Latest update: March 15th, 2012
The Vizhnitzer Rebbe of Bnei Brak, Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Hager, passed away late Tuesday night. He was 95.
Hareidi Jews around the world were called upon to pray for the recovery of Rabbi Hager – Rav Moshe Yehoshua ben Margalis – after his health deteriorated over the weekend due to an infection and difficulty breathing.
Rabbi Hager is reported to have been surrounded by family and loyal followers at the time of his death, as the group said prayers traditionally recited prior to death.
The funeral will begin at 1:00pm Wednesday at the Vizhnitz Beit Midrash Torah study hall in Bnei Brak, in coordination with the municipality of Bnei Brak and Magen David Adom emergency services. Vizhnitz followers will shut their businesses during the funeral, which is expected to be attended by tens of thousands of people from all Jewish backgrounds from around the country.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed sorrow over Rabbi Hager’s passing, releasing a statement that said, “We have lost a dear man, an exemplar, a great leader, one who led one of the largest and most important communities in the Jewish world – Vishnitz Hasidim. He has thousands of students who will carry on his legacy for generations to come. Having devotedly led thousands of people, his passing is a major loss for ultra-orthodox Judaism and for the entire Jewish People.”
Rabbi Hager is survived by son Rabbi Yisroel Hager, the leader of Vizhnitz during his father’s illness, Rabbi Menachem Mendel, the head of the Beit Din of Vizhnitz in Bnei Brak, and four daughters – the wife of Rav Dovid Twersky – the Skverer Rebbe, the wife of Rabbi Yissochor Dov Rokeach – the Belzer Rebbe, the wife of Rabbi Aharon Teitelbaum – the Chief Satmar Rabbi of Kiryas Joel, New York, and the wife of Rabbi Menachem Ernster – Rosh Yeshiva of the Vizhnitzer Yeshiva in Bnei Brak. He is also survived by his brother Rabbi Mordechai Hager, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe of Monsey, New York.
The Rebbe’s brother, Rav Mordechai Hager, is the Vizhnitzer Rebbe of Monsey.
During his life, Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua served as the President of the Council of Torah Sages, the body to which the Agudath Yisrael hareidi political party turns for religious decisions and guidance.
Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua was born in Romania in 1916 to the fourth Rebbe of Vizhnitz, Rabbi Chaim Meir. He served as the Grand Rabbi of Vizhnitz in Bnei Brak for 40 years.
About the Author: Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
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