Leading Halachic authority, founder of an influential Chassidic dynasty and a master of simplicity, charity and care for his followers, are all apt descriptions of Rav Chaim Halberstam of Sanz (1797-1876) – or Tzanz as he insisted his followers refer to the town. His influence, popularity and admiration of his contemporaries were almost unmatched in recent history.
Perhaps a no less facet of his leadership, was his foray into the relentless struggle against encroachments of modernity into traditional Jewish life. A bastion of conservatism, his influence went beyond the borders of Galicia into Hungary, and beyond his own lifetime into current times. This included perceived threats from both within and without.
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