The Ashlag Rebbe, Harav Yechezkel Yosef Halevi, zt”l, son of Harav Shlomo Binyamin Ashlag, the Ateres Shlomo, zt”l, and grandson of Harav Yehudah Leib Ashlag, zy”a, the Sulam, passed away on Monday afternoon at the age of 81. The Rebbe devoted his life to disseminating the Torah of the holy Zohar, on which his grandfather wrote a commentary, and learned tirelessly despite his sufferings.
The Rebbe was born in Tel Aviv. His father, the Ateres Shlomo, taught the young boy and introduced him to the Zohar, in accordance with the customs of their forebear, the Sulam. His grandfather was still alive when he was a child, and the Sulam loved him and taught him. At a young age, Yechezkel Yosef began learning in yeshivah and, in time, traveled to Yerushalayim to study in Yeshivas Sfas Emes.
He married, tbl”c, his Rebbetzin, the daughter of Harav Shammai Ginsburg, z”l. Reb Shammai was a meshamesh of the Imrei Emes of Gur, zy”a, known as a gaon with a tremendous breadth of knowledge in all areas of Torah, and for his sefarim Imrei Shammai. The Rebbetzin stood at her husband’s side with great devotion, taking care of the home and supporting his many holy endeavors.
Throughout his lifetime, the Rebbe devoted himself to the mission of disseminating Toras HaZohar, as it says that for this we will emerge from the exile. It was his life’s work, and he accomplished a great deal in this area.
He was renowned for his diligence and constant learning, even when suffering, and for his modesty. He would remain in his study learning for hours on end.
His beis medrash on Ibn Ezra Street in Bnei Brak, which he founded after the passing of his father in 5744/1984, was a hub of Torah shiurim and the study of Nigleh, Shas Halachah and, mostly, Zohar. People flocked to the Rebbe to seek his advice and brachos.
He compiled a series of sefarim based on the commentary of the Sulam, Zohar on Tehillim, Mishlei, Koheles, Shir Hashirim, and on subjects such as bris milah and nisuin. He also published the sefer Adra Zutra Kadisha with the commentary of the Sulam and sefer Pesach Shaar authored by the Sulam.
Despite his ill health and suffering over the past 20 years, he continued with his work. Regretfully, this past year his illness grew worse and he never recovered. On Monday he was hospitalized in Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, and a short time later he passed away, to the grief of his family, Chassidim and students.
The levayah departed from his beis medrash, where words of farewell were delivered by his son-in-law, Harav Yosef Tzeller, Rosh Yeshivas Ruzhin Sadigura. He called on the tzibbur to look at the tzaddik, who allowed himself no peace despite his ailments and did so much on behalf of Torah. His son-in-law Harav Yaakov Tzvi Erblich, one of the Roshei Yeshivah of Chernobyl and Bobov in Bnei Brak, related that the Rebbe had often said that his entire life’s mission was to bring about another child being tested on another Mishnah, another bachur being tested on another daf of Gemara, and that avreichim should follow the path of Torah and mitzvos. More than that, he needed nothing. His talmid Reb Akiva Ortzel noted that the Rebbe had told him that Hashem loved him and was keeping him alive only to disseminate his grandfather’s Torah.
The levayah continued to the Shamgar Funeral Home in Yerushalayim, from where it proceeded to the Ashlag chelkah on Har Hamenuchos.
The Rebbe is survived by ybl”c his Rebbetzin, sons, daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who are continuing in his path.
Yehi zichro baruch.