Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Haifa’s Rebbe of Unity and Peace

Yossi Elituv and Mishpacha Staff

He was a child in the court of his illustrious grandfather, the Ahavas Yisrael of Vizhnitz, but stayed on the sidelines during the leadership of his father, the Mekor Baruch. Yet when he was appointed Rebbe of Seret-Vizhnitz 51 years ago, he vowed to keep Yiddishkeit alive in “Red Haifa” at any cost. Several years ago Rav Eliezer Hager ztz”l granted an exclusive interview to Mishpacha, sharing his convictions about a country in trouble and the remedy for healing.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

On Motzaei Yom Kippur 1924 in Grosswardein, Transylvania, the Ahavas Yisrael of Vizhnitz couldn’t contain his joy. A new grandson had just been born to his son Rav Baruch Hager and Rebbetzin Tzirel — and named Eliezer after Rav Baruch’s uncle Rav Eliezer of Dzikov. Later, looking at the newborn, the Ahavas Yisrael exclaimed, “When my grandfather, Rav Naftali of Ropschitz, beheld his newborn son, Rav Eliezer of Dzikov, he said, ‘Eliezer, my son, you are shining like the sun!’ ” Years later, it was obvious that the Ahavas Yisrael was referring to this newborn Eliezer as well. He was to become the Seret-Vizhnitz Rebbe of Eretz Yisrael, and in the 51 years of his influence until his passing last week at age 90, helped turn notoriously “red” Haifa from a staunchly secular town to a city that was open to the embrace of Torah and chassidus. The Ahavas Yisrael passed away in 1936 when Eliezer was just 12, but even as a young child, he was unusually attached to his grandfather. One time, he accompanied the Ahavas Yisrael to the “kvittlach tzimmer,” the Rebbe’s private domain where he received visitors in confidence. The Rebbe’s attendants tried to stop the child at the door. “Leave the boy,” the Rebbe ordered them. “Let him watch. The day will come when many people will gather at his door.”

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you