torah to the Main Satmar Beis Medrash in Williamsburg on Shavous, the Yom Tov of Kabbolas Torah. A grand Hachnosas Sefer Torah celebration will take place, culminating with the Rebbe publicly reading from the sefer Torah.

{Rabbi G Tannenbaum/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Interesting how the holy belongings of ancestors are returned to their progeny. This Sefer Torah that belonged to the Divrei Chaim, the then Gadol Hador, is now in the possesion of his great-grandson, the Satmar Rebbe, today’s Gadol Hador. Heaven guides events and the symbols of Torah leadership are bestowed upon the Torah leaders of each particular generation.

  2. The Chakev Rebbe of Jerusalem [Head of Vaad Hakashrus of the Eida Chareidis](brother of R’ Moshe Halberstam zt”l)claims to have the sefer Torah Of the Divrei Chaim of sanz.

  3. Rav Moshe Teitelbaum was the grandson of Rav Sholom Laizer of Ratzfort who was one of the younger of sons of Rabbi Chaim.

  4. Rav Moshe Teitelbaum father of the current Satmar Rabbeim was a grandson of Rabbi Sholom Laizer of Ratzfort, Hungary. Rabbi Sholom Laizer was one of the younger children of Rabbi Chaim Sanzer. I wish the Rubins much Hatzlochoh going forward, since their sale is most likely a sign of the great hardship that they must be going through.

  5. There must be an age difference of 50 year between the oldest and youngest sons of the Divrei Chaim!!
    to #3: According to the article, it was always in the hands of decendants of the Divrei Chaim. The Rubin brothers don’t qualify?

    In general I find it interesting that their Hakaras Hatov was so great that they sold it for a MILLION DOLLARS? Sounds a little bit like Efron. “I’m so honored that you want to buy from me. Eretz arba meios shekel kesef beini uveincha ma hi?”

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