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[Page 49]

The Rabbis of Podhajce in their Generations

by Rabbi Wolf Feuerstein

Translated by Jerrold Landau

The small town of Podhajce, my birthplace that is between the cities of Berezany and Buchach in eastern Galicia, was a city filled with scholars and scribes 400 years ago. Its rabbis were Torah scholars whose renown spread through all the lands of the Diaspora. The greats of Israel from near and far debated Jewish law with them, and students from all corners of the land streamed to them to drink their words with thirst. A unique one of them was a Yeshiva head and head of the Diaspora[1], a cedar of Lebanon, great in Torah, the Gaon and great decisor Rabbi Binyamin Aharon the son of Reb Avraham Solnik, the author of the Masaat Binyamin book of responsa. He occupied the rabbinical seat in Podhajce for forty years, from the year 5340 5380 (1580-1620). Most of his responsa were accepted as Halacha throughout the entire Jewish Diaspora. Our great rabbi was beloved not only in his own community on account of the proper ways in which he led it to ensure its internal and external security, but his good renown also spread afar on account of the large Yeshiva that he maintained in our town, from which he spread Torah and wisdom. There, our rabbi delved into the Torah of G-d, not leaving its tent day and night, until the point that his Torah proclaimed him to the outside, and he merited in being counted among the members of the “Council of the Three Lands”. He continued to ascend in influence until he became the head of the council. In order to complete the topic, and also to the honor and glory of my native city which was prior to the Holocaust the burial place of my scholarly, honorable and modest mother Chana the daughter of Reb Chaim Mordechai Fueurstein of blessed memory, and which was the burial place of her fathers and grandparents of blessed memory, I will enumerate the names of all of the great rabbis who occupied the rabbinical seat in our town throughout a period of 365 years, from the year 5300 (1540) to the year 5665 (1905).

The two rabbis of Podhajce who preceded the author of Masaat Binyamin were:

a) The rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Moshe.

b) The rabbi and Gaon[2] Rabbi Yehuda Leib his son (Matzevet Kodesh and Anshei Shem)[*1]. The following is the text on the gravestone of Rabbi Yehuda Leib in Lvov.

“And Yehuda went down to the faithful nation of holy people, he is the great Gaon, the pure menorah, expert in the compartments of the hidden and revealed Torah, toiling in Torah day and night, the head of the Yeshiva in this place, and the head of the rabbinical court[3] of the holy community of Podhajce, our teacher and rabbi Rabbi Yehuda Leib the son of the great rabbi our teacher and rabbi Rabbi Moshe who was also the head of the rabbinical court of Podhajce, who spread Torah throughout Israel, toiled in Torah, and made his nights as days, enlightened the eyes of Israel, taught the people the path of Torah that they should follow, and established many students who were leaders of the generation, who drunk from his waters. In this merit, may his soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life. Died on the 11th of Cheshvan 5373 (1633).”

c) Masaat Binyamin. The rabbi and Gaon, head of the Yeshiva and head of the Diaspora, the pillar of teaching, the scion of holy ones his name is his glory[4], our rabbi Rabbi Binyamin Aharon the son of Reb Avraham Solnik may his merit protect us and all Israel, amen[5]. Who was known by the name

Masaat Binyamin

A student of the Ramah[6], the Maharshal[7], the rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Shapira the author of “Mavo Shearim”, and Maharash II[8]. He maintained discussions with the Ramah, the Levush, the Maharam Lublin[9], and the rest of the leaders of the generation, many of whom were relatives by marriage. Later he taught Torah for several years in Krakow at the end of the days of the Ramah and following his death. During his younger days, he was also the rabbi of the entire State of Silesia for a brief period. Then he was appointed as the head of the rabbinical court and the head of the yeshiva of the holy community of Podhajce, where he occupied the rabbinical seat for approximately 40 years. He died there at the age of approximately 90 years old in the year 5380 (1620), and there he reposes in honor.

His sons were Rabbi Avraham, the head of the rabbinical court of the holy community of Tarnopol, and later the head of the rabbinical court and head of the Yeshiva in the holy community of Brisk of Lithuania. He maintained discussions with the Bach[10] and the rest of the greats of his generation. The second was Rabbi Yaakov, the author of the book Nachalat Yaakov on Rashi's commentary on the Torah, who took his place as the rabbi of the holy community of Podhajce. His son-in-law was the Gaon Rabbi Menachem Mann, the head of the rabbinical court and head of the Yeshiva in the holy community of Vienna. His descendents included the Gaon, the author of the Shaagat Aryeh, the head of the rabbinical court of the holy community of Metz, the Gaon the author of Knesset Yechezkel, the head of the holy community of A”hv[11]. Many of the leaders of the generations to this day are related to him.

The books he wrote are: The Book of Chalitza[*2], the Book on Issues of Laws Pertaining to Women, Novellae on the Four Turim, and first and foremost, the book of Responsa of Masaat Binyamin. Those who followed the Masaat Binyamin are:

d) His eldest son the Gaon Rabbi Yaakov of holy blessed memory, the author of Nachalat Yaakov, a commentary on the commentary of Rashi on the Torah[12]. He took the place of his father and

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did not leave behind a son to take his place (see the introduction to his book printed in Constantina).

e) Rabbi David who died in the year 5393 (1633). He wrote the book Tiferet Yisrael. A eulogy is found about him in the writings of the R”I of Belzec (Neubauer's list, paragraph 989.

f) The Gaon Rabbi Mordechai of holy blessed memory, the head of the rabbinical court and head of the Yeshiva of our community and also the holy community of Rzeszow. The researcher Ch. D. Friedberg writes the following about him in his book Memorial Tablets:

“Presently I have found in a large collection the manuscript of the Gaon Rabbi Yitzchak, the head of the rabbinical court of Tysmienica, in section 100 at the end of the discussion on the Aguna[*3]: In the fair of Jazlowiec, the great luminary, the great rabbi Rabbi Mordechai the head of the rabbinical court and head of the Yeshiva of the holy community of Podhajce and the holy community of Rzeszow has agreed to this leniency.” In the introduction to the book Brachot Shmuel by Rabbi Shmuel Keidaner, he tells of himself that he left the holy community of Rzeszow and was accepted as the head of the rabbinical court of Frankfurt am Main[13], and later in the holy community of Krakow. Rabbi Mordechai, originally from Podhajce, filled his place in Rzeszow. He was one of the great rabbis of his generation. (In his approbation to the book Daat Yekutiel).

g) After him, the Gaon rabbi Moshe Kac, the eldest son of the Rabbi of the entire Diaspora[14] Shabtai Kac, the author of the Shach, of holy blessed memory, occupied the rabbinical seat in our town. He brought to print two books of his father that came to him as an inheritance in 5437 (1677) in the city of Frankfurt an der Oder[15]. These are the books Nekudot Hakesef and the book Takfu Kohen. These are his words in the introduction to the books: “For a long time I did not fulfil my duty as I had intended, since the yoke of my Yeshiva was upon me. I formerly lived in the holy community of Podhajce, a pleasant city, a city that has everything, with the Torah of G-d in its midst, a praiseworthy and faithful city, with people of wisdom and understanding. During the war with the Turks they were taken prisoner without mercy, and made into a proverb and a byword, and the G-d of High saved me, and I went to the mount of teaching to the inheritance of my fathers”, etc.

h) After him, the Gaon Rabbi Moshe Katzenelenboigen, the son of Rabbi Shaul Katz”av occupied the rabbinical seat in our town. He was a descendent of the prince Shaul Wahl and the Gaon the author of Masaat Binyamin. After he was imprisoned on a false charge, the people of Ansbach, Bavaria redeemed him and appointed him as head of the rabbinical court of their city. There he reposes in honor. (From the introduction to the responsa of Shaar Naftali, and the book Yesh Manchilin, Oxford manuscript, by his son the Gaon Rabbi Pinchas Katzav, and in the book Gedulat Shaul, and the book The History of the Schorr Family.) His brother-in-law was the rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Zecharia Mendel of Podhajce, who was known as Zecharia the Prophet, who was the head of the rabbinical court of Buchach, and who died in Frankfurt an der Oder. The following is written on his gravestone: “Here is buried the son of holy ones, a descendent of Rashi, the Tosafot, the Maharshal and the Ramah the author of the Mapa, the great rabbi and kabbalist our Rabbi Zecharia Mendel of Podhajce, the son of Rabbi Leib the head of the Yeshiva of the holy community of Lvov and region, who gave classes at the Chevra Kadisha and Talmud Torah, and did not move from the tent of Torah, and set up many students in his youth and old age. He is the author of the work “Menorat Zecharia”, “Zecharia Meshulam”, and “Zecharia Hamevin”. He further left behind many letters that spread from his wellsprings outside. He died and was buried with a good name on Tuesday the eve of Chanukah 5452.”

i) After Rabbi Moshe Katz”av, Rabbi Moshe the son of Rabbi Menachem Nachum was appointed. He wrote an approbation to the book Birchat Yaakov on the Choshen Mishpat section of the Code of Jewish Law. This is what is written there: The approbation of the great and famous Gaon and rabbi Rabbi Moshe of blessed memory who was the head of the rabbinical court of the holy city of Podhajce. It is signed on the 2nd of the month of Elul 5478. (There is also an approbation from the author of Pnei Yehoshua in this book.”)

Signed by Moshe the son of Menachem Nachum of Premislaw who lives in the holy community of Podhajce.

j) His place was filled by the great Gaon Rabbi Yissachar Dov Berish the son of the sharp Gaon Rabbi Yehoshua the author of Pnei Yehoshua. His responsa that he answered in Metz during the life of his father to the judge Rabbi Gershon of Koblenz is found in the book of responsa Kiryat Chana, sections 41, 42, 43, and 44, signed by Yissachar Dov the son of my father the great rabbi[16] the Gaon Yaakov Yehoshua may G-d save and redeem him[17], who lives in the holy city of Podhajce. The Gaon the author of the Pri Megadim in his book Tevat Gomeh brings down words of Torah that he heard in his name. In the book of responsa of the Gaon Rabbi Chaim Cohen Rappaport the head of the rabbinical court of Lvov, there is a responsa from him signed on Sunday, 24th Tishrei 5504. He gave an approbation in the year 5502 to the book Mari Tzvi. His son was Rabbi Tzvi Rosenes, the head of the rabbinical court of Lvov. He had intended to set up his residence in Metz and to be a Yeshiva head there, but he died on the way. His honorable resting place was Berlin. He died on Tuesday, 22 Cheshvan 5505. (Anshei Shem).

k) After him, the rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Meshulam Zalman the son of the Gaon Rabbi Yaakov Emden occupied the rabbinical seat in our town. From there he wrote a letter to his father in the year 5517 (1757) (Edut Leyaakov page 57) as follows: A star went forth from Jacob and a scepter and lawgiver arose, the gates of wisdom, the pure words of G-d, forged silver refined sevenfold, his soul and memory are the desire of my heart, that is the honor of my master and father the chariot of Israel, may G-d stand for him and his holy ones, the renown rabbi and Gaon, the great luminary, the holy lamp, pious, may his light shine in the honor of the holiness of his glorious name[18], our rabbi Rabbi Yaakov may his light shine. And he signs there: To this point I have spoken with the fire of my zealousness, the house of Jacob is a fire and flame that burns the evil ones who wished to swallow the pleasantness of Jacob,

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the implements of his ancestors are in his hands, a zealous person the son of a zealous person, the zealousness of scribes is written in the book of righteousness that is his book, as the soul of the father so is the soul of the son who waits to see him and to bless in his name and serve him. The small one of Israel Meshulam Zalman the son of the renowned Gaon the holy lamp our rabbi and teacher Rabbi Yaakov. The responsa begins: A letter of his son the great luminary[19] Rabbi Meshulam Zalman may G-d protect and save him, the head of the rabbinical court of the holy community of Podhajce.

From our city, he was accepted as the head of the rabbinical court of the holy community of London. From there he gave his approbation to the book Kiseh Hamelech in the year 5529 (1769).

l) After him the rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch occupied the rabbinical seat in our town. (See the book of responsa Meir Netivim by the rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Meir Margolis the head of the rabbinical court of Lvov, page 22, where he writes as follows: a responsa to my in-law the Gaon Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch the head of the rabbinical court of Podhajce.) A question from him is published in the responsa book of Rabbi Chaim Kohen Rappaport, section 54. Works of Torah in his name were published in the book Divrei Chachamiv Zolekow, 5514 (1757).

m) After him, our rabbi and teacher Rabbi Simcha Rappaport, a great Gaon in his generation, ascended the rabbinical seat in our town. He is the son of the Gaon Rabbi Chaim Kohen Rappaport the head of the rabbinical court of Lvov. He died in the year 5585 (1825) (see Daat Kedoshim page 164, (Anshei Shem).

n) The rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Shmuel followed him as the head of the rabbinical court. The rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Eliezer HaKohen was a member of his rabbinical court. In the responsa book Neta Shaashuim by the rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch, you can find several questions that were posed to them (sections 61, 66, and others). The following is written there:

“Two crowned heads of great intelligence to understand and teach, that pair of rabbis, their glory is like a pleasant olive, the rabbi, the great luminary[20] Rabbi Shmuel the head of the rabbinical court of Podhajce, and the renowned sharp rabbi Rabbi Eliezer HaKohen may his light shine on that community. A question to them on the issue of an Aguna.” The responsa is signed on Wednesday, 16th of Av, 5542 (1782). Rabbi Shmuel is mentioned in the Pri Tevua responsa, section 54.

pod051.jpg
Rabbi Yosef Aryeh Brecher of blessed memory
the father of Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Brecher
of blessed memory and Rabbi Wolf Fueurstein
may his light shine
o) Our teacher and rabbi Rabbi Aryeh Yehuda Leib, a great and renowned Gaon the author of Lev Aryeh, was appointed in our town following them. Later he was appointed as the head of the rabbinical court in the city of Brod during the days of the Gaon Rabbi Efraim Zalman Margolis. He has a responsa in the responsa book Beit Efraim on the section of Yoreh Deah, and a work Lev Aryeh on tractate Chullin. In the responsa book Neta Shaashuim, you can find several responsa to this rabbi. This is the text of one responsa in section 12: Much peace to a great man, my honorable friend, the rabbi and sharp great luminary, expert in wisdom and books, may his light shine, honor to his glorious name, our rabbi and teacher Rabbi Aryeh[21] Yehuda Leib the head of the rabbinical court of teacher of righteousness[22] in the holy community of Podhajce.” His approbation was given to the books Nachal Eshkol (5564 1804) and Mekor Hachachmah (5574 1814).

p) The great rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Nota was the head of the rabbinical court after the rabbi “Lev Aryeh”. This is what Rabbi Shmerler wrote in his book The History of the Rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Avraham David, the head of the rabbinical court of Buchach, the author of Dat Kedoshim, who died on the eve of Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan 5601 (1841): “In this days, our rabbi and Gaon obtained another faithful friend, the illustrious rabbi and expert Gaon Rabbi Nota of blessed memory, the head of the rabbinical court of Podhajce. There was a deep love between them. The Rabbi and Gaon Nota poured water on the hands of the Rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Meshulam Pressburger the head of the rabbinical court of Tyemienica, and on the hands of the Gaon the author of Neta Shaashuim (the father in-law of the author of Daat Kedoshim). His friends were the Gaon Rabbi Yaakov of Lissa the author of Chavat Daat and the rabbi Rabbi Aryeh Leib HaKohen the author of Ketzot Hachoshen. Like them, he was pious in all of his ways and righteous in all of his deeds. Students who had the ability to stand in the tents of Torah with the help of a man who guarded its doors streamed to him from all corners of the land to hear learning from his mouth”. Etc.

q) After him, the rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Shimon Meller was appointed in our town. In the responsa book Beit Yitzchak by the rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Yitzchak Shmelkes, section 7 on the Orach Chaim, laws of Tefillin, one can find a responsa to that rabbi. The following are his words there: “Peace and blessings and all good Selah[23] to my friend the sharp rabbi

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and expert in all rooms of Torah our rabbi and teacher Rabbi Shimon Meller may his light shine, the head of the rabbinical court of Podhajce.”

pod052.jpg
Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Brecher and his wife

r) After him, his place was filled by his son the rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Yonah. A responsa from the Gaon Rabbi Yitzchak Shmelkes can be found in section 104. These are his words: “On the 5th of Cheshvan 5525 in Berezany: Blessings and peace to the fine, excellent youth Rabbi Nota Yonah Meller the son of the rabbi and Gaon the head of the rabbinical court of Podhajce."” Rabbi Yonah Meller traveled to Stanislawow, and there he reposes in honor.

s) After him, a native of Podhajce, the Gaon, great in Torah and good deeds, Rabbi Shalom the son of Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Lilienfeld of blessed memory was accepted as the head of the rabbinical court. In the responsa of the Maharsha[24] by the Rabbi and Gaon of the generation Rabbi Shalom Mordechai the head of the rabbinical court of Berezany, you can find a responsa to that rabbi: “To the honor of the great rabbi, etc. our Rabbi Shalom Lilienfeld, the head of the rabbinical court of the holy community of Podhajce.” After the death of the aforementioned rabbi, there was no other rabbi leading Podhajce, but rather three judges: the righteous teacher Rabbi Avraham Eisen, the righteous teacher Rabbi Feibish Szwarc, and the righteous teacher Rabbi Wolf Haber.

In New York, the natives of our town accepted my brother Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Brecher of blessed memory to be their rabbi and teacher in the synagogue Masaat Binyamin of the natives of Podhajce. My brother, great in Torah and good deeds, was a grammarian. He proofread the Yehoash Bible, the Torah Shleima, the Mandelkorn concordance, and others. He died on the 14th of Cheshvan 5726 (1966), at the age of 86. May his soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life.


A Hymn to the State of Israel

by Rabbi Chaim M. Brecher

Translated by Jerrold Landau

I wrote this on the day that the establishment of the state of Israel was authorized by the United Nation on the 15th of Kislev 5708 (November 1947), that is the year 1878 of our exile, when I am 68 years old less two days.

Our hope has not yet been fulfilled
This is our ancient hope
To inherit the land of our fathers
As a faithful covenant from on high.

However its beginnings have become revealed
To the wandering daughter of Zion
The high right hand has turned
To turn mournful ones to its borders.

After the tribulations of our Diaspora
In flames of hell and slaughter
The matter of our righteousness came forth
The dawning of our salvation as a sprouting blossom.

The dawn of our salvation in the corner of the land
That the council of nations graced us upon
We will take a step and increase our strength
And what was taken from us will return to us.

The land will return to its owners
As all of our seers have prophesied
The Nation of Israel will live upon it
Despite the eyes of all of our enemies

Our state shall sprout and flourish
It will raise its glory like a rose
The Right hand of our Creator is before us
A dancing serpent and sea monster.

Our hope will yet be fulfilled
This is the ancient hope
To inherit the land of our fathers
A faithful covenant from on high.


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Words about the Personality of Rabbi David Lilienfeld

by Meir Pickholz

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Rabbi David HaKohen Lilienfeld was one of the last of the important rabbis of Poland. He occupied the rabbinical seat in Podhajce, filling the place of his father Rabbi Shalom HaKohen Lilienfeld, who was renowned as a Gaon, and authored various halachic words. To our dismay, his works were not published. They were at the printers at the time of the outbreak of the Second World War, and they did not succeed in publishing them.

Rabbi Lilienfeld was the scion of a dynasty of rabbis that existed for approximately 170 years. The first of this dynasty was Rabbi Nathan Nota Galiczer, who was also a rabbi in Podhajce. The rabbis who occupied the rabbinical seat in our town in the latter generations are buried in a special row near the entry gate to the cemetery in Podhajce. The first in this row is Rabbi Nathan-Nota, from whom the family spread out.

Rabbi David Lilienfeld possessed a very broad level of knowledge. He obtained his knowledge from private lessons, for since he was the son of the rabbi, he was not able to attend the government school in those days. He had fully mastered the Polish and German languages. His speeches in Polish were filled with meaning and content. He delivered a lecture on every Polish national holiday, and his lectures were always acceptable to the powers of the civic government. He also impressed the hearts of all who saw him on account of handsomeness and splendor of his countenance. He concerned himself with all matters, small and large, in the community of Podhajce: including matters of representation, legal matters, civic matters, etc. Similarly, he answered every resident of the town who required his opinion. He was a Zionist with his heart and soul. In 1925, he was a candidate of the Mizrachi Party in the elections to the Polish Sejm. He fulfilled his rabbinical duties without any expectation of reward, for he had large businesses, including flourmills and rental houses.

His younger brother Yosef Leibish Lilienfeld was ordained as a rabbi when he was still young, however he did not occupy himself in the rabbinate. He was a dedicated Zionist and an educated man. He was fluent in Polish and German, and also spoke English. He had several daughters, and his economic status was very good.

The brother-in-law of the two brothers, Rabbi Zusha Pickholz, was a young man graced with all fine traits. He studied with his father-in-law Rabbi Shalom Lilienfeld during his youth, and received his rabbinical ordination from him. He was also an educated man with progressive ideas. He was a Hassid of Belz and was a close confidant of the Belzer Rebbe. He had a similar relationship with the Rebbe of Czortkow, Rabbi Israelinov. He was the head of the Machzikei Hadas organization of Podhajce, and conducted a daily Talmud class in the Beis Midrash of the city. He was the grandson of the rabbi from Lukacz, whose lineage traces back to the kingdom of the House of David.

pod053.jpg
The building of the Polish public school,
across from the house of David Lilienfeld


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Rabbis of Podhajce Notable Men

Translated by Jerrold Landau

Brought from encyclopedias and manuscripts

Rabbi Zecharia Mendel (the son of Aryeh Leib) of Podhajce

A rabbi and author in the first half of the sixth century of the sixth millennium (the 18th century according to the secular count). He was born in Podhajce to his father Rabbi Leib of Buchach, who was a scion of the lineage of the Maharshal and the Rama. He studied Torah from Rabbi Yaakov Yehoshua the author of the Pnei Yehoshua. He served as a rabbi and preacher in Frankfurt an der Oder during the latter decades of his life. There, he published his books: Menorat Zecharia (5536), novellae on Tractate Shabbat and sermons on the Sabbath and festivals; Zecharia Meshulam (5539), novellae on tractates of the Talmud; Zecharia Hameivin (5551) on principals of philosophy and Kaballah. He died in Frankfurt an der Oder on the 24th of Kislev 5552 (1791). The following is engraved on his gravestone: “The rabbi, the illuminary, the great Gaon and G-dly kabbalist, etc. who never left the tent of Torah, and established many students in his youth and age.”

*

Of his many students (of Rabbi Yaakov Yosha) who served before him when he lived in Lvov, Berlin, Metz, and Frankfurt am Main, we will only mention one here, that is Rabbi Zecharia of Podhajce who attracted many people with his sermons and his admonitions in the city of his residence, Frankfurt an der Oder near Berlin. He died there, and the following lines are engraved on his gravestone:

The son of holy ones, of the lineage of Rashi, the Tosafot, the Maharshal and the Rama the author of the Mapa, the rabbi, great illuminary, G-dly Kabbalist, our rabbi and teacher Rabbi Zecharia Mendel of Podhajce, the son of the our rabbi and teacher Rabbi Leib the head of the holy community of Lvov and the region, who gave classes here at the Chevra Kadisha Talmud Torah, and did not depart from the tent of Torah. He established many students during his youth and old age. He is the author of Menorat Zecharia, Zecharia Meshulam, and Zecharia Hameivin. He also left after him many letters so that his wellsprings can spread outward. He died and was buried with a good name on Tuesday the eve of Chanukah 5552. For more on this rabbi, see Hagdolim Hachadash 1, 19, 2, section 7, and side 43 b of section 62, and further.

(From “The History of Men of Renown and their Activities” by Eliezer Leizer the son of our rabbi Meir Landshuta of holy blessed memory, section 1, Berlin, 5644 1884).

*

The Rabbi and Gaon Rabbi Yissachar Dov

Rabbi Yissachar Dov, who was known as Berush, was the student of his uncle the Gaon Rabbi Hirsch who was the head of the rabbinical court of Halberstadt from the year 5478. Rabbi Berush was a rabbi in Podhajce. The response that he answered to Metz during the life of his father to the judge Rabbi Gershon Koblenz Mazia are published in the responsa book Kiryat Chana section 41, 42, 43, 44. His signature there is Yissachar (with the double shin)[*4] Dov the son of the Gaon our Rabbi Yaakov Yosha may G-d protect and save him, who lives in the holy community of Podhajce. The rabbi, the author of the Pri Megadim, in the book Tevat Gomeh page 70 folio 2, brings down some words of Torah that he heard from him. In the responsa book of Rabbi Chaim Kohen Rappaport the son of Simcha (Lemberg 1861) at the end of the responsa that pertains to Lah”a[*5], a response from him can be found, signed on Sunday, 24 Tishrei 5504[*6] by the small Yisachar (with one Shin) Dov the son of rabbi Yaakov Yosha may G-d protect and save him. In Tesha Shitot of his son the Gan Rabbi Hirsch Rosenes, we find some novellae of Berush his father. He intended to settle in Metz and to be a Rosh Yeshiva there. As he traveled from Podhajce to Metz via Berlin, he took ill and died there. The following is engraved on his gravestone:

“Here is buried the jug of manna, the mighty warrior in the army of Torah, the sharp rabbi, our rabbi and teacher Rabbi Yisachar Berush the son of our famous rabbi and teacher Rabbi Yehoshua may G-d protect and save him, the head of the rabbinical court of Frankfurt am Main. He died and was gathered unto his people on Tuesday 22 Cheshvan 5505. Dedicated by his grandson whose name is among us Yisachar Dov Berush the son of our rabbi and teacher Mordechai Tzvi HaKohen Yolles of blessed memory in the year of Yisachar Dov Hacohen (5617)[*7].

(From “The History of Men of Renown and their Activities” by Eliezer Leizer the son of our rabbi Meir Landshuta of holy blessed memory, section 1, Berlin 5644 1884).

Rabbi Yitzchak Izak Menachem Eichenstein of holy blessed memory
The Admor of Podhajce

He was born in the city of Zydaczow (Polish Galicia) in the year 5639 to his father the Admor, the holy rabbi Rabbi Shlomo Yaakov of holy blessed memory, the son of the Admor the holy Gaon[*8] Rabbi Yitzchak Izak of Zydaczow of holy blessed memory. He was educated by his maternal grandfather the holy Gaon Rabbi Avraham Horowitz of holy blessed memory, the head of the rabbinical court of Szendiszow. He got married in the year 5656 to the righteous Rebbetzin Miriam of blessed memory (died on the 13th of Shvat 5684) the daughter of the Admor Rabbi Nachum of Burstyn of holy blessed memory (of the famous Admors of his generation). He is the author of the holy book Imrei Tov on the Torah, Imrei Chaim on the 512 commandments, Imrei Bracha on tractates Brachot and Shabbat, Imre Ratzon on the cantillation of the Torah. He served as an Admor in the city of Burstyn from 5625 to 5675. He then moved to Stanislawow. He died on the 15th of Elul 5665. He is the son of the righteous Admor Rabbi Eliezer of Stretin, the son of the holy renowned Admor Rabbi Yehuda of Stretin of holy blessed memory. The wife of the holy Rabbi Nachum Burstyn of holy blessed memory, the righteous and renowned Rebbetzin

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lima of blessed memory, was the daughter of the Admor, the holy Rabbi Tzvi Hager the head of the rabbinical court of Pytszinzyn, the son of the righteous Admor Rabbi David of Zablotow (the son-in-law of the holy Gaon Rabbi Moshe Leib of Staszow), the son of the renowned holy Gaon Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kosow of holy blessed memory.

The Admor of Podhajce of holy blessed memory served as an Admor from the year 5669 until 5703 in the city of Podhajce. He was righteous, pious, and holy, famous through the entire state of Galicia. Several hundred Hassidim followed his light. He died on the 13th of Adar I 5703 in the city of Podhajce.

(From “The History of Men of Renown” section 1, page 2. The chief editor is Rabbi A Rand. New York, 5710 1950).

*

Rabbi Dr. Nachum Werman (Wahrmann)

He was born in Podhajce, eastern Galicia, in the year 5655 (May 7, 1895) to his father Rabbi Yisrael (of the family of Rabbi Avraham David of Buchach, the author of Daat Kedoshim on Yoreh Deah) and to his mother Etia the daughter of Nachum Silber. He studied in cheders and in the Beis Midrash. When he was 12, he moved with his parents to Czortkow, where his father obtained a position in the court of the Admor Rabbi Yisrael Friedman (a descendent of Rabbi Yisrael of Rizhin), as a teacher and educator of his grandson Shlomo (who is today an Admor in Tel Aviv). His father taught him along with the grandson of the rabbi.

When he was 16, he traveled to his father's brother in Frankfurt am Main. He concluded the Civic Real School in 1917 and traveled home to serve in the Austrian army. After the end of the war at the end of 1918, he returned to Czortkow, and participated in Zionist communal and educational activity as a member of the Tzeirei Tzion committee, a group head of the Hashomer youth movement, a teacher of evening Hebrew classes, and other such activities.

He returned to Frankfurt in 1919. He studied in university for three years. During that time, he served as the principal of the Hebrew school, and he directed the cultural work of Hechalutz. He transferred to the university of Guesin, where he was examined in Semitic languages, Biblical science and ancient history. He received his Ph.D. His dissertation topic was: The Sota (the law of the unfaithful wife) in Tannaic literature. He taught for three years in the Rabbinical school of Breslau, and received his rabbinic ordination.

He married Paula the daughter of Eliezer Shipman in 1929. That year, he was chosen as the regional rabbi of Lower Silesia in the city of Ilza. For the final five years of his ten years of service there, he also lectured about Talmud and history in the Breslau Rabbinical School.

During the time he lived in Germany, he also participated in Zionist and literary activities. He was a delegate to the national council of German Zionists, and he published scientific articles in the Monthly of History and Judaic Science (in German), and research articles in special books (in German). He published “Giving the Sota to Drink during the Time of the Temple (Breslau 1933), and Conditions and Support in Hebrew Law (Breslau 1937).

He made aliya in the spring of 5699, and then became a teacher of Hebrew, Bible, Jewish law, Jewish lore (Aggada) and history in elementary and high school in the school of Kiryat Motzkin, the local delegate to the committee of Hebrew Language, a member of the council of the Israeli Institute of Folklore and Ethnology, a member of the Union of Religious Scribes, a participant in the cultural work of the town, and of the community of Haifa as a teacher of evening classes, a lecture in Ohel Shem and Mussafim Leshabat, and various other institutions. He continued his research into the Festivals of Israel and their customs, and published articles on these topics in the Hagalgal weekly, the Nerot Shabbat bi-weekly, the Edut quarterly, and in the Moadim book on sections of Jewish law, published by the Real School of Haifa, 5707.

He was the chairman of the teachers organization in the school in Kiryat Motzkin, a member of the national committee of the Yada-Am group, a participant in the Hatzofeh daily and the Had Hamizrach weekly (published in Jerusalem) and in the Yada-Am stage of Jewish folklore.

In the month of Nissan, the final work of Wahrmann in Jerusalem was published by the Bamberger Printing Press. It was a pamphlet “Sources for the History of the Decrees of Tach and Tat[*9]; prayers and penitential services for the 20th of Sivan.”

(From the Encyclopedia of pioneers and builders of the Jewish settlement by David Tidhar, volume 3, second edition. Given to publication by his daughter Esther.)

Losses

Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Brecher of blessed memory

In New York, the famous Hebrew grammarian and researcher into traditional order of prayers and the meaning of the cantillation notes of the Bible, Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Brecher of blessed memory died at an old age (he was 87). For decades, he served as the chief adviser for several publishers in America (Shilo, Ktav, the Slazinger Brothers, and others), in setting the traditional orders of prayers and the cantillation notes in the books of the Bible that were published by them, with glosses about the order of prayers and their vowel signs. Rabbi Brecher was particularly known for his proofreading of the bilingual Bible that appeared in its Hebrew edition with the Yiddish Yehoash translation on the side. He added to this book important notes on matters of tradition. He was also a great Talmudist, and compiled comprehensive dictionaries clarifying Talmudic concepts, which were included at the end of editions of the Gemara published in New York.

He left behind his widow, two daughters, a son, and grandchildren. May his soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life.


Text Footnotes

  1. Reish Metivta and Reish Galuta Yeshiva head and Diaspora head. (Translator's note: a Reish Galuta is a term used for the leader of the exile during the Babylonian era. Here, it would be used colloquially for a leader of great prominence.) Return

  2. Hrh”g Harav Hagaon (Translator's note: the rest of the text footnotes of this chapters are expansions of acronyms of names and titles used in the text. I expanded them in full in the text, with the exception of commonly used acronyms of names, but I include the footnotes here for completeness.) Return

  3. Ab”d D”kk the head of the rabbinical court of the holy community. Return

  4. Z”k Sh”t the scion of holy ones, his name is his glory. Return

  5. Zy”a vechy”a his merit should protect us and all Israel, amen. Return

  6. H”Rma the rabbi Rabbi Moshe Isserles. Return

  7. Maharshal Our rabbi Rabbi Shlomo Luria, the rabbi of Lublin. Return

  8. M”harash II Our rabbi Rabbi Shlomo of Lublin. Return

  9. Mahara”m Lublin Our rabbi Rabbi Meir of Lublin. Return

  10. The Bach the rabbi Rabbi Yoel Sirkis, a rabbi in Krakow, called by the name of his book “Bayit Chadash”. Return

  11. Ah”v Altona, Hamburg and Undsbach, three communities that united at the end of the 17th century. Return

  12. Ah”t On the Torah. Return

  13. Ff”dm Frankfurt am Main. Return

  14. Rcbh”g -- the Rabbi of the entire Diaspora. Return

  15. FF”da Frankfurt an der Oder. Return

  16. A”a Moh”g My master and father, our great teacher. Return

  17. Nr”u May G-d protect and save him. Return

  18. Kksh”t the honor of the holy name of his glory. Return

  19. Hmh”g Hamaor Hagadol Return

  20. Hmaoh”g Hamaor Hagadol. Return

  21. Ksh”t Mohr”a the honor of his glorious name, our teacher and rabbi Rabbi Reb Aryeh. Return

  22. Abd” umo”tz head of the rabbinical court and teacher of righteousness. Return

  23. Vcht”s and all good, Selah. Return

  24. Maharsha Our teacher Rabbi Shmuel Eidelis, a rabbi in Ostraha. Return


Translator's Footnotes

(noted in the text as [*x])

  1. These are the names of his works, by which he was known. Return

  2. Chalitza is the law relating to the ceremony of releasing a woman from the obligation of levirate marriage. Deuteronomy 25:5-10. Return

  3. An Aguna is a deserted wife, whose husband has left without granting her a divorce, or has disappeared without evidence of his death. Such a woman is considered still bound to the husband, and is not permitted to remarry, unless an opening for leniency is found. Return

  4. The Hebrew name Yissachar contains a double Shin, with the second one being silent. Although the full name has the double Shin, in the Yiddish phonetic form, the second Shin would commonly be dropped. Return

  5. I am not sure of the meaning of this acronym. Return

  6. According to the Jewish calendar, the 24th of Tishrei (the day following Simchat Torah) can never fall on a Sunday. There must be some minor transcription error here. Return

  7. In rabbinic poetry, such as on gravestones, years are often tied to acronyms of names. Return

  8. There is a long acronymic title here that I skipped. Return

  9. The Chmielnitzky uprising. Return

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