||Rare broadsheet announcing the peteira (death) of the saintly R. Israel Meir ben Aryeh Zev ha-Kohen (Kagan, Hafez Hayyim; 1838–1933). The broadsheet is dated, Zom Gedalyah (the Fast of Gedaliah), “For the mountains will I take up a weeping על ההרים אשא בכי (694= Saturday, September 23, 1933)” (Jeremiah 9:9). He is described as “the crowning glory of Israel ישראל the jewel in its diadem, who enlightened מאיר our eyes, in whose light we walked, who enflamed our hearts with his words of musar (ethical teachings) . . . a man whose character (middot) was precious and exalted, his eyes as those of Hillel, not seeking greatness, his ways were in holiness . . .
Hafez Hayyim is one of the most saintly figures in modern Judaism. Of humble origin, he was taught until the age of ten by his parents and then went to Vilna where he continued his studies. He became universally known as Hafez Hayyim, after the title of his first book, published anonymously at the age of 35 in Vilna (1873). His personality, his piety, his humility of conduct, his integrity of thought and action, together with his books, exercised a tremendous influence on religious leaders, and fascinated the masses, to whom he became the admired master and leader. Hundreds of sayings full of practical wisdom are attributed to him, and hundreds of stories both factual and legendary, all rich in morals, are reported about his life. Hafez Hayyim refused to make the rabbinate his calling, and after his marriage in Radun subsisted on a small grocery store which his wife managed and for which he did the bookkeeping. Throughout his life, he laid great emphasis on the careful observance of the laws of slander, gossip, and talebearing, so generally neglected in spite of the fact that their transgression involves the violation of numerous prohibitions. Among his most important works is the widely studied and authoritative Mishnah Berurah (1894–1907), a comprehensive commentary on Shulhan Arukh, Orah Hayyim.