Chaim Halberstam

Chaim Halberstam of Sanz (1793–1876) (Hebrew: חיים הלברשטאם מצאנז‎), known as the Divrei Chaim after his sefer (works), was the rabbi of Sanz (Polish: Nowy Sącz), a famous Hasidic Rebbe and the founder of the Sanz Hasidic dynasty,[1] and one of the leaders of Eastern European Jewry in his generation.

Chaim Halberstam
TitleTsanzer Rov
Chaim Halberstam

SpouseRochel Feyga Frenkl-Thumim, ?? Frenkl-Thumim, Rechl Unger
ChildrenYechezkel Shraga Halberstam
Dovid Halberstam
Myer Noson Halberstam
Aharon Halberstam
Boruch Halberstam, (none), Shulem Eliezer Halberstam
Yeshayo Halbertsam
Reytse Twerski
Miryom Unger
Nechume Rubin
Yita Baron
Fradil Rozenfeld
Gutshe Moskovitsh
Tilla Horowitz
Jewish leader
SuccessorAharon Halberstam of Sanz
Ended19 April 1969
Main workDivrei Chaim


Halberstam was a pupil of Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Heshl Orenstein and Rabbi Naftali Zvi of Ropshitz. His first rabbinical position was in Rudnik. In 1830 he was appointed as the town rabbi of Sanz,[1] where he founded a Hasidic dynasty. He attracted many followers and students, due to his piety and greatness. Sanz has been succeeded nowadays by the Sanz-Klausenberg, Sanz-Zmigrad Hasidic dynasties and the Bobov Hasidic dynasties, among others.

Family lifeEdit

Halberstam was born in 1793, in Tarnogród,[1] Poland. His first wife Rochel Feyga was the daughter of Rabbi Boruch Frenkl-Thumim (1760–1828), the rabbi of Lipník nad Bečvou (לייפניק Leipnik) and author of the work Boruch Taam. She bore him five sons and three daughters. When she died he then married her sister, who died childless. His third wife was Rechil Devorah Unger, daughter of Rabbi Yechil Tzvi Unger, son of Rabbi Mordechai Dovid Unger of Dombrov; who bore him three sons and four daughters.

Halberstam had eight sons and seven daughters. His eight sons were:

Halberstam's sons all became famous rebbes (except for Myer Noson, who predeceased him). His seven daughters all married Hasidic leaders.

Halberstam died in Sanz, Austria-Hungary (now Poland) in 1876 (25 Nisan 5636).


Halberstam was acclaimed by the leading rabbis of his generation as one of the foremost Talmudists, poskim and Kabbalistic authorities of his time, he received queries from Rabbis and communities from all over the world. His responsa, as well as his Torah commentaries, published under the title Divrei Chaim, reflect his Torah greatness, his humility, and his compassionate nature. He was a champion of the poor and established many organizations to relieve them of their poverty. He was the first Honorary President of Kolel Chibas Yerushalayim. His compassion and generosity was legendary; he literally gave away everything he had for the needy; and went to sleep penniless.

During his 46 years as Rabbi of Sanz; that city was transformed into a vibrant center of Hasidism, attracting tens of thousands of followers. Among his many disciples, are counted such leaders as Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Friedlander of Liska, the Tiferes Shlome of Radomsk, Rabbi Abraham Judah ha-Kohen Schwartz, Rabbi Meir Horowitz of Dzhikov, and the Kedishes Yom Tov of Sighet. He studied with his brother-in-law, Yosef Babad, author of the Minchat Chinuch.


  1. ^ a b c Meislish, Pnina (2007). "Halberstam". Encyclopaedia Judaica. 8 (2nd ed.). p. 264. ISBN 978-0-02-865936-7.