Thousands Pay Last Respects to Vizhnitz Hasidic Dynasty Leader

Tens of thousands of people attended the funeral on Wednesday of the long-time leader of the Vizhnitz Hasidim, whose death is likely to set off a split in Israel’s second-largest Hasidic sect.

Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Hager, the admor (rabbinic leader ) of Vizhnitz and head of Agudath Israel’s Council of Torah Sages, was laid to rest in Bnei Brak after 40 years at the sect’s helm. He died Tuesday night at the age of 95 after a lengthy battle with various illnesses.

All of the leading Ashkenazi rabbis in Israel attended the funeral, including the admor of Gur, Israel’s largest Hasidic sect, and Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman, a leader of the “Lithuanian” (non-Hasidic ) ultra-Orthodox community. Also present were Hager’s three sons-in-law: the admors of the Belz, Satmar and Skverer Hasidim. The latter two flew in from the United States, along with many followers.


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