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[Page 334]

Religious Persons and Figures

 

Rabbi Dovid'l Karliner

by Dr. Shmuel Elyashiv

Translated by Ofra Anson

Edited by Yocheved Klausner

1

Rabbi David Freidman (Dovid'l Karliner) was born in Biala in 1827. At the age of six he was recognized as a genius, and attracted the attention and sympathy of the most respected scholars of his time – Rabbi Shlomo Eiger, Rabbi Leib Katzenelenbogen, Rabbi Tevele Minsker, and others. Leading scholars found a special pleasure in being entertained by the young genius, asking him about difficult problems and hearing him analyzing the Talmud.

We know one interesting fact about Rabbi Dovid'l Karliner's childhood. Rabbi David Tevel (Tevele from Minsk), came to Brisk when Dovid'l, who was growing up in Brisk, was nine years old. Rabbi David Tevel, known as the genius from Minsk, was to become the Rabbi of Brisk. Some scholars and leaders of the community objected to his appointment, and in order to thwart it, pushed little Dovid'l to the stage after Rabbi Tevel's talk. The young boy enthusiastically took to arguing with the great sage, tearing to pieces his hard–to–understand talk. The Rabbi from Minsk went back home with nothing, yet from that day on he dearly loved the young boy and never stopped watching over him.

The greatest Jewish personality of that time, who showed the most sincere interest in the young star, started to worry that the boy's talent may be spoiled because people treated his childish wisdom too lightly, and played with it too much. The genius from Brisk, Rabbi Leib Katzenelenbogen, who supervised little Dovid'l, stated that the child should be taken away from Brisk to a quiet small town, where he could study and develop with no interruptions, as soon as possible. Dovid'l was taken to his elder brother in Kamieniec, where he studied the Talmud in a peaceful environment. His greatness increased daily, people all over Poland and Russia talked about him constantly, telling the wonders of his sharp mind and deep thoughts.

 

2

Rabbi Shmariahu Luria, one of the monumental Jewish figures at the turn of the 20th century and one of the wealthiest, took an interest in the young genius. He brought the boy to his rich and peaceful home, dressed him in the finest array and tried his best to make him “Maor Hagola” [lit. the light of the Diaspora], by providing him with the best conditions for studying, under the supervision of Shmariahu Luria's father in law and the learned, wealthy, Rabbi Salman Rivlin from Shklob (whom Maze described in his memories as “the Jewish Taras Bulba”).

Rabbi David Freidman acquired his knowledge by learning from the original texts, largely ignoring interpretations and commentaries transmitted over the generations. Freed from daily worries, enveloped in the feeling that he can search for knowledge independently, he took to work on his classic book, his life's work, “Piskei Halachot” (Halachic Rulings, O.A.), which put aside the interpretive literature and struggled directly with Maimonides with the fresh approach of a learned person who goes his own way. The complete book has not been published when the current article was written, but the first manuscript has already brought its author a respected place in the rabbinical literature.

Later, Shmariahu Luria married his daughter to the young genius, and his second daughter married the well–known writer and Israeli pioneer Yechiel Pines. The two brothers in law were good friends throughout their life, influenced and enriched each other's thinking. They stuck together during the excommunication that the Jerusalem rabbis declared on Pines, while Rabbi David Freidman published his manifest “Emek Beracha” (The Valley of Blessing, O.A.) where he severely criticized the “black rabbis” and their right to excommunicate a person (they sent out black dogs in Jerusalem with notes with the name of those excommunicated tied to them).

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After Shmariahu Luria's death, Rabbi David Freidman received a rabbinical position in the small town Karlin, a suburb of Pinsk. In this quiet town, he could continue his work, and he stayed there all his life. From all corners of the world, people who studied the Tora, and saw him as the greatest authority of his generation, came to his small house. Among the ordinary people, he was known as “Rabbi Dovid'l Karliner”. He was called Rabbi Dovid'l because of his miniature figure, and because of his love and attraction to every Jew who came to him for an advice or consolation. The biggest communities, such as Minsk and Vilnius, did all they could to bring him to be their rabbi. They had not had a Rabbi with a reputation of the genius Karliner for many years. In 1881, he finally received a formal appointment, and with great effort he agreed to leave the quiet atmosphere of the small town. Yet the big fire of Minsk broke out, and he stayed in his tranquil Karlin.

 

3

He was not the kind of scholar who neither knows nor cares about the wide world, one who sits in his own room learning and praying for 18 hours a day, day in and day out. He was involved with the Hovevei Zion movement (Lovers of Zion, O.A.), which had just started its activity. He wrote enthusiastically about the new movement in the newspaper, “Halevanon” (in 1875), supporting it with his rabbinical authority. He had an extensive correspondence with Hirsh Kalischer, the first spokesperson of Hibat Zion (grandfather of Rabbi Hayut), with Elijahu Griditzer and others. He went to the Katowice Conference (1884, O.A.), were he shared the presidency with L. Pinsker. He was vivid and active, he inspired thoughts and made proposals, which have not lost their relevance even today; he brought his knowledge and his fresh, learned, thoughts, to the young movement which had just started to search for its form of activity. For example, he already spoke about colonizing Transjordan. He talked about an idea that only later came into being with the foundation of the Jewish colonial bank: to establish a folk–bank, a bank that would depend for a large part of its activity on small shareholders. Yet they found out that this was not possible because of the Russian law.

He was always interested in the building of Eretz Israel. At that time, young Pinsker was a high–school boy, and Haim Weizman was involved with the local Hovevei Zion, and the house of the Karliner Rabbi was the center of these noisy youngsters. Unfortunately, as time went by, the people around the Karliner rabbi started to provide him with bad and false information about the development of the movement, which estranged him from it. Yet, he did not mind the changes in Hibat Zion, he remained with the principles of the Katowice Conference, for which he had left his study and his books in order to enable the Jewish people to return to their homeland.

 

4

Beyond the scholar, the Talmud authority, and the Lover of Zion, Friedman–Karliner was an interesting person. From the outside, he was a small person, a childish figure; one would wonder how he stood on his legs. With this physiology, he conducted a unique life style, working 18–19 hours a day, without sleep and with little food. He was the first to wake up in the morning, right after the cockcrow, in summer and in winter, opened the shutters, started the fire, and sat down to work. A routine he kept up for decades, throughout his long creative life. What for? To keep up his spirits! He was a heavy smoker, always holding a cigarette in his mouth; completely separated from the materialistic world, deep in thought for hours, enveloped in his cigarette smoke.

It is a wonder how a person who led such a hard life lived to the age of 87 and did not change, keeping a sharp, fresh, mind until the end. All knew his beautiful, special, face.

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His image was used to decorate children's books and the cover pages of albums, and many people saw it a hundred times without knowing who he was. This is how they built the image of Maor Hagola, a photograph, made by an artist, the brother of his daughter in law. It was taken from the street, through an open window, while he was sitting, deep in thought, eyes wide open, but seeing nothing of the world.

 

5

The hardships during the war put out the quiet fire, which burnt in the big soul, dwelling in a weak, almost ghostly body. With the confusion caused by the unbelievable catastrophe, people used to come to see him as if he was a saint. People stood by his door for hours, to hear the quiet, slow, words of his prayers, which, in his late life, he used to say repeatedly, in a low voice, word after word, constantly holding the book of prayers in his hand. The sound of his prayers brought comfort to the listeners. From the far end of Russia, thousands of poor soldiers wrote to him asking for a blessing before they went to the front. Whoever had some trouble travelled to Karlin, seeking the blessing of the man considered sacred. He did not like it. It often unnerved him. His modest, mithnaged (the opponents to the Hasidic movement, O.A.), nature did not allow him to be admired like a Hasidic rabbi. Yet, he felt the pain of the people calling on him, never said a harsh word, and gave everyone his sincere, quiet, blessing.

(A chapter from the book written by Dr. Shmuel Elyashiv, the former Israeli ambassador to Russia, the grandson of Rabbi Dovid'l Karliner –– his son's son.

Taken from “The Jewish Newspaper of Africa”, July 6th, 1956.)


Bialer Yichus (pedigree, O.A.)

by Pavel Gold

Translated by Ofra Anson

Edited by Yocheved Klausner

At the turn of the last century, there was a well–known Jewish banker from Siedlice, “Temerl”, the richest person in Poland. Temerl was an energetic and very orthodox woman, but God punished her – she had no son to say “Kadish” after her, just daughters. She decided to buy herself sons, the best scholars. The first son–in– law was the greatest Polish genius, Itche Meir, known later as the first Rabbi of Gur. Teerl's second daughter married the already well–known Rabbi from Kotsk (she was his second wife). From Biala, Temerl choose two sons–in–law – Rabbi Herzl Cohen and Rabbi Itzik Tcherno (black).

 

1. “The Hoseh” (The Prophet)

During the life of the two great scholars, Rabbi Herzl Cohen and Rabbi Itzik Shahor (black), Rabbi Herzl, known as the prophet, was the better off, both in Tora and in wealth. Why was he called the prophet? There are two suggestions: first, because he used to visit the Hoseh from Lublin; the second and the more accepted was, that a well–known Polish Jew, whom Rabbi Herzl used to visit, became very ill. Rabbi Herzl and a group of students were studying Mishnah. Suddenly Rabbi Herzl stood up, closed his book, banged the table and said: “I will get my carriage ready, I am going to a funeral”. Later it turned out that the sick person had passed away exactly at that moment.

After both Rabbi Herzl and Rabbi Izik had passed away, more of the wealth stayed with the first family, while scholarship remained more in the second. Both families were of the highest social status in Biala. With their family relationships – they enjoyed the highest social position in Poland.

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2. Rabbi Noah (The Giant of Biala)

When I met Rabbi Noah, he was more than 60 years old: a small person, with a short, white beard, stuttering a little. On the rare occasions he was in the street, he was running from his home on Janover Street to the Gur synagogue on Potchtava Street, or back. Except for New Year and the Day of Atonement, he prayed alone. To the Gur synagogue he came every few weeks, either to read the Tora or for a Yahrzeit. He constantly studied the Tora in his own home, with several chosen students who were attracted by his knowledge. He did not get involved in the daily affairs of the community, but when an extraordinary issue arose, he was one of “the seven elders” called to a meeting with the Rabbi to find a solution.

In the Hasidic world, his influence went beyond Biala to Poland at large. When Rabbi Mendele of Kotsk died, Rabbi Noah was a young man and said: I am going to Gur – and took with him a large group of students, not just from Biala, but from all over Poland. After the funeral of “Sfat Emeth” (Language of Truth, a book by Rabbi Yehuda Arie Leib Alter, the Gerer Rebbe, O.A.), he approached the Rebbe's son (who was also Rabbi Noah's son in law), who inherited the position, and said: congratulations Rabbi.

About Rabbi Noah's sharp mind, his fellow Hassids used to say – do not talk about it, the devil should not hear … The first night of New Year, and after the Day of Atonement, he used to stand up in the synagogue, in a place that made him visible to all. He reached out his hand, and with a smile answered everyone that said to him, “Happy New Year”, or “May you be signed and sealed in the book of life”, with “To you too”.

When Rabbi Noah died, during the Ten Days of Repentance of 1909, all businesses and workshops in Biala closed. Hundreds of rabbis came to the funeral, which was the largest seen in Biala.

Some anecdotes were told about Rabbi Noah, which shed light on the way people saw this uncrowned Rebbe. A Jewish wood cutter sawed some wood for him. When he was done and had to be paid, Rabbi Noah was busy with teaching. The wood cutter was impatient, and when he heard that the Hassidim did not listen but talked to each other, he said: hear Noah, I am worse off than you, because I came to you to cut wood…

Salman, whose nickname was “the presser”, was a supervisor in a yeshiva for young children and known for his mischief. He once came out to the street with a long pipe. The youngsters laughed and called out: Salmanke, where did you get this pipe? He answered: –– I forcefully took it from the yard of a small, dirty, shoemaker. They all shouted at once: Oh, Salmanke, you are in trouble! You will not live through the year. It is Rabbi Noah's pipe. Salman quickly returned the pipe.

One Friday night, the silver candlesticks were stolen from Rabbi Noah's home. On Monday morning, the candlesticks were laid by his door step. Rabbi Noah's home caught fire several times, but the fire immediately turned off. Soon after his death, the house burnt down completely. Orthodox people took it as a sign that God's spirit lived in the house in which Rabbi Noah studied. He was a small person in body, but a giant in the Tora.

 

3. Rabbi Moshe Cohen

Rabbi Moshe Cohen was a rich dealer in wooden boards. He lived like the aristocracy, in a big beautiful house (on the corner of Grutke Lane and Kotchtelne, burnt down about 1911), with a closed porch, and windows made of glass. During Succoth the porch served as a Sukkah. Rabbi Moshe Cohen was the head of the community, and showed a sincere concern for the town. He initiated important institutions such as Linat Tsedek (helping the sick, especially staying with them at night), Lehem Oni (food donations), etc. When somebody complained about the amount of tax demanded, Rabbi Moshe Cohen used to free him from paying, but did not invite him to meetings anymore, and forbade him from being called to read the Tora.

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He was a well established Gur Hassid. His sons and his son in law, Herzl Halbershtat, were the only ones in the Gur synagogue who were allowed to wear pressed collars and carry little bottles of spirit, while others were not. Even his youngest son (who later became a famous surgeon in Warsaw), went to the Biala's High School after his uncle's death, used to come to the synagogue from time to time with cut payot, and nobody said anything.

He was not the richest person in town, but in his will he left a few thousand Rubles for building a Jewish hospital in Biala.

 

4. Rabbi Moshe Moses (The Great)

Many years ago there was a food store on Mezhyrichi Street (Rabbins Street), run by a respected woman by the name of Lhotse Moses. She had a son, known in Biala for his learning. Rabbi Noah took him as his first son–in–law. He was called Moshe Lhotse's or Moshe The Great. The nickname “The Great” he earned rightly by both his learning and his size.

Tall and wide, a big head, with a long, thick, brown beard and payot, never touched by scissors, he had a light, clear, face, with two big, blue eyes, which got lost in his thick, big, eyebrows. Till this day I am convinced that he who never saw Moshe's face, never saw a true Rabbinic face in real life or in a picture.

Moshe the Great used to learn in his own home, with a limited number of other men – the men who were afflicted by the craze of studying during lunch time, which, for them, was a sign of advanced learning. In the Gur synagogue he enjoyed a lot of respect. People waited for him to start the prayers even when Noah was still alive. On Simchat Tora and Purim the celebrations were sponsored by him. In Biala he was considered the ambassador of the Gur court (his youngest brother in law was Ger Rabbi) and the business ambassador of the famous Gur lottery, of which he was the chief agent.

 

5. Rabbi Moshe Shahor (the Little)

Little Moshe was the son of Rabbi Noah and the son–in–law of Shaulke Cohen. Like his older brother–in–law, he was considered a great scholar, with a sharp mind and thorough knowledge. In Biala he was known for his orthodoxy and never looked at women, which brought about funny situations.

He used all his stubbornness when he was praying in front of the people. From “Shma Israel” to “God Is True” he used to read sweating, with all his might, so not to miss or misread a word. If, towards the end, he suddenly made a mistake – he would start again from the very beginning. He always preferred to pray reading the book, even though in praying from the book one cannot go as deep into praying as doing it by heart.

After using the toilet, he would take a handful of water and pour it down his trousers, in winter as in summer.

For Passover he always got new clothes, to avoid the slightest possibility of leavened food being left over. He lived on Potchtava Street, in Rabbi Shaulke's house, close to the Ger synagogue. When he went to the synagogue during Passover, he went with his hands tucked into his sleeves, and waited until someone opened the door for him, so as not to touch the door handle.

He was a stranger to the daily, materialistic, world. He spent his life praying and learning, considering himself to be one of the greatest scholars in town.

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6. Rabbi Shimele Kreidshtein (the “Skoreyi”)

Rabbi Shimale Kredshtein was the most interesting person in the big synagogue. A great scholar, from a respected background, smart, he could lead the prayers well and blow the shofar. Once he was rich, as he owned army camps, and was a committed Mitnaged (against the Hasidic movement, O.A.). He was the only one in the synagogue not dressed as a Hasid but in the Rabbinic fashion: a satin gown, wide coronet Tallit, wide silk gartl (a belt which separates the impure lower part of the body from the spiritual upper part, O.A.), Streimel, and open shoes with white socks.

All his life, Rabbi Shimale Kredshtein led the morning prayers during the high holidays, and the regular prayers during the year. When the old cantor did not let a young cantor take his place (he had a permanent position), Rabbi Shimale Kredshtein led the prayers during Saturdays and holidays too, with the help of Alter Cheshler and Yosel Wetshek.

He was called “Skoreyi” – “express” because he was very quick, in walking, praying, and reading. It was difficult to follow him, particularly the simple people who prayed with him in the same synagogue. When one made a comment about it, he would answer with a smile: who told you to play around instead of learning when you were a child?

He was smart, but stubborn, and this was his dispute with Shmelke (Shmuel) Pizshitz, forgetting that although both of them were smart and stubborn, Shmelke Pizshitz was much wealthier than he was.

Rabbi Shimale was a brave man. When a Russian officer wanted to joke with him and cut one of his Peot, he ripped off the officer's shoulder strap.

He was called to the Czar's court once, and when he realized that the judge was drunk, he advised him to go home to sleep and delay the trial for another time.


Rabbi Velvel Moses

Translated by Ofra Anson

Edited by Yocheved Klausner

Rabbi Velvel Moses was born in Biala in 1862. His father, Idel, was a scholar and a well–known Hasid. He died quite young, only 36 years old. His grandfather, Alexander Siskind Moses from Biala belonged to the Przysucha and Kotsk Hasidic group. He donated a lot to the needy and to various institutions. He supported the Polish revolution of 1863. Velvel Moses's mother, Letse Leah, was the daughter of Rabbi Yehuda Leib Heinsdorf, from Warsaw.

Velvel studied the Tora in different Heders, but especially from Rabbi Zeev Nahum (the father of Rabbi Avreimele, the genius from the Przysucha court, the author of Egley Tal [drops of dew, O.A.) and at a rather young age got his Rabbinical certification from the great Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik from Brisk.

In 1878 he married Rivka, the daughter of Rabbi Reuven Israel Halevy Frankel, from the old Kotsk Hasidim, he had a farm and was known for his philanthropic work and rich library. Her mother, Golda, was the daughter of Rabbi Yehuda Leib Kushmirak, a very rich man, who, in his old age, visited Eretz Israel under the influence of Moshe Montefiore and Rabbi Dr. Nathan Adler from London. In his visit, he gave a large sum of money to buy the land around Jericho; when this plan did not materialize, the money was used to buy apartments for Jews in the old city of Jerusalem.

For many years, Velvel lived in “Kest” with his parents–in–law (a period immediately after the marriage, when the father–in–law is obliged to feed the new couple, so that the man can devote himself to learning. O.A.), he was a Gur Hasid, assembled a group of young men around him, and studied Mishnah, Talmud, and Kabala in his own, private Yeshiva. He authored many new interpretations in his special method of study. A small portion of it was burnt in Kalisz during the German occupation and WWI.

When the “Kest” was over, he became a merchant, first in Rasashitz and then in Turek. He kept learning alone and teaching others. In 1896 his wife died in Turek. A year later, he remarried his niece, Hana Miriam, the daughter of Rabbi Josef Mendel Herman. Some years later, he went to Kalisz, where he was involved in commerce and industry. In 1905, he was nominated as the head of the court of the Jewish community in Kalisz. He held this position for 29 years, while he also worked to teach Tora to the people.

In 1927 he visited Eretz Israel (some members of his family had already immigrated there), and ten years later he settled there with all his family. He did not want to go into the Rabbinate. His home became a center for Tora lovers.

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We should note that a man who for many years was a merchant and industrialist succeeded to convince other merchants to start and study Tora.

Rabbi Velvel Moses died in Tel–Aviv on 1.2.1949.

(Encyclopedia of the Founders and the Builders of Israel – David Tidhar, Tel–Aviv, 1949 [Hebrew]).


The Rabbi Shmuel Tanhum Levi Rubinstein

Translated by Ofra Anson

Edited by Yocheved Klausner

He was born in Biala Podlaska in 1915. His father, Rabbi Jacob David, was a Hasid and a scholar. At the age of 5, he knew the book of Isaiah by heart, and has been called the genius from Biala. In 1924–5 he studied in the Talmud–Tora in Bialystok.

Until the age of 15, he studied in the “Metivta” in Warsaw, where he had a difficult time. When his teacher, the genius Rabbi Yehuda Meir Shapiro, opened the Yeshiva of Lublin's Scholars, Shmuel started to learn there seriously and without worries. Most of his knowledge he gained from this teacher. He immigrated to Eretz Israel in 1935, after the genius from Lublin died. It was a hard landing, he lived in poverty. He taught Talmud in different high schools in Tel Aviv, and taught Tora in the private synagogue of Jacob Gesundheit on Ben–Yehuda Street, in Tel Aviv.

When Rabbi Yechiel Rabinovitz from Tel Aviv began to publish “Maimonides La'am” (Maimonides for the people, O.A.), with a new interpretation that ordinary people would be able to read easily, someone suggested to him the name of Rabbi Shmuel Tanhum Rubinstein as an interpreter. “This is the man!” – said the genius Rabbi Avigdor Amiel (Tel Aviv's chief Rabbi), when Rabbi Yechiel Rabinovitz came to ask his advice. Rabbi Amiel knew Rabbi Shmuel Tanhum from the days when he established “the assembly of authors” to produce the “collected method”. During this work, he became familiar with Rubinstein's thorough knowledge and his popular, simple, approach to complicated matters. Then Rabbi Rubinstein began to write his interpretation of Maimonides.

When he completed the interpretation of the first part of Maimonides's “Yad Hazaka” (literally – Strong Hand, yet the name comes from the fact that it is comprised of 14 books, Yad (14) in Hebrew. O.A.), that is, “the Book of Knowledge”, he brought the draft to the old genius Rabbi Iser Zalman Meltzer, one of the greatest interpreters of Maimonides, and asked for his approval. When Rabbi Meltzer saw the draft was vowelized, he asked, almost angrily: “Does his honor think that children will learn Maimonides, that he published it vowelized?” Yet, he agreed to speak to the young man and inquire into his knowledge. He asked him questions, went deeper and deeper into the Talmud and its meaning. Later they spoke about Maimonides and his interpreters, and when Rabbi Meltzer saw that Rabbi Rubinstein is familiar with all the aspects of Maimonides, he took the draft again and started reading it seriously.

He studied the manuscript for a long time, and then he took his pen and willingly wrote: “I hereby acknowledge the initiative of Yechiel Rabinovitz to publish the books of Maimonides, vowelized, so that children and adult merchants will find it easy to study. Also, the knowledgeable Rabbi Shmuel Tanhum Levi Rubinstein has done well in adding a necessary, short interpretation, with sources and proofs, which will help readers. I am sure the readers will enjoy his comments, which have been composed with a lot of talent”. He finished by recommending all those who are interested in studies to “take this blessing into their home”.

Rubinstein continued to work on Maimonides' writings, even after he became the chief rabbi of Givatayim.

After the death of Rabbi Yechiel Rabinovitz, Mosad Harav Kook took the initiative to continue the publication of the new edition of Maimonides. This institution had already published other books from “Yad Hazaka” with Rubinstein's interpretation. To date, the following books have been published: “The Book of Knowledge”, “Love (of God)”, “Women” (for which Rubinstein was awarded with “Rabbi Kook Award” from the Tel–Aviv municipality in 1958), and “Separation”. “Civil Laws” was the last book of this edition of “Yad Hazaka”.

Apart from the books mentioned above, Rabbi Rubinstein published articles about the Torah in the monthly magazine “Sinai”, and papers of criticism and biographies in periodicals and newspapers.

For a few years, he taught Talmud in the “course for high Judaic Studies” for teachers in Tel–Aviv, under the leadership of Dr. David Levin. Nowadays he lectures in conferences on Oral Torah, organized by the “Rabbi Kook Institution” in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Shmuel Tanhum Levi Rubinstein is a popular rabbi, give talks and lessons to the public, in his region and beyond it. He is one of the few rabbis in Israel that is involved with the youth in his city, and once a month he prays in the youth Minyan established in Givatayim, mainly at his initiative, and talks with them afterwards.

(Cited from an article in “Ayin Beayin” [“Eye to Eye”], No. 51, December 19th, 1958.
This article was originally published in Hebrew.)


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Rabbi Shmuel Jacob Rubinstein

bt Shmuel Tanhum HaLevi Rubinstein, Givatyim's Rabbi

Translated by Ofra Anson

Edited by Yocheved Klausner

Rabbi Shmuel Jacob Rubinstein was born approximately in 1887. His father, Rabbi Jermya Menahem, was a Hasid of Lomazy, a disciple of Biala's Rabbi, the genius Rabbi Ze'ev Nahum Bornstein, the author of “Agudath Ezov” (a bundle of hyssop, O.A.), the father of Rabbi Avraham from Sochaczew, the author of “Avnei Nezer” (the Jewels in the Crown, O.A.).

Rabbi Shmuel Jacob was considered one of the best scholars in Biala. When he was young he studied under the genius Hasid Rabbi Noah Shahor from Biala, the father in law of the Rebbe Rabbi Avraham Mordhai from Ger, who died in Jerusalem in 1948.

With his father, Rabbi Shmuel went to the Rebbe Rabbi Zvi from Lomazy, the grandson of Rabbi Menahem Mendl from Kotsk. He stayed there to study for 26 years, a good scholar, sharp, and talented.

After the death of Rabbi Zvi from Lomazy, Rabbi Shmuel, together with his father, became the Hasidim of his son, Rabbi Avraham Pinhas Morgenstern from Siedlce. He remained faithful to him all his life. Others followed him and went to see the new Rebbe.

In 1931 (?) he went to Paris to visit his brother who settled there. He received a position in the “Ateret Cohanim” synagogue, also known as “Passage Kushner148;. In 1948 he received a position as a Rabbi in “Agudat Hakehilot” (the communities association, O.A.) in Paris, on Pove Street 10, replacing the late genius Rabbi Joel Leib Halevi Herzog (the father of the late genius Rabbi Yitzhak Halevi Herzog, the chief rabbi of Israel).

Rabbi Shmuel Jacob Rubinstein was not only a scholar, but also a prominent speaker and preacher, who attracted many Parisians who came to benefit from his knowledge and wisdom. He composed a book, “Sheerit Menahem” )Remnants of Comfort, O.A.), three volumes of interpretation based on the great Hasidic commentators, ordered according to the weekly portion of the Torah read in the synagogue.

In 1960 he published his second book, “Shemen LaNer” (Oil for the Candle, O.A.), two volumes of articles about Jewish laws and legends, updated to the current era. This book too, shows a rich mind and a thorough knowledge of Jewish literature.

In the summer of 1948 Rabbi Rubinstein visited Israel. He gave lectures in different places, and enchanted the public with his knowledge, sharp mind, and wisdom.

Rabbi Rubinstein would love to settle in Israel and end his life there in study and work, but he finds it difficult to leave his community in Paris, in which he has invested so much, before he finds an appropriate replacement.

(The article about Rabbi Shmuel Jacob Rubinstein was published in Hebrew, as sent by the author.)

 

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