The Klausenberger Rebbe - Time for Bracha and Mass Aliyah

Admor sitting with bekashe

Rabbi Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam also known as the Klausenberger Rebbe or Rebbe of the Sanz-Klausenburg Hasidic dynasty, was born in the town of Rudnik Poland in 1905. He was a leader for thousands of followers in the town of Klausenberg, Romania before World War II. Unfortunately, his first wife and 11 children were murdered in the Holocaust.

After the terrible tragedies of WWII, he eventually settled (temporarily) in the United States where he rebuilt his community.

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin recalls the remarkable event he witnessed when he davened (prayed) with the Rebbe in the summer of 1952 when he was just 12 years old.  On that particular Shabbos, it was the reading of the Tochecha - Rebuke.

Rabbi Riskin writes the following:

"In accordance with the custom, the Torah reader began to chant the Tochacha in a whisper. And unexpectedly, almost inaudibly but unmistakably, the Yiddish word “hecher” (louder) came from the direction of the lectern upon which the rebbe was leaning at the eastern wall of the shul.

The Torah reader stopped reading for a few moments; the congregants looked up from their Bibles in questioning and even mildly shocked silence. Could they have heard their rebbe correctly? Was he ordering the Torah reader to go against time-honored custom and chant the Tochacha out loud? The Torah reader continued to read in a whisper, apparently concluding that he had not heard what he thought he heard. And then the rebbe banged on his lectern, turned to face the stunned congregation and cried out in Yiddish, with a pained expression on his face and fire blazing in his eyes: “I said louder! Read these verses out loud! We have nothing to fear. We’ve already experienced the curses. Let the Master of the Universe hear them. Let Him know that the curses have already befallen us, and let Him know that it’s time for Him to send the blessings!"

"The rebbe turned back to the wall, and the Torah reader continued slowly chanting the cantillation out loud.

"After Musaf, the rebbe rose to speak. 'My beloved brothers and sisters,' he said, 'Pack up your belongings. We must make one more move – hopefully the last one. God promises that the blessings which must follow the curses will now come. They will come – but not from America. The blessings will only come from Israel. It is time for us to go home.'”

In 1960, the Rebbe moved to Israel with many members of his community. He established Kiryat Sanz neighborhood's in Netanya and Jerusalem. In 1974 he founded the Laniado Hospital in Netanya. He passed away on 9th of Tamuz 5754 - June 18, 1994 and was buried in Netanya, Israel.