Rabbi Aryeh Leibush was born in the year 5607 (1847). From his youth, he studied a great deal of Torah and learning never left his mouth. He was accepted as the rabbi and head of the rabbinical court of Zalozce, the birthplace of his father, already in 5631 (1871). He was appointed as the rabbi of Stryj in 5639 (1879), where he became known as one of the great rabbis of the generation. From near and far, rabbis sent questions and responsa to him, for he was known for his sharpness and breadth of knowledge, as someone who knew how to penetrate into the depths of Gemara and reasoning, and to clarify the question that was presented to him from all its angles, and to make a Halachic decision which will not be disputed later. His influencing and clear style also attracted the questioners, who were anxious to receive his fine answer with all its details. His mouth also dripped with pearls. His oratory style was fine, pleasant and sweeping. Whether it was a Torah lecture at a celebration, a rabbinical sermon, or a speech in German, everything was pleasing to the ear of the audience, and attracted their hearts. He knew how to tailor his words according to the type of audience with unusual tact.
He published his book of responsa Harei Besamim, in two volumes. The first volume was published in Lwow in the year 5642 (1882), and the second volume in 5657 (1897). He also published the booklet called Haga Aryeh which included the first sermon that he preached before the community of Stanislawow after he was appointed as rabbi and head of the rabbinical court there. He also had some Hassidic leanings. He traveled to the Tzadik Rabbi David Moshe of Czortkow while he was still living in Stryj. During one of my visits to him, I was brazen enough to ask to ask him, Why do you see it appropriate to travel to Czortkow? He answered me that he goes there not as a Hassid but rather as a friend. And when I asked him, However, the world believes that friendship is supposed to be mutual, and we have never heard that the Rebbe of Czortkow visits you? He received my words with his unique style, but he had no additional response and he turned the conversation to a different topic
In Stryj he assisted in the foundation of the General Cheder to the dismay of the zealots. This was somewhat dangerous to him, for even though he was already a famous Gaon, respected and revered by his community, there were zealots who rose up against him and persecuted him on this account. I found out that the head of the community was even so brazen as to withhold payment of his salary for a period of time. However, as I have already said, he lived in Stryj with great honor. People exalted him and cleaved to him. He also liked the city, and enjoyed living there. I remember that when I visited him there during my youth, he strolled through the streets of the city with me and showed me with fondness and satisfaction the fine appearance of the city until we reached the riverbank outside of it, where he showed me the beauty of the view.
He was received with honor and esteem in our Stanislawow. Every one treaded with him with honor for the few years that he lived there. Even with this, he was homesick for Stryj. He even told me this once. He said that in Stryj they treated him not only with honor but also friendship. They would come to visit me, especially during my younger days which are dear to me. They would come to my house. On the other hand, in Stanislawow, they honor me too much but do not befriend me, or they are not so brazen as to befriend me. He complained further that the youth do not come to visit him. He even named by name several of the excellent youths in the city and asked me with astonishment, Why do they not come to me?
Rabbi Aryeh Leibush founded the famous Yeshiva in Stanislawow. He appointed Rabbi Yekutiel Kamelhar as the Rosh Yeshiva. He led the Yeshiva for many years. Rabbi Leibush used to visit the Yeshiva himself, take interest in the students and their studies, and on occasion delivered a lesson to them.
He viewed Zionism with admiration, but he was not one of its adherents. He esteemed the basic idea, but due to his calm and deliberate disposition, he was careful about every word, and he was not able to affirm the apparent revolutionary tactics and radical behavior of the adherents of the movement at that time. After the death of Herzl, he delivered a eulogy with appropriate honor.
On December 2, 1908, on the 60th anniversary of the ascension to the throne of Kaiser Franz Josef I, medals of excellence were given out. Rabbi Aryeh Leibush also received a Cross of the Mighty Ones of the Order of Franz Josef. He did not particularly value this. Only once he told me with a smile that clothing manufacturing firms from Vienna send him their catalogs, so he can choose appropriate clothing as a Mighty One of the Order.
Rabbi Aryeh Leibush's awe preceded his wisdom. He was modest in all his ways, pleasant and friendly with his fellow, greeting everyone pleasantly and with an enthusiastic smile on his lips. He had an imposing and handsome appearance and the unique grace of a renowned scholar. However, as I have mentioned, his tenure in Stanislawow was not long. He only spent five years there, and these included one year of his own serious illness, and another year of the illness of the rebbetzin. This only left him with a brief time for his valuable work. He contracted cancer which brought him to his grave. He died at the age of 62 on the 21st of Sivan 5669 (1909) and was buried in the canopy next to his father and grandfather. He left behind two sons, neither of which was a rabbi. One of them, Reb Shaul, was not proficient in the ways of the world. His entire interest was in Torah and prayer. He lived in Komarno, and was not interested in the rabbinate. The second one, Reb Pinchas, was quite similar to his father, but also did not want the rabbinate, even though he would have been able to fill the place of his father. It is said that during the shiva mourning period, the regional ruler and court adviser Prokowcicz came to comfort the family. As he turned to leave, he said to Reb Pinchas, Your honor should certainly place yourself in a position to take the place of your late father. Know that I am willing to support you. However, as has been mentioned, he forewent this honor.
Rabbi David was the third son of Rabbi Elazar. He was orphaned of his father already during his childhood, and he was therefore raised in the home of his grandfather Rabbi Meshulam. He was educated by him, and was his prime disciple. He excelled in his wondrous memory, not losing even one drop, already from his youth. It is said about him that when he was a youth, he wanted to study German, but as an autodidact he did not know where to start. He came upon the large German dictionary of Weber. He studied from the dictionary until he knew it entirely by heart.
He was accepted as the rabbi of Kozlow when he was still young, and he lived there until he moved to Stanislawow. He lived with great honor in Kozlow, and his livelihood was sufficient even though it was a small city. In his modesty, he never sought greatness and did not try to obtain a larger rabbinate, as others did. He was satisfied with what he had until his turn came to be appointed as the rabbi of Stanislawow. However those who were in the know were very aware that in that a rabbi great in Torah lived in that small town, and his name preceded him to the wider community. People would turn to him from other cities to adjudicate Torah judgments and participate in arbitrations where each disputant picks his own arbitrator. He was once summoned to Belgium to judge a major dispute.
The breadth of his knowledge was truly wondrous and comprehensive. He was at home with the volumes of the Talmud and their commentaries. He remembered everything. Whenever he was asked anything, he would open up the volume and find the source within a moment. Sharp people would come to him and ask him about obscure issues in an attempt to trap him and he, with full innocence, would immediately show them the source. It was told to me that Reb Dov Berish Weiss himself tested the rabbi in this manner. He once asked him about whether a certain custom has its source in the Shulchan Aruch. The questioner knew that one of the renowned Gaonim of Hungary, about whom it was also said that nothing escapes his eyes, was once asked about that matter and he did not know the answer. However, Rabbi David immediately took the Shulchan Aruch, showed him that in the laws of Tachanun in the Magen Avraham, there is a discussion of this matter even though it is not in context. Indeed, this was the sole source upon which this custom is based. The custom spread everywhere, without anyone knowing the source.
His expertise in Bible was something that was uncommon amongst rabbis. Rabbi Weissblum, his major disciple whom he ordained, told me in this matter that Rabbi David knew the Bible by heart like Ashrei. He also knew the Rashi commentary on the Bible by heart. He based some of his response upon the commentaries of Rashi and Radak on the Bible. His rich Hebrew style also came from this (see, for example, the introduction to his book Imrei David). He related to Zionism with clear and open admiration, and he supported Mizrachi at any opportunity. He delivered a significant opening address in the first general convention of Mizrachi after the First World War. He participated in the Zionist Congress of 5689 (1929), in which the decision was made to expand the Jewish Agency. He even joined the expanded Jewish Agency. Prior to his journey to that congress, some people from high places attempted to dissuade him from going. Even the Admor of Ger sent him such a message, but he did not pay attention to any of this, and he set out for Zurich. On his returned he went to Vienna, where the major convention of Agudas Yisroel took place. The Aguda circles asked him and said, Is it possible that the Rabbi of Stanislawow participates with the 'sinners'? How interesting was his response to them, In tractate Berachot (63:b) it says regarding the verse 'and he returned to the camp': Rabbi Avahu said that G-d said to Moses (when he 'took his tent and pitched it outside the camp') that, now people will say that the rabbi is angry and the disciple is angry, what will become of Israel? If you return the tent to its place good, and if not, Hoshea the son of Nun your disciple will serve in your stead. That is why it says, 'and he returned to the camp'. And now, concluded Rabbi David, If we are angry, then others will come in our place, but what will be of Israel? To him the love of Israel took precedence over searching for iniquity.
He was not at all a zealot, and did not teach the ways of zealotry. Here is a characteristic anecdote: Rabbi Moshele Bergman, a staunch Hassid and zealot, a head of the Aguda and one of its leaders in the city, lived in Stanislawow. Once Reb Moshele went to Reb Dov Berish Weiss and invited him to go with him to the rabbi to bring him valuable advice on how to preserve family purity in light of the licentiousness of the generation. They should keep a ledger in which the names of all women who go to the ritual immersion will be inscribed. Rabbi Dov Berish did not like this advice and told him, This is a novel idea, but this type of matter is under the jurisdiction of the rabbi of the city. Rabbi Moshele did not let it go, and he took him to the home of the rabbi, where Rabbi Moshele enthusiastically and emotionally explained to him the great benefit that would come out of this, in differentiating between the impure and the pure. Rabbi David listened to the advice of Rabbi Moshele and said, The verse says, 'who can count the dust of Jacob and enumerate the seed of Israel'. Rashi explains, 'who will count the procreation of Israel', but who said this Bilaam
Rabbi David published a book on novellae in Halacha and Aggada called Imrei David. Three of his sons were appointed as rabbis during his lifetime. The eldest of them, Rabbi Moshe, was appointed as rabbi of Kozlow in his place, and he was called to replace his father in Stanislawow as well. His second son, Rabbi Nachman, was formerly a rabbi in Lysiec and later in Halicz. The third son was the martyr Rabbi Efraim Fishel, may G-d avenge his blood, the rabbi of Lysiec. We have heard how the evil people, may their names and memories be blotted out, tortured him to death. He was the son-in-law Rabbi Avraham Heshel may he lived long, the Admor of Kopyczynce. The fourth son, Rabbi Eliahu, was a rabbi in Chodorow.
Rabbi David sat on the rabbinical seat of Stanislawow for approximately 25 years. He died there in the year 5684 (1934), at the age of 72. He was the only one of the grandchildren of Rabbi Meshulam who reached old age.
Rabbi Moshe married his cousin, the daughter of his father's brother Rabbi Fishel the rabbi of Mariampol. Rabbi Fishel died in his prime, and in his place, his son-in-law our Rabbi Moshe was chosen as his replacement even though he was young.
After his father left the rabbinate of Kozlow and moved to Stanislawow, Rabbi Moshe replaced his father in Kozlow. When the First World War broke out, he went to Vienna as a refugee, where he lived for 20 years until he was invited to become the rabbi of Stanislawow. He became known as a preacher in Vienna. He was an excellent preacher and orator. There were many fine houses of worship 'Temples' in the capital city which were maintained by the community, and all of them belonged to the progressive stream except for the Polish synagogue of the Orthodox, and the Shifshul of the Adat Yisrael Orthodox community of Hungarian origin. Every temple had its own preacher. However, aside from the Temples and the two aforementioned synagogues, there was a large number of Beis Midrashes of different groups, only some of which had permanent rabbis. Most of them did not have the means to retain a full time rabbi. These Beis Midrashes began to invite Rabbi Moshe to preach, lecture and give a class one after another, and he willingly responded. His words were like a stream that never stopped. His sermons were deep, containing many lofty ideas and recommendations, with a style reminiscent of Girded in strength and splendor. Slowly but surely, groups were established in several synagogues in which he taught Torah. At first, his livelihood was meager, without a steady salary, but with time, he established himself. His activities were centered primarily in two or three synagogues. Later, the Rambam Beis Midrash was founded through the endeavors of the circle surrounding Rabbi Dr. Aharon Kaminka. Rabbi Moshe was the regular preacher there as well. Finally, Rabbi Moshe was accepted as the full time rabbi in the Great Synagogue of Kesselgasse in the wealthy area. From then, his livelihood was ample.
When he was appointed to the rabbinate of Stanislawow, it was difficult for him to leave his place of residence. His work was very dear to him, and he was completely immersed in his activities. He so greatly valued the communal aspect of his work, that it was hard for him to give up his place and restrict himself to sitting on a rabbinical seat to adjudicate questions, Torah judgments, and the like. He saw this as restrictive, which lowered his stature and did not raise himself spiritually. Who knows if he would have responded to the call, but the command of his father and the power of the established claim were decisive.
Rabbi Moshe was a Zionist in spirit, and expressed this in his sermons and lectures. He often delivered Zionist lectures at meetings to which he was invited. Before he left Vienna, the Zionist umbrella group of the region arranged a farewell party in his honor, and the Zionist leader who was the vice chairman of the community, Dr. Yosef Levenhertz, delivered a major speech in his honor.
Like his father, he was blessed with a phenomenal memory, and his expertise in all aspects of Torah was great. Furthermore, he had a comprehensive knowledge in secular subjects and sciences. He knew all theories of philosophy, from old to new, and was also a powerful historian. However his crowning trait was his personality. He was pious, modest and discrete! How good hearted was he, how generous, how open was his hand, how refined was his sensitivity, how straightforward and pure. Only someone who knew this precious pearl would know how to understand what this man was. And what did he have? This man Moshe we do not know what happened to him. What happened to Rabbi Moshe? Woe, what happened to him, woe and alas, what happened to him? Woe, what happened to us.
The era of the rabbinate of the six rabbis of the Horowitz family lasted for 160 years. This was a unique situation that has no equal in the annals of the rabbinate throughout the entire Jewish Diaspora.
1 Rabbi Aryeh Leibush HaLevi Ish Horowitz (5520-5604 1760-1844) 1.1 Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch 1.1.1 Rabbi Elazar Moshe 1.1.2 Rabbi Yehoshua 1.2 Rabbi Yaakov Yokel 1.3 Rabbi Meshulam Yissachar (5564-5648 1804-1888) 1.3.1 Rabbi Elazar (5587-5629 1827-1869) 22.214.171.124 Rabbi Shalom Alter 126.96.36.199 Rabbi Efraim Fishel 188.8.131.52 Rabbi David HaLevi (5622-5694 1862-1934) 184.108.40.206.1 Rabbi Moshe 220.127.116.11.2 Rabbi Nachman 18.104.22.168.3 Rabbi Efraim Fishel 22.214.171.124.4 Rabbi Eliahu 126.96.36.199 Beila 188.8.131.52 Sara 184.108.40.206 Chaya 1.3.2 Rabbi Yitzchak (5584-5664 1824-1904) 220.127.116.11 Rabbi Aryeh Leibush (5607-5669 1847 - 1909) 18.104.22.168.1 Rabbi Shaul 22.214.171.124.2 Rabbi Pinchas 126.96.36.199 Sara 188.8.131.52.1 Dr. Meir Horowitz 184.108.40.206.2 Yehoshua 220.127.116.11.2.1 Dr. Yaakov 18.104.22.168.2.2 Tuni-Miriam 22.214.171.124 Miriam 126.96.36.199 Leah 1.3.3 Rabbi Shaul (5591-5663 1831-1903) 188.8.131.52 Rabbi Chaim Aryeh Leibush 184.108.40.206 Rabbi Pinchas 220.127.116.11.1 Mirl 18.104.22.168.2 Reizel 22.214.171.124.3 Meshulam Yissachar 126.96.36.199.4 Miriam 188.8.131.52.5 Esther 1.3.4 Rabbi Yaakov Yokel (5594-5675 1834-1915) 184.108.40.206 Rabbi Aryeh Leibush 220.127.116.11.1 Mordechai Zeev 1.3.5 Dina 18.104.22.168 Rabbi Yosef 22.214.171.124 Rabbi Meir 126.96.36.199 Dvora 188.8.131.52 Sara 184.108.40.206 Pinchas 1.3.6 Rabbi Yosef (5600-5658 1840-1898) 220.127.116.11 Rabbi Yeshayahu 18.104.22.168 Rabbi Tzvi (5641- 5703 1881-1943) 22.214.171.124.1 Yosef 1.3.7 Leah 1.3.8 Sara 1.3.9 Hinda 1.4 Roza 1.5 Hinda 1.6 Temeril 1.7 Dina 1.8 Shprintza
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