by A. Shmualy
The Admor (title of a Hassidic rabbi), Rabbi Shelomenu Friedman, of blessed
memory, who died in Tel-Aviv, was the fourth link in the dynasty of the house
The first link on the chain was Rabbi David Moshe, son of Rabbi Israel from
Rozin. Rabbi Israel said about his sons, that they were like the six
orders of the Mishna. And also said, that Rabbi David Moshe was against
the sanctified order because he excelled in his holiness, way above
Like his father, Rabbi David Moshe, he ran his court in royal manners. In the
gloom of the Diaspora, he inflamed the hearts of his Hassidim, and encouraged
them to seek salvation. Like a descendent of the royal house of
David, he waved the royal flag in front of their eyes, and from Rabbi
Moshe's Palace in Chortkov, he aroused the yearning among his
followers for the renewal of the royal house of David.
His Hassidim knew, that Rabbi Israel from Rozin taught his sons: to wear
shiny lacquered shoes from the outside, but without their soles on the
bottom. And like his father, Rabbi David Moshe, he felt the sorrow and
the pain of the Jewish people, while he was walking in his magnificent palace
and his ornamental garden. From the outside, his lacquered shined, but at the
bottom his bare feet stood on frozen snow. For all to see, there was comfort
and abundance, but when no one was looking, there was fasting and self torture.
The leader of Israel
During the days of the second rabbi, Rabbi Israel, son of Rabbi David Moshe,
there was a change in the chronicle order. Innocent people were lost, and the
confident among them left. Education, spread like a fire among the
young generation, destroying values and traditions. Rabbi Israel stood against
it, he checked his house, strengthened his ranks, welcomed the young
generation, and continued to run his kingdom with a strong arm.
During the First World War, the palace in Chortkov was destroyed, and the
court was moved to the royal city of Vienna. The court,
on 11 Heina Street, turned into a source of comfort and salvation. Many
Hassidim looked up to their Rabbi, who lived in comfort in the capital city of
Austria. Many told of wonders and miracles. Those stories were not told by lazy
people, but by wise Jews, Torah scholars and dedicated Hassidim. And while they
were talking, remembering Chortkov, their wide eyebrows were shaking in awe to
During that time, Agudat Israel Movement was established, and the
big conference took place in Vienna.
The rabbi from Chortkov gave a helping hand to the organizers of the new
orthodox Jewry movement. He took part in the conference and also influenced its
discussions and resolutions.
For thirty successive years, from 1904 to 1934, he set on his
chair, and every year his stature as the nation's leader was
When the rabbi died in 1934 he had two sons, the first Rabbi Nachum Mordechai,
and the second Rabbi Bar who died a short time after his father's passing.
Sitting on the rabbinical chair was the third link to the dynasty,
Rabbi Nachum Mordechai.
In the tradition of his ancestors, his manners were also royal manners. His
delicate personality charmed those near and far, and was expressed during the
years of misery and depravations, sadness and pain. During the days of the
horrible Holocaust. At the same time, the palace in Vienna was destroyed, the
house of Chortkov fell, and most of Chortkov's loyal soldiers were
burned in Nazi's crematories.
Rabbi Nachom Mordechai settled in Tel-Aviv. He lived in a modest apartment near
a small synagogue, that synagogue that served as gathering place for the few
from Chortkov who survived. Located there, was the small pure silver Holy Ark
and the pure silver table, on which the notes that the Hassidim
wrote, announcing themselves to the rabbi, were collected. From there, Rabbi
Nachum Mordechai watched the masses of Jews walking to their death. Depressed,
with a broken heart, he sat on his chair, and at old age succumbed to an
In an uncomforted generation, full of miseries and sorrow, died the third link
to the house of Chortkov.
Pillar of truth
Time arrived for Rabbi Shlomenu – and he declined. With grace and royalty he
walked among the old Hassidim, the lucky among them, were blessed by the old
rabbi, Rabbi David Moshe. But he did not want to be their rabbi. Even though
they asked him, with fear and love, to sit on Chortkov's chair. They wanted him
to be their rabbi because they saw in his personality the vision of his
righteous ancestors. Many stopped and stared at Rabbi Slomenu when he walked in
the city's streets.
The rabbi was extremely generous, and that secret was well know to
the charity collectors in the country. He excelled with his love to Israel. He
watched the events that were unfolding in the country from his room, surrounded
by his ancient books and candelabras. In addition to his love of Israel, he
also loved mankind.
With his departure, the dynasty of the house of Chortkov came to an end, and
the crown was orphaned.
The Chortkover Rebbe
Sidney C. Gelb
From my earliest youth the name Chortkov was for me like magic. My father, a
rich man, and a scholar had suddenly heard that the Harnastipeler Rebbe had made
Aliyah to see the aged Chortkover Rebbe. Rev. David Moshe was the youngest son
from Rizshiner. My father used to return each time an elated and fortunate for
a visit by
the Rebbe. I have in my childhood seen many Rabbi's - the Tsharnabiler, the
Makaraver, the Rachmastrikivker, the Skvarer, the Staliner - and they were to me
human beings, born of women. But the Chortkover to me shines in a special
from a distant, undreamed world, in deeds without legends for the Rizshiner and
My father has once told that the Rizshiner said that one of their sons would
messiah (Mashiach). Thus from all the Rizshiner their remained only one son, The
youngest, Reb. David Moshe from Chortkov, and it was clear that he would bring
Mashiach. My father used to also tell about the great wealth of the Chortkover
from the "Agroud" (kindergarten), from the shteibel with its cheder, from the
chamber which was entirely gilded. It is clear that when my father decided to
to the first time to Chortkov, and thus warned me about the bad influence of the
freethinkers with the Mishkalim, and Zionists and it was for me,for a 12 year
was a great experience.
The Journey alone was for me amazing, but beyond my wonder was revealed before
eyes when I saw the Chortkover yard, which was truly a palace and the entire
spaciousness and opulence of it. There was no limit to my enthusiasm.
In Chortkov I saw the old Reb David Moshe, who appeared like an angel
and pure spirituality. I also saw Reb Yisraelitze, Reb David Mashas son, who had
already had a wonderful stately appearance and a pleasant self understanding.
Yisraelitze had previously himself many admirers. I remember very well to this
the "young" Chortkover received my father and me , in his salon and engaged in
(or meaningful) conversation with my father and different subjects and he
affection at the youth who had come from Kiev to the Rabbi's yard.
I was once in the Chortkover Hoyf and the Chasidim called me "the old Chasid"
third trip to the Rabbinate., when I came upon a story and I became eye witness
Chasids said "the youngster once saw a strong light, which harmed him!"
Years have passed, the Old Chortkover didn't wait for the Mesheach and went
Israel. Afterwards came years of the first World War and the audacious
Hoyf where thousands of Jews dovined and danced with abandon became filled with
Cossacks and in the Hoyf and the Shteibel they installed horses.
The Rebbe and his family moved to Vienna in exile.
Several years ago (the article was published in the "Chortkover Yarein") - I
Vienna for the "Pan Club" Congress and I decided to go to see the Chortkover.
Rebbe had really not received anyone while he was not in the best of health,
he heard the son of Reb Israel Meisel wanted to see him, he had me brought in
We sat for half an hour and conversed about affairs of the world. I was
astounded at the
proficiency with which the Chortkover expounded on every aspect of Jewish and
How the years fly by!
So soon the "young" Chortkover is 77 years old, also in the way we cannot go
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