The Bobov community mourned the petirah Tuesday of Reb Leibush Scharf, z”l, one of the elderly Chassidim of the rebbes of Bobov spanning nearly a century.
Reb Leibush was born on 6 Elul, 5684/1924 to Reb Eliyahu and Sarah (nee Frei). The family was a typical chassidishe one, and young Leibush traveled several times to the Kedushas Tzion, Hy”d, of Bobov, with whom he developed a close relationship. At times, there was absolutely nothing to eat on these visits, but nevertheless he explained that it was worth the deprivation for all that he gained from being with the Rebbe.
For Pesach 5699/1939, Leibush traveled to the Kedushas Tzion and merited to spend several hours after the Seder conversing with the Rebbe, who shared many stories with him during this discussion.
Two weeks before the outbreak of World War II, the family returned to Biala-Bellitz and Reb Eliyahu was drafted into the army. Yet he was able to arrange for a truck to transfer his family to Cracow, Poland, where Leibush met Rav Yechezkel Halberstam, the son-in-law of Harav Yeshayeleh Chechoiver, Hy”d, the youngest son of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz. Rav Yechezkel was about to flee and gave his house to the Scharf family, who stayed there for a period of six months.
While walking through the streets of Cracow one day, Leibush saw a sign ordering Jews to wear a yellow star. He returned home and told his family that they must immediately move on. They took a train to Lemberg and miraculously met their father at the train station there. The Kedushas Tzion was also in Lemberg, and Leibush managed to daven with him despite the limited number of people who were permitted to attend. As the Rebbe told him at the time, “Wherever I am, you are.”
As the war progressed, Jews from foreign countries were deported to Siberia. After spending a year in Siberia, Reb Leibush was allowed to leave and settled in Samarkand, where he remained in relative safety until 1946. At that time he received a letter from Rav Shlomo, who succeeded his father as Rebbe, that he had obtained a visa with which he would allow him entry to America.
He traveled to Paris, where he married, ybl”c, Rivka Leah, a daughter of Reb Zev Aharon (Volf) Weinreb. They moved to the West Side of Manhattan in 1953.
Reb Leibush maintained his close connection with Bobov until the end of his days. In 1966, the Rebbe appointed him president of the Bobov Yeshiva in Bat Yam, a position in which he served with distinction for decades. In addition, Reb Leibush contributed generously to every building and project of Bobov throughout his lifetime. When the Bobover Rebbe, Harav Naftoli Tzvi Halberstam zy”a, asked him for a loan for a Bobover mosad, Reb Leibush refused by saying, “For Bobov, I do not lend money, I give it.” And with that said, he promptly gave a substantial donation to that mosad.”
Reb Leibush also enjoyed a long relationship with Harav Itzikel, the Pshevorsker Rebbe, zt”l, and had over 400 personal letters from the Rebbe in his possession.
Reb Leibush built a successful business in real estate and nursing homes and was known for his impeccable middah of emes. In addition to his involvement with communal affairs, he delivered a Daf Yomi shiur in Rav Babad’s shul on the West Side for over 45 years.
Reb Leibush was niftar on Tuesday. His levayah took place in Yerushalayim on Wednesday, with kevurah on Har Hamenuchos. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Rivka Leah; his sons, Reb Shmuel Zanvil and Reb Moshe Yaakov; his daughter, Mrs. Rochel Miriam Beer; his brothers, Reb Asher Yeshaya, Reb Dovid and Reb Shlomo; and numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
Yehi zichro baruch.