The Sanz-Klausenburger kehillah bade farewell to one of its revered elders with the petirah of Harav Shmuel Naftali Genger, zt”l, 90, a celebrated talmid chacham who was marbitz Torah for over half a century. He was a devoted Chassid of the Rebbes of Sanz-Klausenburg, Harav Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam, zy”a, and of his son, ybl”c, the Sanz-Klausenburger Rebbe, shlita, and served as a Maggid Shiur and Rosh Yeshivah in their mosdos and as a Dayan in the kehillah.
In his hesped, the Sanz-Klausenburger Rebbe extolled the niftar’s gadlus in Torah, as well as his tremendous tzidkus and humility. The Rebbe emphasized that despite filling such prominent roles in the community, Rav Genger always conducted himself with great simplicity, preferring to blend in among the other Chassidim.
Rav Genger was born in Yerushalayim in 1926. The family have been Chassidim of the Rebbes of the Sanzer dynasty dating back to the times of the Divrei Chaim. The Gengers had moved to Eretz Yisrael together with a group of Sanzer Chassidim who founded a small shtiebel in Yerushalayim, which still exists till this day. It was in this unique environment of yiras Shamayim that the young Shmuel Naftali began his lifelong ascent in Torah and avodah.
From the time that the Sanz-Klausenburger Rebbe, zy”a, first visited Eretz Yisrael on an extended visit in the late 1950’s, Rav Genger was among the many Sanzer Chassidim who attached themselves to the hallowed tzaddik. Recognizing his mastery of Shas and Poskim, the Rebbe eventually chose him to serve as Rosh Yeshivah of the community he would go on to found, Kiryat Sanz in Netanyah.
His Rebbe once commented that “the best talmidim we produced” were during Rav Genger’s tenure in Kiryat Sanz.
Approximately 40 years ago, the Gengers relocated to America, where Rav Genger continued his harbotzas haTorah in Mosdos Sanz-Klausenburg in the United States, building generations of talmidim. During his years living in Boro Park, Rav Genger occupied an especially revered place in the kehillah. For many years he served as a baal tefillah and baal kriah on Rosh Hashanah.
He was niftar this past Friday, shortly before Shabbos, and the levayah was held Sunday afternoon in the Sanz-Klausenburger beis medrash in Boro Park. Despite the fact that much of the community had been in the Catskills, hundreds came to give kavod acharon to Rav Genger. In addition to the Sanz-Klausenburger Rebbe, the Keristir-Chavokver Rebbe, and several of the niftar’s sons also delivered hespeidim.
The levayah continued to Eretz Yisrael where the levayah continued Monday afternoon from the Sanz-Klausenburger beis medrash in Yerushalayim. Kevurah was on Har Hazeisim.
The niftar leaves behind children and grandchildren who carry on in his ways.
A longer tribute will appear in a future edition, be”H.