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[Columns 255-256]


[Columns 257-258]

The Religious Life

[Columns 259-260]


[Columns 261-262]

The Rabbis of Ternopil

The Rabbis of Ternopil During the 18th and 19th Centuries[1]

by Hillel Zeidman

Translated by Moshe Kutten


Rabbi Yehoshua-Heschel BABa”D , the author of “Sefer Yehoshua”

Among all the rabbis of Ternopil, we have details only about the last eight remained, starting with Rabbi Yehoshua Heshel BABa”D , the author of “Sefer Yehoshua”.

Rabbi Yehoshua Heshel BABa”D served as a rabbi in Ternopil toward the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. He was a descendant of some of the great rabbis in Poland - the author of “Meginei Shlomo”, MIRSh”A [Rabbi Yehoshua Hechel], and ReM”A – (R' Moshe Isserles).

He served at first as a rabbi in Lublin, but because of his inclination toward Hassidism, he got involved in a dispute with the “Mitnagdim” [“people who oppose Hassidism]. They snitched on him to the authorities that he was not an Austrian subject, therefore, was not allowed to reside in Lublin. He was then forced to leave the city. He was later accepted as a rabbi in Ternopil. He lived a long life in that position and died there at the old age of 100.

His book “Sefer Yehoshua” was admired by the rabbinical world of the 19th century and was considered and cited by the “Poskim” as a reliable source.


Rabbi Shlomo Yehuda Leib Rapoport (SHI”R)

Rabbi Shlomo Yehuda-Leib Rapoport, known by his pen name, SHI”R [the word shir means a song in Hebrew], served as the rabbi in Ternopil for a short period, from 1837 – 1840. He was the son-in-law of the author of “Ktzot HaKhoshen” [“The Ends of the Breastplate”], about “Shulkhan Arukh – Khoshen Mishpat”. He was nominated as the rabbi under the lobbying of Yosef Perl, the Enlightened Movement's pioneer in Galitsia.

SHI”R was born in 1790 and was raised in Jewish tradition. He later studied Mishnah and Poskim and also secular sciences. He was the first rabbi who used historic aspects in critiquing Talmudic and Rabbinical literature. He was, therefore, considered one of the founders of “Khokhmat Israel” [“The Science of Judaism” – an intellectual movement that examined critical religious issues using scientific tools].

Among his books and research papers, we can find the research of Sa'adia Gaon, Nathan Ben Yekhiel, Hai Gaon, Eliezer Kalir, Khanan Ben Khushiel, and Nisim Bar Ya'akov. Six of his biographies were published in the journal “Bikurei HaItim” [“First Fruits”] (1821 – 1831). He corresponded with [The Italian Jewish scholar] Shmuel-David Luzzatto (SHaDa” L). These letters were published in the book “Igrot Yehuda”. He also published poems.

He had to leave Ternopil due to disputes between the enlightened and the orthodox. He moved to Prague, where he served as rabbi for 27 years, from 1840 until he died in 1867[2].


Rabbi Yosef BABa”D , Author of “Minkhat Khinukh” [“Offering of Education”]

Rabbi Yosef BABa”D is the most famous among Ternopil's rabbis thanks to his book “Minkhat Khinukh”. The book was written as a commentary on the book “Sefer HaKhinukh” [“The Book of Education”], authored by one of Spain's greatest scholars, R' Aharon Levi of Barcelona. In fact, the book “Minkhat Khinukh” is more than a commentary. The rabbi from Ternopil used the book “Sefer Khinukh” only as a basis for his huge Talmudic structure and his innovations and explanations of all 613 commandments. “Minkhat Khinukh” is an original creation on its own, however, the rabbi from Ternopil demonstrated uniformity of thinking with the scholar from Barcelona. “Sefer HaKinukh” and its commentary were adopted by all yeshivas.

“Minkhat Khinukh” was published in several editions since it was first published in Lviv in 5629 [1869/70]. The book was published in New York in a magnificent scientific edition as late as 5712 [1951/2] by the publisher – the brothers Shulsinger.

Rabbi Yosef BABa”D wrote the book, not for publication but to teach his son. He actually wrote it in the introduction: ” to encourage my young son and his friends, to study the commandments every week…”.

[Columns 263-264]

The book excels in its ease of language and clarity of its style. The atmosphere of supreme morality, logic, and cleverness that surround it made the book popular. The “commentary” by the rabbi from Ternopil, which surpassed “Sefer HaKhinukh” in depth and sweep of visionary scholarly, made [the combination] “Sefer HaKhinukh” and “Minkhat Khinukh”, a helpful textbook set to those who study. So much so that the greatest of Lithuania's rabbis. So much so that the greatest of Lithuania's rabbis, Rabbi Soloveichik, ZTZ”L of Brisk [Brest] said about it: “I do not understand how is it possible to explore a Mishna subject in the Gemarah without first studying the issue in “Minkhat Khinukh”.

Today, students in all the Yeshiva's in Israel and America, and in every place where Mishnah and Poskim are being learned, study the book. It is also a good blend of the Sephardic and Ashkenazi methods of learning.

R' Yosef BABa”D was born in 5550 [1800] to his father, Rabbi Moshe BABa”D of Przeworsk, Galitsia. He was the grandson of Rabbi Yehoshua Heschel BABA”D , the rabbi of Ternopil and author of “Sefer Yehoshua”. R' Yosef BABa”D was first the rabbi of Oskov and Zbarizh, He was accepted as a rabbi of Ternopil during the “cultural conflict” between the enlightened people headed by Yosef Perl, and the orthodox people. His predecessor was Rabbi Shlomo Yehuda-Leib Rapoport (SHI”R”). He served as a rabbi until he died on 24 Elul 5634 (1874).


Rabbi Shimon BABa”D and Rabbi Yehoshua-Heschel BABa”D

After the death of R' Yosef BABa”D in 5634, his son R' Shimon BABa”D took his position. He served as the city's rabbi until 1909. He was a distinguished scholar and published emendations to his father's book, “Minkhat Khinukh”, which left a big impression.

After him, his son, R' Yehoshua Heschel BABa”D , was appointed. He served in that position until he died in 1919. He was gifted with noble virtues, kindheartedness, love of Jewishness, and hospitality.


Rabbi Menakhem-Munish BABa”D , the author of “Khavatzelet HaSharon” [The Rose of Sharon”]

R' Menakhem-Munish BABa”D , a relative of R' Yehoshua Heschel BABa”D , was the second rabbi of Ternopil while the latter was still alive. Before that, he served as a rabbi in Yavoriv near Lviv.

He was an extraordinary figure – a genius in the Torah, studious, and exceedingly knowledgeable. He possessed noble virtues. He was endlessly diligent in his studies. He taught the Torah and educated many students.

After the First World War, he began regular teaching from 4:30 am to 9:30 am every day and even during Shabbat and holidays. He taught the Mishnah. However, in the course of teaching Gemarah, he clarified Sdarot and Shitot [“methods and series] in Poskim Rishonim and Akhronim [first and last], utilizing logic and extraordinary proficiency. His teaching method was different from the custom in Galitsia and Poland. It was more similar to the methods used in the yeshivas of Lithuania, meaning: Deeper delve into the spiritual, straightforwardness, common sense, deep analysis of the intentions of the sages, and a wide review that encompasses all the sides of the problem under discussion, and the assumption related to it.


Rabbi M. M. BABa”D


The essence of R' Menakhem-Munish BABa”D 's life was learning the Torah. That's where all of his aspirations and experiences were. He was not interested in any affairs outside of the Torah world. He hated covetousness and, therefore, he served in the rabbinical court unwillingly since it took him away from his learning. He distributed monies from his salary to the poor.

He was among the first who responded to Halakha-related questions. His responses were gathered in the book “Khavatzelet HaSharon”, which was received favorably by the learners. His unique character is highlighted in that book: His rulings are clear and to the point. His responses are coherent, without any attempt to boast about his proficiency. His exalted virtues are revealed incidentally and on their own from his humility. He was humble by nature, far from any trace of aggression. He never demanded to accept his view due to his authority as a Posek [A legal scholar who determines the position of Halakha] but made an effort to clarify the problem at hand so that the conclusion would be self-evident.

The entire family of Menakhem-Munish consisted of rabbis. His five brothers were all rabbis: Rabbi R' Yitzkhak BABa”D Head of Rabbinical College [ABD] of Tartakiv, Rabbi R' Leibush, ABD Pidvolochysk, Rabbi R' Shalom, ABD Variazh, Rabbi Yosef, a rabbinical judge in Mykulyntsi, and Rabbi R' Nakhman, ABD Halych. His sister Ratzi was the wife of the rabbi from Strusiv. His four sons-in-law, who married his daughters, were rabbis: Rabbi Elimelekh Frenkel-Teomim, who superseded him in Yavoriv, Rabbi Aharon Sheneh [?] from Tluste, Rabbi Feivel BABa”D , the rabbi in Bodaniv [Bodzanov], and Rabbi Yehoshua BABa”D the nephew of R' Leibush, who took the place of his father-in-law as a rabbi in Ternopil, after his death.

Rabbi Munish BABa”D died at seventy-two in Sivan, 1938, in the retreat town Tatariv[?] [Tetrov] near Dolyna, after a long illness. His entire family – his brother, sisters, and sons-in-law rabbis perished in the Holocaust during 1942 -1943.

Rabbi Menakhem-Munish, one of the Last Poskim was a prominent figure in Galitsia's Jewry. He was considered on the same level as the famous rabbis, Rabbi Meir Aran from Buchach and Rabbi Menakhem-Mendel Shteinberg from Brody, both of whom were crowned with the title of Gaon.

[Columns 265-266]

Rabbi Ya'akov Shalita

Rabbi Ya'akov Shalita served as a rabbi in Ternopil between the two World Wars (1919-1942). He served together with Rabbi Menakhem-Munish BABa”D , who was appointed when Rabbi Heschel was still alive and with his approval.

In a city as big as Ternopil, there was certainly room for two rabbis, and there was sufficient work for both of them, together and separately. That was the case when Rabbi Yehoshua-Heschel BABa”D served together with Rabbi Menakhem-Munish BABa”D . However, in 1921, the Polish government issued a rule that only one rabbi may serve as the head rabbi of the community. That's where a problem and the controversy started – who is the head rabbi? Rabbi Shalita was younger than Rabbi BABa”D but he could claim that he had the “right” for the rabbinical position by being the son-in-law of the late Rabbi Yehoshua-Heschel BABa”D and that he was awarded the position as a dowry and by inheritance. On the other side, Rabbi Menakhem-Munish BABa”D was much older in age and service and was known to be a Torah great.

Each rabbi had a group of supporters within the population and the community council. The quarrel also affected the election to the community's institutions[3], at least among the Haredi Jews. It lasted until the death of Rabbi BABa”D in 1938.


The Rabbi from Husiatyn at the railway station of Ternopil, 1936


Rabbi Yehoshua-Heschel BABa”D was then appointed as a replacement and the community resigned itself to the service of two equal-level rabbis, despite the Polish law. Both rabbis were experienced, possessed skills and manners, and had good virtues and wisdom.

Rabbi Ya'akov Shalita was the son of Rabbi Ben-Tzion Shalita, the rabbi of the community of Zboriv (located between Zolochiv and Ternopil). He was a learner and proficient in the Mishnah and Poskim, gifted with sharp apprehension and wise in the ways of the world. Husiatyn Hasidim were among his supporters. Firstly because of the loyalty to the rabbi of Husiatyn Hassidim and his dynasty, and secondly, because Rabbi BABa”D was a Belz Hassid, while Rabbi Shalita was a supporter of the Rabbi from Husiatyn.

Rabbi Shalita perished with his family in 1942 while showing supreme heroism. His only son, Shimon, was killed by the Ukrainians in 1941.


Rabbi Yehoshua Heschel BABa”D

Rabbi Yehoshua-Heschel BABa”D, the son-in-law and nephew of Rabbi Menakhem-Munish BABa”D, and the son of Leibush BABa”D from Pidvolochysk [Podvolichysk], took his father-in-law position in 1938. He was a great scholar, educated, thinker and modest, social, and gifted with virtues. His wife was also educated. He perished with the Jewish community in 1942, along with his entire family. His parents had ten sons and daughters, and nobody survived.


Rabbi Dr. Shmuel A. Taubles

Rabbi Dr. Shmuel A. Taubles was the [last] preacher in the “Temple” established by Yosef Perl, where the enlightened people and the assimilators prayed. He was also a teacher of religion in the city's high schools (the first and the third gymnasium). He died in 1940 in Terebovlia [Trembowla] near Ternopil.

Author's Notes:

  1. See the article by Dr. N. M. Gelber about Ternopil Rabbis during the 18th and 19th centuries (column 30). Return
  2. Ibid column 75 – a detailed description of the feud around SHI”R. Return
  3. See the article by Dr. Tzvi Parnas, column 192, chapter D. Return

[Columns 267-268]

R' Ya'akov Kapil Landman ZTz”L

by Rabbi Zusia Landman Av Beit Din Bucharest

Translated by Moshe Kutten

The famous Tzadik Rabbi R' Ya'akov Kapil Landman ZTz”L was born in the city of Strilyshcha [Strelisk] in 5600 [1839 / 1840], to his father, Gaon Tzadik R' Tzvi Hirsch Landman. The latter was Av Beit Din [Head of the rabbinical court – ABD] of the holy community of Strilyshcha, and the son-in-law of the holy Rabbi R' Uri of Strilyshcha, known as “The Seraf of Strelisk”.


Rabbi Ya'akov Kapil Landman


He studied the Torah diligently from his youth and was Torah great. He was certified to teach by the Gaons Tzadikim Rabbi Yosef BABa” D ZTz”L from Ternopil, the author of “Minkhat Khinukh”, and Rabbi Tzvi Orenstein ZTz”L of Lviv.

In 5620 [1859 / 1860], he settled in Ternopil, where he acquired a name for himself. Many flocked to see him because of his teaching, fear of G-d, and Hassidism.

He authored valuable books:

  1. “Heshiv Lev Avot” [“He Shall Turn the Hearts of the Parents”]. The Gaon author of “Minkhat Khinukh” wrote in his approbation to the book wrote the following:
    “The Tora great, ruler of the Halakhah, the famous Tzadik R' Ya'akov Kapil Shalita from Ternopil, knowns to the Hassidim masses as a shepherd of the Jews in his wisdom and knowledge. Say thanks to him, as he is respected by all and filled with a blessing by G-d, and respected with his pure and delightful phrases, by the way of Derash [interpretation], and the occult. Anybody who would study the book would find everything they need since it is filled with delights”.
  2. “Sefer Ya'akov” [“The Book of Ya'akov”] is about Psalms, written in the way of Derash [exposition or interpretation], and the Kabbalah [study of the occult].
  3. “Beit Ya'akov” [“the House of Ya'akov'] about the system of the 22 letters in the way of the Kabbalah. The book remained in a written format and it was never printed.
Rabbi Ya'akov Kapil Landman was known as a “Ne'im Zmirot” [“pleasant singer”], who attracted listeners with his prayers, songs, and melodies. His voice was pleasant and powerful. When he prayed in public, people from different synagogues and Batei Midrash of Ternopil came to enjoy the melodies.

He died in 5679 [1919. May his memory be blessed.

Ternopil – A City of “Minkhat Khinukh”
[“Offering of Education”]

by Dr. S. B. Feldman

Translated by Moshe Kutten

Ternopil attained merit when the classic Talmudic book “Minkhat Khinukh” was published. No other book like it was ever published, before or after its publication.

The uniqueness of the book is in its universal character. It encompasses the whole sea of the Talmud in the true sense of the word. Whoever dealt with the Talmudic literature knows that it is more appropriate to talk about the ocean of the Talmud than a sea of the Talmud. Authoring a book that encompasses such an ocean is truly a miracle in the world of books.

The “Minkhat Khinukh” book is like a commentary on the book “Khinukh” of R' Aharon HaLevi. It contains all 613 commandments according to the order they appear in the Torah. The R”Y [Rabbi Yosef] BABa”D's commentary is spread over three hundred and seventy pages (seven hundred a forty folio pages). The text of the “Khinukh” occupies one-thousandth of that area. “Minkhat Khinukh” deals with only short comments of the “Khinukh” book.

R”Y BABa”D intended mainly to provide commentary on all the 613 commandments and not a summary of all the Halakha rulings with their details and pedantries. Those details can easily be found in the books of the RAMB”M, [Karo's] “Shulkhan Arukh”, and their commentators. Indeed, R”Y did not wish to repeat things known to people who deal with the Halakha. In his commentary, he expands on the wide and branched ambiguity of the Torah commandments.

The ambiguities are of different types.

First, he provides a precise and succinct description of the Halakha principles for every commandment. Then he brings up cases controversial among the Poskim themselves and provides a guide for resolving them based on [Poskim] Rishonim [First] and Akhronim [Last]. In the end, he raises problems that he is considered an expert in uncovering. These are problems not discussed by any author. He attaches practical guidance, wonderous in its clarity. With that, he demonstrates unprecedented sharpness and proficiency.

[Columns 269-270]

Incidental to presenting the principles and proposing the problems, there are also surprising comments accompanying each commandment, predicaments that are really astonishing. R”Y ends his presentation on some issues with the acronym “ra”s” (required additional study). More than 80 years later, none of the predicaments have been resolved.

The style follows the one used in other Talmudic books of the latest generations. However, the book transcends in its concise presentation. It is easily readable by whoever is used to reading Pilpul [casuistry] books. The clear and concise delivery, its excellent order, and original and surprising comments attract the reader.

For yeshiva students and all the other Torah learners who wish to delve into Talmudic problems, the book's educational value is enormous. The learner feels that is shown how to fathom a Talmudic enigma and is taught the correct way to approach its resolution.

The book was first published in Lviv in 5629 [1968/9] when the author was already old. If I am not mistaken, he was about eighty years old at that time. It is not known how much time the author devoted to writing the book but we know that it was the period when the rabbis and the learners were heavily engaged in Pilpul of “Contradictions” (called “Peshtel” in Yiddish). That was a method of an exaggerated sharp-wittedness, like a chain of connections, which cannot withstand the criticism of logical thinking. The R”Y BABa”D knows the art of Pilpul and sharpness, but he distances himself from exaggeration and sharp-wittedness. His Pilpul is fresh and based on common sense and only adds grace and magic to his writings.

Overall, the book provides a series of Talmudic essays as many as the number of the commandments. Whoever reads the whole book experiences the taste of the whole Torah. Readers and learners wonder how can a single book contain so much Talmudic knowledge.

It is well known that the Lithuanian Yeshivas boasted about their learning methods against those of Pilpul-based methods customary in Poland. Yet, not even a single book was ever published from the Lithuanian Yeshivas that could be compared to the “Minkhat Khinukh”, in content, style, and logical structure of its essays. The fact is that high-level students read the book frequently, enjoy it, and make an effort to follow its Torah teachings.

It is logical to assume that the “Minkhat Khinukh” would continue to be the standard book guiding future generations. That is, as long as there are learners of the Halakha and people who judge according to the Halakha.

Rabbi Reuven Cohen Rapoport, one of the generation's scholars who served as a rabbinical judge and teacher of righteousness in Ternopil, handed the book to the publisher- Salat publishers in Lviv.

The following is written on the front of the book:

“The book is a wide commentary of the “Khinukh” book, using tremendous Pilpul and wonderous proficiency, a wonder of the truth of the Torah. It was authored by one of the distinguished, holy, and pure Gaons of our time, may his light shine.

“Published with the promotion and effort of Rabbi R' Reuven Cohen Rapoport”.

The author's name was omitted in the original book, which was new. Only in the later editions published after his death, his name was mentioned.

R' Yoseli BABa”D, the author of “Minkhat Khinukh”, was known not only as a Talmudic genius but also as a great Tzadik. I can tell you two stories about him:

The first story, my father Z”L, R' Israel from Zboriv, told my brother, Yehoshua Redler-Feldman (R' Benyamin). Rabbi BABa”D had some differences of opinions about public matters with the community leaders (I do not have any details about these matters). When the community leaders threatened him (I do not have any details about these threats either), the author of “Minkhat Khinukh” told them: “There is no meaning to your threats. The little porridge that I eat here every day, I can eat in any Jewish city or town”.

The second story is more personal: In the fall of 5678 [1917], I stayed several days in Ternopil. On that occasion, I entered the “Ohel” [mausoleum], where the grave of the R”Y BABa”D is located. I found the nice gravestone by the grave with a long inscription written on it. However, the stone was tilted to one side. When I asked why they don't fix the gravestone, I received an answer: “No Jew would dare to touch the stone for the fear that it would disturb the body of the Tzadik”. The heads of the community and Khevra Kadisha [burial society] also avoided fixing the gravestone. So, the stone is tilted on the grave, which harbors such a prominent figure - one of a kind in his generation.

[Columns 271-272]

Haredi Jews in Ternopil

by Hillel Zeidman

Translated by Moshe Kutten

In memory of my father and teacher, Avraham Zeidman, my brother Moshe, a student in the yeshiva “Khakhmei Lublin” [“Lublin's Wise Men”], my sisters, Sara and Rakhil, teachers at the “Beit Ya'akov” school, my sister Rukhama and her husband, Moshe Blaustein, and my brother Anshil – Victim of the Holocaust, 5702 [1941/2] – 5704 [1942/3].
When I remember the Haredi Jews of Ternopil, a sharp pain fills my soul, and a glow that radiates from their faces lights my way among them. However, that is not the light at dawn, the sunlight at noon, or even not the golden light before sunset. It is the light emanating from the flame on the altar where they were sacrificed and vanished with no trace or gravestone. Filled with eternal yearnings, love of the Torah, and longing for the messiah, they are now covered by the darkness of death and the truth that the “glory of eternal of Israel will not fail” [Samuel I, 15:29]. However, there were annihilated and there are no more. Their graves were only erected within our souls. Let's raise their memories as they appear in front of our eyes.

When looking for a point of view to look at the victims etched in my memory, I return to the trip that I made with my father-teacher Z”L in the evening before Yom Kippur, from our home at Lelwela Street, near Tarnovskiego Street, to the Husiatyn Kloiz on Podolska Nizsza Street, closed to Lvovska Road, which crossed almost the entire city from east to west. I will describe that trip and record the people I met on my way.

On Lelwela Street, near the corner of Tarnovskiego, resided R' Shalom Podhortzer, who served, for a long time, as a member of the community council and was the vice leader of the community on behalf of the Haredi Jews. As we leave Lelwela Street onto Tarnovskiego Street, we find, on our right, the house of R' Moshe Rozner, a Haredi leader and one of the city's prominent figures. He was the vice president of the community council, vice chairman of “Agudat Israel”, and the chairman of “Tif'eret HaDat” [“The Glory of Religion”]. He was the native of Bukovina, the son-in-law of R' Ya'akov Breitman, and the brother-in-law of Rabbi Meir Shapira, the famous rabbi of Lublin. His sons, R' Yehoshua and Dr. Mordekhai, were among the activists of “Agudat Israel”. Dr. Mordekhai Rozner was a teacher in the seminary for religious teachers in Warsaw, on Gnesha[?] Street, and one of the editors of the Yiddish newspaper “The Yiddisher Tagblat”. He was a relative of Professor Salo Baron from Columbia University, a native of Tarnov, Galitsia. R' Moshe Rozner was a scholar, a gentle, noble, and honest man, and so was his family, of whom nobody survived the Holocaust.

That is the place to dwell about the Breitman family, which was close to the Rozner family. It was one of the most prominent families in our city. R' Ya'akov Breitman had four sons-in-law, all scholars and respected people: R' Leibush Arak, a Torah great; Rabbi Meir Shapira, the Rabbi from Lublin and the head of the Yeshiva “Khakhmei Lublin” (1922 – 1926). The latter was also the representative of the Polish Sejm and one of the leaders of “Agudat Israel” in Poland; The aforementioned, R' Moshe Rozner, and R' B. Weksler. The sons of R' Ya'akov Breitman were Daniel, Fishel, and more. The Breitman family owned the estate of Zrobinitz near Zbarazh. The brother-in-law of R' Ya'akov Breitman was Yehudah Ber Zeidman, the owner of the Kamionka estate near Ternopil. His sons were R' Avraham, Shlomo, and R' Mordekhai. They owned a large home on Koscielna Street. The sons of R' Leibush Arak were all distinguished scholars. His sons - Shlomo and Avraham (who died in his youth), were both distinguished students of Rabbi M. M. BABa”D. There were all respected people of the Chortkiv Hasidim.

We continue our trip. At Ritna Street, we pass near the home of R' David Lvov, a distinguished scholar, noble-spirited and dignified man with pleasant manners, educated, and philanthropist, one of the special people in Galitsia. Everybody in our city treated him with reverence. He was one of the leaders of “Agudat Israel”, a confidant of Rabbi M. A. BABa”D, member of the community council and municipal council. He had three sons and two daughters. His sons were: Yosef, Nathan, and Meir. His sons-in-law were R' Khaim Horwitz and Sh. D. Kahana. All were respected people and among the leaders of “Agudat Israel”. His grandson, Tzvi Horwitz, a distinguished scholar of the Torah, was educated and extremely talented. He was one of the founders of “Tzeirei [Young] Agudat Israel”, and their leader. He was killed in an accident in Sanz. His brother, Arye, was one of the distinguished students of Rabbi BABa”D.

[Columns 273-274]

“HaMizrakhi” People

When on Ruska Street, we passed near the home of R' Avraham Meiberger. We will dwell a bit on this activist and his work: R' Avraham Meirberger was the president of “HaMizrakhi” in Ternopil. He was educated and a Torah learner and possessed pleasant manners. He was a vigorous activist, the vice chairman of the community council in Ternopil, and a member of the state institutions in Galitsia.

The “HaMizrakhi” leaders in our city were: R' Yitzkhak Ginsburg from Rzeszow [Raysha], R' Gedalia Kornberg, Zisha Wahler, a Hebrew teacher and Torah reader at the big synagogue (he was superb at this holy work), and Itamar Teikhman. However, the spokesperson of “HaMizrakhi” was the party's excellent speaker and author, R' Yitzkhak Walfish, now[1] one of the prominent figures of the community in Toronto, Canada).

“HaMizrakhi” in Ternopil was active in many areas and received many votes in the election to the community council. In the election to the Polish Sejm in 1922, one of the two representatives from the Ternopil district was “HaMizrakhi” leader, Dr. Bernard Hoizner (The other representative was Tzvi Heller). Dr. Hoizner and Rabbi Dr. Shimon Federbush visited Ternopil and appeared in “HaMizrakhi” gatherings.

“HaMizrakhi” in Ternopil participated actively in the management of the Hebrew school, made its mark on that institution, and directed it toward religion. “HaMizrakhi” cooperated with the Zionist Union in all political affairs and money collection activities for Eretz Israel funds.

“HaMizrakhi” in Ternopil boasted about the “HaMizrakhi” country leader, Dr. Simkha Bunem Feldman, who served as a lawyer in Ternopil before the First World War. He made his mark on the association there. Among the representatives of the “HaMizrakhi” in the community institutions were the council president, Mr. Meirberger, R' Yitzkhak Walfish, R' Gedalia Kornberg, R' Zisha Wahler, R' Mordekhai Fessel [now in Tel Aviv], and Rabbi R' Ya'akov Shalita, who was one of the fans of “HaMizrakhi”.


The Learned and Scholars

Ternopil learned concentrated mainly around Rabbi Menakhem Munish BABDa”D. His student later became Rabbis in various communities. I will munition some of them, my friends with whom I studied. Each one of them excelled in a unique area.

Rabbi Shimshon Weissman served as a rabbi in Lupatyn, near Lviv. He was a wise, deep learner and a very honest man. He was endowed with distinguished virtues. (His brother, Rabbi Yitzkhak Weissman-Sharf, is now a rabbi and Yeshiva teacher in Brooklyn New York); Rabbi Dov (Bercho) Katz, the rabbi in Dobromil, the son of the cantor at the big Beit HaMidrash, Reuven Katz. He was persistent, diligent, and pious with a strong will; Rabbi Tzvi Schwartz, the rabbi in Yezupil [Yezopol], the son of R' Pinkhas Shwartz; Rabbi Wolf Mond from Lancut [Lantzut], Yeshiva teacher in Mukacheve [Munkatch]; Rabbi Moshe Bloy from Dukla; Rabbi Y. Landau, a rabbi in Burshtyn; Rabbi Bendelman from Rzeszow [Raysha], and more.

Among the distinguished students of Rabbi Menakhem M.BABa”D was his nephew, Rabbi Asher BABDa” D, the son of the rabbi from Tartakiv. Rabbi Asher now serves as a rabbi of the “Minkhat Khinukh” congregation in New York. Rabbi Shaul D' Katz-Margaliot, who once served as a rabbi in Torest[?], Belzyce [Belzitz], and Pruszkow [Proshkov] near Warsaw, now serves as a rabbi in Brooklyn. R' Mendel Igli now serves as a Kosher slaughterer and inspector in New York. Rabbi Meir Shapira, who once served as a rabbi in Narol, is now a member of Belz Hassidim in New York. Rabbi Elimelekh from Vienna is now in London; Rabbi Neistein is now in the Weinland, a town near New York. Rabbi Avraham M.BABa”D, the nephew and brother-in-law of the rabbi from Ternopil, requires a special mention. Today he is a prominent rabbi in England and the rabbi of Sunderland. He is also the head of the Yeshiva there. He is a member of the “Council of Torah Greats” of “Agudat Israel”, and one of the leaders of “Agudat Israel”.

My brother Moshe Zeidman who was a student of Yeshiva of “Khakhmei Lublin”, taught Torah to the students there for free.

Some distinguished learners were proficient in the Mishna and Poskim who never served as rabbis and were more knowledgeable than many Rabbis. R' Shmeril Eikhenbaum, an exceptionally wise man whose aphorisms became famous. He had an outstanding memory and knowledge (His son was Shlomo Eikhenbaum. His grandson was a graduate of the “Institute for Jewish Studies” in Orsha. The latter was a religion teacher in Ternopil's high school). R' Hersh Leib Thaler, an inspector of lungs adhesion and decider in matters related to Kosher and Treifa [Non-Kosher]. He is very knowledgeable; R' Yosef Popresh, the grandson of [Rabbi Yosef BABa”D,] the author of “Minkhat Khinukh”. His sons were exceptional learners: R' Avraham Delitz, a Melamed, and R' Tzvi Manheim who is a Husiatyn Hassid; There were many more.

From the old generation - R' Manis (Manila), a Maggid [preacher] who taught many students.



In conclusion, I must note that much more was hidden within the religious public in Ternopil than what such a review can contain. Many deserving people and events were not mentioned here because of the lack of notes and material - the community documentation and notes were destroyed when the community itself was annihilated. However, there is also another reason why such a review cannot be complete. That is common to the entire Jewish religious public in Poland. The majority of the Jews followed the commandment “Walk humbly with G-d” [Micha 6:8]. They did not stand out in public. The publicity did not reach them, and they did not need publicity. Their life was a matter between them and G-d. Therefore, they possessed hidden powers. From the outside, only their exteriority was shown. To discover the brightness of their light, you had to penetrate their soul. Whole worlds were destructed.

Translator's Note:

  1. Here and wherever the text refers to the current time, it means the time of publication February - 1955. Return


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