at the Slabodka Yeshiva, the great rabbinical leader and rabbi of Brisk, Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik came to the yeshiva for a visit. As was customary, hundreds of students came to visit him at the Dagmar Hotel. When I went there and mentioned my father's name, R. Chaim answered, Oh, R. Eliyahu, he's a dear person!
[Photo:] R. Eliyahu Goldman, father of Rabbi Yehuda David Goldman
My grandfather had only one brother known as Zissel R. Tzemach's. His full name was R. Alexander Ziskind, and was named after the author of the great scholar from Grodno who wrote Yesod Shoreseh Ha'avodah [Principles of the Base of Divine Service]. My grandfather's brother, R. Zissel, was also the father of my father-in-law, Rabbi Mordechai Zundel Rubenstein, who studied together on Volozhin with the great scholars, R. Moshe Mordechai Epstein and my teacher, R. Baruch Ber Leibovitz. My father-in-law was also the author of many books, including The Jewish Man and My Travels in Russia.
My grandfather, R. Yossel, died at the height of the First World War under a hail of bullets that fell on Drohitchin on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, 1915. Together with the rest of the Jews, my grandfather ran for shelter into the trench on the Vion. On the last night of the battle he left the trench and went into a nearby house (belonging to Sanny the Pot Maker) where he gave up his holy soul. Together with my uncle Yitzchak Efraim's, my father, R. Eliyahu, who was also in Drohitchin at that time, buried my grandfather in the old cemetery near the graves of the martyrs of Osevitz. Later, when my wife, child and I returned from Motele (where we saw the arrival of the Germans), I and Zeidel Steinberg (the son of Naftali the teacher) built a structure over the grave of my grandfather.
As mentioned, my uncle Yitzchak Efraim's, was known as Yitzchak, the Mishiver and was a land tenant. Among other estates, he leased the Stanislav and Rakum estates. Yitzchak Efraim's was a major community leader in Drohitchin.
At his death my grandfather was about 90 years old, and had been in Drohitchin for more than 60 years, and was respected and admired by everyone with mere mention of his name. His photo still hangs in the homes of many Drohitchin Jews living in the United States. He was one of the finest individuals ever produced in the Polesia region. In addition to being a great teacher, he also got along well with people; he had a shining countenance and a constant smile on his face. He never became angry, and always tried to judge people favorably. He was our pride. I remember how on one eve of Yom Kippur our entire family, young and old, would go to Grandfather for a blessing. He would lay his hands on each person's head and would bless us with tears in his eyes.
As stated above, my grandfather had four sons and one daughter, none of whom are still living. However, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren currently lived in Israel, New York, Philadelphia, Virginia, St. Joseph, Missouri and Chicago.It can be said about our grandfather that the glory of the children is their parents.
Yisrael Baruch Warshavsky
[photo: Rabbi David Mordechai Yudovsky]
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