Living Legacy: Rebbe Avrohom Yaakov of Sadiger on his Tenth Yohrtzeit
by Yehuda Alter
Thursday, the 19th of Teves, marks one decade since the passing of the Sadigerer Rebbe, known as the Ibvei Abirim.
He was born in the year 1928 in Vienna, a scion of the great Sadigerer dynasty, which goes back generations—ben achar ben—to the Heiliger Ruziner. Vienna was where many of the Admorim escaped to during WWI, and they remained in the city. His father was Rebbe Mordechai Sholom Yosef, known as the Knesses Mordechai of Sadiger.
In 1934, the family moved to the town Pshemishl, and since then, the Rebbe was sometimes referred to as Sadigura-Pshemishler Rebbe. In 1939, they alighted to Eretz Yisroel, and the Rebbe learned in the Lomza Yeshiva in Petach Tikva. Later, they relocated to America, settling in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. Even after the return of Knesses Mordechai to Eretz Yisroel—where he settled in Tel Aviv—the Ikvei Abirim remained to lead the Shul in Crown Heights, joining his father only later.
He established Yeshivas Ruzin in Bnei Brak, and served as its Rosh Yeshiva until the passing of his father when he became the Rebbe.
The story of his assumption of leadership came about in the following way:
It was the night of 29 Nissan in the year 1969, and his father summoned him to his home. He said to him, “please take the chair, I have no more strength left.” He then proceeded to speak with him about leaders of Klal Yisroel who invest themselves into their flock and how they are themselves strengthened through this.
The following morning, the Knesses Mordechai awoke, asked for a drink of water, made a shehakol, and returned his soul to its Maker.
With that, Rebbe Avrohom Yaakov began a tenure of 45 years as the Sadigerer Rebbe.
During this time, he would expand the chassidus greatly. He established branches of the chassidus in Beitar, Yerushalayim, London, Ashdod, Modi’in, and New York. While Tel Aviv was once the Chassidic capital of Eretz Yisroel, it became more and more secular and gentrified, and the Chassidic courts began moving out. The Rebbe, too, moved his court to nearby Bnei Brak, but he maintained the Beis Medrash on Rechov Pinkas in Tel Aviv, where it continues to function to this day.
He carried the nobility of Ruzin with him everywhere he went, and despite illness and weakness, the Rebbe did not cease in his avodah, even in advanced age. He was niftar in the year 2013 and was succeeded by his son, the previous Rebbe, zt”l.
The Rebbe is interred in the Nachlas Yitzchok Cemetery in Givatayim.