POWERHOUSE OF CHESED
November 28, 2017
Beis Moshiach in #1095, Obituary

The Chabad community in Lud lost a beloved member, committed to a life of Torah and Chassidus, Ahavas Yisroel and gmilus chassadim. That was Rabbi Tzvi Lider ah, who never waited for tomorrow. * Friends share

By Y Veknin

The news spread quickly on Motzaei Shabbos, Parshas VaYeira, about the passing of RTzvi Lider. He was known by many and was an inseparable part of the scene in the Chabad neighborhood in Lud.

EARLY YEARS

R’ Tzvi Lider was born in Yerushalayim. His father was R’ Boruch Dovid. The Lider family was an old time Yerushalmi family with a connection to Slonim Chassidus. The family is descended from the Maharal of Prague. Over the years, four of the children, three sons and a daughter, became involved with Chabad and now, their families are a beautiful part of the Chabad communities where they live.

“They always asked me,” said the brother, R’ Yaakov of Australia, “‘how is it that several of you came to Chabad?’ I looked into it and discovered that our family is descended from a dayan in Vilna who signed on the cherem against the Alter Rebbe. Then I realized that this is his punishment, that hundreds of his great-grandchildren are Chabad Chassidim …”

R’ Tzvi attended a Vizhnitz yeshiva and then a yeshiva in Kiryat Tzanz. In his youth, he encountered Chabad for the first time and went to learn in the yeshiva in Kfar Chabad. He discovered a new world. He felt that the place spoke to him more than any other place and he stayed in the yeshiva and became acquainted with the teachings of Chassidus. He gained a lot from the mashpia, R’ Shlomo Chaim Kesselman.

For Pesach 5732/1972 he went to the Rebbe on K’vutza and remained until after Pesach 5733. Throughout this year he absorbed as much as he could and tried to be near the Rebbe as much as possible.

At the end of his year on K’vutza he returned to Eretz Yisroel. At a certain point, his mother went to the United States to pursue a shidduch idea from Monsey that was suggested for him, but the Rebbe calmed her down when he said, “Now he is a yeshiva bachur. He should continue learning for now and when he finishes he can pursue shidduchim.”

He married the daughter of R’ Moshe Weisbord who was a unique personality in his own right. The young chassan hit it off with his father-in-law and consulted with him about everything.

Before he married, he went to 770 and spent ten months there. He started learning for smicha with R’ Yosef Yitzchok Levkivker (now of Tzfas). His friends say that he learned very diligently during this period. He also studied sh’chita and received certification. “He was a person who was all about Torah study. This trait became infused in his blood and he was always found learning a sicha or a maamer, etc.” remembers his friend Rabbi Boruch Goldstein who was a chavrusa of his at the time.

He married on Isru Chag Shavuos 5734 at a particularly joyous wedding. The mesader kiddushin was the rav of Kfar Chabad, Rabbi Shneur Zalman Garelik.

HIS LOVE FOR THE REBBE WAS LIKE THAT OF A SON TOWARD HIS FATHER

Some time after he married, he began working alongside R’ Efraim Wolf, director of the yeshivos Tomchei T’mimim in Eretz Yisroel. He worked mainly in fundraising for the yeshiva.

With his charisma, he was able to reach many people and they happily donated to the yeshiva. “R’ Tzvi was sharp and full of charisma; it was hard to avoid him,” said his close friend, R’ Yaakov Gloiberman. “He was very persuasive, which helped him a lot in his work on behalf of the Chabad mosdos in Eretz Yisroel.”

One time, in a yechidus, he told the Rebbe that he did not feel comfortable getting a percentage of the donations he raised, because the donors intended the money to go to the yeshiva. The Rebbe, as a loving father, reassured him and said, “It is kosher money.”

In the winter, he worked in a matza bakery as a zetzer (one who places the matzos into and then removes them from the oven, which is quite a skill). It is very hard work and pays commensurately. During the years when he did this work, he would give the Rebbe half of his earnings every year! In yechidus, he would give an envelope and say, “This is for the Rebbe’s personal matters, not for anything else.” R’ Tzvi said the Rebbe would take the envelope and put it in a drawer of his desk.

R’ Efraim Wolf did not like the fact that R’ Tzvi stopped his work as a fundraiser for the yeshiva for four months of the year in order to work in a matza bakery. R’ Tzvi told the Rebbe this in one of his yechiduyos, but the Rebbe encouraged him to continue, saying: Tell R’ Efraim that all the people you were meant to meet during those four months, you will meet after Pesach. The merit of working with matzos will help you to manage to get to all of them.

R’ Tzvi loved the Rebbe tremendously. For example, the night of Shmini Atzeres 5738, when thousands of Chassidim exited the shul so there would be more fresh air, R’ Tzvi wanted to remain with the Rebbe. He made sure, with his characteristic resourcefulness, to be one of those who got everyone out, and he stayed inside with a few Chassidim.

When the Rebbe came down from the platform holding a small Torah for the seventh hakafa, R’ Tzvi was afraid for the Rebbe’s health. He walked behind the Rebbe to the hakafos platform out of concern that if the Rebbe needed help, he would be there for him.

BAAL TZ’DAKA AND CHESED

R’ Tzvi was a dominant personality wherever he went. He knew how to breathe fresh life into people and get them motivated. Wherever he went, when he saw something was lacking, he took care of it immediately.

His brother Yaakov says, “There’s a saying that there are people who do, there are people who watch as others do, and there are those who don’t even know anything is going on. My brother was very active. Wherever he went, he took action, and whatever he did, he did fully.”

R’ Tzvi contributed a lot toward the flourishing of the Chabad community in Lud where he was a central figure. He was always among the organizers and doers. He initiated the contest of learning things by heart for the children in the school in Lud by giving money for valuable prizes. In the 80’s he opened a yeshivas erev for children of the community and every evening, 150 children showed up to learn for two hours. He gave out coupons with which the children could buy valuable prizes and toys that he would get donated.

“My father took on this project alone. He wanted the z’chus for himself, without partners,” says one of his children.

When we spoke with his close friend, R’ Yaakov Gloiberman, who knew him from their yeshiva days in 5730, he couldn’t hide his deep sorrow. “The verse says, ‘Hatzvi Yisroel (the beautiful of Israel) … how the mighty have fallen.’ That was him. He always ‘ran like a deer’ to every d’var mitzva. I did not always know how he managed to carry out all he wanted to do, but it’s a fact. He was also ‘strong like a lion,’ he was on the front lines and took care of every matter of k’dusha with one goal: ‘to do the will of your Father in heaven.’”

R’ Tzvi was granted a big heart and the desire to help everyone, whether with money or emotional help. When an opportunity arose, he happily got involved. He knew how to truly rejoice with other people in their simchas and he brought joy to others.

For a long time he was the gabbai of the central shul in his neighborhood. There too, his original ideas were carried out to everyone’s benefit. One time, when the shul needed money, he came up with the idea of a memorial plaque and within a few days had raised money for dedications. When he found out that a Torah was needed for one of the side minyanim, he immediately got a donor for that and a Torah was brought into the shul with great pomp.

“R’ Tzvi regularly got involved with every matter of tz’daka and chesed and he was a big baal chesed. Many of his deeds of tz’daka and chesed remain unknown,” says R’ Gloiberman. “Whatever needed help or fixing, he took care of quickly.”

R’ Gloiberman remembers examples of this. “One day, he saw something in shul that was neglected and needed attention. Within the hour, there were workmen on the premises to take care of it. ‘Where is the money for this,’ they asked him. He would say, ‘don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.’

“I remember a time when there was a problem with the air conditioning. Within an hour, a technician had arrived. He was a very energetic and active person. There was no such thing as ‘tomorrow’ for him.”

R’ Gloiberman choked up. “R’ Lider was a torchlight in the Chabad neighborhood in Lud, no less! He combined Torah, avoda, and g’milus chassadim. In every area he displayed astonishing abilities. The concept of ‘rest’ was not in his lexicon. He was a guiding light in terms of how to do for others and in learning Torah and Chassidus.

“He always said and followed this line: There is no such thing as I can’t; what there is, is I don’t want to.

“Every year he was the chazan on the Yomim Nora’im. His sweet voice melted the hearts of hundreds of congregants. He included many niggunim, wanting to bring people joy. This year, for the first time after many years, he did not daven at the amud because of his illness. Many people missed his davening and went over to his sons and wished them “that we merit that next year, your father will daven at the amud again.”

A MAN OF TORAH AND CHESED

There are people who, by nature, do kindness. They devote their time and energy to do chesed. Then there are people who love to delve into Torah study and they devote most of their time to that. Each with his own particular characteristic.

R’ Tzvi, in addition to his life being nonstop chesed, also loved Torah and he loved to devote his time to learning.

“R’ Tzvi derived real pleasure from learning, like from something physical and way more than that,” testified his close friend, R’ Arik Malkieli, a resident of Kiryat Chabad in Lud, who noted R’ Lider’s love for Torah in particular. “He had a rare enthusiasm for Torah study. We were close, and he would call me regularly so we could learn together.

“Even when he was sick in bed, he called me and pleaded with me to call him in my free time so we could learn together on the phone. By the way, for a long time, he would take a morning walk for about an hour and he would listen to shiurim from an array of rabbanim and on an array of topics. He loved it.

“I send out via WhatsApp a daily video with the daily Tanya. R’ Lider wasn’t satisfied merely by watching this clip. He told me that every morning he would show it on a big screen in the hospital in Houston so everyone could watch it and learn. That was him, thinking about everyone and always with big ideas.”

R’ Malkieli stopped for a moment and went back in time.

“Now and then, we would travel together at five o’clock Friday morning to the beach. There, in a different milieu, we would learn a sicha of the Rebbe and then immerse. I very much enjoyed learning with him. He was a sharp person with a ‘big head’ who knew a tremendous amount.”

His friend, R’ Boruch Goldstein, also a neighbor, had many unforgettable moments with R’ Tzvi. “We were chavrusas in yeshiva. Even later, when we were neighbors in the Chabad neighborhood in Lud, he would keep inviting me to come and learn with him.”

R’ Gloiberman: “R’ Tzvi had a broad knowledge of Torah. Whenever I asked him for some idea or vort for a program broadcast before thousands, he would quickly pull out stories and ideas full of Chassidic content. He also knew how to convey a message properly. He was a talented person, unusually so.”

EMPOWERING HIS CHILDREN

Along with being a person of Torah and chesed, he was also an outstanding family man. He was a loving father and an educational role model for his family.

In a farbrengen with the mashpia, R’ Chaim Sholom Deitsch, he used R’ Tzvi Lider as an example of proper chinuch of children. “R’ Tzvi wasn’t only the father of his children; he was their friend. That is how you need to be mechanech children, out of closeness and friendship.”

His children talk about numerous experiences they had with him. “At the Shabbos table he would uplift us,” says his son Dudu of Australia. “At every meal he would get each of us involved in an unusual way. When he wanted to ask us to speak, he would introduce us like an emcee at a convention of thousands in Binyanei HaUmah. He would quiet everyone down and then invite the ‘gaon and chassid, possessed of a mouth that spews forth pearls, to speak some enlightening words.’ No question, he was able to ply us with strength and power.”

“I considered him a role model of an exceptional family leader, from the special way he would cultivate his family, pleasantly and with great love,” said R’ Arik Malkieli. “Unlike many busy askanim, his concern to empower others with incomparable genuine love began with his family. He spoke to me a lot about limud z’chus on everyone and urged me a number of times to accustom the children sitting around the Shabbos table to take turns complimenting one another.”

R’ Malkieli provided an example from R’ Lider himself: “Before he left for treatment in the United States, he gathered his immediate family, including his sons and daughters-in-law, and went from one to the next enumerating their special qualities. His voice cracked and the tears seemed to come of their own volition, but he immediately recovered and switched to a happy tone of voice. He videotaped it and sent it to me so I would learn how to operate.

“Not surprisingly, he is survived by sons and daughters who follow his ways in Chassidishe conduct and fear of heaven, and all with great talent invested in serving the needs of the public.”

PARTING

His brother Yaakov’s wedding took place in the U.S. but R’ Tzvi was unable to attend because of his work in the matza bakery. Before his parents went to the wedding, he guided them as to how to conduct themselves in yechidus.

The day before the wedding, his parents entered the Rebbe’s room. At that time, their grandson was sick and the grandmother began to cry and pour out her heart to the Rebbe. After a few minutes, the Rebbe said to her, “Why don’t you tell me the good things that you have in your life?”

His brother Yaakov concludes the story by adding, “That was my brother Tzvi’s motto, to look at and constantly focus on the good and positive things in life. Even in his final days, when he was weak and suffered, he brought joy to his family and the people around him.”

R’ Eli Segal, shliach in Rishon L’Tziyon, who just lost his wife Chani, said, “My wife and I were in the same hospital in Texas, just four rooms away. At a certain point I went to him and said, ‘R’ Tzvi, we need to have simcha. What can you possibly do in your currently critical state?’ and R’ Tzvi immediately began tapping his feet together as though he was clapping. During the time we spent together, I saw that he brought much joy to the people around him. He told stories that made them smile, some from his own life experiences, even though I saw how much he suffered.

“Erev Yom Kippur I figured I’d go to him for a few minutes to spend time with him before the davening. But he, with his special way, kept me captivated and for an hour and a half he cheered me up. It wasn’t easy. It was a hospital where it is very difficult to spend time. I was there just a few weeks and I felt I was going crazy, and he was there for months and yet he managed to keep his spirits high.”

R’ Gloiberman: “R’ Tzvi had the ability to lift people up and support them. He had a good friend from his childhood in Kiryat Tzanz in Netanya. The friend was sick and suffered a lot and R’ Tzvi would call him and cheer him up. He called him every day and encouraged him for hours. He once told me how difficult that person who was like a brother had it, which is why he tried to help him and lift him up.

“That is what he did when he was sick himself. He did not think about himself. He knew what his condition was and still, while dealing with his own difficult challenges, he made sure to lift up those around him, to encourage them and infuse them with bitachon.”

His friend R’ Arik Malkieli finds it hard to calm down, “R’ Tzvi was extraordinary! He always made the effort to bring joy to others. One time, in a candid moment, he shared with me that when he himself felt low he would begin cheering other people up in order to lift himself up. He did not allow himself to wallow in self-pity or sadness. On the contrary, even in his difficult circumstances he encouraged and uplifted other patients!”

His son Shneur says, “I was with my father in his final days. A few minutes before they put him on a respirator, he asked me to take a video of him for the family and despite his weakness he made encouraging motions with his hands enthusiastically and motioned to everyone to sing and be happy.”

When he finished his treatment in the hospital in Houston, he was supposed to return home to Lud. Due to a series of mishaps, by divine providence, the plane was delayed and he remained in New York where his condition deteriorated and he was hospitalized. On Erev Shabbos, before his son Shneur went to daven, he went to his father’s room with a sirtuk and when R’ Tzvi saw him, he smiled. “It was hard for him to speak, but I saw that my father was happy.”

During the following hours, his breathing became labored, weakened, and he passed away on Friday night at the age of 65.

“My father wasn’t ‘supposed’ to be in New York for Shabbos, but that is how it worked out, and that is where he passed away. I feel that my father, in his love for the Rebbe which was reciprocated, merited that his funeral passed by 770, the place he loved so much.”

He is survived by his wife Rochel and his sons: R’ Dubi of Elad, R’ Yossi of New York, R’ Dovid of Melbourne, R’ Shneur of Beitar Ilit, R’ Shaul of Kfar Chabad, R’ Moishy of Beit Shemesh, and daughters: Chani Krishevsky of Lud, Shira Litzman of Nachalat Har Chabad.

He is also survived by his siblings, R’ Shlomo of Williamsburg, R’ Yaakov of Melbourne, R’ Avrohom of Crown Heights, Nechama Brichter of Yerushalayim, Malka Kaplan of Yerushalayim, and R’ Yehuda of Yerushalayim.

His close friends in Lud are greatly saddened over this tremendous loss. When we spoke with his friend, R’ Goldstein, his voice broke and it was hard for him to speak. “What a loss … a person like this cannot be found anywhere. What a special person … May all the learning he did and the good things he did be good advocates for him and an elevation for his soul. A Chassid who was purified by suffering.”

R’ Gloiberman: “To speak about him in the past tense … He had such vitality! I am in askanus for over 40 years and I cannot remember anyone like R’ Tzvi a’’h. He was someone who was ‘good to heaven and good to people.’”

R’ Arik Malkieli also finds it hard to part from someone so special: “He was a real friend and a partner in many crucial stages in my life. I consulted with him a lot and enjoyed hearing his wise advice. I don’t know people like him with a personality that beamed forth and was pleasant toward everyone and at the same time, with unusual energy and abilities that he used for every d’var mitzva. It is hard to part from someone who was so alive.”

 

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
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