This survey is not intended to condemn any of the sides in the controversy. Both sides were among the righteous men of their generation and the heads of myriads of Israel. It is only meant to describe in an unbiased manner, the immutable facts of this controversy which had an effect on Rzeszow. Almost one hundred years have passed since the outbreak of this controversy, and its annals will prove that all blame which is placed on the “new group” or the “evil group” do not have any basis. Sadigora Hassidism did not fall in stature one iota relative to Sanz Hassidism in the matters of Hassidism and fear of Heaven. Now we will present the controversy in an objective manner.
The feud that is known as “the feud of Sanz and Sadigora” caused damage in its time to multitudes of Jewish families and divided the Hassidim into two camps who fought each other very bitterly. The adage was fulfilled: “The zealousness of the righteous ones will increase strife in Hassidism”. Hassidic and Rabbinical Rzeszow occupied an important place – perhaps even the chief place – in this controversy, as the controversy began there.
With the death of the Tzadik Rabbi Yisrael of Rizhin-Sadigora, Sadigora Hassidism began to spread all over Galicia, and drew to it Hassidim who had followed other Admorim even more than it did during the life of the late Admor. When the Hassidim of Sadigora is referred to, the intention is not only to the Hassidim of Rabbi Avraham Yaakovnu, who inherited the seat of the Tzadik in Sadigora from his father, but also to the Hassidim who followed the other children of the Rizhiner Tzadik: Chortkov, Husiatin, etc., who were all referred to by the general name “Sadigorim”. (They were referred to by those who opposed them, the Hassidim of Sanz, as the Hassidim of the “idol”, which is the initials of the cities Husiatin, Potok, Sadigora, Liova, where the other children of Rabbi Yisrael dwelled. )
The Hassidim of Sadigora were the first who began to separate from the general Hassidic community and began to build their own synagogues. Up until that time the Hassidim of the various Admorim in Galicia would pray together in one synagogue. Even though they would occasionally argue with each other, they did not publicly divide into different groups. After Sadigora Hassidism began to spread in all the cities of Galicia, they began to merge together as a unique group, and they founded their own synagogues, which were known as “Kloiz Sadigora”. Only in places where their numbers were still few were they compelled against their will to participate with the Hassidim of the other Admorim in one synagogue, a situation which caused strife and disputes on occasion.
The main reason for the feud was the jealousy of the other Hassidim toward the Sadigora Hassidism since it was spreading and gaining followers at the expense of the others. The feelings of brotherhood, love and joy that prevailed in the Sadigora camp won them many followers in the struggles, and it seemed that shortly Sadigora Hassidism would become the dominant group.
On the other hand, Sadigora Hassidism was new, and people were not yet used to it. For who had ever witnessed in Galicia that the “Rabbi” of the Hassidim would dress in clothing made according to the current fashion, Heaven forbid? Who had ever seen a “Tzadik” attired in a beautiful silk suit, with an ironed shirt underneath, white as snow, on top of which is a chain of pure gold surrounding his neck and reaching all the way to his chest pocket in which is fastened an expensive watch adorned with pearls? Who had ever seen a “good Jew” with combed hair and short strait payos that reached only to the ear? Who had ever heard that the children of a Tzadik should have fine clothing? Or that the wives of the Tzadikim should go out dressed in splendid clothing like the wives of the princes, with a wig on their head that looked exactly like their own hair? Was not the main opinion of the Tzadikim of Galicia from olden times and always that “New is forbidden by the Torah” , and since mode of dress is one of the principles of Judaism, it is forbidden to change from the ways of our forefathers one iota. The Tzadikim would insist that their Hassidim should cut their hair weekly, since the hair on the head hints to “harsh decrees” , and that the peyos should be long, and should never be cut by scissors. As well they would insist that their wives cover their hair with a covering that does not resemble their hair at all. It is self evident that these Tzadikim could not keep silent when they saw the “modern” Sadigora Hassidism seeming to overtake the older Hassidism.
The difference between Sanz and Sadigora Hassidism was, among other things, that according to the Sadigora opinion, a Hassid is required to be a civilized person in all mannerisms. Hassidism does not depend on various movements or gestures, and strange non-clean clothing which attract attention from the surrounding world. As well, Sadigora Hassidism forbade any shadow of sadness and bitterness. This doctrine spread the feelings of love and unity among all the adherents, and the more they would get together in unity the more they would rejoice and sing at every opportunity. The doctrine of Sanz was exactly the opposite. That doctrine demanded that the Hassidim should wear only strange clothing, a doctrine which was one of the main principles of Judaism in their eyes. The Hassidism of Sanz also opposed too much joy and festivity, other than the joy of the festivals, which was nevertheless also supposed to have its bounds. The Jew was in exile and the divine presence was also in exile, and therefore what is the propriety of joy? Furthermore: if a Jew wears different clothes, he is perforce stamped with a unique mark shared only by his own peers, and he would not come to the temptation of sin, since he would be embarrassed in front of his own self.
These opposing views widened the gap between these two groups, in particular where the Hassidim of these two groups prayed in the same Kloiz. The Hassidim of Sanz and of Belz could not tolerate the dancing of the Sadigora Hassidim that took place at any occasion of minor joy within Hassidic ranks. Due to these disagreements, one of the sides would have to leave the common Kloiz and go out on their own. The Hassidim of Sanz, who had to abandon their house of prayer and go elsewhere were not able to forgive the Sadigorim, and they hated them with a suppressed hatred. They complained to their Rabbi, Rabbi Chaim Halberstam about the “inundation” of the Sadigorim. The old Tzadik of Sanz, who relied on his son the Rabbi of Rudnik, a bitter enemy of the Sadigorim, pressed him until he began to damage the reputation of the Tzadikim of Sadigora by referring to them by nicknames. At first he would call them “the Germans”, and later “the apostates”.
Nevertheless the dispute did not yet reach the public domain. The arguments, name calling and sometimes even slander began to spread out in all cities and towns which were influenced by Sadigora still retained the character of a private feud, without any religious significance, until a drastic event occurred with regard to Rabbi Dov Ber the Tzadik of Liova, which made the time ripe, andthe “war of mitzva” began in earnest .
There are those who claim that a secret order was issued from Sanz to the cities that followed the dictates of Sanz that they should storm him with letters of complaint. The first spark that caused the outbreak of the terrible conflagration of dispute came out from the city of Rzeszow. There is an adage among the Hassidim: “Why is the city called Reisha? Because it was first to enter the dispute ..” .
Before this time the various Hassidim in Rzeszow used to worship together in one Kloiz known as the “Sanzer Kloiz”, since the Hassidim of Sanz saw themselves as the ones with the best lineage, and they were always very proud of their own Tzadik and talked with bitterness about other Hassidim. Nevertheless, the Sadigora Hassidim nullified the pride of the Sanzers when they said that the positions of Rabbi and Gaon should be separate, and one king cannot wear two crowns, and that one simple word of their own Rabbi means more than all the intricate discussions and gestures of the Rabbi of Sanz. Thus began the controversy.
The Hassidim of Sanz in Rzeszow plotted for several years on how to expel the Sadigorim who insulted them from the Kloiz, but they were not able to actually do so. When the news of the Tzadik of Liova reached Rzeszow, the Sanzers rejoiced greatly as they saw that the time was now appropriate to take revenge and to oppress them until they would leave the Kloiz. The Sanzer Hassidim in Rzeszow began to insult the Rabbi of Liova with derogatory names, and the Sadigorim retaliated by speaking evil about the Gaon of the Sanzers. In such a fashion did they disparage and denigrate each other, until finally the Sadigorim gained the upper hand, and the Sanzers were forced to leave the Kloiz.
After the letter of the Tzadik of Liova was made public, the Hassidim of Sanz sent a letter of request out to their Tzadik, signed by the righteous court of law of the holy community of Rzeszow, that he should kindly give them advice on “how to behave with those brazen faced people who are called the Hassidim of Sadigora”. That is to say, there is reason to suspect that this letter, just like other letters which came to the Sanzer Rabbi all at once at this time, were all written because of a secret injunction from the higher authorities, so that the Tzadik of Sanz would have opportunity to publicize his answer that had already been formulated. Here are the texts of the letters in their original language. The first letter is as follows:
Blessed is the L-rd, Thursday of the Sedra “they cover the ark covering with their wings” , 5629 – 1867, the community of Rzeszow.
Our greetings to the friend of G-d and the friend of Israel, the prince of the L-rd in our own midst and Gaon of Yisrael and its holy people, the crown and wonder of our time, the Rabbi and glorious Gaon of Israel, holy of G-d and honored, our teacher Chaim Halberstam may his light shine, the head of the Rabbinical court of Sanz and the region. We give you our best wishes.
Oh Admor, I come to spill out my words before his holiness, and to tell him about all the problems which we find ourselves in during these days. To whom can we turn other than his saintly and splendorous holiness, for who else can fight the battle of G-d … (here other statements are written which are not relevant to our matter).
It has already been a number of years since a group of the brazen faced individuals of our generation have gathered here, who do not respect the elders and princes, and have tied themselves to the tree of Sadigora. Since we were not able to chase them away and to repel them, they gained in strength until they forced out from the Kloiz the G-d fearing people, who respect his Name, and who dwell in the holy shadow of the Admor, who were then compelled to set up their own house of study. And now due to our own sins we have heard the tidings that make the hair of the hearer stand on end, and we have heard the slander of the multitudes from the simple folk of the nation whose hand is stretched out to gather together public gatherings to prance and dance and make the nights like days. We sent forth to call their leaders to speak to their hearts without desecrating the Name of Heaven, in order to minimize the gatherings so that the masses of people would not desecrate G-d. And even though I planned to remain quiet for some more time, they opened their mouths with no boundary, so much so that it is possible to say that they transgressed the laws and changed the statute, and they opened their wide mouths against us with such curses and insults that we cannot put into writing, and in front of all the people we heard from them words about which we can only state: woe is to the generation that this happened in its day, in that they said,  what is with you that you should speak to us these type of things, since you have no understanding of this way, which is the highest of the high. Let Heaven see how we have been embarrassed, etc. Even though according to our opinion we have the power to go out against them with swords to chase them out from sharing in our Kloiz due to the force of local custom, or to destroy them, we fear to go out with a high hand lest these things should damage the honor of the Admor, therefore our judgement should come from your eminence. The Admor should know that they spread the fire .… therefore our request is spread before your eminence, please do us the favor of answering us in proper words according to the good grace of G-d, or at least to strengthen our hearts, for yesterday we have heard enough mockery, and our heart is full of grief over what we have heard. Perhaps some word of these matters has already reached your eminence from people of our community who have traveled to his holy courtyard. And we are supported by his goodness and modesty for he will not ignore our words, etc. and if we are to gird ourselves with revenge we should know how to speak of our embarrassment to the world, and we hope that his sword shall not return empty to its sheath, and the righteous shall rejoice as they see revenge, etc. In short, our souls are very sick, and we almost have no breath left due to the greatness of the breach and the desecration of G-d’s name, may G-d protect us, for they denigrate the true Hassidim and Tzadikim, and they hate passionately the proper Hassidim who pray here in the Kloiz of the Admor, who truly fear G-d and occupy themselves with Torah and fear of Heaven . The Admor should tell us what to do … These are the words of those who tremble and fear due to the magnitude of the holiness of the Admor.
Signed by Nachum Reuven Pelsker, the head of the Rabbinical court, and by Chaim Wallerstein the chief head of the Rabbinical court of Rzeszow.
At the bottom of the above letter written by the court of Rzeszow, several of the lay people of Rzeszow added their own notes as a form of agreement to the content of the letter, and they also noted that the Hassidim of Sadigora denigrated the Rabbis both in public and in private with insults that are beyond description. “Being that the Rabbis themselves do not demand that we protect their honor; we feel it necessary to stand up for the honor of the Rabbis and the honor of the Torah”. They relate that the Hassidim of Sadigora insulted the elder Rabbis of Rzeszow, and also the Gaonim who had already passed away. These laymen requested that the holy Gaon answer them as to how to behave with the Hassidim of Sadigora. (The names of these laymen were not published in “Knesset Hagedola”, the collection of letters that was published by the Sanzers of that time.
The main point of this letter centered only on the yoke that was placed on them by the Hassidim of Sadigora, because of whom they were forced to leave the Kloiz and found another house of prayer. This letter does not hint that the Rabbis of Rzeszow asked the Hassidim of Sadigora to come to a Rabbinical judgement and they refused to go, and it also does not mention that it is not possible to blame them since the Rabbis who were to stand in jwere Hassidim of Sanz, and the Hassidim of Sadigora would be able to say to them “you are unfit to judge us”. These Rabbis of Rzeszow, Hassidim of Sanz, were only permitted to sign their names as private individuals and not as representatives of the community and Rabbinical court. And as much as we investigate the details of the accusation, it is impossible to find definitive proof that the Hassidim of Sadigora “negated the Torah and transgressed the religion”, for there is no prohibition at all of dancing and singing after the sanctification of the moon or the melave malka meal with great fanfare, even though this was against the custom … similarly they did not have the right to repel the Hassidim of Sadigora and to chase them to the point of destruction on the basis of the weak pretext that “they opened their mouths without boundary, so much so that it is possible to say that they transgressed the laws and changed the statute”.
In any case, it was possible to hope that the Sanzer Tzadik would interrogate the Rabbinical court of Rzeszow and request witnesses and evidence proving that they “negated the Torah and transgressed the religion”, and only after that would he answer them as to how to act. His response should have been composed with calm and composure, since he was adjudicating a matter that castigated tens of thousands of Jewish souls. Therefore it is a great mystery that only two or three days after receiving the above letter of accusation, the frightful response was received, according to which the Hassidim of Sadigora were to be excommunicated and ostracized in the presence of Heaven and human beings, and it would be permitted to pursue them and trouble them as much as possible. It is almost certain that the response was already prepared from before.
The Sanzer Tzadik answered the head of the Rabbinical court of Rzeszow and the laymen with two letters. We will only include one of these letters.
The following is the text of the response of the Tzadik of Sanz.
Blessed is the L-rd, Monday of the week of Tetzaveh, 5629-1869, Sanz 
Greetings to the G-d fearing leaders, the heads of the community, the leaders of the community of the righteous of the holy community of Rzeszow, may the L-rd well establish it.
Your letter reached me. I was quite surprised that you were silent up to this time. I had already heard of the curses and insults that were heard from the evildoers in your community. You should know that the most important thing is to persecute them and expel them from your community on the authority of the customs of the state, as I have already written to my friend the Rabbi the head of the Rabbinical court, and I will now repeat my words to you as well. And this is the content of his words there: Your letter reached me, and trembling overtake me when I heard that the blasphemers of the holy Torah gained in strength, and displaced and raised their voices against the righteous of the generation, the masses of Israel and the holy Torah, in that they said they would not overtake the ways of the well known apostate .. may his name be blotted out, which is a very high thing, and what greater apostasy is there than that, and its sin is explained in the scriptures, and the soul who acts with a haughty hand curses G-d, etc. In order to save the holy sheep, that is the holy children of Israel who walk in purity, while that group of evildoers stalk their souls and entice them with their lips, we are required to give over our souls and to announce and publicize that they rebel against the light, their scribes are apostates, it is forbidden to don their tefillin (phylacteries) and mezuzos, it is forbidden to have one’s children taught by them, for one who learns even one letter from a Magus is an apostate himself and liable to death by the hands of heaven as is explained in the Talmud. Their ritual slaughter is forbidden, and anyone who eats of the food slaughtered by them is as if he has eaten of the sacrifices of the dead. Therefore you are required to inform the population registry authorities in order to expel them from the city, their teachers of children should be fired immediately without hesitation and without payment of their wages. Afterwards, a court should be set up, and whatever is due to them according the laws of the Torah should be meted out by the court in their homes. Whomever of the evil people who cannot be expelled from the city should be ostracized by you, and you should not speak to them good or bad, and they should be disparaged in front of their own faces and in public so that their disgrace should be publicized. If any of the presumptuous ones should go to the house of study in their wickedness, you should keep the greatest distance from them, and G-d will protect you from the hands and lips of iniquity. As we have been saved from others who stood against us in guile and cunning, such as Shabbatai Tzvi  may his name be blotted out and many false prophets, similarly G-d shall save us from this group who are apostates just as the others. It is important not to have mercy on them and not to listen to their lips of deceit, for this sect overturns the proper way of life and spreads nonsense which was never uttered by the holy Tzadikim, who were pure in their Hassidism and gave their souls over to Torah, worship, and fled from honor and the pleasures of man. Their self sacrifice is well known to myself and to all that beheld them as their souls were broken during the times of prayer – people such as Rabbi Tzvi the Admor of Ropczyce and the Admor of Zidoczow. One could have witnessed with their own eyes their self negation during prayer, and their immersion in the mikva in the morning when it was so cold that the water froze around their body, as well as other sufferings that they suffered such that it would have almost been enough to take their life, in that they did not want to benefit from this world one iota. The Admor of Ropczyce never rode on a chariot of honor even though one was available in his courtyard, since he wanted to avoid any of the trapping that would lead to haughtiness, and he did exceedingly many righteous acts. Not so are these apostates, who go after gain in order to increase their money, and no charity goes forth from them, they ate, waxed fat and became arrogant. They ride on chariots covered in gold and silver, all their actions are done in grand style, and their wives wear the clothing of the gentiles with extreme immodesty, as is well known. They have mislead after them most of the women of Israel, since they said that this is the right way, and they give innuendoes with their backwards eyes, and they curse anyone who does not submit himself to their rule. Therefore it is a commandment to publicize to the masses that the ways of this sect are the ways of death, and that everyone should keep away from their houses, etc. You my friends should listen to my voice, and it will be good with you.
Rabbi Chaim Halberstam
With respect to this threatening letter which decreed destruction on myriads of Hassidim, it is important to note that the heads of the Hassidim in Rzeszow (such as Rabbi Yisrael Redimer, Rabbi Yechiel Horowitz, Rabbi Yitzchak Landau and others), who are called in this letter “the group of evildoers”, “those who blaspheme the Torah and the religion of the holy Torah”, did not veer even one step away from all the paths of true Hassidism, and did not ever miss even once the immersion in a mikva in the morning before prayer, and there was no problem between them and the Hassidim of Sanz “the G-d fearing people who respect his name”. With respect to this matter the following episode is related:
At that time, Reb Chaim Uri lived in Rzeszow. All of the Tzadikim of the generation held him to be a Rabbi and Tzadik, although he refused to make use of the “crown of the Rabbis”, and he submitted himself to the Tzadik of Sanz who loved him like his own son. Reb Chaim Uri occupied himself all his days with matters of charity, giving life to the hungry saving the downtrodden. After the above mentioned letter of the Sanzer was publicized, it happened that Reb Chaim Uri was sanctifying the moon along with the Hassidim of Sadigora, dancing with them and singing the hymn “Good are the luminaries”, and he even drank with them. When he later came to his Rabbi, the Rabbi of Sanz, he would not permit him enter until he accepted a ban of excommunication, and he entered in his stocking feet in order to beg forgiveness from his Rabbi.
The response of the Gaon of Sanz in which he called the Rabbi who had been slighted by the name of “the well known apostate” was published after the “open letter” of Reb Briniv became public, in which he set forth his view publicly that lies had been spread against him, and that he was faithful to the G-d of Israel and His Torah, and to the wisdom of Israel, and he never deviated from the fear of G-d. Even the most extreme of his opponents suspected him only of “expressing his opinion” and not of any “action”. Similarly there was no basis to all the rest of the indictments against the Tzadikim and Hassidim of Sadigora, for their opponents had lost sight of all rationality.
When the Hassidim of Sanz in Rzeszow received the permission they requested to pursue their detractors of Sadigora with wrath, they quickly began to put this permission into practice. However, rather than deal with them according to the guidelines that they received from their Rabbi, they decided to use physical force based on the principle “might is right”. One night, they stormed the Kloiz en masse, beat the Hassidim who were sitting there with murderous blows, removed all the Torah scrolls and other holy objects, plundered the building of anything of value, and after they expelled the beaten Hassidim they locked the house of prayer and left. Obviously the Sadigorim did not sit by idly and “every day the sound of shouting was heard in the streets and the courtyards, plunder and abuse, beatings and blows” (“Haivri”, Brody 5629-1869, page 292).
We do not know why the Sanzers did not resort to the use of the power of the government law. Perhaps they feared for the desecration of G-d’s name and the honor of Israel, and wished that this job would be done by the persecuted opponents, so that the responsibility would not rest on their own shoulders. However, the Hassidim of Sadigora did not do so, until the heads of the community stood at the right hand of the persecuted ones and brought their case before the civic authorities. The Sadigorim were exonerated in judgement. In order to fully understand the nature of the feud in Rzeszow, it is appropriate to bring the report in “Haivri” (page 376) from those days.
“Rzeszow, 24 Elul. On Friday of last week, the members of our community gathered together in the communal office, and consulted on how to make peace between the two sides of the feud that has been taking place between the different Hassidic groups. People who have passed through here during the course of the year have all attempted to help the oppressed Sadigora group from the hands of those that oppress them by force, and have attempted to make peace. However, the Hassidim of Sanz have been stiff necked, and have refused to answer to anyone, and they did not permit the opening of the doors of the Kloiz which have been locked by a strong bolt, until their opponents rose up against them in anger, and in the afternoon the Kloiz was opened with the assistance of the prominent gentile citizens of the city, and the flames of the controversy quieted somewhat.”
From this small note we learn that the heads of the community of Rzeszow and others who had no direct interest in the matter took the side of the oppressed Sadigorim. From this it can be doubted that the people to whom the letter of the Tzadik of Sanz was sent were indeed fitting to be called “the heads of the community and leaders of the community of the righteous”. It is also possible to conclude that the statement made by the Rzeszow court in their letter to the Tzadik of Sanz “we have the power to go out against them with swords to chase them out from sharing in our Kloiz due to the force of local custom” was simply conjecture, for indeed it was the Sadigorim that were exonerated “by force of local custom”.
The Hassidim of Sanz did not restrict themselves to the permission they obtained from their Rabbi “to persecute their opponents to the point of oblivion”. They also tried to arouse their Hassidic compatriots in other cities and towns to act in the same manner, and in order to expedite this they produced thousands of copies of this letter and distributed it in all Jewish settlements in Galicia, and they immediately opened up the chapter “these are those that are to be smitten” , the chapter of blows and slander, internecine conflict, divorces, and much worse…
The first casualty was a teacher of children in the town of Tyczyn which is close to Rzeszow, who was left without a source of livelihood due to the “Decree from Sanz”. His wife died due to her great anguish, and he became a “resident” of the Sadigorim; in one of the villages close to this town he took up residence with the local bartender. The Rabbi sent an order to the tenant to expel the teacher from his house, however the tenant refused, saying that in his opinion it was forbidden to damage the livelihood of a proper Jew without any reason. Some time later the wife of the bartender gave birth to a son, and the Rabbi did not permit any mohel (ritual circumciser) to travel to the village as long as he would not expel the teacher from his home. The tenant brought the child to Rzeszow on the ninth day and had him circumcised by a mohel of the Sadigorim. In the city of Brizhov the Sadigorim separated themselves from the Sanzer community and set up their own community with a Kloiz, cantor, ritual slaughterer and also a Rabbi.
The return of Reb Briniv to the court of Sadigora made a great impression in the Hassidic world, and caused great rejoicing and festivities in any area where the word of the Tzadik of Sadigora reached. The power of the aforementioned “letter to the holy community of Rzeszow” weakened, and the instigators of the battle in Sanz published a new letter from the Rabbi of Strzyzow, along with the response of the Sanzer Tzadik, in order that it should be known that their Tzadik still held the same opinion. The following is the letter of the Rabbi of Strzyzow:
With the Help of G-d, Monday of the Sedra “the heads of the children of Israel” (Ki Tisa) 56629-1869, Strzyzow, near Rzeszow
May G-d send his blessings of long life, etc. to he that honors his holy name, our teacher and Rabbi Chaim Halberstam, the servant of G-d may he live a long life full of blessings, Amen.
We have heard and taken note, and we have seen with our eyes and heard with our ears what was done in the towns, both near and far, to the Sadigora group who transgressed the law, publicly nullified the Torah from beginning to end, both the written Torah and the oral Torah , over and above the fact that they oppressed and caused anguish to the scholars in all places that they lived, as is known to the Admor. If we attempted to explain all their deeds, the parchment would not be long enough. Until this time it was not within our power to persecute them, for they had several important people from here with them. However now that the truth has been revealed, and their disgrace has been publicized, the people who were with them up to this time have distanced themselves from them, and all of them have stated unanimously that if the Admor would write to our city with permission to persecute them, we would be prepared to expel the thorns from the vineyard. Therefore we come with bent knee and prostration to beg before His Holiness the Admor that he should write to here a letter with permission to repel and persecute them, and then we, with G-d’s help will have the upper hand and we will be able to deal with them, etc. We have been forced to write this letter due to the greatness of their evil and presumptuousness. However, if G-d forbid a holy lettershould not arrive here from the Admor may he live long, we are afraid that G-d forbid we will not be able to continue on (that is to say: we will be like people who petition but are not heard). Therefore I ask with a fervent plea to the holy Admor that he should concern himself with the honor of the Torah and its students, and write a letter to this place just has he has written to the community of Rzeszow, and the name of Heaven will be sanctified here just as it has been in Rzeszow. May my words not be as naught in the eyes of the Admor, etc. All of the local prominent people are already prepared to repel and expel them, for in their eyes the deeds that they do here are evil, nevertheless we await his holy letter.
Signed by he who petitions and waits, Shlomo Shapira, the Head of the Rabbinical Court of Strzyzow.
At the bottom of the letter the following is written:
I repeat my petition to write a letter similar to the one that was written to the community of Rzeszow, for here they do evil multiples greater than they did in the holy community of Rzeszow, and since I concern myself with the honor of the Admor and his time, I am not specifying all of their deeds herein. The above signer.
As can be seen, the Rabbi of Strzyzow heard and saw that “the Sadigora group who transgressed the law, publicly nullified the Torah from beginning to end, both the written Torah and the oral Torah” even though the Rabbis of Rzeszow, a city in close proximity to Strzyzow were not presumptuous enough to level such a severe charge as this against them. The people of Strzyzow were jealous that Rzeszow had merited to be the beginning of the “commandment”, and to become famous in all of Galicia as desperate fighters.
The Sanzer Tzadik, rather than reminding the Rabbi who had opened the controversy about the biblical imperative “And you shall investigate, examine and ask thoroughly” for facts and evidence, hastened to reply with a response that is nothing other than a castigation of the Tzadikim themselves, accusing them of nullifying the Torah and going against the religion, and other such charges. It is not the place here to repeat again the accusations. The letter to Strzyzow which was written after Rabbi Briniv returned to his position of Tzadik, for his departure had caused everyone to be humbled, for they had begun to doubt whether this was truly a controversy “for the sake of heaven”. The letter to Strzyzow was written in a more severe and insulting style than the letter to Rzeszow.
The rest of the details of this distressing time period are described in the following books: Yalkut Haroim (The Anthology of the Shepherds), Shevet Lego Kesilim (Sitting Amongst the Fools), Machloket Sanz Vesadigora (The Feud Between Sanz and Sadigora), Divrei Shalom Veemet (Words of Peace and Truth), Igeret Shlomim (The Letter of Peace), and in issues of the “Haivri” newspaper of Brody, as well as in other documents. The letters of the Sanzer which ostracized and excommunicated all of the Hassidim of Sadigora caused much strife within most of the Jewish communities of Galicia, but none of these events affected Sadigora Hassidism at all. On the contrary, the more that the Sanzers persecuted the Sadigorim and their followers, the more the persecuted banded together, and at the end they gained the upper hand with the victory on their side.
This frightful feud between the two sides gradually waned over time. At first, whenever Hassidism was discussed, the controversy between Sanz and Sadigora immediately came to the fore. The Sanzer Hassidim would spout the sayings, Torah interpretations, and signs of the elder Sanzer Tzadik as if they were sparks of fire. The other side did not keep silent, for it was also armed with much Hassidic material, accompanied with wondrous stories of Rizhin and Sadigora. This feud was like a conflagration which broke out suddenly, however after the destruction caused by the fire which burnt both moveable and non-moveable objects, the fire slowly abated until it was completely burnt out. Today this feud is relegated to the realm of history.
On frequent occasions, Hassidic Tzadikim would come to visit Rzeszow from various cities as guests for several days or weeks. The elders of Rzeszow who are now living in Israel can remember the names of the Admorim who visited the city at the invitation of the local Hassidim: the Admorim of Rozwadow, Dzikow, Cziszanow, Plantch , Ropczyce, Bobov, Sokolow, Sasow, Drohowice, and others. At the beginning of the 20thcentury, Rzeszow as a center of Hassidism in central Galicia. At that time, three Hassidic Admorim resided there, namely: Rabbi Elazar Weissblum who was known as Rabbi Lozerl Reisher, as well as Rabbi Avraham Chaim Horowitz of Plantch and Rabbi Yehuda Ungar, the Rabbi of Sokolow. The latter two left their hometowns of which they bore their names in order to settle in Rzeszow. We will now describe each of them.
Rabbi Elazar was the only son of Rabbi Elimelech Weissblum the Tzadik of Rudnik, who was one of the students of Rabbi Naftali, the Tzadik of Ropczyce. The forbears of Rabbi Elimelech were an unbroken chain of Tzadikim and Rabbis well known among Israel and Hassidism. He was the son of the Tzadik Rabbi Menechem-Dov (known as Reb Mendel-Ber of Przeworsk) who passed away in the prime of his life when he was only thirty years old. Rabbi Mendele, the Tzadik of Rymanow said of him that the world was not worthy to behold his light. He was also descended from the Tzadik Rabbi Elazar of Lizhensk (the son-in-law of the Tzadik Rabbi Avraham Moshe of Przeworsk), the son of the well known Tzadik Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk, the author of “Noam Elimelech”.
Rabbi Elimelech, the father of Rabbi Elazar Reisher, did not put his Torah novellae into writing. Nevertheless, some of his Torah sayings were published in the book “Dvash Hasadeh” by the Rabbi and Hassid Dovrish Meir, and in the book “Mishne Lamelech” of his son Rabbi Elazar. Rabbi Elimelech his father died on the 19th of Tevet 5640-1880, having reached old age, and his honorable resting place is in Sokolow which is near to Rzeszow. He left behind him his only son Rabbi Elazar Weissblum who was born in the year 5599-1839. The father, the Tzadik rejoiced in his young son, and took pride in him at all times. During his youth Rabbi Simcha Shapira (the grandson of Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech Shapira of Dinow) taught him in the house of his father Rabbi Elimelech. He told that his father had said that his son was created for greatness. Once, his father Rabbi Elimelech took him in his arms and said: “You should know that in heaven there is a tree of souls, and not everyone merits to acquire a soul from this tree, and I with G-d’s help have merited to receive a very high and important soul from the produce of this tree”.
Book Cover on bottom of page 112.
The Book Mishne Lamelech (Second in Command to the King)
On the Torah.
Printed for the first time by the author
The Gaon, and holy Admor of blessed memory
In the year 5662-1902
And his name is not publicized due to the secret (as he himself said with his holy mouth)
And I feared to change this on account of his holy will
And therefore I request that you look
At the end of the book, which gives an introduction and the story of the Rabbi who was the author
By Yissachar Berish Halperin
Previously the Head of the Rabbinical Court of Beitsh
And now living in Bronx, New York.
In the year 5712-1952.
The youth Elazar was eleven years old when his father Rabbi Elimelech passed away , and Rabbi Dovidel Shapira the Tzadik of Dinow took him into his home to raise him and educate him. One of the Hassidim who was present at the time that the youth Elazar arrived in Dinow tells that Rabbi Dovid the Tzadik turned to him and said: “Behold, there is an honored guest with us. Prepare refreshments.” The child answered: “I have no money”. Rabbi Dovidel said: “I will search for you”. The youth took off his coat and uncovered his heart and said: “On the contrary. You search me and you will only find sins, transgressions and violations.” The Tzadik was moved when he heard the words of the youth and said with admiration: “Rabbi Elimelech left us a wonderful child”. The youth remained in Dinow for only three quarters of a year, and from there he traveled to Rabbi Chaim the Tzadik of Sanz, who took him into his home, treated him as one of his own children, and looked after him with a watchful eye and with love. Afterward he arranged for him to marry his granddaughter Breindel the daughter of his son Rabbi Dovid the Rabbi of Czanow. He was supported by his grandfather by marriage Rabbi Chaim of Sanz, and he occupied himself with Torah and Hassidism until he became an expert in both the revealed and hidden , and he became well known for his fine character traits and wisdom in the ways of the world. In addition, he obtained a vast knowledge of medicine. He also prayed with a beautiful voice, and all who knew him loved to be close to him, for his personality was honorable and radiant with love of G-d and love of his fellowman. He received ordination to judge and adjudicate Rabbinical law from several of the great leaders of his generation, including the Gaon Rabbi Chaim Wachs, the Rabbi of Piotrikov and author of “Nefesh Chaya”.
After the passing of the Tzadik of Sanz, Rabbi Elazar became the head of the Rabbinical court of Bokowsko. After a short period he moved to Przeworsk. In both of those places he won over souls to Torah and Hassidism. The spirit of the Hassidim of his father continued with him, and his group of his followers grew from year to year. Finally he set up his home in Rzeszow. At that time, his name had already spread far and wide, and he had the reputation of a great Tzadik. He had great power to heal the sick with segulot and simple remedies. He was insistent that people should not speak of him as a miracle worker, and he made every effort to conduct himself modestly.
Much was said about his refined character. He was a great scholar, and all of his actions were for the sake of heaven. The joy of “might and joy are in His place” was one of his guiding principles, and this joy that enveloped him at all times would bring him to great and wondrous deeds. Anyone who entered into his proximity became perfumed with that pleasurable joy that would chase away depression, and would leave from him happy and full of hope. Even Rabbi Yosef, the Tzadik of Rymanow testified that when he would visit him, he would feel joy in all corners of his home. The crown of righteousness pervaded his essence. His face glowed, his bright eyes which radiated with wisdom and uprightness would awaken a feeling of reverence in the heart of anyone who would come in contact with him. He considered himself to be a distinguished student of Rabbi Chaim of Sanz, and the books “Noam Elimelech” and “Divrei Chaim” were the source of his philosophy, and he studied them often. Whenever he would mention the name of his Rabbi his face would become jubilant with an awesome reverence and deep feeling. Every Elul  he would travel to Sanz to petition at the grave of his Rabbi.
His custom was to rise every night at three o’clock in the morning and to occupy himself with study, prayer, and petition. At daybreak, he would put on two pairs of tefillin, those of Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam, simultaneously . Afterward he would study the books of the Maharal , Noam Elimelech, Divrei Chaim, Bnai Yissachar, and other Hassidic books. He would then pray at the communal prayers, and after the prayers he would teach a daily class in bible. After this schedule of worship and learning, he would receive anyone who came to him from near and far to request advice in various matters. All would leave him strengthened both physically and spiritually. In the days of the winter he would study Talmud with the commentaries and halachic responsa from the beginning of night until nearly midnight with a group of students and men of faith. He would recite the evening service privately, sweetly, with an outpouring of the soul and a broken heart.
On Sabbaths he would only lead the afternoon service of the eve of the Sabbath. He would also lead the service on the yahrzeit of his parents and holy relatives. On the High Holidays he would lead the Musaf and Neila services . He conducted the services very melodiously, in a manner which inspired and moved the heart of the congregation. His prayers had an special quality to them. Aside from being imbued with fear and trepidation, they would arouse a feeling of joy in the heart of the listeners. On Sabbath evenings he would tell over sections of the book “Divrei Chaim” to his Hassidim who sat at his table. He did not sleep more than two or three hours a day, and he would arise and wash his hands every fifteen minutes. He would write down his Torah novellae himself, and in the year 5662-1902 he published his book “Mishne Lamelech” anonymously. This book dealt with Torah and the festivals. This book only contained a small segment of the Torah that he taught publicly. A second edition of the book was printed in America in the year 5712-1952 by his brother-in-law Rabbi Yissachar Berish Halperin, originally from Beitsch and later from the Bronx.
He had a special love for the city Lancut, and he would visit there often to celebrate with his Hassidim. The people of the community loved him, and remembered with trembling the time that his father the Tzadik resided in that city. His brother-in-law described him in his book as “the Rabbi Gaon and holy Tzadik, famous, a doer of righteousness, wise and learned with a clear view, our Rabbi and leader of Israel”. His noble deeds, fine character traits and refined personality not only charmed his Hassidim, but also those who did not follow the path of Hassidism.
A year before his death he visited the grave of his father in Sokolow. He passed away on the 16th of Tammuz 5670-1910 in the village of Boguchwala which is near Rzeszow, and he was laid to rest next to the grave of his father that very day, in fulfillment of his wish . His death caused great anguish among his Hassidim. He left an only daughter, Kreindel Finkel, who later married the Tzadik Rabbi Shlomole Horowitz the son of the Tzadik Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch the head of the Rabbinical court and Admor of Rozwadow. They had one son, Elazar, and two daughters: Sheindel Gittel and Beila. The widow of the Tzadik Rabbi Elazar, along with her daughter and son-in-law Rabbi Shlomole perished in Rzeszow in the Holocaust. His brother-in-law Rabbi Yissachar Berish Halperin escaped from the Holocaust and fulfilled his vow to perpetuate the memory of Rabbi Elazar Reisher by publishing a second edition of his book, since the book was already hard to find already before the war of destruction. The book consists of 114 pages along with an introduction by the publisher, Rabbi Yissachar Berish Halpern. This introduction takes up 16 pages, in which is related the story of the Rabbi who was the author , as well as the experiences of the publisher during the war. This introduction adds a bottle of tears to the great sea of memories and rivers of blood which were brought to Polish Jewry by the German Nazis.
In the first years of the 20th century, Rabbi Yehuda Ungar, the Rabbi of Sokolow, came to live in Rzeszow. His forbears are not known to us, however from his family name it seems that he is related to Rabbi Mordechai David Ungar the son of Rabbi Tzvi Ungar, the student of the “Chozeh” of Lublin, who died on the 7th of Shevat 5603-1843. His descendents occupied the seat of Admor in Jawona, and apparently Rabbi Yehuda Ungar of Sokolow was related to them. This small town was over two miles away from Rzeszow. The Rabbi of Sokolow did not have very many followers except for several local Hassidim. For this reason, the Rabbi of Sokolow moved to Rzeszow, according to the adage “when one changes one’s location, one changes one’s fortune”.
Rabbi Yehuda Ungar did not have his own home in Rzeszow. At first, he residin the Silber home, which was located at the edge of the city. In Rzeszow he had more Hassidim, and youths of the Hassidic homes would enjoy coming to him to worship and to attend his “table celebrations”. The Rabbi did not have much effect on the elder Hassidim of Rzeszow, since the Rabbi of Sokolow did not have the ambition to be a great Rabbi.
Rabbi Yehuda had only one son, named Naftali (Tultche), who prepared himself to become an Admor already from his youth.
Photo on top of page 114 -- Rabbi Avraham Chaim Horowitz of Plantch
Rabbi Avraham Chaim Horowitz, the Rabbi of Plantch, was of good lineage, the descendant of distinguished forbears – he was the great-grandson of Rabbi Naftali of Ropczyce and was named after one of his sons, Rabbi Avraham Chaim of Lizhensk. Rabbi Elazar, the son of Rabbi Naftali who founded the dynasty of Dzikow, was his grandfather. His father was Rabbi Moshe Horowitz the Tzadik of Rozwadow, who was a distinguished personality in his service of G-d and righteousness. His mother was the daughter of the “Yitav Leiv” of Sighet. He himself was born in 5610-1850 and died in 5678-1916.
Rabbi Avraham Chaim was one of several brothers, all of whom served as Admorim, even though not all of them were worthy of this title. He lived in the village of Plantch, and would visit once in a while as a guest in Rzeszow. He would stay with one of his Hassidim and would worship in the general Kloiz, and there would lead “table celebrations” on the Sabbath. Even though he was treated with respect due to his great lineage, he did not build up a great popularity. In this respect, he was similar to the Rabbi of Sokolow.
The Rabbi of Plantch did not have very many Hassidim, except for some from among the poorer people who would congregate around his table and in his room. He had some Hassidim in the small towns that surrounded Rzeszow, although their numbers were not great. Therefore he would not permit himself to conduct his duties in a large court.
He left Plantch permanently in 5671 and settled in Rzeszow. He rented his dwelling in a home on Ogrodowi Street. This house served as a gathering place for his brothers who were Admorim in different cities when they visited Rzeszow on occasion. Many of the local younger Hassidim of Rzeszow would gather around the tables of the Kloiz of the Rabbi of Plantch, along with a large group of older Hassidim. The Admorim who visited included the Rabbi of Rozwadow (the brother of the Plantcher), the Rabbi of Dzikow, and the Rabbi of Sasow who did not merit to have many Hassidim gather around his table. The divine service of the Plantcher was performed with great devoutness. He would often become silent in the middle of the hymns for several sections, as if his spirit was flying up to higher world, and only the wrinkles on his face would move. Thus would he sing the hymns and utter words of torah. He passed away in the year 5679-1919 .
The Tzadik of Blazowa who was the son of Rabbi Dovidel of Dinow, was seen by the righteous men of the generation as “a master of the holy spirit”, and all would hasten to visit him. He left the book “Tzemach David” after him, which is one of the most important Hassidic works. Rabbi Dovidel was the son of Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech of Dinow, the author of “Bnei Yissachar” on the Torah, and many other books as well. He was born in 5544-1784 and was the son of the sister of the two very famous Tzadikim, the brothers Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk and Rabbi Zusia of Anipoli. He passed away in 5601-1841.
Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech, who founded the Blazowa dynasty, was a famous personality in the Hassidic world, an expert in the revealed Torah and one of the Admorim who merited public reverence. He studied Torah with holiness and purity, and was well known for his pure and clear prayers. Hundreds of people would stream to his house of study, and thousands would camp out at the entrance to his house to receive a blessing from his mouth and to perfume themselves with the glory of his Torah. He also had the gift of composing melodies, which was a very special gift in Hassidic leadership. Aside from the melodies he inherited from the Tzadikim of his family of Lizhensk, Dinow, Ropczyce, Dzikow, Rozwadow and others, he also composed his own melodies which took root at his table celebrations and spread out among his Hassidim.
During the first world war he was forced to leave his city, and he settled in Budapest the capital of Hungary. There, his home was open to every passer by. He succeeded in spreading Hassidism in Austria and Hungary. He started his career as a Tzadik in the cities of Jawornik and Blazowa. He was an expert in Torah and bible, and he always acted modestly. He published a book called “Tzvi Latzadik”. Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech was a tall man, head and shoulders above everyone else. His voice was like the roar of a lion as he lead public prayer, and he also had great strength in delivering his words of Torah to his Hassidim. After the conclusion of the war he settled in Rzeszow.
He was a Tzadik-singer, and his divine worship was to him like one beautiful symphony which never ended. His prayers attracted many due to the joyous movements that would accompany his prayers, as well as his movements of sorrow. He was a superb master of the art of melody, an inheritance that he had from several generations back. His father, grandfather and prior ancestors were all well known for their musical ability. He was not unique in his generation with this talent, for other Admorim excelled in this area as well, including the Gaon Rabbi Ben-Zion Halberstam of Bobov, may G-d avenge his blood who was a great composer of Hassidic melodies, Rabbi Elimelech Horowitz of Mielice, Rabbi Asher of Rymanow (the author of “Marashim”), and others, who were pillars of Galician Hassidism.
With his melodies and hymns, the Rabbi of Blazowa-Rzeszow would spread rays of light into the lives of the masses which were often filled with despair and grief, worries about livelihood and other worries. He won over the hearts of the masses, and many Hassidim joined themselves to him, coming to warm themselves in the shadows of his melodies.
He was a prayer leader who excelled in the sweetness and strength of his voice. His tunes were created from a combination of Hassidic and western European music, which together created a new form, which had a general and Hassidic character. His compositions were spread out and accepted positively in all musical circles. They had an idiosyncratic characteristic, which gave a Jewish format to the various motifs. He did not find anything in the musical tradition of Hassidism from the time of the Besht that excelled in solid sounds and tunes that are combined in a complicated manner. However he enjoyed singing in clear tones with strong rhythm. His tunes and hymns had two motifs. He knew how to base them on the past traditions, while simultaneously including current music. His compositions were splendid festive tunes for the most part, that were well suited for religious poetry and hymns.
30. Hapesel is formed by the letters He, Pe, Samech, Lamed, which are the first letters of these four cities. Back
31. This is a play on a Torah law that commands that in Temple times, the new crop of grain was forbidden until the 'omer' offering was brought in the Temple on the second day of Passover. Back
32. Most likely a Kabbalistic innuendo. Back
33. A play on a Torah law that commands as a commandment (mitzva) warfare against the original Canaanite inhabitants of the land of Israel. Here it refers to a dispute in which each side feels that they have the authority of the Torah on their own side. The drastic event referred to here is not described in this work. Upon researching the issue, I found that the event referred to here was that Rabbi Dov Ber of Liova, one of the sons of Rabbi Yisrael of Rizhin, left the position of Tzadik and became a maskil (i.e. he abandoned Hassidism, and most probably Orthodox Judaism as well). This event obviously was of great significance for both the Sadigora-Rizhin Hassidim and their detractors. I have not been able to definitively identify Liova, but it appears that it is probably the town of Leva in Moldova. Moldova is adjacent to the area of Bukovina, which contains the city of Sadagora. Back
34. A play on the name Reisha, which resembles the Hebrew word Rishon, meaning "first". Back
35. The Torah is divided into 54 portions, one being read on each Sabbath of the year, unless it coincides with a festival, when a reading pertaining to the festival is read instead and displaces the regular reading. Since there are not 54 weeks in a non-leap year, and several Sabbaths will have their normal reading displaced because of the coincidence a festival, on certain Sabbaths a double portion is read. The literary style used in this letter is to call the week after the portion read that week, and instead of using the name of the portion, to quote a portion of a verse from the portion. This verse describes the construction of the ark, and the cherubim which were constructed on top of the ark. It is from the portion oTeruma, which is in the book of Exodus, and read in the February-March timeframe. Back
36. The Admor is being addressed in the third person out of respect. Back
37. This run on sentence is getting very long, and I have done my best to translate it as close to literally as possible, in order to keep to the style of the letter. Back
38. For sanctification of the moon, see note 16. Melave malka (literally: escorting the queen), is a ceremonial meal that is often observed at the conclusion of the Sabbath. Back
39. Tetzaveh is the Torah portion immediately following Teruma. Back
40. This word 'amgush' means Magus, a Persian Priest, or a Zoroastrian. The connotation is a believer in a non-monotheistic religion. Back
41. A false Messiah of the 1600s. Back
42. Mikva is a ritual bath, primarily used by women at the termination of their period of menstrual ritual impurity. It is also used by men to purify themselves on various occasions, especially the eve of Yom Kippur. Hassidic men have the custom of immersing in a mikva very frequently, even daily. Back
43. This chapter is the name of one of the three chapters of the Talmudic tractate Makkot, which deals with the laws of corporal punishment as ordained by the Torah and as carried out during Temple times when a central Sanhedrin was in existence. The use of this chapter name in this sentence is a reference to their self justified use of physical violence against their opponents. Back
44. The written Torah refers to the scriptures, including the Five Books of Moses, the Prophets and other Writings, and the oral Torah refers to the oral traditions of Jewish law as codified in the Mishna and Talmud. Back
45. A quote from the book of Deuteronomy, where it is commanded that a court of law is to undertake an extremely thorough investigation before passing a death sentence. Back
46. Plantch is the town of Polaniec in Poland, north east of Krakow. Back
47. The ages do not add up here. According to the birth date given for Rabbi Elazar, and the death date given for Rabbi Elimelech, Rabbi Elazar would have been 41when his father died. Obviously, one of the dates is incorrect, most probably the birth date of Rabbi Elazar. Back
48. A reference to the revealed Torah, which includes the written and oral Torah as described above, and the hidden Torah, which includes the mystical aspect of Torah, i.e. kabbalah, and Hassidism. Back
49. I chose not to translate this word. In this context it means a mystical or Kabbalistic remedy. Back
50. A quote which indicates that G-d's presence is served by might and joy. Back
51. The last month of the Jewish year, in August-September (and sometimes ending in the beginning of October) which precedes the High Holydays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. It is considered a propitious time for supplication. Back
52. Tefillin are the phylacteries which are put on each morning by observant Jewish males. There are two different opinions on the construction of the tefillin. These two different styles are known as Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam. Everyone puts on Rashi tefillin, as that is the opinion of the majority, but certain very pious individuals put on both types of tefillin daily. Most people who do put on both put them on in succession, but, as stated here, Rabbi Elazar put them on simultaneously. Back
53. Maharal is the acronym of Rabbi Yehuda Low of Prague, who lived in the 16th century. He is well known as the creator of the golem, the clay figure that became animated. Back
54. For Musaf, see note 27. Neila is the closing service of Yom Kippur. Back
55. One year off from the date given in the first paragraph of this section. Back
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