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[Page 37]

Rabbis and Leaders of the City

Memoirs of Bialobrzeg [Written in Hebrew as Bialobzig or Bialovzigl]

Officiating Rabbis and Chassidic Leaders of the Town

Please note that *** is missing text (the photocopy of the book which we had for the translation had words close to the margin chopped off.)

1) The first officiating Rabbi about which we know, in the town of Bial', is Rabbi Yisroel Tzvi (Hirsch) Rubinstein1, who served as a Rabbi in the town starting before the year 5600 [1840]2

1 "The Rabbi of Joy," a biography of R' Moshe Nechemya the Cohen of D'vohart, by Pinchas Zelig Glicksman (Lodz 5690 [1930]) p.70 note 1.
2 From the archives of "Yad VaShem" we came to know of R' Hirschel Lantzar/Lanetzer who served as Rabbi in Bial' in the year 1832. But it is not clear [if this is the same as our Y.T. Rubinstein] because we know nothing about him. He might be our Y.T.L.

When he was widowed, he married the daughter of the Chassidic Rebbe, R' Yitzchak of Vorko, Ms. Sarah Chana. He was then appointed as Rabbi in Vorko.
In the book The Rabbi of Joy (p. 10-l l) a letter by R' Yitzchok of Vorko was printed, in which he writes:

With thanks to G-d, The evening of 22 Shevat, 5636 (1876), Vorki.
"Life and Peace" and all good to my very dear friends, the outstanding Rabbis and honorable gevirim [an old Hebrew term for a rich man in the community] Rabbi Ephraim Fishel Vyofia, R. Yissachar Berish the Cohen, R. Chanoch Henich the Cohen and his son-in-law, R. Tzvi, R. Zev, and R. Raphoel Vyofia.

I am sending to your honors, my son-in-law, the sharp [erudite] and honorable, R. Yisroel Tzvi [Rubinstein] with his father, the erudite and honorable R. Yosef Eliezer, in regards to the matter of my friend, the erudite and honorable R. Moshe Nechemya the Cohen. With great urging to your honors that, "please my brothers and friends," take to heart the seriousness of this matter, which is pertinent to the honor of the Torah, and to the "Tzaddikim and the Pious." It is incumbent upon us all to fulfill the verse, "We all have one father," and we have indeed always been united like brothers from long ago, and it is incumbent upon us to stand at the right side of the honorable Rabbi [Moshe Nechemya the Cohen]. I have given over all these matters verbally to the messengers mentioned above, who will lay them out before your honors in a proper manner. And I hope that you will keep the pact of love that is between us and you will be moved to alleviate my great aggravation due to of this matter. And in the merit of this great Mitzvah, your words will certainly be heard by all, and you will [be able] to settle this matter through affection and honor, and I will consider this a great favor on your part, and you will make me very happy. And may I merit to rejoice in your happiness with your families for many, good years, and may we merit the salvation of all Israel speedily. Amen.

The words of your friend who loves you dearly, who hopes for your success and your merit in this world and the next.
Yitzchak son of Shmuel from the Congregation of Vorki


INSERT 1. Facsimile of the original letter quoted above.

In the year 5607 (1847) his wife, Sarah Chana, passed away. R. Yisrael Tzvi (Hirsch) moved to Lodz. In the year 5620 (1860) [This date conflicts with the date on the letter quoted above], on Shabbos, after they had called him up to the Torah and he had made the first blessing, he fainted and was carried home. On Sunday, the 10th Of Tammuz, he passed away. He was then approximately sixty ***

2) *** after him [From when he married and moved to Vorko], serving as Rabbi in Bial' was the second son-in-law of R. Yitzchok of Vorko, *** Avrohom Meir Mushkat from Prague, the author of Roshei Besomim, Atzai Besomim, and other books. *** R. Avrohom Meir was an only son. He married the daughter of R. Yitzchok of Vorko, Ms. Blimeleh. He passed away whilst still young, in his father's lifetime, in the year 5612 (1852)

R. Avrohom Meir's sons-in-law were: R. Dovid Goldman who served as a Rebbe in Chmielnick and Kiyaletz, R. Moshe Pinchas Trunk, son of R. Yisroel Yehoshua of Kutnoh, author of, Salvation of Israel and other books.

INSERT 2: Invitation to the wedding of one of R. Dovid Goldman's children, Yisroel Yiztchok, to Chanah Yenta, daughter of R. Moshe Yehudah Helemner of Lentshner.

3) R. Dovid Goldman was a businessman and landowner in his youth, and was a chassid of R. Shraga Yair [who, according to INSERT 5, lived in Bial'] (a grandchild of the 'Holy Jew of Parshischa') about whom we will discuss later at length.

However, the chassidim of Vorko set their eyes on him and appointed him as their Rebbe. He then moved to Kiyaletz and began to 'hold Tisch', and drew a strong following. (Book of Kiyaletz, p. 175)

Among his sons-in-law, was R. Tzvi Hirsch of Lomza, son of R. Dovid of Kotzk. (This was R Tzvi Hirsch's third marriage. The first made him son-in-law of R. Shlomo of Radzmin, the second of R. Lipa Landsburg).

INSERT 3. A personal invitation written by R. Dovid Goldman on the printed invitation, addressed to R. Moshe Nachum Yerushlimski, head of the Bes Din of Kiyaletz. Below that is a personal invitation by the Rebbetzin Rachel Goldman to Rebbetzin Yerushlimski.

This R. Dovid was very well accepted by his acquaintances, and was greatly loved by the populace who recognized him as a lofty individual.

He passed away 16 Cheshvan, 5684 (1924) at an advanced age. (Eitz Chaim atlas, vo1.13, p. 120)

4) Between the years 5637 and 5668 (1877 and 1908) Rabbi Zalman Tzvi Hirsch served as Rabbi and Head of Beis Din in the town. We do not know many details about him, but we find him as signator [as Rabbi of the town] in the 'Names of Donators' printed in the back of Azoir Hatzvi, [a commentary on the Pentateuch] by Rabbi Avrohom Yalin of Vengrov (Warsaw 5665 [1905]).

INSERT 4: The 'Names of Donators' The names are listed alphabetically under the section of Bilevrzig. Included is R. Zalman Tzvi Hirsch and R. Nosson Dovid son of R. Shraga Yair

INSERT 5: A list of dignitaries, Rabbis and others, each of a different town. Probably collected as an endorsment of some sort. For Bialevrzig are listed R. Shraga Yair and R. Zalman Tzvi Hirsch.

5) After him (1908), Rabbi Eliezer Pupka served as Rabbi and Head of the Beis Din [in Bial'].

6) In the year 5673 (1913), R. Yeshayah Elimelech Reiybsky ascended to the Rabbinate. He was the son of R. Yechezkal Avrohom who was the Head of Beis Din in Selitz, and who authored Binyan Yechezkal which is comprised of Rabbinic Responsa in part one, and a discussion on the responsa of the 'Pri Megadim' in part two.

Rabbi Yeshaiyah Elimelech came from a noble lineage, as his father wrote in the introduction to his book Binyan Yechezkal ibid

INSERT 6: An ancestral listing, written by R. Yechezkal Avrohom at the request of his children.

INSERT 7: The title page of the book, Binyan Yechezkal.

INSERT 8: A halachic question reproduced in the book, [which is presumably followed by his response].

INSERT 9: A similar question addressed to him by his son, the Head of Beis Din in Bialovrzig.

When he was thirteen years old, R. Yeshayah Elimelech married the daughter of the Rebbe, R. Simcha Bunem of Vorski/Otvosk, called Tzvayleh.

Incidentally, R. Simcha Bunim of Otvosk was a son-in-law of R. Eliyahu Hertz. R. Eliyahu Hertz had a son-in-law called R. Tzvi Moses, son of R. Yudel Moses, son of *** Alexander Ziskind Moses, who was the son-in-law of R. Noach 'Shachor' from Biala, who was, in turn, son-in-law of the 'Imrei Emes' of the Gerer Dynasty.

Rabbi Shmuel Tanchum Rubenstein, who is of the Beis Din in Tel Aviv today, who *** at that time in Bial', knew R. Yeshayeh Elimelech well. He described him as an impressive-looking person, *** exceptional scholar, and pleasant to speak with both in Torah and Secular matters.

R. Yeshayeh Elimelech lost two of his children in their youth. At the funeral of his daughter Blumah *** her father eulogized her movingly. He said: "How can one eulogize such a small girl? However, this I can tell over in her merit. She had her [full] measure of harsh suffering, and many times I awoke in the middle of the night and saw how this *** young girl would take a knife and wished to take her own life to liberate herself from the suffering, G-d help us. *** to her and explained to her that according to the holy Torah, it is an unforgivable sin for one to take one's own life. And she listened to me and left it.
"This story will be a merit for her," ended ***

R. Yeshayeh Elimelech and his wife had another three healthy sons.

R. Yeshayeh Reibsky passed away during his best years in 5696 (1936).

About his sudden passing, the remnants of the town tell an awe-inspiring story:

R. Yeshayeh Elimelech requested that a certain individual not be allowed to shecht [the term for the Kosher way of killing of animals] in the town. But this man succeeded in gaining supporters and continued to shecht. After that, someone went and informed to the authorities that there was a black market shechting which is connected to the Rabbis. The authorities summoned R. Yeshayeh Elimelech to court. He then said: "L-rd of the universe, take me to You rather than have me be judged by gentiles..." And so, a week before the court-case, R. Yeshayeh Elimelech suddenly passed on, and he was in his best years.His children were: His son, Simcha Bunem, about whom we'll see later in the excellent essay by R. Shmuel Tanchum Rubenstein, which recounts the period in which he leamed with him during his youth. He (Simcha Bunem) was killed during the holocaust years - may G-d avenge his blood. His daughter, Sara Reitcheh, who was sent to learn in the Bais Yakov Seminary in Karkov. And when she became of age, she married a respected young man, R. Elimelech Blumenfeld.

7) Rabbi Elimelech Blumenfeld studied during his youth in the Mesivta [yeshivah high-school] of Warsaw. After that he went to learn Torah from the Great R. Yechezkel from Ostrovstzeh. There, he established an excellent and wide reputation, after which he was given the honor of becoming the son-in- law of Rabbi Reiybsky.

In his essay, Rabbi Shmuel Tanchum Rubenstein describes Rabbi Blumenfeld at great length, and tells of his visit to the town and his wonderful speech [that he gave].

We have heard much from the remnants of the community about the industrious work of R. Elimelech as Rav of the community after the sudden death of his father-in-law in 5696. R. Elimelech Blumenfeld used to give public Torah classes for his community in Midrash, Bavli, Yerushalmi, and Rambam, when he would offer wonderful explanations, with the help of which, those listening would enjoy his words and his lectures.

During the holocaust, R. Elimelech was taken by the Nazis may their names be eradicated, to do extremely hard work, and he passed away "amidst troubles and grieving" in the year 5700 (1940), from typhus.

At his funeral, R. Yechiel Meir Goldberg (May G-d avenge his blood) eulogized him. Amongst other things, he said:

"Because of evil [could also be read: "From before the evil"] the righteous has been taken. This righteous one has been taken so that he should not see the [forthcoming] evil [Indicating that he didn't die during the final purges, which might explain how he had a funeral]. So passed on the last Rabbi of the town of Bial'. May their memories be blessed! ! !

INSERT 10: ?


The Rebbe, R. Shraga Yair Rabinowitz ztz"l.

           The town of Bial' boasted of a chain of Rebbes, descendants of 'The Holy Jew' of Parshischa. R. Shrage Yair who settled in Bial' was the third son of R. Nosson Dovid Rabinowitz of Shidlovtzeh, who was the son of R. Yerachmiel, the only son of 'The Holy Jew' of Parshischa.

R. Nosson Dovid was recognized by all the Tzaddikim of his generation as one of supernal holiness. Wondrous things were told about his holy ways, and awe-inspiring miracles happened in his room, especially in the field of "correction of souls." [this means both detecting past sins in people and instructing as to how they may be corrected. The 'Holy Sight' is often used in both of these tasks] Many stories are known about the flocks of doves/pigeons that would eat from his courtyard, and permanently showed themselves there. After his death, they disappeared.

R. Nosson Dovid passed on at the age of fifty two, on the seventh of Cheshvan, 5626 (1866). The Tzaddikim of the generation said about that year that in the words, "For in this day you will be atoned for," the numerical equivalent of the first and last letters are 626 [?]. They were eluding to the fact that in that year, many of the Chassidic luminaries passed away. The 'Chidushei Harim' (the Gerer Rebbe) on the twenty sixth of Adar, the 'Tiferest Shlomo' Radomsk, on the twenty ninth of Adar, the 'Tzemach Tzedek' of Lubavitch, on the thirteenth of Nissan, and R. Nosson Dovid, as stated.

R. Nosson Dovid planted four cedars in Israel [metaphorically speaking]. The eldest son was R. Tzemach Boruch, son-in-law of R. Elazar of Koznitz, son of R. Moshe, the 'Preacher of Koznitz' [The Koznitzer Maggid]. He (R. Tzemach Boruch) led chassidim even during his father's lifetime. He passed away young, at the age of fifty six, in the year 5652.

His (R. Nosson Dovid's) second son was R. Pinchas of Kintzik, who died on the twenty second of Elul, 5661(1901).

His third son was R. Shraga Yair ofBialovzhig.

His fourth son was R. Yaakov Yitzchok of Biala, author of Divrai Binah. He was son-in-law to R. Yehoshua of Ostrovoh, author of Toldos Odom, and son of Shlomo Leib of Lotshnah. From him branched out the chassidic groups of Partzovah, Levertov, Shedlitz, and Biala.
R. Shraga Yair was born in 5610 (1850) [Should be 5600-1840 see below] to his father, R. Nosson Dovid. A wondrous thing was told over by his son-in-law, R Yosef Eliezer, a nephew by his brother R. Pinchas:

"***** G-dly man of Shidlovzeh, when he spent time in the holy shadow of the G-dly man, R. Meir of Premishlan. He then handed him a note [given to a Rebbe requesting spiritual direction or a blessing]. When he [the Premishlaner] reached the name of my holy uncle and father-in-law, he said about him that he possesses the Holy Spirit."

This is a wonder, because when the Rebbe, R. Meir of Premishlan passed away on the 29th Iyar, 5610, our master *** was [only] ten years old, and such things were already being said about him.

With the passing of his father, he was appointed as Rebbe over thousands of Chassidim, and despite his young age of twenty six, all the elders of the community attached themselves to him, and appointed him as leader and Rebbe over them.

At that time, he moved his residence from Shidlovtzeh to Bial', which was close by.

A wondrous thing was written by his son-in-law (by his first marriage), the Rebbe, R. Chaim Elazar of Munkatz, in the pamphlet "Words of Eulogy" that he printed in his memory (Bratislava 5682):

"And many times I broached the question while he was healthy, of why he doesn't settle in Shidlovtzi, and it seems that he had a deeper reason for not settling there *** his life, was because he was worried about the length of his life because he knew that there [in Shidlovtzeh] he would be buried in the sepulchre over his father's grave. And when his acquaintances realized this from what he had said, he slipped out [this is clarified in the next essay]. This continued for days and years **** of his own accord. And "[G-d] does the will of those who fear him" and did the will of the Tzadik after his death in accordance with the above." [His wish was to share the resting place of his father.] R. Shraga Yair was, by his first marriage, son-in-law to R. Shmelke of Sasov *** of R. Moshe Leib of Sasov. (See about him in Beis Shlomo biography of R. Shlomo of Munkatch who was also a son in-law of R. Shmelke.) He [Shraga Yair] married his [R. Shmelka's] daughter, Dinah Rochel (see about her in Divrei Torah by the Munkatcher, 9:59).

**** wondrous stories are cited in reference to the Rabbi (Shraga Yair). Crowds of people used to come to him *** matters of help and health, as his son R. Nosson Dovid recounts in the introduction to the book Aron Ha'aydus:

"That he used to work for the good of the whole world in general...and in particular. So did my father *** until the last second. The suffering of the populace as a whole, and as individuals never left his thoughts..."INSERT 11: The title page to the posthumously printed book of R. Shraga Yair's teachings, published by his son, Nosson Dovid. See below the numerical reason for the unusual spelling of the name of the book.

*** in reference to this, his son, R. Nosson Dovid writes in his introduction:

And if I wished to praise the book [a collection of his father 's teachings] and to explain its workings and upon what it is founded, my heart ***. However, I did hear a hint to it from his [the author's] holy mouth, that his style in Torah Novella followed that of his grandfather the Yehudi Hakadosh ['Holy Jew'] of Pashischa, who also explained the holy Torah in a way of *** and allegories as is explained in the book Tiferes Shlomo (in the beginning of Metzorah) by the holy Rabbi of Radomsk. This holy method of exegesis was an inheritance to him from his holy ancestors. About this *** said that G-d gave everyone his own portion to contribute in G-d's Torah, as is explained in the holy book, and if G-d forbid, one doesn't ***, that also the portion in Torah that issues from one's children and grandchildren counts for him, as though it actually originated *** And in saying this, my father alluded to the meaning of the verse (Isaiah 59) "And as for me, my covenant with them...and my words which I have placed in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, and the mouths of your children, and your children's children." He said that one can elucidate this [as follows]: If the verse would have stated that the word of G-d which was put into the mouths of all his generations would not move from their perspective mouths, or conversely, if the word "your mouth" had been completely omitted, the understanding would have been clear. But it doesn't make sense to say that words that have been put into one person's mouth will not move from the mouths of his children and grandchildren. Unless one understands the verse as saying that the word that G-d puts into the mouth of one person, if he does not himself manage to bring them to light during his lifetime, will nevertheless be counted as his own when brought to light through his children and grandchildren. In accordance with my father's above-mentioned teaching.

My father, the Torah master, called this holy book by his own name *** 'Aron Ha'aydus' being the numerical equivalent of his own two names, the two great luminaries [ 'Shraga ' is Aramaic for 'rays: and 'Yair ' means to shine] - Shraga Yair. The reason *** his name by [the title] Ark of Covenant is because that is where his pure soul was hewn from. As is known from the writings of the AriZal and Ramban that, "The name of every person indicates the source of the soul *** every person by his 'camp' [i.e. group] and place in our holy Torah." Even though the explanation of this is obscure, "the truth makes itself known," that he had all the qualities of the Ark. *** the Ark would cover the Torah, so too did he act modestly in revealing his insights into Torah, and just as the Ark would "carry it's bearers" in general and particular, and went with them [in the desert] in all their travails, so too did he "carry his bearers" i.e. his followers in particular, and he would also walk together with the general [populace] *** in all of their troubles until the last second of his life.

Further below is recounted the important part of the renown Chossid, Rabbi Shmuel Shmerel Goldberg in the *** and the preparation of this [above mentioned] book, Aron Ha'aydus.

*** the new print of the book that was published in B'nei Brak, 5743 (1983) was added to the biography *** the author, the introduction of the Rebbe of Biala-Lugnow, and more *** of importance, from the Torah novellea cited in the name of the author in different books.

*** who traveled in his youth to the Rebbe, R. Chaim of Sanz, author of Divrei Chaim. *** appears from the following story below, which is told in the book "Bais Tzaddik (by R. Eliezer Tzvi Seigleman) *** and these are his words:

*** the "Holy Light," the "mouth speaking big things," - R. Shraga Yair, traveled to visit the Rebbe, R. Chaim of Sanz. When he entered his house, he found the Rebbe of Sanz *** angry at one of his chassidim. R. Shrage Yair began speaking and asked R. Chaim, "Do you remember the words of the Rebbe, the G-dly Sage - R. Dov Ber of Mezritch, on the words of the verse, "Remove your shoes from your feet?" [The Burning Bush narrative. Removing the shoes was a prerequisite for entering a holy place] He answered, "I do not remember." R. Shraga Yair then told them to him, as follows:

G-d spoke to Moshe, meaning the leader of the generation who is called Moshe, as in "Moshe you have spoken well," in the Talmud. The word NA 'AL (shoe) is an acronym for Neshica (biting), Akitza (stinging), Lechisha (murmuring). This eludes to saying expressed in the mishna, "Be careful about their coals [the anger of the Tzaddikim] etc. because their bite is that of a fox, their sting is that of a scorpion, and their murmur is that of a serpent." The meaning being that the verse [about removing the shoes - NA 'AL] is a warning to the leading Tzaddik of the generation that he should not harbor ill feelings, and not be angry at people, whatsoever. Because if he does, it will harm the person by whom he has been upset, since, "their bite is that of a fox etc.," and the anger of the Tzaddik will result in damage, G-d forbid. And the Tzaddik must be good as in the verse, "Say of the Tzaddik: [he is] good." G-d therefore told the Tzaddik of the generation who is called Moshe, "Remove your NA 'AL."

The Sanzer answered him:

"Is it not shown in the Torah how our teacher, Moshe was himself angry and said, "Why did you not eat the sin-offering in the Holy Place?" One must conclude that since his anger was for the honor of heaven, it was good and does no harm."

R. Shraga Yair replied:

"The words of the Maggid [R. Dov Ber] are not at all puzzling, and the support you cite from the verse "Why have you not etc." is not a refutation at all. The answer is that the anger of Moshe was not like other people's anger; it was only an appearance and external display of anger, but internally he was full of love and goodness for the House of Israel. It may be said, that by way of a hint, the first letters of "Why have you not eaten the sin-offering in the Holy Place?" spells out "Full of Love". [Indicating that] internally he was full of love and good will to Israel. That was indeed the reason for his acting severe, so that through a [mere] external display [of anger], he silenced the accuser."

In the year 5677 (1917) [apparently a mistake - see next story which dates 1912] there was a big fire in Bial'. R. Shraga Yair came out and said, "As long as I am in my house, the fire will not reach here." And so it was, that the fire reached his house, stopped, and went out.

After a short while, another fire broke out in which his house was also burnt. The Rav then moved to the town of Radom where he lived out his last years, surrounded by his faithful chassidim who had moved with him to Radom.

In the year 5672 (1912) one of R. Shraga Yair's close acquaintances heard him sighing and asked him about it. He replied as follows. "It is written, "I am a hundred and twenty years old today" [Moshe speaking about his own death]. 120 is the numerical value of (5)672." He said no more than that. (Kuntres Zer Zahav, at the end of Aron Ha'aydus, p. 88.) So it was, on the thirteenth of Sivan, 5672, our Rav passed away and was buried in the sepulcher of his father, in the town of Shidlovzeh. His son-in-law by the first marriage, the Munkatcher Rebbe, printed a Kuntres [booklet] in which he enthuses about his father-in-law.

*** left behind him his only son, R. Nosson Dovid, who retumed to the town of his grandfather *** and served there as head of Beis Din, and Rebbe to thousands of Chassidim. He too, passed away at a young age, at the twenty eigth of *** 5679 (1919). His son, R. Chaim Sholom Sholom Yekusiel filled his place. *** son-in-law by his first marriage of R. Moshe Betzalel Alter of Gur, son of the *** Emes'. He died in the holocaust on the twelfth of Tishrei, 5703 (1943), may G-d avenge his blood.

INSERT 12: The title page of booklet, "Words of Eulogy" by R. Elazar (Shapiro) of Munkatch, the 'Minchas Elazar'. It includes his eulogies for R. Shraga Yair, R. Moshe Yehuda Leib Shapiro, and R. Eliezer Zuker.


[Page 56]

The text was written in a very Rabbinical Hebrew. The commas sometimes serve as periods since the ideas are condense, but also integrated.

The Eulogy for our Rabbi, by his Son-in-law (by his first marriage), R' Chaim Elazer of Munkatch.

***

*** in the summer of 5672, during the month of Tammuz, it was made known to me, due to our many sins, the distant tidings, [a halachic phrase which might indicate that the news reached him after thirty days after the passing, which has ramifications for the length of the shiva] which are close to the heart of all Israel, his acquaintances and friends, of the passing away of my friend and grandfather [more likely to mean 'elder' as in "village elder "] who was my father-in-law (by first marriage). He was the holy Rabbi, the G-dly man, Master of Torah, the Candle of Light, the Deep and Hidden, *** Precious, [one whose] light was sought by many, our teacher, Rabbi Shraga Yair of Bialovzeg, *** in Radom on the thirteenth of Sivan. The Jews, doers of kindness, in their thousands, who followed his bed, brought him and carried him about six parsangs to the community of Shidlovtzi, to the sepulcher of his father, the holy and famous Rabbi, the G-dly man, Rabbi Nosson Dovid.

*** how can I describe, with pen on paper, my great sorrow and pain, and the crying and moaning of my heart ***. I will put on paper, at least, some words of eulogy which come to mind, so that "only a bit you may see, but the whole you will not see," because to recount and describe his praise is not within my capability, because he was a jewel *** priceless. (As his holy father told him before his passing to adhere to the quality of, "walk humbly [unostentatiously] with your G-d.") The wonders of his doings and his awesomeness was as one of the ancients. One can *** from the wisdom of his Torah, and his ways of Divine service, since a compilation [of his teachings], Aron Ha'aydus on the Pentateuch has now been printed. *** is a fraction of a fraction, almost like a drop in the ocean, of his wisdom from [all of that] he expounded and drew out *** Torah novellea in his mind and heart, of which he would occasionally tell to an individual. I also occasionally wrote *** that which I heard from him.

*** on the verse (Ezekiel 21) "And when they will ask you why you are sighing, you should answer "because of the tidings which are going to come about, and all hearts will melt, and all hands will be weak, and all spirits will be dimmed, and all knees will turn to water'." *** one can point out that the verse states "all" the hearts, hands, and spirits etc. *** In Kesuvos (Folio 62a) there is a discussion why it says "all" in this verse. *** "That a sigh breaks (only) half of the body," but this needs explanation. *** "Available to those who want them" [this quote can also be read "Expounded for all their needs"] at any time, and in any area of application. [he is excusing himself for borrowing the verse for the news of the passing of Rabbi Shraga Yair.]

*** put toward this verse for this tidings of the passing of my friend, elder, and father-in-law, the above-mentioned Rabbi, to the verse "Because ... which are going to come about, and all hearts etc." We find in the Pentateuch regarding the passing of Aharon the Priest (Chukas) "And they mourned for Aharon thirty days, all the house of Israel." Rashi explains that "All the house of Israel means both the men and women, since Aharon would pursue peace and build love between arguing parties and between husbands and wives.

*** doesn't do justice to the one now at rest, compared with his greatness, the brilliance of his mind, and depth of his feelings, the strength of *** which I saw in him, even during his illness in his last years when his veins were greatly weakened ***, according to the opinion of the doctors, with the name by which they call the illness of Totzo'ot [?]. Namely [i.e. the greatness that he saw...] *** whereas there were many times, due to our many sins, that one couldn't speak to him at all because of his great weakness, nevertheless, on Shabbos *** Atika Kadisha, [Mincha time on Shabbos afternoon. This was probably at the Seuda Shlishis.] after saying his Torah Novellea, as was his *** awesome, with hints and Gematriyos [Homiletic methods way, expounding texts, the latter by numerical equivalents.], truly astounding, with the equivalents of whole verses, all suitably fitting [the author has lapsed into Rabbinic poetry], composed with treasured lessons, in different ways, (my [own] eyes saw [firsthand] and not a stranger's and my ears heard). During that time, both before and afterwards, we did not hear from him in this type of setting, any mundane topics, even about those things of which he would usually speak of when he was well. Since the weakness had overcome him and affected his body and his memory. We then saw clearly that only the words of Torah dedicated to Heaven was he able to speak, because of his soul from above, which was his elevated half. In this holy part, the illness and suffering did not have an affect, it transcended nature. It was above our understanding.

Also then, his holy words were directed in the defense of the Jewish people and he dwelled on this at length (to us and to the chassidim. Inside his room) almost constantly without stop, we, his followers, scholars and chassidim who were close to him, took pleasure in his words, from thc pleasantness of his holy speech. In the place of his greatness, (as mentioned) there you find his humbleness, and the love of Israel which was inside of him was very great, since with every individual (regular people) who came to spend time in his presence, and also with his townspeople, he generously spent time with them to draw them near, to pray for them, and to speak good on behalf of all Israel. Through deed and speech, both through words of intercession and through prayer, [he would help that] matters should be affective upon high. That was his effort all day and night.

That then is the meaning of, "Regarding the tidings that have come about and 'all hearts.' " Intended, is the same as it is written about regarding the death of Aharon, "And all the house of Israel mourned for him," which Rashi explains to mean both the men and women, "All the house of Israel," inclusive of the entire multitude of the faithful. They cried very bitterly as they remembered his love for them and for all the house of Israel. Woe, who will now stand up for us, to shield and intercede in our merit. May G-d have mercy on us speedily in our days. This explains the nuance in the verse, "And all hearts will melt and all hands will weaken, and all spirits will be dimmed, and all knees etc." meaning that everyone felt, and sorrowed over losing him.

His years were seventy two, alluding to "The number of your years I will fill." (Mishpatim) [Being numerically equivalent.] On this verse the Mesorah writes:

There are three [connected cases of this phrase]. This [one], and, "My mouth I will fill with admonition," and, "I will fill him with the spirit of G-d." Another one is, "To bestow substantial [gifts] on those who love me, and their storehouses I will fill."            One might say in accordance with that which is known, that a Tzaddik who has completed himself in his Divine service should accordingly depart from this world without reaching old age, as is known from the Midrash, "Bar Bun who died while still young etc." Since G-d wants the Tzaddik to live, even after he has completed his personal Divine service, he lets him live for the benefit of others so that he might complete their souls and lead them as is fitting. There is, however, a Tzaddik whose main achievement is accomplished unostentatiously, deeply mired, unfathomably deep, so that others cannot learn too much from. He would therefore [have to] pass away young as mentioned. For him, though, there is another council to lengthen his days. That is through him constantly finding new and different ways of Divine service, to bring something precious out of the cheap etc., to delve, to know, to chase and find G-d. When he discovers new areas in this endeavor, the result is that as long as he has not completed this path, and he is always fresh in the faith of G-d and in attachment to Him, then he still has [purpose] to live in order to complete himself in the path of G-dliness that he has discovered, in greater depth.

This is in accordance with the tradition that is illustrated by the story about the ancestor of the departed one, namely the famous 'Yehudi' of Parshischa. [The story was with] the famous Koznitzer Maggid who was very old and weak and whenever his weakness would overcome him, he would send for the 'Holy Jew' to come quickly from Parshischa to Koznitz to visit him **"* and his time had already come to pass away. He therefore called the 'Yehud' *** with him ways of Divine service. The 'Yehudi' was a great genius and had great depth, and every time [he came], he would hear new advice in divine service from him. This meant that there was a purpose for him living in order to actualise the path about which he heard when they spoke. So the Maggid told his sons.

*** one could explain the theme of the Mesorah as follows. "The number of your days I will fill." (However, since it would seem that a Tzaddik who has finished achieving his goal would lose from his number of days, the solution would be through,) "I will fill my mouth with admonition." (He can admonish others and thereby lead them on the path of G-d and His service. Then the Mesorah adds that this is necessary since) "To inherit to my loved ones [a gift of] substance, and I will fill their storehouses" (Meaning that there is prepared for him in the stores of Gan Eden [paradise], his "reward with him" - abundant good which is waiting for the righteous. Because of this *** [the heavenly accuser] is more able to use as a pretext, since [the Tzaddik] has completed his soul, and in Paradise there awaits stores of good, then it is fitting to put him there and that he should depart from this world.)

*** there is an anecdote [in this vein] with my father-in-law, the departed. On the night of Kol Nidrei [Yom Kippur Night], that *** and he was at rest, but then they heard his voice shouting to his household and chassidim to arouse him with shouting and crying. *** of them then that they should leave him be, saying that the stores of Paradise are waiting for him [to enjoy in] peace, and so why *** he trouble himself in this low and dark world. This awesome story is not [intended] as a suggestion ***, though one can at least imagine from this how much reward was added [to him] for all those year's service, from when he fainted that Yom Kippur night (and was healed then, on that same night). He worked many years *** [after that] in his holy work, and there was therefore room to question [lit. "to bring a charge"] that he should pass away because "Their storehouse I will fill." There was no solution but that he should "Fill my mouth with admonition," to direct, lead, and influence people. *** that is with one who is a unique man, as King Solomon said, "There is one, and he has no second." *** he is a person of hidden ways (unrecognized greatness) and does not rebuke others, and truly carries on in his perfection, a Tzaddik ***. Such a person is called, "And one" - meaning a person "unique unto himself." [The next word in the Mesorah was VeChad='and one', which he explains to mean 'Meyuchad LeAtzmo' - unique unto himself.]

In answer to this, in order to counter any who would bring such a charge against one who's way was not to admonish people that much, the Mesorah continues, "I will fill him with the spirit of G-d, in wisdom, understanding and cognition." (This means *** of G-d, and, "With Cognition" means the "Holy Spirit" as Rashi explains on the same verse, 'To recognize the G-d of your fathers and to devote to him with depth *** constantlv renewed.' Through this there is a solution even for one who is unique unto himself, such as was this one, to lengthen *** years) as we said (see also our [my] book "Divrei Torah" first edition, Part 55.)

***

Kesuvos (103:b) it is written "Rabbi [R. Yehudah HaNassi] lies in Tzipuri, and a place is prepared for him in Beis Sheorim *** (Rashi - Rabbi lies ill at Tzipuri and his grave is prepared in Beis Sheorim). But did not learn "Pursue righteousness,"- he went after Rabbi to Beis Sheorim,' [indicating that] Rabbi was in Beis Sheorim? [Rather,] he was in Beis Sheorim but since he became ill *** to Tzipuri which is better [i.e. healthier] and the air is better."

One could suggest about my father-in-law who lived in Radom *** the fire that happened in Bialobzig) and outside the town, in an airy place. His grave was prepared for him *** Sheorim, as Rashi explains. One might wonder about the phrase, "his grave was prepared for him." If [it means] that they dug a grave during his lifetime, it would be in contradiction with the testament of R. Yehuda HaChassid not to dig a grave whilst a person is still alive. [Although the Talmudpre-dates the 'Testament' by far, it is assumed that there would be no unaccountable contradiction between them.] If it is forbidden to do this for one who is actually expiring, even if in a different place, how much more so for one who is [only] ill, as it cites in the Shulchan Oruch, Yoreh Deah (339:1), "Do not give an opening" [i.e give air to an adverse suggestion]. One must certainly explain [his grave being prepared as] referring to the graves of his ancestors, the heads of the house of Israel, which were in Beis Sheorim. And after his death, they carried him there. This is the meaning of "His grave was prepared from him," meaning that it was known that it was the plot of his family and holy ancestors, and it is pleasing for one to be buried next to his ancestors, how much more so with such ancestors, spiritually elevated.

This [applies] too with our teacher, my father-in-law, that his burial place was prepared for him in Shidlovze, in the sepulcher of his holy father, as mentioned. engaged him in conversation many times in Bialovzeg, when he was healthy, about why he didn't establish himself in Shidlovze. It seems that his real reason was that he was worried about the length of his days since he knew that he would be buried there in the sepulcher of his father. When acquaintances realized this from his words, he slipped out, [he changed the subject], and continued for days and years, and he did not pre-empt things on his own. And since "[G-d] fulfills the will of those who fear him," He fulfilled the will of the Tzaddik after his death [and buried him there].

Now our sages say in Rosh Hashana (f.18) that the death of the Righteous is as hard on G-d as was the burning of the Temple. The question on this is known, from different books, that this contradicts what is said in Midrash Rabbah, Aicha (ch. 81:3a) that the death of the Righteous is harder than the destruction of the Temple. (See what I wrote on this in the essay, Zichron Tzaddikim printed in eulogy of the holy Rabbi). One can perhaps explain that they ascribe to two differing rationales that can be explained in the following analogy: There were two worthy people who were captured, treated abusively, underwent severe suffering, were exiled and chased. One of them used to be very rich, successful, and had plenty of all good. Suddenly the wheel [of fortune] turned on him and he was caught in the net for no fault of his own. The other was a man who had known illness from his youth, poor, had bad luck, and was plagued by suffering in all areas [of life]. In addition to all this, there now came upon him the tragedy of his capture and disorientation through no fault, he was pursued by trouble, together with the rich man. They talked together. The rich man said to the poor man, "My brother and friend, can there be a worse pain than that which has befallen me, for I have fallen from a great height into a low pit, and been thrown from heaven to earth (as is stated in Chagigah 5:b). Suddenly this misfortune came upon me, from light to darkness, and I have been placed in a pit. Not so with you - you are used to suffering and poverty and are not so affected with the trouble of imprisonment which has befallen you, since in your case, Babit becomes second nature'." The poor man answered, "Exactly the reverse is true. You were a rich man, well-kept all your life, with pleasantness, richness, and health, and nothing was withheld from you. With this you amassed strength during good times so that now you are able to endure these troubles, whereas not so I. I have been crushed with suffering all my life, and the power to endure all this additional suffering has gone, until almost my soul escapes me."

It is in this that the Tannaim and Amoraim differ. [Tannaim were the Rabbinic authorities of pre 200 c.e., and Amoraim were of the 200-500 c.e. era]. In the Talmud, Rosh Hashana, they said that the death of the Righteous is as hard on G-d as the burning of the Temple. That is to say that the Temple, which was the source of our life and our desire, and shone to the whole world, was then burned and destroyed, and our joy was turned to mourning. This, to Him, is similar to the death of a Tzaddik who shines to the world and then is taken from us, and the joy of our hearts ceases. This is similar to the logic of the rich man who was captured, as above. However, the Midrash follows the logic of the poor man. It therefore states that the death of the Tzaddik is harder than the destruction of the Temple. At least while it stood we had Glory, treasures, and honor, and all spiritual and physical pleasures from the Temple and the Sacrifices, causing gratification on high and below. This is "*** we had the strength which we amassed in the good times to withstand the great tragedy of our coming destruction. Not so with the passing of the righteous during our long exile, in which every day is harder, and exile follows exile, and troubles *** immeasurable and innumerable. Every day the men of kindness grow fewer, they pass away, and the righteous go ""* and we are left to sigh. With all this suffering, if one true Tzaddik like this is missing, G-d forbid, there is no more strength left to endure the great pain, since we are already full of suffering in our exile without this. *** the answer of the poor man that his suffering is harder to endure things on his own. And since "[G-d] fulfills the will of those who fear him," He fulfilled the will of the Tzaddik after his death [and buried him there]. Now our sages say in Rosh Hashana (f.18) that the death of the Righteous is as hard on G-d as was the burning of the Temple. The question on this is known, from different books, that this contradicts what is said in Midrash Rabbah, Aicha (ch. 81:3a) that the death of the Righteous is harder than the destruction of the Temple. (See what I wrote on this in the essay, Zichron Tzaddikim printed in eulogy of the holy Rabbi). One can perhaps explain that they ascribe to two differing rationales that can be explained in the following analogy: There were two worthy people who were captured, treated abusively, underwent severe suffering, were exiled and chased. One of them used to be very rich, successful, and had plenty of all good. Suddenly the wheel [of fortune] turned on him and he was caught in the net for no fault of his own. The other was a man who had known illness from his youth, poor, had bad luck, and was plagued by suffering in all areas [of life]. In addition to all this, there now came upon him the tragedy of his capture and disorientation through no fault, he was pursued by trouble, together with the rich man. They talked together. The rich man said to the poor man, "My brother and friend, can there be a worse pain than that which has befallen me, for I have fallen from a great height into a low pit, and been thrown from heaven to earth (as is stated in Chagigah 5:b). Suddenly this misfortune came upon me, from light to darkness, and I have been placed in a pit. Not so with you - you are used to suffering and poverty and are not so affected with the trouble of imprisonment which has befallen you, since in your case, Babit becomes second nature'." The poor man answered, "Exactly the reverse is tn~e. You were a rich man, well-kept all your life, with pleasantness, richness, and health, and nothing was withheld from you. With this you amassed strength during good times so that now you are able to endure these troubles, whereas not so I. I have been crushed with suffering all my life, and the power to endure all this additional suffering has gone, until almost my soul escapes me." It is in this that the Tannaim and Amoraim differ. [Tannaim were the Rabbinic authorities ofpre 200 c.e., and Amoraim were of the 200-500 c.e. era/. In the Talmud, Rosh Hashana, they said that the death of the Righteous is as hard on G-d as the buming of the Temple. That is to say that the Temple, which was the source of our life and our desire, and shone to the whole world, was then burned and destroyed, and our joy was turned to mourning. This, to Him, is similar to the death of a Tzaddik who shines to the world and then is taken from us, and the joy of our hearts ceases. This is similar to the logic of the rich man who was captured, as above. However, the Midrash follows the logic of the poor man. It therefore states that the death of the Tzaddik is harder than the destruction of the Temple. At least while it stood we had Glory, treasures, and honor, and all spiritual and physical pleasures from the Temple and the Sacrifices, causing gratification on high and below. This is *** we had the strength which we amassed in the good times to withstand the great tragedy of our coming destruction. Not so with the passing of the righteous during our long exile, in which every day is harder, and exile follows exile, and troubles *** immeasurable and innumerable. Every day the men of kindness grow fewer, they pass away, and the righteous go *** and we are left to sigh. With all this suffering, if one true Tzaddik like this is missing, G-d forbid, there is no more strength left to endure the great pain, since we are already full of suffering in our exile without this. *** the answer of the poor man that his suffering is harder to endure than the suffering of the man rich in holiness. It therefore poses that the passing of the Righteous is harder than the destruction of the Temple. (When we had at least amassed strength from the pleasure that we had *** when it stood.)

*** So it is with the passing of my elder. After the passing of many Tzaddikim, our teachers ***. Troubles have swept over us, and he served us as the light of Israel, and an intercessor for the exile of Ariel [The Jewish nation], the remnants ***, this Holy Rabbi, the last of the Great Assembly. Now, that he has been taken to heaven, the wave has swept over us *** like the burning of our Temple, as in the Talmud. We can additionally quote the words of the Midrash, since *** suffering innumerable, and inexplicable due to their number, and so our strength has been eroded through our sins. *** and because of the many Tzaddikim who passed away before him, there is no strength to withstand it anymore. This is the meaning of, "Their passing is harder than the destruction of the Temple." May G-d console all of the house of Israel, and help us through his salvation *** with the building of Ariel [the Temple].

Behold he left behind his son and successor, the Rav, Gaon and Tzaddik, Sinai and uprooter of mountains [i.e. the two qualities of broad knowledge and of great depth], renown in the gates, ***, Rabbi Nosson Dovid, who was accepted as Head of Beis Din of the community of Shidlovtze immediately after his settling there. He was a Rebbe *** spending time in his father's presence. Woe after woe. I heard and my innards were in turmoil, because now, in the year 5679 (1919), our crown [crown=679] has been removed, and his son passed away. "My innards rage and are embittered" when I remember his love between *** friends (still alive), followers of my friend and elder, who was my father-in-law. Even though my brother-in-law was *** advanced in years, he adhered to the adage "From all my teachers I have learned," when he would learn with me together, at the directive of his father. (This was when I stayed in the presence *** and my quarters were occasionally there). He was a vessel ***, great in Torah, with sharpness and knowledge, in the revealed and esoteric [parts of Torah], and [had] all the good qualities that our sages mention. A vine ***, outstanding and glorious, stood as banner for his people, a wonderful leader, unadulterated gold, a man of treasures, with all *** endearment, one cannot finish praising him. ['ayn gomrim olov es hahalel']. Now, in his youth, he has been taken from us. Oh, woe, he was *** and also my brother-in-law, a friend and a brother to me. One can apply the verse of grieving said by King David about Shaul and his son Yonosan, who were also his father and brother-in-law, so too could I bitterly grieve for my father-in-law *** his son who was my brother-in-law, "They were swifter than eagles, and stronger than lions to do the will of the Creator in their lifetimes, and in their deaths were not parted." Regarding Sh. B. who was the brother-in-law most friendly with me, it could be said, as David mourned his brother-in-law Yonosan, (Sam. II Ch. 17) "Your love was astounding to me." (See what is written on these verses in the discourse *** Tzaddikim," in eulogy of the Rebbe of Radomsk)

"On Shaul and Yonosan *** to teach the Sons-of-Yehuda (Judea) weaponry - keshet," which, as known from [other] books, stands for K rias Shemah [recital of Shemah, the most basic Jewish creed] [and] Tefillah. This can be said about my father and brother in law who were Rabbeim, teaching Benai-Yisrael the order of Shema and Prayers, to unite Him, may His name be blessed, through prayer ***, and to be devoted to Him, to stand with bow and arrow against those who reject [the religion], who are breaching [standards], and to strengthen others with faith in G-d ***, may their merit protect us. And let us merit speedily, as we understand it, to salvation from heaven, with the building of Tzion and Yerushalayim, with the coming ***.




[Page 61]

By Kalman Goldwasser o.b.m.

R' Shraga Yair

(translated from Yiddish - Aharon Sorosky)

Biolovzig was a picturesque town. Blue skies, kilometers of Oron woods [a type of tree], and wheat fields that fed the population of the town and village. In middle of the river Yaffe ("Filtzeh") there were green islands upon which grew willow trees ['Hoshanos' used in the ritual of the seventh day of Pentecost,] (kosher to a higher standard), and it had golden banks (from which the name of the town was derived) that squatted, so to speak, on the edges of the path upon which ran the sole connection between the town and the wider world. It was like a wagon-driver's barrel in his square wagon [?].

Reb Zalman, the town beadle, the 'clock of Jewish town' - was a tall man who had grown together with the town. Every day at dawn, he would go on his rounds with a wooden hammer in his hands. He would go from one shutter to the next, and at every place that a Jew lived, he would stop, knock three times, and call into the window in a sing-song voice full of longing, "Jews! Arise to the service of G-d..."

They used to say about Reb Zalman the beadle that he had, thank G-d, long passed his ninetieth year. Others dismissed this appraisal with a wave of the hand, since according to their reckoning, he had long passed his hundredth year. Reb Zalman himself did not pay attention to any of this. He continued to wake the Jews to [their] Divine service, until one day his wooden hammer slipped out of his hand... From that day on, the hammer passed on to his son Moshe'l.

In the dawn of its history, when Bialovzig as a town was taking it's first steps, the place served as a center for religious Jewry. Things changed with the passing of time, but in the meantime, the court of a Tzaddik had opened there. There, all the spiritual life of the Jews of the town was centered. Even though there were shteiblach [a shteibel is a familiar community synagoguej of other Chassidim: Gur (Ger), Vorki, Amshinov, Vochutzk and others, and though the general synagogue served as 'the illumination of the Exile', nevertheless, Bialovzig shone mainly from the glory of the Rebbe.

From both sides of the Varshoee "Trackt," [the 'Warsaw highway' - see a map of Poland] square wagons were being pulled, which were over-filled with singing Chassidim, and were attached to four "lions" led by wagon drivers; Michel, Aharon, Shlomo. These were Jews who were typical of their type, whose weather-beaten faces and wide beards, made them look like Generals returning from a battlefield on the victorious side. "Vyeh, Vyeh," [at least I suppose that's how it sounds] they called energetically to the horses, as was their custom. The horses, trained to the call, would tap their hooves rhythmically on the cobbled stones, blending with the [rhythm] of the singing and sounds. And now they have come to the long market street which was completely settled on either side by Jews, and everyone would look out of their windows and doorways at the cavalcade, and quickly caught on to the tune of the Rebbe, and would join in singing it. The street itself [seemed to] sing. So the journey continued until they came to the big wooden house. There they stopped together, as if the "lions" were saying, "This is the place! We have brought you to the right address, we are not going any further..."

At the front of the house, they went about ten steps from the porch toward the door on the right, to *** old, of small stature and distinguished features. The light of the Shechinah [G-dly imminence/manifestation] radiated from them. A face *** old, silver like the work of a craftsman. This was the appearance of the Tzaddik, Rabbi Shraga Yair, of blessed memory.

Into the room *** Jews were drawn from the four corners of the earth. Principally [they came] from within the kingdom of Kaiser, Franz ***, Hungary, Chechye, Bohemia, East and West Galicia, and from all corners of Poland. More than once *** that also a non-Jew knocked on the Rebbe's door.

*** was the Chassidic philosophy of Bialovzig? Something like that of Kotz, Gur, and Vorki? Something *** I heard that by us (and maybe I was too young to understand these things). There flooded into here, Jews *** and from far. All of them came specifically for him, to the Tzaddik, as if every day of the year was a festival! *** crowned with noble ancestry. On one hand he was the son-in-law of Rabbi Shmelke of Sasov. From the other side, he was the son of Rabbi Nosson Dovid of Shidlovzeh, a descendant of the 'Holy Jew' of Pashischa *** also authored and compiled certain books, including Aron Ha'aydus, [a commentary] on the Torah and festivals *** all this is pertinent to the 'text of Bialovzig'.

*** today is Friday; today is a special day. The whole week round, the courtyard of the Rebbe looks like *** a half-way house. Chassidim from foreign parts, distant cities, that had come to spend Shabbos *** in the shadow of the Rebbe, prepared to go back on their way, and others arrived to take their place. Friday, toward the end *** a kind of in-between-times was created. The holy Shabbos had not yet arrived, but the *** mundane have already ceased and gone. No one was involved with mundane activity any longer. Besides for R. Chaim the [Rebbe's] assistant, who is burdened sevenfold *** on a day like this. His great brim, big enough for two, was pushed up ***. R. Chaim was cutting the fish in honor of Shabbos with great diligence. In this field, he is an expert *** of a kind.

This time, there were more chassidim, guests, than every other Friday. Everyone was hurried and running - running here, running there, without knowing precisely why they were running... They pray a quick mincha and continue running. *** worried about missing out on something, that they shouldn't be too late. Then, when the tempo reached its peak *** opened, one of the side doors. It opened with a commotion, and then suddenly there fell a hush - the Rebbe has arrived! On the doorstep *** the shining form of the Tzaddik.

*** was already at a great old age, small stature, weak, he sometimes was carried by two relatives who would hold him by his arms [until they reached] the prayer lectern. In a quiet voice that could only be heard with difficulty, the Rebbe started the Shabbos night prayers, "Come, let us sing joyously to G-d, [let us] shout out to the Rock of our salvation."

*** time, unusually, the Rebbe stopped on his way to the lectern, and opened his eyes. He looked around *** synagogue, to all sides, as if he were looking for someone. In the end he asked, "Is Yankel Bialovziger *** here?" From amongst the crowd, came forward a distinguished looking Jew, his blackish/red beard nicely combed. "Yes, Rebbe," he answered humbly. "Come here, then, Yankele, to lead the Shabbos services today."

*** is this Yankele, that he was even then called by the name of his town? Did he ever live here? *** that this Jew once stood at the greatest hights [financially], and he then fell ***. Contrary to his bad luck in things material, success came to him from a different direction. He was a father of four *** who were famous cantors. I knew two of them personally. Yisroel Kuper/Kufer, the last cantor *** in the chazanus of Kalish. His two other sons were also cantors of renown in the world in general. However, not one of them reached the level of their great father, who was like an ever-growing spring in the field of tune and song. His tremendous voice was like a flood of crashing water, like a storming sea, like a waterfall taking apart mountains, and shattering rocks...

For this Shabbos night service, Reb Yankel let forth with a wonderful new tune that he had composed specially for the honor of the Rebbe. Everyone then understood well why he was considered a special guest, not just by the Rebbe, but even more so in the eyes of his son, R. Nosson Dovid, who was literally love-sick for songs. He (R. Nosson Dovid) himself would lead the services, by a supernal kindness, and was a composer of musical pieces. All the Jews of the town loved him, and came to listen to his prayers in order to feel the pleasure of Shabbos.

In Bilovzig, there could have been found at that time, a line of Chassidim who could leader of the service and who knew how to sing. Each one of them was a "high priest in his service," and at least one of them should be remembered here. He is R. Yisroel Meir Lipshitz. When I heard his prayers, it was on the last Yom Kippur of his life, he did not have the strength to stand at the lectern for the Amida. They brought him a special chair, and like that - sitting - he prayed Mussaf and then Neilah with such an outpouring of feeling, the likes of which the congregants of the shteibel had never once heard from him. After a few weeks, R. Yisroel Meir expired and passed away.

The son of the Rebbe, R. Nosson Dovid, was himself a powerful singer, and always sought talented people who could take-in and improve his compositions. He was also extremely pedantic. Any slight change in nuance, a wrong or slipped note, would bring him out of his complacency. For such a 'misdemeanor', the singer would receive a sharp poke in the side....and the one who received more pokes than any was his son R' Mordechai Yirmiyahu.

But despite everything, there came whole days and weeks in the town when peace reigned. The cavalcades of chassidim ceased, and at night, the flickering-lights did not burn in the Rebbe's study-hall. This was not just a regular quietness, but was like the quiet before the storm. Before the awful days arrived.... It was in the summer months, when all the Rebbe's family seated themselves in a wagon of one of the coachmen, and left. The talk in the town was that they were traveling the health spa in Karlsbad. But no one could tell from behind those hills of darkness, lay that 'Karlsbad'. [?]

For about two months, this quiet reigned in Bialovzig. Even in Karlsbad, or any other place, R. Nosson Dovid did not sit with folded arms in order to enjoy the pleasures of this world. He was an expert, not only in religious song, but also in classical music. More than one tune wandered into the big synagogue in Bialovzig from world opera. There it found a 'home' in the stanzas of 'Ayn Kitzvo' that R. Nosson Dovid let forth with on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

Already in the first days of the month of Elul, Bialovzig had once again received its normal appearance, with the end of summer, the Rebbe retumed with his family. Once again, the 'flickering-lights' shone at night from the Rebbe's study house. R. Nosson Dovid bcgan to arrange rehearsals with his singers for the new tunes which he had brought back with him from the warm health-springs at Karlsbad, and to fit them into the High Holiday prayer book. The preparations for the day of Judgement were in earnest...

Bit by bit, chassidim began to come. There were the early ones who came at the beginning of Elul *** Yom Kippur, the crowd already numbered in the thousands, which took up every corner in every Jewish house. Moshele, the son of Reb Zalman the beadle, with his wooden hammer in his hand, would pass by every dawn *** the houses in the town. His three knocks on the shutters of the Jews sounded like stones. His moving voice, *** calling into the windows, "Jews! Arise, arise for Slichos."

The first people to lead the congregation for Rosh Hashana, were Reb Mendele Shebrishiner and his group of singers *** with him. In the language of modern music, one might refer to their pleasant songs of prayer **tatiyah' (songs closest to speech). However, I do not think that this fittingly expresses *** of those Jews, which are far better and more accurately expressed by words like, 'Songs of the Angels', 'Heavenly singing'. So they truly were.

*** it is impossible to describe the expert singing of R. Nosson Dovid at Kol Nidrei, Mussaf *** on Yom Kippur - when he had the exclusive right to lead the congregation. Thousands of Jews *** for them with a pulling of the heart. Throughout the whole month of Elul, he would be busy with preparations and practice. Now *** before the stand, a fine-looking Jew with a dark beard, his Tallis on his shoulders with its crown of silver *** letting forth diamonds and Jewels: "Ya'aleh," "Hineni He'oni Mima'as," "Unesaneh Tokef Kedushas Hayom," "Zecher kol hanishkachos," "Kevakoras Tzoin Edroi," "Mi Bamayim uMi Ba'aish," "Mi Bacherev uMi Bamagefah."

All these were not, during those days, mere excerpts of the Machzor! The Seder Ha'avodah, *** 'Malchiyos, Zichronos, Shofros, and 'Z'chor Bris Avrohom V'Akaydas Yitzchok!' With his sweet and pleasant voice, R. Nosson Dovid drew the huge crowd to higher worlds.

*** my last years of wandering throughout the wider world, I have had the opportunity to hear many cantors and musical experts, both Jewish and nonJewish, in famous and spacious halls and with *** with high ceilings *** from the highest quality of all sorts of music. Holiness [however], I did not *** outside of the town of my birth, Bialovzig.

The joy ceased in one of the days in the month of Sivan 5671 (1911), when a fire broke out in our town *** literally a few seconds, almost all of the Jewish settlement was consumed in flames. Most of the shteibelach and study-halls were gone. The houses of the Rebbe and the two adjacent synagogues were consumed in fire *** Four Jews also perished in the tragedy of the fire. Bialovzig assumed a mantle of grieving and mute silence. *** this silence continued until the year 5680 (1920). Without having a place to live, the Rebbe's family moved to Radom. There the Tzaddik, R. Shraga Yair passed away after only two weeks. He was brought *** burial in the town of Shidlovtzeh, next to the resting place of his father, the Tzaddik.

After that, his son R. Nosson Dovid was crowned as Rebbe in Shidlovzeh. But not long passed before he, too, passed away. With his passing went a great and colorful man, a wondrous genius in song *** Jewish. In his place, his son R. Reuven Baruch was appointed as Rabbi in Shidlovtzeh. He, too, did not live long. After him, his younger brother R. Chayimel, was appointed to the Rabbinate. He was incidentally, *** most suitable from all his brothers, he was loved by everyone who knew him, even from his youth. A wise and sharp man, who revealed *** and skill in Chassidic leadership. He did not disappoint his acquaintances from maintaining these personal qualities to the day of his sacrifice. Chayimel was the last Rabbi of the community of Shidlovtzeh. It was decreed that he die in sanctification of G-d's name through strength of character. When the Nazis, may their names be eradicated, brought the remnants of the Jews of Shidlovtzeh for destruction, they directed R. Chayimel to get out of the carriage, and promised him that he remain alive. But he answered them, "I went at the head of my congregation in life, I will also go with them on the last journey." In reaction, the oppressors fell upon him with great fury and terrible blows, until blood flowed from all about him. He was brought like that together with his flock to destruction in Treblinka. Thus, the Nazis, may their names be eradicated, severed in their cruelty, the golden thread of this famous house of Tzaddikim, which had continued down from the days of the 'Holy Jew' of Pashischa, until the Rebbe of Bialovzig and his grandchildren.

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