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[Columns 377-378]

Chapter D:

Personalities and People
in Zloczow

Translated by Moshe Kutten

[Columns 379-380]

[Blank]

[Columns 381-382]

The Maggid from Zloczow

by Moshe Leiter

A person familiar with the Tzadikim's books and is knowledgeable about Hasidic literature, would not recognize the name - Rabbi Yekhiel Mikhel. However, if you say R' Mikhel'i Zlotsover, or “The Maggid from Zloczow [Zlotsov]”, he would immediately know that this is about the famous Rabbi, admired by tens of thousands of Hassidim, and people of action, for many generations now. However, Rabbi Mikhel'i was not born in Zloczow and did not die there either. He was born in Brody in 5486 (1726) and died in Yampol on Shabbat, 25 Elul 5546, (1786).

Yet, he is named after the city of Zloczow because it was where he rose and ascended, lived, and disseminated Hassidism. In Zloczow he acquired a large group of Hassidim and admirers and brought up Hasidic disciples, Torah greats, and famous Tzadikim. His mentor and teacher, R' Dov-Ber the Maggid from Mezritch, wondered about that and asked: “Why was he so fortunate to merit so many Hasidic followers?”.

Gaons-Tzadikim were also among his Hassidic students and disciples such as:

– The Kabbalist Gaon [Torah Genius scholar] R' Yitzkhak Isaac HaCohen, ABD [Head of Rabbinical Court] of Korets community, the author of the book “Brit Kehunat Olam” [“Covenant of Perpetual Priesthood”];

– R' Khaim, ABD Chiºinãu - Chernivtsi, [Kishinev – Czernovitz], the author of the book “Be'er Mayim Khaim” [“Refreshing Water Well”] about the Torah, “Sidduro Shel Shabbat” [“The Siddur of Shabbat”], “Sha'ar HaTfila” [“The Prayer Gate”], and Ertetz HaKhaim” [“The Land of the Living”];

– Rabbi Meshulam Feibush HaLevi from Zbarazh, the author of the book “Derekh Emet” [“The Path of the Truth”], a friend of the Gaon Rabbi Tzvi Kara [spelled Karu in the article], ABD of Buczacz and the author the responsum book “Netah Sha'ashuim” [“Plantation of Pleasures”]. Both were the disciples of Rabbi Moshe-Tzvi Heller HaLevi, the author of the book “Gaon Tzvi” about the Mishnah order “Kodashim” [“Sanctities”], as well as the responsum book “Gaon Tvi”;

– The famous Tzadik, Rabbi Mordekhai, Gaon ABD Nishchiz;

– The Gaon Rabbi Yisaskhar Ber ABD Zloczow, the author of “Bat Eini” [“The Apple of my Eye”] about the Mishnah, and the book “Mevaser Tzedek” [“Heralding Justice”];

– The son-in-law of Rabbi Yisaskhar Ber from Zloczow, the Gaon-Tzadik Rabbi Avraham-Khaim, who ascended to the rabbinical position in Zloczow, after his father-in-law, Rabbi Yisaskhar Ber, made Aliya to Eretz Israel, was also among the disciples-students of Rabbi Mikhel of Zloczow;

– The holy Rabbi Aharon Leib from Peremyshliany. He was the father of Rabbi Meir'el from Peremyshliany, who was famous for his holiness and cleverness;

Rabbi Mikhel's salient mentor rabbi was the Gaon Rabbi R' Shmuel Shmelke of Nikolsburg. His first wife was the daughter of R' Shmuel Shmelke's brother, Rabbi Pinkhas HaLevi Horowitz, ABD Frankfurt.

Rabbi Mikhel's famous five Tzadiks sons were also obviously among his students. They were not named after the city of Zloczow but after the names of the towns where they lived and disseminated their father's wisdom. They were Rabbi Yosef of Yampol, Rabbi Yitzkhak from Radyvyliv, Rabbi Velvel'e Zbarazer, Rabbi Moshe of Zvohil, and Rabbi Mordekhai of Kremenetz.

Rabbi Mikhel'i had one daughter. He married her to Rabbi David HaLevi, a Maggid Meisharim [“Preacher of Righteousness”] in the town of Stepan, who was from among the students of the BESHT.

Rabbi Mikhel'i was the son of the “Mokhiakh” [the “rebuker”] Rabbi Yitzkhak'l from Drohobitz, about whom the BESHT said that “his holy work elevated him to the level of [tannaitic sage] Rabbi Shimon Ben Yokhai”. Rabbi Yitzkhak was the son of Yosef “Ish Emet” [“Man of Truth”], the son of the holy Rabbi Moshe from Svirzh, near Lviv, who was killed “on Kiddush Hashem” [as a matyr; The latter was the grandson of the Gaon Rabbi Yitzkhak Khayut, a Providentza [Prostìjov?], Hassid, and ABD of Prague-Krakow.

Rabbi Mikhel'i was considered the leader of the Hassidim and their admired spokesman. Therefore, Rabbi Yekhezkel Landau, ABD Prague, the author of the books “Nodah BiYehuda” [Known in Judah” – the name is based on Psalms 76:2] and “Dagul MeRevava” [“Preeminent among Ten Thousand” – the name is based on Song of Songs 5:10], the leader of the “Mitnagdim” [People and Rabbis who opposed Hassidim], aimed his critical arrows against him. Gaon Rabbi Pinkhas Horowitz, the authors of the books “HaMikneh” and “Hafla'a”[Literally – “Turning into a Miracle”], ABD of Frankfurt turned to the Gaon Rabbi Tabl'i from Leszno [Lissa] to write to Gaon Rabbi Yosef from Poznan to ask his father-in-law, Gaon Rabbi Landau, not harass Rabbi Mikhel'i, since his brother, Rabbi Shmuel Shmelke, ABD Nikolsburg testified about Rabbi Mikhel'i “that all of his work was in honor of G-d”.

People who want to avenge Rabbi Mikhel'i's insult by claiming that Rabbi Yekhezkel Landau, the author of “Nodah BiYehuda”, opposed Rabbi Mikhel'i because the latter encroached upon his territory by settling in Yampol, are mistaken. The fact is that when Rabbi Yekhiel Mikhel settled in Yampol, Rabbi Yekhezkel Landau, who served as the ABD in Prague, was already known as the greatest rabbinical judge of his generation,

[Columns 383-384]

Zol383.jpg
Students in the “Yeshiva” named after the Maggid R' Mikhel

 

and was famous among the Halakha and logic scholars. He opposed R' Mikhel only because he considered him the leader and the spokesman of the Hassidim.

We should also note that Gaon Rabbi Yekhezkel was nominated to the position of ABD Prague in 5515 (1755), while Rabbi Mikhel'i from Zloczow died in Yampol in 5546 (1786). That means that R' Mikhel arrived in Yampol at an old age.

Since he was considered the head of Hasidism, his followers in Brody could not find a better location for the book “Toldot Ya'akov Yosef” [The History of Ya'akov Yosef”], other than the house of Rabbi Mikhel'i from Zloczow. That book, authored by the Gaon Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, contains the main principles of BESHT Hassidism.

The following story, told by Rabbi Elimelekh from Liznesk, serves as proof of how great and holy the Hassidim viewed Rabbi Mikhel'i. Rabbi Elimelekh said that he aspired to see Rabbi Mikhel'i from Zloczow in person in his youth. When he heard that Rabbi Mikhel was visiting Krakow, he traveled to that city and met somebody there. Rabbi Elimelekh asked that person why the city seemed to be in the mood of Yom Kippur. The person responded that the town people gathered in the synagogue to listen to Rabbi Mikhel's enthusiastic sermon. In his sermon, the Rabbi called the residents to come back to worship G-d in good faith. To hurry them up, he described the sin of every person in the audience. The whole audience burst into tears. When Rabbi Elimelekh heard the story, he began to fear that his own “sins” would be publicized, so he decided to return home without meeting the Rabbi.

Rabbi Mikhel'i from Zloczow was a pioneer of the Hassidic movement. However, like his great father, Rabbi Yitzkhak from Drohobitz, he was not initially attracted to Rabbi Israel BESHT. Moreover, his father kept his distance from the BESHT and bore a grudge against him since the latter used amulets. However, Rabbi Yitzkhak once visited the BESHT's court, and the latter convinced Rabbi Yitzkhak that he also opposed amulets. However, since that custom was so entrenched from the days of the Talmud, it was difficult to uproot it. Nevertheless, the BESHT stated that he was not using the names of the holy people in his amulets but only wrote his name and the names of his parents on the amulets. Rabbi Yitzkhak was satisfied with that explanation, and he became a good friend of the BESHT. They became close friends who admired each other.

Rabbi Mikhel'i followed the old paved road, which had nothing on it but Torah and G-d fearing. A person who unwillingly almost desecrated the Sabbath came to Rabbi Mikhel'i to relay to him his heartful worry about his sin. Rabbi Mikhel'i responded that the only remedy for that serious sin was to seclude himself and abstain from the pleasures in this world. The person who sinned regretted it with the whole of his heart. But he was weak and could not physically follow the Rabbi's severe judgment. When that person heard that the BESHT happened to stop by the adjacent city, he hurried and traveled to see him. He told the BESHT that despite his strong will to follow Rabbi Mikhel'i's instructions, he could not possibly do so, as he was weak and ailing. The BESHT comforted him and ordered him to provide the synagogue with a litra [unit of weight about 12.5 Oz] of candles and his sin would be forgiven. When that person visited the BESHT the second time, the latter asked him to hand over an invitation for Rabbi Mikhel'i to come and stay with him in the following Shabbat. Rabbi Mikhel'i received the invitation and traveled to Lviv to spend the Shabbat with the BESHT. He had some difficulties finding his way in the dark and was late to arrive. The BESHT waited for him with his Kiddush cap in his hand. When Rabbi Mikhel'i finally arrived the BESHT welcomed him with a greeting of peace and with a complaint that the Rabbi did not notice the sadness and heartbreak of that sinner. At that moment, Rabbi Mikhel'i realized that possible for a Jewish person

[Columns 385-386]

to lose his way in the dark on Shabbat eve. Rabbi' Mikhel'i became a BESHT follower since then.

Yet, Rabbi Mikhel's remained faithful to his strict way of keeping the sanctity of the Shabbat. So much so that he claimed that a Jew might desecrate the sanctity of Shabbat with excessive speech. Thus, when Rabbi Khaim, the author of “Be'er Mayim Khaim” [“A Well of Fresh Water”], visited him, he asked him to provide proof, from the written literature, that excessive speech may cause a desecration of the sabbath. Rabbi Khaim responded that in the Book of Leviticus, [VaYikra 19:30] it says: “…and you shall observe My Sabbaths…”. And what is the G-d's Sabbath? – ceasing from work. And what is G-d work? - speaking, as it was said: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made…” [Psalms 33:6], and also “The world was created with ten divine utterances” [Mishnah, Avot 5:1]. One could therefore conclude that people that excessive speech should be avoided on the holy day of Shabbat. Herewith, the views of the author of “Be'er Mayim Khaim” and his spiritual outlook matched those of his mentor. It was appropriate for him to bring to light his hidden wisdom to his mentor.

Rabbi Mikhel'i warned not to shame a fellow man even if he was a known evil person. He followed Rabbi Shimon Bar of Yokhai, who said: “One needs to be careful not to shame anybody”.

Rabbi Mikhel'i practiced what he was preaching. When he addressed his congregation with words of reprimand, he would raise his face towards the heavens and say: “Master of the Universe, it is evident and known to you, that they are worthy and deserving. The only reason I admonish them with words of heaven is to honor of your great name, and so that they would serve you commandments with awe and compassion”.

That custom was anchored in Shimon Bar Yokhai's teachings: “Don't investigate a camel or a pig, investigate a lamb”.

When the BESHT decided to try to convince Rabbi Mikhel'i to accept a rabbinical position, the latter insisted courageously: “Even if I lose the two worlds - this one and the next, I would not accept the position as a Rabbi”. with hat refusal (adressed to his teacher and mentor) Rabbi Mikhel followed the Tannai Rabbi Shimon Bar Youkhai who said: “brikh rakhmanah Delinah khakim Midon” [“Blessed he who is relieved me of the duty to judge”].

Rabbi Mikhel'i was mindful of two things. He testified: “I had never set down at a heater to warm up as warmth should come from within”. He also said: “I had never bowed my head to a bowl of food since the head symbolizes spiritualism and considered the source of thinking. The head should not bow to worldliness and materialism”.


[Columns 387-388]

“Love of Israel”
by the Maggid's Sons

by Avitov

Translated by Moshe Kutten

The fire broke out and quarrels erupted out among the Jews, between the Hasidim and Mitnagdim [people who opposed Hasidism]. The fire is burning and even the cedars [in Judaism - a symbol of strength and might] caught fire. There is no extinguishing. Every resolute combatant defeats his rivals. In Lemberg [now - Lviv], the Mitnagdim have the upper hand. A decree was issued, with the approval of the authorities, that Hasidic rebbes, can only stay 24 hours in the city. Beyond the 24 hours, the rebbes would be expelled.

One day, the two Admors brothers, R' Velvele of Zbariz [Zbarazh], and R' Yitzkhakle of Radziwill, the sons of R' Mikhel [The maggid] from Zolochiv [Zlotzov], had to stay in Lviv for more than 24 hours for various reasons. On Shabbat, as customary among the Hasidim, hundreds of admirers crowded the tables, to enjoy seeing the glamourous face of their rebbes and to listen to their Torah talks.

As known, the flame of “Love of Israel” burned within him. He considered every Jew a Tzadik [righteous]. He would greet everyone he met with the words: “Well Tzdikle, how are you?”

Suddenly, a policeman appeared, on behalf of the authorities, requesting to see the rebbes' papers (to further aggravate the situation, he was a Jewish convert). The policemen ignored all requests and lobbying to prevent the desecration of the Sabbath. R' Velvele sighed from the bottom of his heart and complied with the policeman's request. However, R' Yitskhakle was very careful not the desecrate G-d and Shabbat. R' Velvele intervened and said: “My dear brother, please comply with the demand by the policeman and do not cause grief to the Tzadikle Gunter” (the name of the policeman of Jewish descent). R' Yitskhakle raged and answered: “Your modesty does not have any bound, which aggravates me. Do you consider this evil man a Tzadik?”. R' Velvele responded: “Could I correct an explicit Mishna's saying that 'Your people are all Tzidikim'? That means that a Jew, even if he sinned, he is still a Jew. After all, this Gunter is a Jew”. R' Yitzkhakle relented and complied with the policeman's request. After witnessing R' Velvele's doing, the policeman changed his ways and became observant. From that point and on, no day passed without him visiting R' Velvele until the ned of his life. People told about him that he became a martyr who died in purity and holiness.


[Columns 389-390]

Rabbi Yissaskhar-Ber

by Geshuri

Translated by Moshe Kutten

There is no doubt that Rabbi Yissaskhar-Ber from Zolochiv was a descendant of dynastic lineage. He was the son of Rabbi Liebush “Geza Tzvi” and the grandson of Rabbi Naftali from Frankfurt, author of “Smikhat Khakhamim” [“Certification of Sages”]. In his personality, he blended scholarship and Hassidism. The published books he wrote are typical Hassidic books, like the rest of the books by Tzadikim of his generation. In his books, he is revealed as a Torah's great. He also corresponded with other prominent scholars. Yet, there is a big difference between him and Rabbi Yekhiel Mikhel, the Maggid from Zolochiv, who lived one generation ahead of him! Rabbi Mikhel was eminently famous in Hasidism and scholarship. He was also known as composer and disseminator of Nigunim [melodies]. Rabbi Yissaskhar-Ber, on the other hand, did not make a name for himself. The luck of fame can be attributed to his modesty. His books were only published after his death and were known only within a limited circle.

He was hardly mentioned in the Hasidic literature, and the Hassidic historians passed over him in silence. But Rabbi Yissaskhar-Ber was the Rabbi and maggid of Shink [Sianky ?] Hassidim and met the Hassidic greats of his generation. Despite being removed from the Hassidic melodies in his upbringing, he was not indifferent towards Hassidic Nigunim. In his generation, the Nigun [music, singing] was allowed and neither the “Mitnagdin” nor the enlightened considered it an oddity.

Rabbi Yissaskhar-Ber made Aliya to Eretz Israel at the end of his life. However, he did not live much longer there and died (on 7 Av, 5570 [1810]). In Zolochiv, his son-in-law, Rabbi Avraham-Khaim, the author of “Orakh LaKhaim”[“Way of Life”], took his place.

As mentioned above, the two books by Rabbi Yissaskhar-Ber were printed and published after his death. “Bat Eini” [“The Apple of My Eye”] includes innovatory and casuistry commentaries of the Mishnah. His other book, “Mevaser Tzedek” [“Heralding Justice”] contains some of his sermons and discussions about the Torah. Both books were first published in Lviv in 5610 [1849/50]. A second edition of the book “Bat Eini” was published in Lviv in 5639 [1879. The Hebrew date in the article is erroneous]. His son, who brought the books to print, testified that he made an extensive effort to collect the author's phrases from his students.

The author's descendants, who put a lot of effort into collecting the material, did not bother to lengthen their introductions and add details about the author's life. That is why we do not have the exact date of his birth and the date of his Aliya to Eretz Israel. Many other details are also missing.

We do learn some details from the notes of approbation at the front of the books.

Rabbi Ze'ev Wolf, Av Beit Din [ABD - head of rabbinical court], and Chief Rabbi of Dubno testified that he knew about Rabbi Yissaskhar's glorious wisdom. He wrote about him: “The Gaon Rabbi, famous for his knowledge of the Torah, and his fear of sinning, who taught Torah in a few communities. When his eyesight dimmed in his old age, he embellished his legacy by authoring this delightful book with innovations on rules, and astonishingly alluring wise and articulated sermons”.

The second note of approbation was written by Rabbi Shmuel Henipalkon. He wrote: “Deceased Gaon Rabbi and famous Hassid Yissaskhar-Ber, who was the ABD in Zolochiv, went to the holy land at the end of his life. He studied the Torah all of his life. He had a heart of a lion and was G-d fearing since his childhood”. The book was also adorned by a note of approbation by the rabbinical judges of Dubno.

All the notes of approbation were received at the time of publication and provided to ensure the copyrights of Rabbi Yissakhar-Ber's decedents-publishers for ten years.

In the introduction to “Mevaser Tzedek”, the author's son-in-law, writes that while he was studying with Rabbi Yissaskhar-Ber, and listening to his Torah gems every Shabbat (The author was a “Maggid Meisharim” [“Preacher of Righteousness”]), he thought about writing them down and later publish them. He asked his father-in-law's permission to do so. He began writing things down, but life's worries prevented him from continuing, and so he only managed to save a drop from the ocean.

When the time for Rabbi Yissaskhar-Ber Aliya approached, he said that it would be better to wait [with publishing to the book] until he sends new Torah sayings. Unfortunately for his admirers, he did not live long in the holy land, and the publishers only received a little.

The son-in-low also acknowledges his good friend, Rabbi Khaim Ze'ev Wolf from Zolochive, who helped him in writing the book. The author's son, R' Yehuda Leibush, and grandson, R' Efraim Fishel, also helped in writing the book.

The book “Mevaser Tzedek” was published in a large format and contains 44 pages using Rashi's letters. The style follows the phrase: ”Fine goods in small parcels”. The book contains innovative interpretations of the Torah.

What was Rabbi Yissaskhar-Ber's opinion about the Nigun [singing and music]?

[Columns 391-392]

There was no reason for Rabbi Yissaskhar-Ber to expand on Nigun in his book “Bat Eieni”. That book contains only new interpretations of the Torah and responsa about some Talmud tractates.

However, in the book “Mevaser Tzedek”, the author could not have avoided discussing it. Most of the Hassidic authors about the Torah tried to state an opinion about the Torah statement about songs and singing. R' Yissaskhar-Ber found a way to fulfill his Hassidic obligation toward Nigun. He chose the opposite way to other Hassidic authors, who found it necessary to elevate Nigun and praise it. Rabbi Yissakhar-Ber used it only symbolically. He used Nigun allegorically by taking it out of its musical interpretation and placing it in a different meaning. He used that method three or four times in the book to evade a direct explanation and thus “extricate himself out from danger”.

For example, most of the Hassidic authors did not avoid talking about the verses that begin with the words - “Az Yashir” [“Then sang”]. These words appear several times in the Torah [in three places]. One of these is in the chapter about the Exodus from Egypt – at the beginning of “The Song of the Sea”, [Shemot 15]. Another place is in the “The Song of the Well” [Bamidbar, Numbers 21:17]. Rabbi Yissaskhar skipped over “The Song of the Sea” altogether. When he discusses the “Song of the Well”, he explains the Hebrew word Shira [singing] as it is used in the verse - “I see him but not now, I behold him but not near…” [the Book of Numbers 24:17]. So he considers Shira as a kind of “fore-seeing” [In Hebrew the word “behold” has the same root as the word “Shira” – “singing”].


[Columns 393-394]

Rabbi Israel Landau
(Chapters of Impressions and Appreciation)

by Ya'akov Katz

Translated by Moshe Kutten

The noble and shining image of my teacher and rabbi- Gaon Rabbi Israel Landau ZTZ”L, is standing in front of me in its full glory whenever I invoke the memory of the people of my city, Zloczow, and its scholars, leaders, activists, and the masses. He was etched in my heart and memory throughout my life until his death on 23 Elul 5689 [28 September 1929]. He died after a long illness that confined him to his bed. We, his students and admirers, were sitting by his bed until dawn and kept shifts at his bed to support and serve him.

I came to know Rabbi Landau, ZTZ”L after he came to settle in our city after a prolonged period of wandering and suffering as a refugee in Budapest. He was exiled there when the war broke out in his native Brody. Despite being born in Brody, he resided in Kyiv from the day of his marriage. He was considered there one of the most talented students-scholars. He and his family were hosted by his father-in-law. He occupied himself with studying Torah and G-d's work without worrying about making a living. His friends said that he lived in a palace-like house. The house was wide open to guests, dignitaries, and student scholars, who came to visit him and entertain themselves with quibbles about halakhic instructions and friendly discussion about world affairs. He was respected in the big synagogue of Kyiv, where prominent rabbis prayed. Among them, Rabbi Hillel Zlatopolsky Z”L. They honored him because of his lineage and his fascinating personality. I have heard about that period of Rabbi Landau's life from his friend Gaon Rabbi Levi Grossman, may he live long and good life, one of the prominent Tel Aviv rabbis who served as the chief rabbi in Kyiv until his Aliya to Eretz Israel. When Rabbi Landau ZTZ”L came to Zloczow, he was impoverished, as his assets remained in Russia. Hassidim and the people of action recognized his skills and appointed him as a rabbi and rabbinical judge in our city, a position he held until he passed away. The mourning of his death ran deep. Prominent rabbis from the city and its surroundings came to eulogize him. The day of his funereal was etched in my memory. Wide circles of people participated. The shops closed and wailing and eulogies spoke about the wondrous and righteous Gaon Rabbi who passed away. In the eulogy by Gaon Rabbi Shlomo Shikler, may G-d avenge his blood, the rabbi of Holohory (before he was elected as the rabbi of Kalush), invoked weeping and wailings. Rabbi Shikler's eulogy was particularly memorable.

Rabbi Shikler was one of the first students of the MHR” M Shapira ZTz”L. The latter adapted Rabbi Shikler as his dear son, as he recognized him as a great talent, eloquent, and a prodigy in the Torah and knowledge. He was also a skillful author (he was the editor of the Haredi monthly magazine “HaNetzakh” [“Eternity”], which was published in Lviv]. He shook his listeners with his eulogy of Rabbi Landau, one of the most prominent and noble rabbis. Rabbi Shikler mentioned that he knew Rabbi Landau to work on authoring books. His books were never published, except one. That book was “Nefesh Khaya” [“Living Soul”] about the Megila Tractate, which he dedicated in memory of his daughter, who was blessed with many attributes and knowledge. She passed away in her youth.

He immortalized his daughter in his book of considerable quality and quantity, which is named after her [Khaya]. He originated from a family of “Mitnagdim” [people who opposed Hasidism]. He was the son of Rabbi Yehuda Landau Z”L, one of Brody's most prominent people. He was the grandson of the famous Gaon, Rabbi Eleazar Landau ZTZ”L, the chief rabbi of the city, annotator of the Mishnah, named “Yad HaMelekh”[“King's Hand”], and author of Halakha and Aggadah books. He was also the great-grandson of [Yekhezkel ben Yehuda HaLevi Landau] the author “Nodah BiYehuda”. However, Rabbi Israel Landau ZTZ”L and his brother Gaon Rabbi Elazar, the author of “Yad Elazar” [“The Hand of Elazar”] approached the Stratin Hassidim. Brody served as the Statin Hassidim's strong citadel. Stratin Hasidim excelled in learning and were known for their highly vocal and fervent praying, following the style of the Admor Rabbi Uri of Sterlisk and his student Admor Rabbi Yehuda Tzvi of Stratin.

During the First World War, Rabbi Israel landau escaped the oppression in Galitsia to Budapest, where many of the war refugees concentrated. He was attracted to the city since his teacher and rabbi, the Admor Rabbi Avraham Langner] ZTZ”L from Stratin-Knihinicha settled there. The Admor established his court in that city and acquired a name of an exemplary Tzadik.

Rabbi Israel Landau ZTZ”L was very close to the Admor ZTZ”L and became more and more enthusiastic about Startin Hassidism. When the Admor from Startin-Knihinicha passed away, Rabbi Israel ZTZ”L was orphaned. When the front moved away from Eastern Galitsia, moving back became possible. He chose Zloczow as his new place. The philanthrope, R' Shaul Roller, provided Rabbi Landau

[Columns 395-396]

a rent-free spacious apartment and added an allowance for his living expenses until he was nominated as the community rabbi. Many people gathered around him. They were all impressed with his vast knowledge of the Torah. His pleasant and noble manners earned him an honorable and admirable status. He prayed in the synagogue of the Stratin Hassidim, where many people prayed. During the “days of awe”, other holidays, and special Shabbats, he “passed before the ark”, in the attractive style of Stratin Hassidim (a style that excites the heart). What a fervently and devoutly prayer leader he was! When he reached his climax, it seemed like he rose above the floor along with his heart and soul. He roared and impelled when he delivered his sermons in the central synagogue and the kloiz where he prayed. The content was filled with Torah talk, Halakha innovations, and flashes of teaching and thought – all based on the Torah. He was deeply knowledgeable about the Mishnah, the Halakha's Poskim [Jewish law rabbinical scholars] Rishonim [the first], and Akharonim [the latest]). There was no secret hidden from him. He delved into the Hassidic literature and said things that pleased the ear and the soul. He loved the Hassidic community, and during the holiday of Simkhat Torah, he would join the circle and dance, holding the Torah scroll tight to his body. People were fascinated by the joy emanating from his pure soul. He was an educated person and knew German, French, and Russian. He was informed about classic literature and could cite long chapters by heart from the literature, philosophy, and poetry works.

All of that knowledge did not affect him, and he remained loyal to the freshwater wells of the Torah and rabbinical work. He was polite, well-mannered, and respected everybody, including the non-religious people. He eulogized the Jewish secular leader, Dr. Hirschhorn, who devoted his life to serving our townspeople. Dr. Hirschhorn devoted his effort, particularly to the Ukrainian refugees, and risked his life to save Jews during pogroms and riots. Dr. Landau was not affected by what zealot Haredim said about that eulogy, since he valued self-sacrificing to save others, even if it was done by a secular person. His appearance left a deep impression because he knew to adjust every word and every sentence according to the event and the various crowds who might have been different from him in their lifestyle and views.

He was always elegant and tidy. People looked at him with respect and dignity when he walked on the street. Many, who were fascinated by his explanations, flocked to his regular lesson - ”Daf Yomi” [“the page of the day”], which he conducted for homeowners and the youth. He also had several outstanding students who learned a lesson or two about pilpul about the Torah, Mishnah, and Poskim. When he became older, he lost his sight. I witnessed how he accurately cited whole Mishnah's tractates with commentaries by heart. He practically knew the entire six books of the Mishnah by heart. He would surprise everybody by adding innovative Torah commentaries during lessons of the Gemarah, Tosafot [commentaries on the Talmud], or of “Orakh Khaim” [first volume of Shulkahn Arukh – “Way of Life”] on Shabbat, Passover, and Hannukah laws.

I was fortunate to observe him during his daily routine. I saw him waking up to worship G-d. He accepted everything with love, with no complaints, even during his illness and weakness. He settled for less, despite being used to wealth and luxury during his past good days. He was strict about the proper arrangement of the utensils, plates, and glasses on his table. Everything sparkled like in the days he sat at rich people's tables. I witnessed that great G-d worshipping man, go to sleep. In his communion for “Kri'at Shema”, thinking back on his day and repenting sincerely, he was wholly fervid, and glowing by the flame of holiness.

I was impressed, not once, by the Torah's innovative commentaries. His writing was clear, vivacious and stylish, cleanliness, deep, and full of happiness which brought up literary gems. He wrote commentaries for the entire Mishnah. He authored the Halakha innovations and commentaries and was also known as the author of responsas. He also authored many booklets about the bible. He provided food to the poor, particularly to needy students, who came to him and ate at his table. He dispensed money from his wages to support them and urged others to help them. He had one son, Dr. Yehuda Landau, the son-in-law of the famous charitable wealthy Rabbi Shmelki Rokeakh Z”L, the owner of the Bertshitz estate near Belz. That son was a scholar and Haredi. The first Hakhshara [a training Camp for people who plan to make Aliya] of the Aguda party [religious Zionist party] in 5883 [1922/23] (The founder of the group and its head was R' Ze'ev Zohar). Dr. Yehuda Landau's elder daughter was married to R' M. Kevkov, a scholar from Minsk, who was exiled from his city upon the Bolsheviks' conquest and settled in Lviv. The second daughter, who was learned and noble, was married to Isaac, the young son of the old Gaon Rabbi Avraham-Menakhem Steinberg. They all perished in the Holocaust along with their children and including the old Rebbetzin [rabbi's wife]. May then memory live forever.


[Columns 397-398]

Rabbi Shalom Mordechai Hillel HaCohen Shwadron

by Moshe Leiter

Translated by Moshe Kutten

R' Shalom Mordekhai is known in the rabbinic world by the name of his responsa book - “Maharsha”m”.

He did not serve as the Av Beit Din [ABD - head of the rabbinical court] in Zloczow but he was born in the city on 27 Nisan 5595 [26 April 1835] to his father, R' Moshe [Schwadron] HaCohen, and mother, Ester Gitl. He was named after his grandfather from Berezany.

R' Moshe Schwadron resided in the village of Benyon near Zloczow. He owned there a whiskey distillery. He enjoyed two worlds: The world of the Torah and of wealth. He completed reading the Mishnah six times and had innovations in the Torah, Pilpul [casuistry], and Halakhah. His elder son printed them and attached them under the name “Zikhron Moshe” [“Moshe's Memory”] to his book “Da'at Torah” [“The View of the Torah”] about [the book] “Yoreh De'ah” [“He Will Give Instruction” - by Rabbi Jacob ben Asher - a compilation of Halakha].

R' Moshe used to donate Ma'aser [a tenth] of his profits. He handed the money to the famed charity Gabbais of his generation, the known Tzadik Rabbi Meir'l of Przemysl, and Tzadik Rabbi Shlomo of Ozeryany, for distribution among the poor and needy scholars.

He was blessed with seven sons. The elder, Shalom Mordekhai, showed signs of a rare talent as early as six years old. He was diligent in his studies, and his father made sure he was taught by distinguished melameds. At first, he studied with the city's rabbinical judge Rabbi R' Yeshaya Zeev Baumgarten. He later learned from Gaon Tzadik Rabbi Yoel Ashkenazi ABD in Zloczow.

He told me that, in his youth, he studied 16 pages of the Gemarah daily, besides his lessons in Iyun [deep study], Rambam, and “Shulkhan Arukh”.

When Shalom Mordekhai was a young child, one of the melameds, a secret enlightened person, wished to teach him Hebrew grammar. He gave him the book “Talmud Lashon Avar” [“Study of Past Language”] by Ben Zeev. That enlightened person gave him the book, on the condition that he would not tell his father… Two weeks later, R' Moshe Schwadron traveled to see Rabbi Tzadik Meir'l and took his son, Shalom Mordekhai, with him. The Tzadik Rabbi told him: “Do not set foot on their paths, for their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood” [Proverbs 1:15-16]. He repeated the verse loudly several times. When the Tzadik gained his composure, he told Shalom Mordekhai: “Do not study things that your father does not approve of. Ask your father, and he will tell you if that study is permitted. Don't listen to others, as they aim to divert you from being righteous. Follow the path of your ancestors, excel in your studies, rise up and become a leader in our nation, and live a long life. Remember my words, and you will succeed”.

When Rabbi Meir'l Z”L greeted him farewell, he again warned Shalom Mordekhai:” My son, please remember not to listen to any person and read any book without the approval from your father. It is necessary because there are people who chase after you to divert you from the right and good path”.

His Hasid father listened to the warning and ordered his son to tell him anything that happened without hiding anything. The child told his father about the enlightened melamed who enticed him to study grammar from Ben Zeev's book. He also told his father that the melamed requested not to tell his father about it. When his father, R' Moshe, found out, he understood the warning of his Rabbi R' Meir'l Z”L and ordered his son to burn the book. He warned his son not to have any more contact with that enlightened melamed.

Shalom Mordekhai obeyed the instruction, devoted himself to his studies, and became a Torah scholar. However, he initially detested being a rabbi and preferred to be a merchant in forest woods and linen.

When they offered him the rabbinical position after the death of R' Yoelish ZTz”L [May the memory of the Tzadik be blessed], R' Shalom Mordekhai refused. His excuse was that a person who is talked to in the first person was not worthy of becoming a rabbi. That person would not be able to impose authority, nor would he be able to motivate the members of his community as much as a rabbi who came from another city.

In the summer, when the days were long, he used to sit alone in the synagogue and study undisturbed.

He insisted on not becoming a rabbi until he reached the age of 32. Only then, in 1867, after losing his wealth, he accepted the offer to become a rabbi in Potok-Zloty. The town was legally owned by the Admo”r Rabbi David Moshe Z”L from Chortkiv.

Despite not spending any time at the court of the Admo”r Tzadik from Chortkiv, the latter requested that the people of Potik elect him as the city's rabbi.

He resided in Potik-Zloty for five years and continued with his studies there until he acquired a name for himself throughout the entire country. A short while later, he was offered to serve as the rabbi in Yazlovets. He served there for about seven years and never stopped studying. One day, one of the city's distinguished homeowners came to him to talk. The Maharsha”m explained to him, very politely, that he did not have the time to talk idly. He added that if he had time for friendly discussions, he would not be the rabbi in the city of Yazlovets.

From Yazlovets, he was called to serve as the ABD in the city of

[Columns 399-400]

Zol399.jpg
Rabbi Shalom Mordekhai Shwadron

 

Buchach, a community known for its learned leaders and famous great rabbis, scholars, and authors.

Despite being a city of “Mitnagdim” [people who oppose Hasidism], they elected him since they appreciated his greatness in the Torah and righteousness.

From Buchach, he was invited to serve as the ABD in Berezany, known for its Gaons rabbis. There were three candidates for that rabbinical position: Maharsha”m, Rabbi Ya'akov Weidenfeld, the Gaon ABD of Grzymalow [Hormilov], and Gaon ABD Gorodenka [Horodenka], Rabbi Moshe Teomim, the author of the books “Meshiv Davar” [“Answering”] and “Uriyan Tlithai” [“The Three Parts of the Torah”]. The Mahatrsha”m was elected out of that trio of Gaons.

Old Gaons recognized him as the leading upcoming Posek [literally a “decider” – an authorized Halakhic legal scholar] when he was still young. He was praised by Gaon Maharsha”k of Brody and also by Lviv's Rabbi Gaon Yosef Shaul Nathanson. The latter testified about the Maharsha”m's exceptional proficiency and rare teaching ability. Gaon Maharsha”k summed it up with the following words: “I do not see anybody else in this generation who is wiser than him”. He chose Maharsha”m as his successor to spread the word of G-d and teach Halakha to the generation's scholars.

Rabbi Avraham [Eliyahu] David Rabinovitz-Teomim, the rabbi of [Yeshiva] Mir in Jerusalem, son-in-law of Gaon HaCohen Kook, the Rabbi of Eretz Israel Z”L, chose Maharsha”m as his rabbi. He urged Maharsha”m to provide him with a recommendation, as his loyal and dedicated student, when Gaon Rabbi Yitzkhakl Elkhanan Spector, ABD of Kaunas [Kovno], passed away.

There was a general consensus about our great Rabbi Maharsha”m as the last deciding Posek because he astounded all of his generation's scholars with his brilliant proficiency in all of the Torah's hidden treasures and with his genius ability to issue halachic decisions decidedly with any hesitation or doubt. His wisdom and clarity of thinking helped him to make rulings firmly based on the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, Safrah [Midrashic interpretation of the Bible], Tosaftah [collection of traditions from the Tannaim, not included in a Mishnah], and the books of the Rishonim [the first Poskim]. In addition, he was exceptionally proficient in the books by the Akhronim [the last Poskim]. There was no secret concealed from him. He thought that one can always find innovative interoperation of the Torah worth reading. That is where he drew his great strength from, to rule Kokha Dehitra[1].

He was blessed with a penetrating vision to see fruits scattered around in the orchards of the Rishonim that were overlooked and passed over by the great scholars. He uncovered the covered treasures and piled them up on the tables of the great rabbis.

At times, he based a permit on one of the Rishonim, which was overlooked by the Akhronim. If any of them would have known about the work by the Rishonim, they would not be so strict about that rule or another.

In his book “Mishpat Shalom” [“Judgement by Shalom”] about “Khoshen Mishpat”[2], he allocated a special section to partnerships, intermediaries, negotiations, deception, nullification of agreements due to non-conformity, and community laws. In any areas lucking in “Shulkhan Arukh”, he conducted in-depth research looking for solutions in all the responsa books and Poskim – from the first of the Rishonim to the last of the Akhronim. He conducted thorough research into problems that “were complicated enough to glorify any mystery not mentioned in Shulkhan Arukh”.

He drew attention to himself and his book by the old Gaons of his generation, the generation of knowledge, for a reason. The old Gaon Rabbi Yosef Ba'abad, the author of “Minkhat Kinukh” [“Offering of Education”], said about him:” The wisdom of that “Tzorba D'Rabanan” [a sharp young rabbi], is greater than ours”. In his Haskama [“consent”] to the book, Rabbi Yosef Shaul Nathanson, wrote: “We are blessed from heavens to receive these new writings”.

His books “Da'at Torah” [literally- “The Opinion of the Torah”] and “Gilui Da'at” [“Revealing of Knowledge”] about “Yoreh De'ah” and his rulings were accepted in all corners of the Jewish diaspora as a complete doctrine. However, in his humility, he expressed his view: “I called the book “Revealing of Knowledge” because that is the only thing it meant to do. A teacher should not rely on my book as a replacement for the original book just because I made it easier to read it. I wrote my book so that if one likes my explanations, he should then read the original book”. The Maharsha”m added: “I did not make it easy to understand [the original book], because of my exalted spirit but because the Torah aims to save our people [effort and] money”.

Despite his sincere humility (he considered humility

[Columns 401-402]

“as the essence of the house of G-d”), he had, at first, some adversaries from among some of his generation's greats. The adversaries were led by a Gaon, who sharply criticized Mararsham's Kokha Dehitra approach. In his response, instead of humility, our great Rabbi showed his greatness. He protected the validity of his view, which he considered the opinion of the Torah. He responded to that greatest opponent:” How did you find the courage in your mind to arrogantly intervene in a place already established by the greatest ancestors?” His opponent rabbi fell to silence and thanked him. He also thanked the instructions in Maharsha'm's book, “Da'at Torah, which became the norm for Halakha teachers.

When I was younger, I heard from a scholar student who studied with our great Gaon Rabbi's opponent. The scholar told me that a complicated problem was once presented to that Gaon and his legal court. The Gaon went into his office and took out the book, “Da'at Torah”. He reviewed it alone, returned to the court hall, and issued a judgment as instructed by the book. It was an admission of how great is the force of truth in Maharsha”m's book.

In the six-volume responsa, we see not only a brilliant fundamental proficiency in all the hidden treasures of the Torah but also a logical profundity and distilled quality of the sources and definitions. A holy and genius spirit, rare and amazing, is hovering over the pages of his book. The author carries us on his shoulders like a swimmer through a whirlpool. He introduces us into the sea of the Talmud and with a self-assured and secure hand, he places us on the seashore, bathed and purified - immersed in the river flowing out of the Garden of Eden.

He used to lecture, with precise clarity, about the most complicated matters. Even in places where the road was already paved [things have been previously clarified], one can find a method in his book. He would find a new path, which no other eye caught sight of. He explains things simply, although he goes in deep and wide until we understand the law thoroughly.

His organized teachings were anchored in both Talmuds [Jerusalem and Babylonian]. He advocated that “a good and correct idea and an honest comment are true in any book if you can find them”. Therefore, it is necessary to look for them. That view helped him in finding the required solution for every severe and complicated problem.

There were cases where he reasoned his permit, opposing the prohibitions by others because they overlooked the ruling of one of the Rishonim or the other.

When he found that his reasoning was shared by other rabbis, he would announce that as a significant finding. He would say: “On the problem presented here, there were some Akhronim who issued a permit, and I am happy that my opinion is the same as theirs”.

There were cases where he set aside his own view for a more stringent opinion. In these cases, he would write: “In places where they exercised forbiddance, I would not permit”. Even Kokha Dehitrah has a limit.

Despite his greatness in the Torah and righteousness, he was timid and good-hearted. When one of the rabbis, who was unsure about a ruling, turned to him to talk about his worries (e.g his divorce was not done properly) the Gaon Maharsha”m would hurry up to calm down the panicked rabbi.

In his six-volume responsa, we meet the names of great and famed rabbis, the greatest of the Akhronim - planets in the Judaism's sky.

He always took heed of the people. He ordered his family not to hold up anybody who came to ask him a question but bring that person to him and even wake him up if needed.

He was particularly passionate about Agunot[3] and made an effort not to delay the ruling of those poor women. He wrote the dispensation, in his own handwriting, on the ninth of Av, a day he called “The day of fasting for the destruction of our house of glory”.

Noble, honest, and pure-hearted person, who felt other people's misfortune with every ounce of his soul and tried his best to ease the lives of the misfortune and do good for them. His enthusiastic love for the Torah and its scholars, sprouts from every line he wrote. He was a wise and investigative man. He used the results of his investigation to explain his judgments without any difficulty. That is why his rulings were considered and accepted as final judgments.

He was also proficient in the gentile law, proofs of which can be found in his books. We knew that he absorbed rulings by the civil courts with his judicial mind. Hints for that we find in his books in various rulings (e.g. “… in a civil court, the official inquires about all of the heirs”).

He was respected and esteemed by the judges of the district court. The judges in Berezany used to send him complicated judicial cases, which they claimed that there was no wise man who could resolve. Maharsha”m would immediately dive into the depth of the problem and bring the litigants to agree to his ruling. The chief district court judge used to say: “I was working on this complicated case for years with no resolution. I handed this case over to the Rabbi and he found a solution right away”.

The chief judge once advised the litigants, one the Jewish and the other was not, to go and argue their case in front of Maharsha”m. The gentile litigant refused. His excuse was that he could not rely on a rabbi to rule his fate because he suspected that the rabbi would rule in favor of the Jewish litigant. After all, they share a common religion. When the civil judge heard the excuse of the thickheaded gentile

[Columns 403-404]

he was filled with rage and slapped the gentile for being rude, daring to speak evil of the Rabbi, and daring to doubt the honesty and objectivity of the Gaon. He immediately ruled in favor of the Jewish litigant.

Dr. Sh. B. Feldman remembered that he once attended the court of the Maharsha”m when two non-Jewish lawyers argued their cases on behalf of their clients. They came from the state's district court, presented their claims, and accepted his judgment.

While he was a good-hearted and compassionate person, his opinion about the reformers was harsh. He considered them like monkeys imitating the gentiles and thus desecrating the sanctity of Judaism. He defined their worship as paganism and condemned the SHU”V [slaughterers and the Kosher inspectors] who served as public activists in their temple. He defended our holy language from those who insulted her by introducing foreign languages into the temple: “Using foreign languages instead of our sacred language is an abomination”. He explained his ban on foreign languages by saying:” We need to use our own language so that the people of all nations on earth would know that the spoken and written Hebrew language is alive. Other world nations should consider it as the leader of all languages and the first when it comes to anything sacred”.

He was also no stranger to natural sciences. He relied on natural sciences in some of his rulings and hinted about his sources offhandedly.

His knowledge of medicine is also hinted at in his book. He regrated that physicians treat religious issues lightly. He often used sources from among the researchers of the Middle Ages.

In addition to all that, he used to count the letters in the bible. His wonderous proficiency in the Book of Books arose astonishment among professional scholars, who devoted much of their time to bible research, some of whom became famous for their knowledge.

I saw with my own eyes that he studied a bible lesson daily. He used to walk by his open bookcases in his court office, holding the book in his hands and studying it.

During the month of Elul, he used to seclude himself, sit down covered with his Tallit, adorned with his Tefillin, and study the occult [Kabbalah], in which he was very knowledgeable.

The Maharsha”m was blessed with physical beauty and majestic appearance and his presence radiated respect and nobility. His wisdom and cleverness were reflected in his beautiful eyes. His attributes included moderation, settled thinking, a clear mind, and tenderness, in addition to his doctrine and righteousness.

At times he came out of his confined world of the Halakha judgment and teaching and jumped into the public activity whirlpool.

In 5664 [1903/4], he called for a gathering of rabbis to put the distribution of funds for Eretz Israel, in order. All the rabbis, Admo”rs and public activists heed his call and came. They accepted his authority, obeyed him, and competed in serving him.

He had a great desire to strengthen and improve religious education. He planned to establish the union of “Yeshurun” for that purpose. He intended to invite Rabbi Dr. Yosef Zeliger HaLevi Z”L, an original scholar and expert educator, to develop a plan for the improvement of the Jewish education. However, because of the objection of one influential and famous Admo”r, the Maharsha”m was forced to postpone his plan until a more suitable time. His name was Shalom [peace] and he exercised peaceful ways. He established, on his own, the “Da'at Torah” yeshiva in his city. Many sharp and witty scholars, proficient in many tractates and expert certified teachers, graduated from that yeshiva.

[The following paragraph was seemingly taken from another article, because it describes a period after the establishment of the State of Israel, many years after the death of the Maharsha”m]

He also tried to ensure that the Israeli soldiers were given a vacation during the holidays. Once a military officer resisted and refused to accommodate the rabbi's request. Later on, the officer regretted his refusal and hurried up to ask for forgiveness. He called excitedly: “There is G-d, and the rabbi is his favorite son, whose wish would be accommodated”. He became the admirer of the rabbi.

I would not expand on his miracles, since I know that he used to be strict about avoiding being called “Ba'al Mofet” [“Miracle Man”] by naive people. He also asked, in his will, not to include any honorary title besides the words “The Fame Rabbi” and the names of the books he authored.

[The following paragraph may have been taken from another article since it seemingly describes a family tree of another family]

He was the great-grandchild of Cabalist Rabbi Tzvi, Maggid Meisharim [Preacher of Righteousness] of Hlyniany [Gliniani or Glina], and the author of “Nishmat Tzvi” [“Tzvi's Soul”]. He was the grandson of Rabbi Yitzkhak, Maggid Meisharim of Drohobitz, the father of Rabbi Mikheli of Zloczow. He was a descendant of Gaon Rabbi Yitzkhak Khayut, the author of “Api Ravravi” [Also called “Pnei Yitzkhak”] and Av Beit Din of Krakow-Prague. He was also the great-grandchild of Rabbi Yosef Karu, author of “Shulkhan Arukh”.

For some reason, the number 16 played a role in his life. He studied 16 pages of Gemarah every day. He got married at the age of 16 and died on 16 Shvat 1911 in Berezhany. Gaon Rabbi Nathan Levin Z”L came from Risha to eulogize him.

He authored a series of valuable Halakha books that Poskim always placed on their desks, ready to use in their rulings

[Columns 405-406]

The books were mentioned in almost all of the Poskim's books, and he was praised by them verbally and in writing. His books became the books of choice in teaching and rulings. Gaon [Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan author of] “Khafetz Khaim” used to send him any complicated case tbrought in front of him.

The names of his printed books are:

  1. “Mishpat Shalom” – about “Khoshen Mishpat”. Three editions.
  2. “The books of “Sifrei Torah” about slaughtering religious laws. Two editions.
  3. “Gilui Da'at” about Treifa religious laws. 5651 [1891]. Two editions.
  4. Annotations and innovations about “Shulkan Arukh – Orakh Khaim”.
  5. Responsa “Darkhei Shalom”. 1891. Two editions
  6. “Darkhei Shalom” – rules of the Mishnah and Poskim. Two editions.
  7. Maharsha”m - annotations about the Mishnah 5692 [1931-32].
  8. “Tkhelet Mordekhai” about the Torah.
  9. The booklet of HaDrushim.
  10. The book “Da'at Torah” about “Orakh Khaim”. Published in Jerusalem.
  11. Responsa Maharsh”m. Six volumes.
  12. A eulogy of Rabbi Tzvi Rapoport.
He also left many written manuscripts, which were not published during his life. His two sons, Gaon Rabbi Yitzkhak Schwadron in Jerusalem, and Rabbi Tzvi of Bobrka-Lviv, divided the inheritance of their Gaon father between the two of them. Among the manuscripts assigned to his son in Jerusalem, three volumes about “Orakh Khaim” have already been published. The three volumes contain comments and commentaries of the Maharsha”m and letters from Jerusalem's great rabbis.

The Gaon Chief Rabbi Yitzkhak A. HaLevi Hertzog ZTZ”L wrote:

“Here is the Gaon and true Hassid, the Rabbi of the Jewish diaspora, the Maharsh”m from Berezhany, may the memory of the Tzadik [righteous] and Kadosh [holy man] be blessed. He was accepted as Posek, and his rulings are like the words of the Torah”.
Translator Notes:
  1. From Wikipedia: “In its original sense it is a rule of Talmud that teaches how to formulate a disputed case, in such a way that the mind of the permitting party is clarified more clearly due to the perception that the renewal of the permitting is as a greater principle than that of the forbidding. Return
  2. Khoshen Mishpat is he last volume in Ya'akov ben Asher's “Arba'a Turim” (“Four Columns”) and the parallel part in “Shulkhan Arukh” about property and finance laws]. Return
  3. Aguna is a Jewish woman that her husband would not grant her a divorce (including cases when the husband has disappeared, either in a war or at sea). Return

 

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