Last מוצאי שבת we learned of the passing of the renowned רב יעקב צבי זקס, aka Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, in the UK. Accolades and הספדים poured in afterward from around the globe, from non-Jews as well as Jews.
But who was this man that brought forth such a torrent of tributes and emotions? And what were some of the great Jewish influences on him?
In terms of decisive influences, some pointed to his רבי, R. Nachum Rabinovitch z"l. Others mentioned Rav Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik of Boston & New York, z"l, who he met as a young student. Lubavitchers, of course, mentioned his meeting with their Rebbe. Lord Sacks himself, in an interview, mentioned the great effect the six day war had on him.
But before all of those, he had a family which raised him. Who were they? His father, was born in Kielce, Poland. His mother, ליבא, Libby Frumkin Sacks, born in the UK, came from a renowned Litvishe family. She was a granddaughter of the famous R. Aryeh Leib Frumkin ז"ל (Hebrew Wikipedia entry here), a well-known Litvishe תלמיד חכם, mechaber of ספרים, and activist. At her funeral, her בכור, Lord Sacks, mentioned how proud she was of this zeide. So it was not a fact that was unknown to the young יעקב צבי. This ר' ארי' לייב פרומקין, son of R. Shmuel Kelmer, was himself in turn a descendant of the חכם צבי, לבוש, של"ה, מהר"ל מפראג, ולמעלה בקודש, as well as having family connections to other gedolim, such as R. Yisroel Salanter, זכר צדיקים לברכה.
So even though he went to general schools as a child, he still knew well whence he came, and when he got older he was עולה לגדולה, went to learn תורה הקדושה on a higher level, and became a Rav with progressively greater השפעה on קרובים ורחוקים as years went by.
As we are taught by Chazal, תורה מחזרת על אכסניא שלה, Torah returns to where it is hosted.
תהא נפשו צרורה בצרור החיים