Zusya (Meshulam Zusya) of Hanipoli

views updated

ZUSYA (Meshulam Zusya) OF HANIPOLI

ZUSYA (Meshulam Zusya) OF HANIPOLI (Annopol ; d. 1800), early ḥasidic leader; he was an outstanding disciple of *Dov Baer, the Maggid of Mezhirech, brother of *Elimelech of Lyzhansk, and one of the best known heroes of ḥasidic folktales. Zusya was probably born near Tarnow, Galicia, and at a relatively early age joined the disciples of the Maggid of Mezhirech and interested his brother Elimelech in Ḥasidism. During their youth the two brothers wandered from place to place in the manner of ascetic kabbalists. Many folk legends tell of their wandering and show Zusya as a simple, modest, and benevolent man who despite his meager knowledge of Torah, attained merit because of his innocence and personal righteousness. Zusya's own statements, however, of which few survive in writing, show that he was a scholar. In addition to the close attachment to his brother Elimelech, he formed a friendship with *Shneur Zalman of Lyady. Apparently after the death of the Maggid of Mezhirech, Zusya settled in Hanipoli and Ḥasidim gathered around him. This circle enlarged after Elimelech's death, when some of the latter's Ḥasidim accepted Zusya as their rabbi. His oldest son, menahem Ẓevi hirsh, succeeded him in Hanipoli. His youngest son, israel abraham (1772–1814), served as ḥasidic rabbi and admor in Chernyostrov. After Israel Abraham's death, his wife led the Ḥasidim for several years. The few surviving statements of Zusya and his sons were collected in Menorat Zahav (ed. by Nathan Neta ha-Kohen, 1902).


Dubnow, Ḥasidut, index; L.I. Newman, Ḥasidic Anthology (1963), index; M. Buber, Tales of the Ḥasidim (1968), 238–52; Horodezky, Ḥasidut, index.

[Adin Steinsaltz]