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[Page 466]



Rabbi Menachem Mendel Landau
of Blessed Memory


Rabbi Yehuda Avida (Zlotnik)

Translated by Mira Eckhaus

From time to time my brother (the rabbi of Włocławek) went out with his brother-in-law, Reb Avraham Galanti, for a trip outside the city (it was in Zakroczym), and I would accompany them. I didn't understand then that my brother added me on purpose to their company so that I would hear and listen to their daily conversation. He did not consider it a waste of time that could be spent on Torah study.

For a certain time, there was not a conversation that did not relate in some way to the rabbi of Nowodwór (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Landau, later a rabbi in Zawiercie), and his family - the dynasty of the Rabbi of Chekhanov. Much has been said about Rabbi Wolf of Stryków, the eldest son of the Rabbi of Chekhanov, about his Kotzk Hasidism and his Torah and wisdom. Mostly they were amazed at his knowledge of the poetic phrases of the language of the past. Lovers of the language of the past in those days copied his letters, poems, and poetic phrases which they knew by heart. Some of them can be found in the book “Siach Sarfei Kodesh Breslov”, in “Sefer Zicharon” for Maharil Groibart of blessed memory, as well as in “Bizchuta deAvraham” for Rabbi Yaakov Werdiger. On our trips, we also quoted by heart from his poems and poetic phrases.

* * *

A Rebbe in Poland – usually will not leave his house without a walking stick in his right hand and a shamash in his left. Of course, if he didn't go on a further way, as Warsaw or healing places. When I came to my brother's house (28 Iyar 5658) I became like his shadow, and my hand did not move from his hand. This is how I was allowed to know the rabbi from Nowodwór, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Landau, from the beginning of his stay in this city. My brother would often rent for him a “britchka”, - not only to go to Medlin at dawn but also in the evenings to visit the rabbi there. I was still a child. My brother would not tell me about the purposes of his trips. When he came to the rabbi's house - we never found him in the outer house, that is: inside the “Beit Din Stiebel”. There sat the shamash and a few other idlers. When they saw my brother enter, the shamash ran towards him, - and he immediately entered the inner room and informed the rabbi. The rabbi came out and invited my brother to his room, while I stayed with the idlers and enjoyed listening to their conversation until the inner door opened again and the two rabbis came out.

The rabbi (Rabbi Menahem Mendel Landau) never noticed me. It is possible that he thought that I was just a simple Shamash. It is also possible that he did not even see me, since his eyes always looked forward, as a withdrawn man.

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But I was always amazed at his appearance, - both to welcome my brother and to accompany him.

He had an upright stature and a black beard, which was longer than the average. His eyes were deep. A kind of tender sorrow was poured over his face. He always seemed to be immersed in deep thoughts. When he came, it seemed as if he had come from an open Gemara, which he had left an “Eruv” on it. When he left it, he seemed to be returning to the Gemara, removing the handkerchief, and returning to his study.

In those days I was used to the appearance of the rabbis, but I was not as impressed by the portrait of any of them as I was by the portrait of the rabbi from Nowy Dwór and his appearance.

* * *

I remember that once, on Yom Kippur, when we reached “Mar'e Cohen(Cohen's look), in the order “Avodah” (a poetic description of the Yom Kippur Temple service), an idea came to my mind when I thought that if the rabbi from Nowy Dwór was wearing “Cohen clothes”, then he would have looked like the cohen when he came to the Holy of Holies.

I have the impression that this man was not designated to be a domestic rabbi who deals with the daily affairs of the congregation. He was born to be a “rabbi” and everyone awaits to hear his utterance. I sensed that there was in him a lot of the character and talents of the late Admor Gershon Chanoch Henech Leiner of Radzyń, although he was a quiet and moderate man by nature just like his father - the late Rabbi of Chekhanov. I remember that the elders of the Mizrachi in America told me about the first visit of the late Rabbi Bar-Ilan to America. One of the people who welcomed him opened and said (or wrote): Many important guests have already visited us. But - - - now a Jewish prince is going to visit us, a prince of ancient kings, a prince from the “rabbi's house”, the son of the Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin, etc., etc., and everyone said: “Prince of Israel”.

When I remember Rabbi Menachem Mendel Landau, as I saw him in my childhood, I remember that call: prince... son of ancient kings... from the kings of Rabanan...

(“HaTzofe”, 5716 – 5717)


The History of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Chaim Landau

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Chaim Landau was born on 5 of Kislev, 5622 (1862). He died on 7 of Adar 5695 (1975). He was the son of Rabbi Yaakov Landau (Landa), who was the son of Rabbi Avraham of Chekhanov.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Landau served in several places before coming to Zawiercie: first in Widawa (1886), then in Pi¹tek (1890), then in Parszów (1895), in Nowy Dwór (1898), and finally in Zawiercie from 1904, until he left Zawiercie for the United States and settled there. Then he moved to London. From there he came to Sosnowiec. He died in Otwock, in 5695-1935.

His books and articles: “Mekitz nirdamim”; “Ateret Zkenim”; “Vya'l Avraham”; “Ateret Zkenim” for the Passover Haggadah; “Tzlota De'Abraham”.

Complete bibliography – “Bizchu'yote'a De'Abraham” by Rabbi Wardiger.

(According to “Otzar HaGe'onut”)

[Page 468]

The Admor of Kromołów and His Household

Yeshaya Landau

Translated by Mira Eckhaus

Rabbi Natan Nachum HaCohen Rabinowitz ZT”L - the tzaddik known by all as the “Rabbi of Kromołów” - was a central figure in Zawiercie and his house was one of the most famous in Poland and abroad. He was the son of Baal “Chesed LeAvraham” and the grandson of Baal “Tiferet Shlomo”, the first rabbi of Radomsko with an ancient genealogy.

The greatness of the Rabbi of Kromołów in Torah and righteousness radiated all around a holy majesty on the “court” to which many Hassidim from different cities in Poland flocked and which was also a center for Torah and Hassidism (Piety) for the Zawiercie people who excelled in Hassidism (Piety).


The Rabbi of Kromołów - Rabbi Natan Nachum HaCohen Rabinowitz of blessed memory


The Rebbe (Admor) was a teacher and guide to his Hassidim. He was a merciful father to all who turned to him for advice and resourcefulness. Every resentful and embittered person, who came to talk to him, would leave empowered and encouraged.

His prayers and words of the Torah, which he recited at the table on Shabbat and holidays - were an experience. The love of Israel and the warm cordiality which were in him were especially soul-captivating. The delicate and sublime melodies that were heard in this noble house on Shabbat and holiday would bring the souls of those present to enlightenment and transcendence to a world full of nobility.

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The Family of the Admor of Kromołów - The Admor's wife in second Marriage


The Rabbi's “court” was a “source of grace”. Rich and poor who found themselves there felt as if they were under the protection of their parents and were welcomed with unmatched beautiful hospitality. Everything was given there generously – beyond the financial ability.

This atmosphere must also be credited to the Rebbetzins, peace be upon them, both in the first marriage and in the second marriage, and to the sons and sons-in-law of the Rabbi. The Rabbi's descendants:

The eldest - Rabbi Shlomo Elimelech (Rabbi, Av Beit Din in Zawiercie); His younger sons:

The late Rabbi Avraham Yisachar, the son-in-law of the late Admor of Alexander, ZT”L, “Tiferet Shmuel”.

the late Rabbi Yaakov Yehezkel (the son-in-law of the last Admor ZT”L of Alexander).

The late Rabbi Moshe David, Z”L, was one of the greatest in the Torah of his generation (the son-in-law of the Admor of Radomsko, ZT”L).

His sons-in-law were:

The late Rabbi Yeshaya Engelard (Rabbi, Av Beit Din in Sosnowiec).

The late Rabbi Yeshaya Shapira had the honor of creating great things for the Yeshiva and building the ultra-orthodox Land of Israel.

The late Admor Rabbi Dov Berish Kalish (the Admor of Skierniewic-Lewice).

The late Rabbi Ya'akov Helsztok (the son of the Admor of Ostrowiec, Poland, ZT”L).

The late Rabbi Alter Padwa (Rabbi Av Beit Din in Svir(ùòååòø)).

Rabbi Hanoch Bernstein SHLYT”A, (Admor of Sochaczew), may he live a good and long life, who resides in the holy city Jerusalem, may it be rebuilt and re-established soon in our days, Amen!

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The daughters of the late rabbi ZT”L, were privileged to be excellent righteous people, who did exemplary good deeds. Their noble virtues elevated and glorified them to such an extent that the great Admors tried to marry their sons to them.

During the Holocaust, the Rabbi of Kromołów worked at the “Shop” of the Admors in Warsaw. He was brought to Auschwitz together with the righteous sons of righteous men. Knowing where they were being led, he turned aside to prepare for the departure of the soul. At that moment, a Nazi assassin's bullet pierced his heart and killed him. May God avenge him.


The wife of the Admor of Kromołów in his first marriage


The memory of the rabbi and the members of his household, who perished in the storm of the Holocaust, will remain always in the hearts of the people of Zawiercie and in the hearts of those who survived among the Kromołów Hassidim and the many admirers of the rabbi.

It should be noted that the surviving members of the rabbi's house, that remained alive, continued the Rabbi's tradition with pride and glory: besides the Rabbi's son-in-law, the Admor of Sochaczew in Jerusalem, - the Admor's grandsons serve as Rabbis and Admors: Rabbi Engelard SHLYT”A, Radziner R Admor (in New York), the sons of the late Rabbi Yeshaya Shapira, headed by Rabbi Elimelech Shapira in Tel Aviv.

[Page 471]

Rabbi Shmuel Aaron Halevi Pardes
of blessed memory and his “Pardes” Journal

Rabbi Pardes of blessed memory was a man of the religious publications, the Torah bell that went and announced the Torah of Life. He put it in the public domain. He had bad luck: when he set his feet on American soil he was forgotten as a dead man. He had a fatal illness. He suffered for a few years. Then, this herald of the Torah was silenced forever.

The fate of this great wise scholar and spiritual man was difficult: he left his environments out of necessity - the atmosphere that was soaked in the Torah and Hassidic culture in which he was educated and raised. He left his home and his large family and jumped into the Sea of Torah. For a half of century, he taught the Torah in public. He spread his knowledge abroad, to the four corners of the world. When the bitter hour came, when he fell ill with a fatal and serious illness, he quickly disappeared from the horizon, as if he had never existed.

- - - The late Rabbi Pardes was a man of goodness and kindness, but he was also a man of iron. Because of this, he was able to establish the “Pardes” with superhuman effort and labor.

The constant publication of this biblical monthly newsletter for almost fifty years, of which thirty years were in the United States - is one of the rare visions in this area. Here and there various Torah periodical newsletters were published, but they quickly disappeared from the horizon and did not last over time. The explanation for that is that the person who comes up with an idea does not look for mathematical calculations, if a certain thing is worthwhile, the spiritual person will not look for financial foundations.

The ”Pardes” became a sublime idea. It became the life ambition of the late Rabbi Pardes. He devoted most of his life and time to the cultivation of the “Pardes” and its development. He made many sacrifices to make the Torah Garden blossom and spread its smells.

He was the man of the pen. He was the publications' man, but he always remained in the shadows, in his corner, in the corner of the Torah. Many didn't know and didn't see how he was abundant from the influence of lights.

His wife and all his sons and daughters perished during the Holocaust. He left many manuscripts - a complete book that includes innovations as well as questions and answers.

(According to the memoir newsletter of “Pardes”, after the death of its founder)

* * *

“Pardes” was founded in 5676 (1913) in Zarki. It was printed in Piotrków Trybunalski. Its publication stopped during the First World War. When Rabbi A. Sh. Pardes served as a Rosh Yeshiva in Zawiercie, he renewed its publication. The first newsletter is really rare, while the second newsletter (the second year from the month of Iyar 5687, is available in the libraries). On the cover of the newsletter, it is written: [Page 472]

“Pardes”, a new student collection that includes questions and answers, innovations, commentaries, and explanations on the Halacha and articles concerning the strengthening of the Torah by our great Rabbis and best of the sages of our time. The publisher, may God protect and save him, was Shmuel Aharon Halevi Pardes, Head of the Yeshiva of the Holy congregation of Zawiercie. The address for letters and finances: Rabbi Sh. A. Pardes, Zawiercie”.

In the aforementioned newsletter, we find answers from the “Rabbi of Koziegłowy”, Rabbi Aryeh Tzvi Frumer, Torah innovation from Mordechai Halevi Pardes (from Zawiercie), an article on the study of the Torah and its strengthening by Rabbi Yoel S. Zweigel from Zawiercie.

* * *

Rabbi Pardes was born in the year 5647 in the city of Staszów, Poland. His father was the Admor of Staszów. He was commissioned to teach by Rabbi Yoav Yehoshua of Końskie, Baal “Helkat Yoav” and by Rabbi Meir Yechiel Halevi, the Admor of Ostrovets. Rabbi Pardes served in the rabbinate in the city of Zarki. From there he was accepted as a Rabbi and a Head of Yeshiva in the city of Zawiercie. Later he served as a Head of Yeshiva in Bedzin and as Av Beit Din in Szczakowa, in Galicia. In the year 5684, he arrived in the United States and served as the Rabbi of the synagogue on Montgomery Street. Afterward, he served as the Rabbi of the congregation “Bikur Holim” of emigrants from Poland in Chicago. There he continued to publish the newsletter “Pardes”.

[Page 473]

Rabbi Yeshayahu Shapiro of blessed memory

Sh. Spivak

Translated by Mira Eckhaus



Many have written about Rabbi Yeshayahu Shapiro of blessed memory, the wonderful man, the great philosopher, who lived among us in the Land of Israel and the Diaspora. Indeed, there is no quill worthy of putting on paper all his greatness, nobility, purity of religion, depth, versatility, courage of spirit, independence of thought, and originality. Rabbi Yeshayahu was the son, grandson, and great-grandson of the greatest lights of Chassidim in Poland. He strived for his unique path and achieved it with a wonderful harmony, albeit dilemmas and even dilemmas regarding the Admor legacy, were not lacking in his life.

We, the children of Israel, are not sparing with supreme epithets, such as holy, pure, Gaon, Maor Hador, etc., etc. But who deserves such epithets if not Rabbi Yeshayahu who fled from all honor, from all thought of superiority due to his great heritage? On the contrary, Rabbi Yeshayahu walked in stony ground and toiled in it even before the First World War and almost immediately after it, while he could have continued the golden chain of his ancestors, the original supreme Admors. He could shape his path in life as he decided. He could serve in any commanding position in the settlement, especially in the religious circles. But he wanted with all his heart something else: to be a laborer, to be a member of a kibbutz. when he feared that he would be a burden for the kibbutz - he decided (and fulfilled) to become a Hebrew farmer in the fields of the homeland, within the framework of a moshav. Another thing that shows his independence: the great-grandson, the grandson and son of the great Admors used to play the violin...

Do you remember the wonderful story of I. L. Peretz “If not Higher”? To any nickname that you would apply to the late Rabbi Yeshayahu, you should add: “Higher than that”.

When we come to praise Rabbi Yeshayahu, let us not forget even Zawiercie, in which Rabbi Yeshayahu lived and worked for a certain period, it was a layer, among other layers, in the development of Rabbi Yeshayahu's life and personality. Very little has been written about it. We will pay off this debt in our memoir book.

* * *

We learn from the newspapers and literature, that Rabbi Yeshayahu was the son of Rabbi Elimelech of Grodzisk, who was the son of Rabbi Chaim Meir Yechiel, the “Saraf” of Mogielnica, who was the son of the Magid of Kozienice. On his mother's side, he was the grandson of the

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Rabbi Chaim Shmuel of Checiny. The father of Chaim Shmuel, Rabbi Eliezer was the son of Zvi Hirsch, who was the son of Rabbi Yitzchak Ya'akov, the Seer or visionary of Lublin”. The “Seer” was the leader of the generation of Polish Chasidic Movement.

Rabbi Yeshayahu was from the family side of Rabbi of Checiny, the grandson of “the good Jewish of Neishtat”. The Ganzweich family of Zawiercie also belonged to “the good Jewish of Neishtat (Rabbi Avrahamele and his father Rabbi Israel Leib Ganzweich).

And here, the grandson and great-grandson of the great Admors in Poland, who was the son-in-law of our Rabbi of Kromołów, decided to abandon the Admor institution and immigrate to Eretz Israel and work in it. Literally.

There is greatness in the pursuit of intellectual independence, there is no one above it.

* * *

Rabbi Yeshayahu was orphaned by his father when he was still a teenager. It is possible that being orphaned by his father shaped his character even in his youth. He was concentrated in his inner self, absorbed in his reflections, and hardly talked, although he excelled in refined language. He would weigh and measure every word. He was talented and worked hard on his studies. There was an inner fire in him through his outer calm.

He was brought up by his grandfather, Rabbi of Checiny, who was an original and independent personality, and who was devoted entirely to the love of Zion. Rabbi Yeshayahu was loved by his grandfather with all his heart. Chassidim would tell that the Rabbi of Checiny learned that his young grandson, who immigrated to Israel even before the First World War, was going to return within a short period. Since Rabbi of Checiny learned about it - he moved to the entrance room of his house, because he wanted to be closer to the door where his grandson would enter upon his return. He will be the first to greet his grandson.

Rabbi Yeshayahu was also influenced by his sister's son, the Admor of Kozienice, who was passionate in his love for Israel and the Land of Israel, and who always mentioned the homeland in his conversations with his Chassidim and with other Admors and their Chassidim. The son of the Rabbi of Kozienice, Rabbi Israel Eliezer Epstein, established the company “Avodat Israel” for the settlement of the Land of Israel. In practice the ultra-Orthodox circles founded “Kfar Hasidim”. Rabbi Yeshayahu, who was also one of the grandsons of the “Magid of Kozienice”, was also influenced by this family of Admors.

Rabbi Yeshayahu aspired from his youth to be a farmer in Israel. He inherited this tradition from another grandfather, from the “good Jew” from Neishtat, who took care of the poultry in his yard. He loved animals and, in his lessons, and sermons at the table and in the “Three Feasts” always included allegories from the animal world.

His mother objected to this long-distance trip at an early age, and for that reason, Rabbi Yeshayahu postponed the trip and waited for a suitable time. In the meantime, he married the daughter of

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the Admor of Kromołów and moved to Zawiercie. The Chassidim of Grodzisk begged him to serve as their Admor, but he did not want to. Rabbi Yeshayahu also turned down an important position as a rabbi in Mokotów - Warsaw, even though the majority of those eligible to take part in the ballot, voted for him. He claimed that he would have received the position if he had been elected unanimously. He did not want to serve as a rabbi in a position that would bind him in Poland because he decided to immigrate to Israel, no matter what.

He immigrated to Israel alone.

* * *

The court of the Rabbi of Kromołów was full of piety, policing the heritage of his ancestors and their way of life. We should glorify the righteous and warm atmosphere in this “court”. The rabbi and his household were very popular, as were the rabbi's Chassidim. The atmosphere of the courtyard was designed in the small city of Kromołów which stagnated in the same position. There were no loopholes in this “court” as there were in other “courts” such as Grodzisk, Checiny, Kozienice, Drewitz, etc. There was no vision in this “court”. There were no changes in certain values due to the new winds blowing in the Jewish world in Poland and the growing anti-Semitism.

Rabbi Yeshayahu did not adapt to this atmosphere. This even came to the point of a struggle between him and his father-in-law, who was righteous and God-fearing in every inch of his limbs and his tendons. His father-in-law did not understand his strange longing for the Land of Israel at a time when only “promiscuous”, “Zadikim”, and “Achdutniks” in Poland decided to immigrate to Israel.

Finally, Rabbi Yeshayahu immigrated to Israel.

In Israel he worked in agriculture. He was a close friend and admirer of Rabbi HaGaon Rabbi A. I. Kook, who then served as rabbi in Jaffa, and later was elected to the office of chief rabbi of Israel's Knesset. The two personalities - one elderly - and the other younger, a descendant of the Admors, became very friendly and admired each other. Even this friendship left its mark on the development of Rabbi Yeshayahu in the future.

When the war broke out he returned home to Zawiercie. He began to tie knots with all those who inclined to religious Zionism (S. Spivak, Haim Krau, I. D. Ehrlichman), as well as with the general Zionists who also expressed sympathy for the religious national idea (A. Bornstein, etc.). His influence in this regard was great on Rabbi M. M. Landau, who was among the speakers of the “Mizrachi Organization” in Poland during the World War (later, Rabbi Landau moved to Agudath Israel).

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His speeches in the synagogue in Zawiercie and the Zionist halls in the city were a great experience. He was not an orator, that is: a speaker who uses tricks. His words were said with calm rhetoric. In his words, he appealed to the intellect of the Torah scholar and the heart of the popular audience. His whole appearance expressed nobility, thoroughness, and Greatness of simplicity. Many residents of Zawiercie still remember this figure in his youth, crowned with a beautiful black beard, with dreamy eyes that are both thoughtful and focused.

Rabbi Yeshayahu took advantage of every moment - whenever he was in Zawiercie – to participate in activities in the city. He worked together with Rabbi Landau - the founder of the “Beit Talmud” Torah school (later – “Yesodi Torah”). He actively participated in all the administration but left the council (like many others from the “Mizrachi” circles) when this school became a stronghold of Agudath Israel.

Rabbi Yeshayahu did not stay in the city for a long time, the horizon was too narrow. The movement raised him to great heights. He settled in Warsaw, reorganized the Jewish National Fund there on a national scale, and was among its directors. He was very active in the “Mizrachi circle” in Poland. In Grodzisk, Kaczenice, and Piaseczno, places where his relatives were Admors, as well as in Sochaczew, Ostrowiec, and Alexander, he would appear and attract followers for the religious Zionist idea. He would speak, sing, rejoice, and dance, and organize associations of Chassidim for Aliyah and settlement. He did it in his own way.

At the end of the year 5680, Rabbi Yeshayahu informed his father-in-law, the “Rabbi of Kromołów, that he could not live in exile and decided to immigrate to Eretz Israel, which enchanted him. His father-in-law, his wife and his family members tried to influence him to withdraw from his decision to immigrate to Israel. But he didn't want to listen. He immigrated and worked on the roads, cleaning pools, - in a group of religious national pioneers.

His path in Israel was not easy. He was assigned a major role after major role, and he fulfilled each role with exemplary dedication, with humility, as one of many.

In Tel Aviv, he aspired to establish a reward fund for Zawiercie expats in need. For various reasons, this was not realized. He was always interested in Zawiercie expats, he would visit my father at the Zawiercie barrack. Quite often he would come to Magdiel to visit my father. When my father presented him with refreshments from the produce of his agriculture and told him that all of this was done by his own hands, the rabbi's eyes shone with admiration. Maybe at that time, he thought of the idea of settling in the moshav.

We are proud of this man, the rabbi, the wonderful tzaddik, who lived among us across the streets in Zawiercie where he dreamed about the Land of Israel being built.

[Page 477]

The Illustrious Rabbi Aryeh Fromer
(the Rabbi of Koziegłowy) may his blood be avenged


Translated by Mira Eckhaus

For several years, the rabbi lived among us in Zawiercie. His greatness in the deep sea of Torah that continuously intensified and grew stronger, captured all the people of our city, both the elderly and the young, Torah scholars as well as the common people. He was respected, admired, and loved. Torah scholars and lads came from distant places to hear the Torah from his pure mouth. The camp of his admirers among the Torah scholars was large.

He was, without exaggeration, the most religious and spiritual authority with great influence in his time, he was righteous, Chassidic, and humble. He would always say “good morning” to the people. I also remember from my time in the yeshiva at the Beit Midrash in Zawiercie, how the rabbi was used to walking around every morning during the Shacharit prayer in the Beit Midrash, and he would place and adjust the tefillin on the heads of the worshipers, so that they would be in their proper place. There was an exemplary humility in the conduct of this Gaon, whose name was known throughout the world.

When I was living in Sosnowiec, I came to him once, on the night of Purim, for a visit. The large room where the rabbi was sitting was full to the brim. When he began to talk about the Torah – his speech was fiery. His face would appear to us as the face of an angel. From his throat, the Shechinah was voiced.

After he finished his words in the Torah, it was time to dance. The Chassidim would dance for a while - and get tired, in their place entered the circle of dancing those who rested a little, danced again, got tired, and in their place entered those who in the meantime managed to draw strength. They danced like this for hours and hours.

The holy rabbi was the only one who had inhuman powers to continue, without getting tired – to dance non-stop. In his singing, which became stronger and stronger, he was encouraging the crowd of his Chassidim to continue dancing.

Whoever was not present at the celebration of a holiday at the rabbi's house - did not know what joy was.

To describe his way along the tracks of the Torah, I will talk about the letter of my father-in-law, Rabbi Mendel Froman, to Rabbi Itche Erlich. I gave this letter to Rabbi Itche. After reading it, Rabbi Itche burst into tears, like a baby, and plucked - during the act of crying - the hairs of his beard. When asked by his daughter about his crying, Rabbi Itche replied that Rabbi Mendel reminded him in his letter of the words of the rabbi about current affairs on a certain Purim day. His words were based on the idea below: Purim teaches us how a person should lie in the grave. The Chassidim listened anxiously and attentively to this conversation.

Suddenly the rabbi got up from his seat by the table, stretched out on the floor, as if he was dead. All of this - in the Purim celebration. Rabbi Itche wept at the sight of this picture. The rabbi asked him: “Why are you interfering with my Purim celebration?”

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My father-in-law, Rabbi Mendel Froman, reminded Rabbi Itche of this after years, and Rabbi Itche cried because of that.

And Rabbi Itche added: I am sure that the article of Chazal, that “A person must drink on Purim until he does not know the difference between cursed Haman and blessed Mordechai, was fulfilled by the rabbi. He did not know then the difference between cursed Haman and blessed Mordechai. But how to lie in the grave he knew well and did not forget – even in the most holy and festive moments.

I have already forgotten the city of Zawiercie, and it no longer exists in my eyes. However, I will never forget the brave and powerful rabbi, who lived among the Zawiercie community. His memory will never fade from my heart for the rest of my life.

May his soul be bound up in the bond of everlasting life

Memories of my Youth

By Yizi Rosenberg

Contributed and donated by Alain Bornstein

Edited by Jerrold Landau

In my time (the time before the Second World War) the religious youth in Zawiercie were concentrated around two yeshivot. One was run by the Kromolówer Rebbe. The Yeshiva directors were then the Süssmann brothers, sons of “Guten Srulke” (Srulke the Good), Yerachmiel and Chaim Eliahu. The second yeshiva was located in the Beis Midrash. It was led by the older youths of the Beis Midrash with Aaron Silberstein and Yisrael Weitz at its head.

Our town was populated by Torah scholars who had a reputation in the world of Torah learning. The aforementioned Süssmann brothers are especially worthy of note. I spent time with them almost every day.

As far as I remember, during the years 1937 and 1938 they completed the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud several times, along the Tosafos [a commentary on the Talmud], Sifri [a midrashic Torah commentary] and the early and late Talmudic commentaries. They were in contact with the greatest Gaonim of their time, with the Gaon Yosha Dinenburg, the author of “Tzafnat Paanach”, and with the renowned Gaon Chaim Ozer Grodzinski from Vilna. They most certainly remained in contact with the previous Rosh Yeshiva of the Zawiercie Yeshiva, he great Gaon Reb Arieh Zvi Frommer (the Kozieglower Rov).

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With the brothers, I saw entire piles of responsa from the aforementioned Gaonim who had addressed the yeshiva youths as “Habochur Hagaon” [The scholarly yeshiva youth]. These great Gaonim did not address just anybody in such a manner.

I also remember that, on occasion, Yerachmiel used to study Torah for 18 to 19 hours without interruption until his voice became hoarse. Even in such a condition, he used to lie down on a bench and turn the pages of the Gerama. Ignoring his tiredness, he always asked me to pose questions to him relating to each and every page of the Talmud in order to refresh his memory. The first word I uttered was enough for him to continue and complete the entire page. I was constantly amazed at his depth of knowledge of the sources.

From this very circle, one must also mention the Kromolówer Rebbe and his sons, in particular his son Reb Moshele Rabinowicz, the son-in-law of the Radomsker Rebbe and the founder of the famous Yeshiva “Keter Torah” and the “Kibbutz Gavoha” (the latter was a Yeshiva for older students). This sharpness and depth of his knowledge were famous in the whole of the learned world.

The influence of the Kozieglower Rov was absolutely enormous.

Aside from the aforementioned personalities, in my time there were Torah scholars and truly sincere Jews in Zawiercie, such as Reb Chaim the rabbinical teacher, Reb Leibel Chwat, Reb Yaacov Rosenberg, Reb Avraham Helfgott, Reb Zelig from the Alexander Shteibel, Reb Mottel Bornstein, Reb Shiäle the rabbinical teacher, and many more whose names escape me at the moment. All these were engaged in learning Torah for its own sake day and night.

Zawiercie was also the home of very pious and dedicated Jews, such as Reb Shimale Kornitzer, Henech Srulke's, Yisroel Brieger, Landau, Benjamin Perlman, Israel Isaac Machtiger, Chaim Gabai, Moshe Sofer, Kopel Speiser, Avraham Cohen, “Shiäle with the beard” and others.

Jewish Zawiercie was destroyed by the cruel anti-Semitic enemy, the like of which the world had never seen before. Rabbis, Rebbes and those who studied together with all the Jews were led like sheep to the slaughter in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. The soul weeps from pain and sorrow which one remembers the terrible destruction. One is constantly reminded of the words of the prophet Jeremiah.

“Would it be that my head was water, and my eyes a source of tears – I would weep day and night for the slain of my people. [Jeremiah 8, 23].

Written during my visit to Tel Aviv, Israel

[Page 480]

From Pirkhe Agudas Yisroel [boys division of Union of Israel]
to Tsukunft [Future]

by A. Paserman

Translated by Gloria Berkenstat Freund

My father wanted me to study in a yeshiva [religious secondary school]. He took me to the premises of the Ts-erei Agudat Yisroel [young men's movement of Union of Israel] (Aptetszna Street in Mordekhai Hilel Windman's house). Chaim Berger (then the librarian) welcomed us both. Since I was a young man, he proposed that I bring other young men to create a group. Thus, was created the Pirkhe Agudas Yisroel, which numbered 50 young men. Our spiritual leaders were Chaim Berger, Chaim Dovid Wajc, and Leibush Froman. They were Hasidic young men who were dedicated with all their fervor to the work of educating young Jews in the spirit of the Torah.

Chaim Berger was a widely known young man. He would lead us in conversations on worldly themes and books.

Chaim Dovid Wajc was Reb Moshe Ahron's son. Reb Moshe Ahron taught at the Yesod haTorah kheder [Foundation of Torah primary school] and dozens of young men from Zawiercie had him, the admirable, mild man and good pedagogue, to thank for their knowledge of the foundations of Torah.

Dovid Waldliwerant and Dovid Ber Yoskowicz also were active with Chaim Dovid Wajc and Leibush Froman (Yokl Froman's son). Chaim Dovid and Leibush studied a page of Gemora [Talmud] with us at the house of prayer.

In time, Chaim Berger left for Poalei Agudas Yisroel [Union of Young Israel – trade union and political party]. He took a few working young people with him. Leibush Froman later married and also left. The group unraveled because of a lack of spiritual strength.

In 1943, the German beasts took Chaim Dovid, his father, and the entire family to Auschwitz and annihilated them. They took Chaim Dovid and his father in the middle of the Maariv [evening] prayers.

* * *

In later years, as a working young man, I took part in founding the Jewish socialist youth organization, Tsukunft. The local P.P.S. [Polska Partia Socjalistyczna – Polish Socialist Party] and its Zawiercie chairman, Konopka, helped in the organization of Tsukunft.

[Page 481]

Active in Tsukunft were Dovid Waldliwerant, Henekh Warcman, Asher Paserman, Benyamin Lewkowicz and Sholem Gold. The chairman was Dovid Wajnrib, who helped the organization in every way. We carried out widespread informational work in the Jewish neighborhood and drew a large number of young workers into our ranks. We taught them to read and write Yiddish. Every week, we held political and cultural conversations. Along with the P.P.S. [Polish Socialist Party], we fought against the Endekes [members of the anti-Semitic Polish National Party] and their boycott actions. We worked with the Polish workers' movement in all other actions. However, it must be said, alas, that when we needed the leaders of the P.P.S., they betrayed us and did not help. I turned to the leader of T.U.R. [Towarzystwo Uniwersytetu Robotniczego – Workers' University Society] at the time of our critical situation to help us, and he answered me that he knew of nothing. After the war, it was revealed that T.U.R. was a Nazi supporter and itself murdered many Jews after the Germans marched into Poland. Many Tsukunft comrades were murdered by the Nazis. Only a few lived to see Hitler's defeat.


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