Memory Lane: Rav Dov Berish Zuckerman, zt”l

Memory Lane: Rav Dov Berish Zuckerman, zt”l

Hidden in Buffalo for decades, Rav Zuckerman, a phenomenal ga’on, sat and learned with great diligence. The Tchebiner Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Baruch Shimon Scheerson, zt”l, remarked about Rav Zuckerman: “He is one of the 36 hidden tzaddikim of the generation” Today, we glimpse into the remarkable life of Rav Dov Berish, zt”l. 

The Hivniver Iluy 

Rav Dov Berish was born in 1901 in the Galician town of Hivniv, 20 km from the town of Belz, to his father Rav Aaron—a businessman who was a gadol in Torah and chassidus, who had learned b’chavrusa with Rebbe Yisochor Dov of Belz. His son would later write of him: “although he was occupied with his business responsibilities, he never left the tent of Torah; learning into the wee hours of the morning, with great iyun and intensity.” He attests to the extreme dedication of his mother, Yocheved Rivka—the granddaughter of the Hivniver Rabbonim—to raising her sons toward a life of Torah and middos: “This was her singular desire in life.”

In this milieu of Torah fused with chassidus, middos tovos, and deep eidelkeit, young Dov Berish was raised—constantly exposed to the aura of Belz of yore, and to the Gedolei Torah which characterized Galicia of yore. These influences defined him until his last days on this earth. 

Saved by Eichmann, ym”sh

In 1929, he married Rebbetzin Hinda Bracha, the daughter of Rav Dovid Frankel, the Rov of Husyatin. The couple settled in Lemberg, where he continued to sit and learn all day. There he became close to the Tchebiner Rov, zt”l. 

In 1931, they moved, along with his father-in-law, to Vienna—where so many Galician Yidden had sought refuge during the upheaval of WWI. He was drawn close to the Rogachover Ga’on. During one of their dialogues in the sugyos of Kodashim, the Rogachover grabbed him by the lapels and exclaimed “ihr zogt gut, yungerman!” 

In 1938, when the Nazis came to power in Vienna, the party was headed by the infamous Adolf Eichmann, ym”sh. So famed was the library of Rabbis Frankel and Zuckerman’s priceless seforim (over 100,000 volumes), that Eichmann came in person to confiscate them (an ordeal of two days spent with the rashah). Included in this were Rav Zuckerman’s own manuscripts. On the way out, Eichmann advised them to flee, which they did, arriving in America in 1939. 

In 1942, Rav Zuckerman was appointed Chief Rabbi of Buffalo—a position he held for twenty-five years. His tenure was filled with accomplishments in every area of Yiddishkeit for the Yidden of Buffalo and the region—affecting and influencing countless families through his love and warmth. 

A Legacy of Written Torah

In addition to his work and his non-stop learning, Rav Zuckerman corresponded with the greatest poskim of America and Eretz Yisroel on every contemporary halacha issue of the times, including Rav Henkin, Rav Moshe Feinstein, the Radziner Rebbe, and many others. 

Throughout this time, he also maintained an ironclad connection to the Belzer Rebbe, Rav Aaron of Belz, as well as his brother, with whom he was close back when the world hadn't yet gone mad. 

In the 1960’s he moved to Boro Park for the last decade of his life. He drew around him young people who sensed the greatness that lived in their midst, chassidim who wished to connect with a rare breed of old Galician greatness. He was also outstandingly family-oriented, giving himself over to his daughter and her family with supreme dedication—and that love was returned in ample measure. 

Until his last days, he did not cease in his learning, and even during his stay in the hospital during his final days, he greeted every visitor with effusiveness and a smile. He also urged his family to publish his manuscripts—an endeavor to which they dedicated themselves after the passing of Rav Dov Berish Zuckerman, a vestige of the lions of Galicia who illuminated Boro Park of Yesteryear. 

Weekend Weather: A Mostly Sunny Weekend
  • May 24 2024
  • |
  • 10:30 AM

Boro Park Gets 4 New Sifrei Torah
  • May 24 2024
  • |
  • 12:11 PM

Be in the know

receive BoroPark24’s news & updates on whatsapp

 Start Now