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[Page 17]

Chapter Three

זְכֹר יְמוֹת עוֹלָם בִּינוּ שְׁנוֹת דֹּר וָדֹר שְׁאַל אָבִיךָ וְיַגֵּדְךָ זְקֵנֶיךָ וְיֹאמְרוּ לָךְ

“Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations;
ask thy father, and he will declare unto thee, thine elders, and they will tell thee”.

(Devorim 32:7)

The Religious Institutions of Csenger

As we mentioned, the Jewish institutions were a center of attraction for the Jewish community of Csenger. The highest authority was the Rov of the city, according to whose decisions everyone abided by. He wasn't only the spiritual leader of the community. His advice was sought regarding business affairs, and also if people wanted to purchase land or an orchard they would always consult him first. His opinion was also sought by people who wanted to marry off their children. If someone would become sick they knew that the Rov would arrange for him people to say “Tikkun Chatzos” (the lamentations which are said after midnight for the destruction of the Bais Hamikdosh).

The people of Csenger always turned to the Rov for guidance for many generations, and especially during the tenure of the great Rov, who wrote the sefer “Menuchas Osher”, whose name was Rav Osher Anshel Yungreis Ztl, who became famous because of the wonders that he performed. His children and his descendants served as Rabbis of the community. This illustrious dynasty did not only provide Rabbis and Dayanim (judges in Rabbinical court) for Csenger, but also for the cities throughout and outside of Hungary. One of his descendants was always chosen to be the Rov of Csenger and its suburbs, until the demise of this holy community.

The public institutions were the big shul that was centrally located, and was built in 1794 near the main square of the city. Next to it was the Jewish Public school, in whose building were the halls of the Talmud Torah and Cheder (school for young children).

In the courtyard of the big shul were the houses of the two shochtim (ritual slaughterers), the caretakers of the shul, and the large mikva. In the building next to the Jewish school one of the teachers of the Public school, and one of the teachers of the Cheder dwelled.

In the corridor of the shul there was a side entrance which led to the hall of the Cheder, in which the children who were between the ages of six and twelve were taught. There was a large hall in the building of the Public school in which the Cheder for the children between the ages of four was located. The teacher taught them the Alef Bais (Hebrew alphabet) before they commenced to the large Cheder where they were taught Chumash and Rashi, and the volumes of the Talmud which would be easy for them to understand.

In the years of l930-l932 a lot was purchased adjacent to the Public school, on which was built a beautiful building. That building housed one of the teachers of the Public school, and one of the teachers of the Talmud Torah.

The Jewish community of Csenger was given autonomy, and had the right to conduct its own marriages and divorces according to Jewish law, and the right to keep the records of its members. The Rabbis had the authority to be at the helm of the community, and they could record the births and deaths in special books in accordance with the laws of the country. They also had the right to issue certificates of births and deaths, and marriages and marriages and divorces.

cse018.jpg [33 KB] - The shul
The shul as it appeared together with part of the public school

The people who were chosen to lead the community were well versed in matters of religion and in those pertaining to day to day life. They served as the liaison between the community and the government. These managers of the Jewish community were chosen by the means of ballots.

At the head of the community was the Rosh Hakohol (Chairman) and his deputy, who had the right to take his place in his absence. Also the Gabbai of the shul (manager and collector of donations) and his deputy were chosen, and they could be relied upon in conducting the affairs of the community. They were mainly responsible for the arrangements during prayer time, and for the support and upkeep of the schools and other communal buildings. The Public school was financed by the Jewish community, but it was supervised by the network of the Hungarian government which directed the education system. A treasurer who was responsible to the Rosh Hakohol regarding the money of the community was also selected. According to the Gabbai's orders the funds were disbursed to cover the expenses, which included the salaries of the Rov, the teachers, and the shochtim.

Under the Gabbai's jurisdiction various expenditures that were first agreed upon by the Rosh Hakohol were covered. The directors of the community were chosen every two years.

A different group was chosen to manage the Chevrah Kadisha (people who take care of burials) whose obligation was to dispense charity, and tend to the cemetery. They were also entrusted with the responsibility of tending to the needs of the poor and sick of the city.

Opposite the shul and its surrounding area was the house of the Rov, that was built even before the shul was. There the Rov resided together with his family

There was also a building nearby which served as the Rov's own shul and Bais Medrash. It was here that the Rov headed a small Yeshiva for the young men of the city and its surrounding areas that were older than the students of elementary school age. In this Yeshiva, the student's studies were on a high level in Gemara (the Talmud) and Mishnayos.

There were other places where people gathered to pray other than the above mentioned ones. There were private homes where people davened, and also there was the house of the Chassidim who separated from the community because of their own customs. They davened according to “Nusach Sfard” which is different than “Nusach Ashkenaz” that the rest of the people in the community davened in for generations. They wanted to adapt the practices of the Chassidim, also in their manner of dress. They wore shtreimlach (a type of fur hat worn on Shabbos and Yom Tov) and beketches (long cloaks) that until then were not worn by most of the city's inhabitants.

Csenger had the status of an Orthodox community. It was known to the government as the “Orthodox autonomous community” of Csenger.

Every day and evening there were adults that gathered together to learn Gemara and Mishnayos, and there was a large library to accommodate them.

After the last surviving Jew left the city the government sold the lot where the shul stood, and the shul itself was torn down in the year 1963.

[Page 21]

Chapter Four

The Rabbonim of the Town

Written by Avrohom Yungreis

זְכֹר יְמוֹת עוֹלָם בִּינוּ שְׁנוֹת דֹּר וָדֹר שְׁאַל אָבִיךָ וְיַגֵּדְךָ זְקֵנֶיךָ וְיֹאמְרוּ לָךְ

“Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him: When thou lightest the lamps,
the seven lamps shall give light in front of the candlestick.“

(Bamidbar 8:2)

The words “El mul pnei hamenorah” (facing the middle of the menorah) adds up to the numerical value of Csenger and its surroundings in Hebrew, which is “Tchengr v'hagoleel”. (The seven great Rabbonim of Csenger were like the seven candles that illuminated the menorah in the Bais Hamikdosh).

~ The First Candle ~

The first Rov that we know about was the Gaon Rav Chaim Yechiel Ztl, the son of the Gaon Rav Yosaif Shtarzyab Ztl, who was one of the outstanding students of the great Gaon Rav Yonasan. (This is probably Rav Yonasan Eibshitz Ztl, the renowned Rov of Altuna, Hamburg, and Wansbeck whom people usually referred to as “Rav Yonasan”). Even after researching into the biographical books of the great Rabbonim, unfortunately, I could not find too many details about his life.

~ The Second Candle ~

The next Rov to fill the position was the great Gaon Rav Moshe Shpitz Halevi Ztl, the son of Rav Leyzer Shpitz Ztl, who was a grandson of the “Chavas Yo'eer” and the Maharal of Prague (Rav Yehuda Lowy Ztl). He was a disciple of the “Noda b'Yehuda” (Rav Yechezkel Landau, the Rov of Prague), the Baal Haflo'oh (who was known as Rav Pinchos the “Baal Haflo'oh” and was a Rov in Frankfurt), and the great, illustrious Gaon, Rav Nosson Adler Ztl (also the Rov of Frankfurt).

At the age of eighteen he married the daughter of the Rov of Krolee, Hungary, Rav Moshe Aryeh Ostreicher Ztl.

He was the Rov of the city for twenty six years, after which he passed away on Friday, the 25th day of Tammuz in the year 1818, at the age of fifty seven. On that day he requested to have a minyan come to his house to daven Mincha. He asked for the students of the Yeshiva, and the scholars of Csenger to come to his house, and he lectured to them in a most powerful manner, an erudition and a “chiluka d'Rabonon” (differences of opinion among the Talmudic sages) on the complex topic of (Baba Basra 22) “Rov v'korov” (whether close proximity overrides the majority or the majority overrides close proximity).

After this he asked that the Kohanim should leave his room. He felt that he was soon going to depart this world. As soon as the Kohanim left the room, he returned his holy soul to the Creator.

After he passed away, upon searching his belongings, a note which he wrote was found, and it said: “Behold, it is in the topic of “Rov v'korov” which I have explained in detail in this year which the Al-mighty has strengthened me, and I give thanks publicly, that someone who is like dust (this is how he is evaluating himself) should merit this. I trust that the Rambam and the other holy righteous departed ones will come to meet me, after I depart this world.”

It was through the intervention of Divine Providence that that generation merited to have Rav Moshe Shpitz Ztl in their midst. His father, Rav Leizer Shpitz married a modest woman whose parents were married for fifteen years, in the city of Alt Oben in Oboda, and were childless. They decided to separate, and go to their former places of residence, after reaching a compromise with each other. One night they both had the same identical dream in which they were both told to return to live with each other. They were told that they will merit to have a child who will be a great “luminary”, and that they should name him Shmuel. He was the great renowned Gaon, Rav Shmuel Preizes, the Rov of Oboda, in Alt Oben. After that a daughter by the name of Sahara was born to them. She was the righteous Rebbetzin of Rav Leizer Shpitz Ztl, who was the father of our Rov, Rav Moshe Shpitz.

~ The Third Candle ~

After Rav Moshe Shpitz passed away, the Al-mighty provided for our city, the great Gaon, Rav Yonasan Binyomin Ostreicher Ztl, the son of the holy man, the righteous one of the generation, Rav Moshe Aryeh Ostriecher Ztl, the brother-in-law of our Rov, Rav Moshe Shpitz.

His greatness, thanks to the upbringing that he received from his father, was obtained miraculously. His father, Rav Moshe Aryeh Ostreicher Ztl, was the grandson of the first Rov of Naga Karol. He was chosen to be the Chief Rov of the districts of Satmar, Silagy, Saboltch, through a very righteous Gentile who had the utmost respect for him who was known as the Count Karoly Shendar, who had brought him to these cities from Vienna, and who donated from his own money for the needs of the Rov and his household and the communities that he served in.

Rav Moshe Ostreicher set up his residence in the city of Pyatch, and after Shabbos he traveled to Ndodvar, and then to Nirbatur, and then to the city of Kroly. This was part of a routine tour. He had spent Shabbos in a storekeeper's house, and then partook of a se'udah (meal) for Melava Malka (a meal which is eaten after Shabbos).

During this time a Christian girl was murdered by a man who she had been friendly with, but then had decided to terminate the friendship. The blood libel which was known to circulate in olden days, was again invoked, and the Rov was accused of murdering the girl in order to put her blood in the wine used for the “Melava Malka”. This accusation was quickly relayed to the District court, and the Rov was sentenced, without any trial, and in his absence, to death by hanging. This verdict was announced by the judges one day before the eve of Yom Kippur, at the time that the Rov had already returned from his tour to his family.

The news of this evil decree spread quickly and reached the cities of Nagi Varod as soon as the residents were getting ready for the prayer of “Kol Nidrei”. Since a person's life has priority over Yom Kippur, it was decided to quickly send a messenger to the Rov who was then in Kroly. A horse was provided for one of the Jewish congregants, and in order that he shouldn't arouse suspicion, he hid his beard and sidelocks behind a veil, and he quickly galloped to the city of Kroly. He first reached Kroly on Yom Kippur after sunset.

The voice of Rav Moshe Aryeh, as he was davening Ne'ilah filled everyone with fear and awe, and it also reached the ears of the messenger. As soon as he got to the shul he quickly jumped off his horse, and removed the covering from his face, and with quick steps, pushed his way through the crowd, and cried out to the Rabbi to stop davening immediately. He told him that his life is in danger, and the honor of the Jews is also at stake. The people in shul were shocked, but the Rov continued to concentrate on the davening, without paying attention to all that was taking place. After the Rov finished davening Ne'ilah, people begged him to leave immediately. The Rov felt that if he would leave it would seem as if he agrees to the accusation. After many entreaties, he finally agreed to leave, and the congregation provided him with a chariot that was harnessed to speedy horses, and after eight days, he reached Vienna, the capital city (of Austria-Hungary).

The Rov had a brother in Vienna, who was known as Dr. Yosaif Menashe Ostreicher, and was the royal physician. He welcomed the Rov with much honor. He intervened with the king, and after a year, his efforts were finally rewarded, and the Rov was given a right to a trial. After questioning and cross-examining, the judges realized that the accusations against him were false, and the one who really committed the crime, was executed.

When he petitioned the king to allow him to have another trial (since he was tried in his absence) he wrote “Your majesty, fulfill your promise truthfully to the sons of Yaakov”. The Rov was quoting a possuk in Michah (7:20) תִּתֵּן אֱמֶת לְיַעֲקֹב חֶסֶד לְאַבְרָהָם אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתָּ לַאֲבֹתֵינוּ מִימֵי קֶדֶם (The prophet Michah is beseeching Hashem to fulfill his promises to the children of Yaakov, and here the Rov was beseeching the king, to treat him with justice).

Our Rov, Rav Yonasan Binyomin, was raised subsequently by his holy brother, and in addition to his greatness in Torah, he was known as a person who performed miracles, and was very knowledgeable in medicine.

When he was still an infant in the cradle, the holy Rabbi, Rav Levi Yitzchok of Barditchev came to visit his father. When his father heard that he was coming, he made sure not to be home, since he was opposed to the Chassidim, (and Rav Levi Yitzchok was very prominent among them). At the behest of Rav Yonasan Binyomin's mother, Rav Levi Yitzchok blessed him, and endowed him with his spirituality and holiness. Before leaving he smiled and said that he paid back Rav Moshe in kind. He said that the child who is now in the cradle will grow up to be one of the famous Chassidic Rabbis. This is just what happened.

The following is a famous episode that took place when Rav Yonasan Binyomin was only five years old. Before the holiday of the Spring arrives, the church bells stop ringing, and they are covered up, and hidden from view. The members are told that the bells are in Rome, being anointed by the Pope. He wanted to publicly disprove this fantasy, and therefore he embarked on a plan. He climbed up the ladder that was in back of the church, and after he located the bell, he tied it with a rope. He tied the other end of this rope to a dog. Every time the dog tried to free himself, the church bell kept ringing constantly.

The members of the church started kneeling with fright thinking that the bell was found to be not suitable and made its way back to them from Rome ahead of time.

(The writer says that his lot was cast among those who merited to get a wife from the descendants of our Rov. This is my partner in life who is a very clever and kindhearted person, and does a lot of good for people. Her name is Dacha the daughter of the tzaddik (righteous man) Rav Chaim Aharon Ostreicher, may Hashem avenge his blood, who was a direct descendant of the Rov of Csenger Rav Yonoson Binyom Ostreicher. My gifted son, Yonoson Binyomin, who was born in my old age, is named after him).

~ The Fourth Candle of the Menorah ~

Adds up to the numerical value of Osher Anshel

וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם רְבִיעִי

“And Hashem said 'Let there be lights in the heavens to illuminate the earth'.
And it was evening and morning and then came the fourth day”

(Berashies 1:19)

These lights refer to the holy man of G-d, the wonder of the generation, Rav Osher Anshel Halevi Yungreis Ztl.

He was born in the city of Setcha, in the district of Nograd, in the year l806. His father was Rav Shmuel Halevi of Papa, Hungary Ztl, the son of the great Rov, Rav Yitzchok Halevi of Papa Ztl, who was a scion of forty generations of great and holy Rabbis, and a link in the illustrious chain of so many great Poskim (Rabbis who render Halachic decisions) which was uninterrupted for forty generations, thus illuminating the world with their righteousness.

The mother of our Rov, the “Menuchas Osher”, the righteous woman named Miriam Yittel, of blessed memory, was the daughter of the Gaon, Rav Osher Anshel Viener Ztl, the great disciple of the “Kreysee U'pley'see” (The Rov of Altuna, Hamburg and Wansbeck, Rav Yonoson Eibshitz. The book that Rav Yonasan Eibshitz Ztl, wrote on the part of the Shulchan Oruch (code of Jewish law) named Yoreh Deya is called “Kreysee U'pley'see”).

cse026.jpg [30 KB] - The Tchengerer Rov
The Tchengerer Rov,
the “Menuchas Osher”

Rav Osher Anshel Viener Ztl was a scion of the dynasty of Rav Shimshon Viener (known as Rav Shimshon Vertheimer) who was the chief Rabbi of Austria-Hungary and the finance minister of the Emperor Leopold; and a link in generations of holy people who could trace their ancestry back to Dovid HaMelech (the King Dovid).

In his youth it was obvious to all that he was destined for greatness. At the time that other children would play with stones and toys, he would roll up a paper into the shape of a Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll) and sway over it, as if he would be reading from the Torah. When he was five years old, and his father, the great Gaon and Tzaddik was sitting up at night and learning, he saw him standing in his bed and laughing. When his father asked him what was the reason for this he told him that he dreamt that he was in shul and he saw Avrohom Oveenu and Eliyohu Hanavi, each in a separate corner. He didn't know whether to greet Eliyohu Hanavi first, as it says that the person who sees him in a dream and greets him is fortunate, or to greet Avrohom Oveenu first, as he is older. After contemplating it in his mind, he decided first to greet Eliyohu Hanavi, since Avrohom Oveenu is a good father, and will forgive him.

He was raised by his holy father until the age of thirteen, upon which he traveled to a city in Dyarmat near Tetche to learn in the Yeshiva of the famous Rov and light of the Diaspora, Rav Meyer Ash. He studied there for twenty six years. Then he went to the city of Verboi, to the Yeshiva of Rav Koppel Chorif where he spent five years. When he went to that Yeshiva he was still a young boy of fifteen years old. During the first shiur (lecture) there was a discussion in great depth concerning one of the Talmudic topics, in which he participated. All that were present were very impressed with his sharpness. After the lecture was over the Rov asked him to come to his room, and there was a tailor there who took his measurements. He couldn't understand why the Rov was doing this. So he told him that a boy who is young in years, yet old in wisdom should be dressed with honorable clothing that suits his stature.

Prior to his marriage he would fast for a stretch of three days, all the while learning very diligently day and night. He used to leave a piece of bread inside his hat, with which he would break his fast at the end of three days. After this he would again resume fasting straight for three days, and learning all the while.

During the course of time, when he was old enough to get married, he visited his uncle, the great and holy Gaon, Rav Nosson Shapiro Ztl, the Rov of Almashd, and it was there that he married his wife, the righteous woman Necha, the daughter of the wonder of the generation, Rav Meyer of Almash, who was the Rov of Mattesdorf, Hungary. He was supported by his father-in-law for five years, after which he visited the Chasam Sofer (Rav Moshe Sofer) who was the Rov and Rosh Yeshiva of Pressburg, Hungary.

The Chasam Sofer wanted him to remain in his house, and help him out when he would have to reply to Halachic questions. He wanted very much that they should learn together, because he admired him greatly. However, the Chasam Sofer could not support him adequately. That year (l834) the city of Csenger had crowned him as their Rov.

In the year of l848, he began to excel in the study of medicine and in the wonders of creation. (It is known that the angel Refoel appeared to him and gave him a book of cures). People flocked to him from far and wide, and his reputation spread even beyond the borders of Hungary. With his great wisdom and righteousness he performed wonders and was able to help all those that turned to him. It was evident that he was chosen by the Creator to heal the sick who were chronically ill, and whom the doctors couldn't help.

The throngs of visitors to his house didn't stop, and among them non-Jews were included. One day a man came to his house who was dressed simply, and asked to speak to him very quickly. The Rebbetzin didn't want to let him in the house so that he doesn't disturb her husband from learning. After a few hours, the man returned and begged to meet the Rov for only a few minutes. He went into the Rov's study without permission. He whispered to the Rov that he has a medicine for him. When he saw that the Rov was engrossed in learning and didn't pay attention to him, he wrote something on a paper, and blessed him and disappeared.

On the following day a horse-drawn carriage covered with silver pulled up in front of the Rov's house. In it was a non-Jewish nobleman, who was called by the title “Count”, who was unable to stand. The doctors were not successful in finding a cure for him. The nobleman heard that the Rov of Csenger was a holy man, who could heal sick people, and he lost no time in asking his servants to bring him to the Rov. The Rov didn't think he had a cure for him, until he chanced to look on the note which was written on his table. He was not aware of this cure until then, and ordered it straight from the pharmacy. This was the cure needed for the sick nobleman. Upon taking the medicine he was instantly cured, and he took leave of the Rov, bowing to him in reverence .Then the Rov said that the unknown stranger who had come the day before to him and wrote down this cure was the angel Refoel who had taught him Medicine.

He cured people with the power of the Holy Torah. He would take the prescriptions that he wrote and feel them with his hands before giving them to the sick people that came to him. At one time a Jewish man had fallen out of the carriage he was in, and his insides became detached. The unfortunate man was unable to move, and a few doctors were alarmed and came to help him. It was to no avail. People asked the Rov to help him. He came over and arranged his insides the same way they were prior to the fall. All those that gathered around them were amazed. The Rov told them that they shouldn't be surprised, as the hand that touches seforim for so many years could merit to heal people.

The pharmacy of Csenger was owned by a Gentile to whom the Rov sent the sick with the prescriptions that he wrote for them. The owner became very wealthy, and in his old age he sold the pharmacy to a younger person.

When people came to him with the prescriptions from the Rov, he saw that he didn't have the medicines which the Rov prescribed. He realized he would have to go to Budapest to obtain them. He realized that it would be a big expense for him to have to travel to Budapest and deliver so many required medicines from there. He complained to the man who sold him the pharmacy that he cheated him. The man asked him whether Rav Yungreis is still in Csenger. He answered that he is. He asked him whether he is still prescribing medicine for sick people, and he answered that he does. However, he said that most of those medicines are not available in the pharmacy and he has to travel to Budapest to get them.

The seller then told him that he forgot to tell him that he also didn't have the required medicines needed to fill the Rov's prescriptions. However, he never sent anyone away empty-handed. He always gave them the medicine which is called “Lakritzwater”, which cannot harm anybody. He said that he realized that the cure didn't come from the medicines, but from the prayers and the merit of the holy Csenger Rov. It is his blessing that cures people. In order to hide it, he clothes his wonders with using natural means such as prescribing cures. “It is for this reason that the cures I told you about can help people,” he said to him.

It is not possible to relate how much financial help he extended to people, and the amount of charity he gave was phenomenal. He married off orphans, and supported widows, and sent vast sums of money to Eretz Yisroel. After he passed away, there were receipts that were discovered that people mailed to him in the amount of twenty five thousand gold coins, and others estimate that he might even have dispensed even more than one hundred thousand gold coins, which was a huge sum in those days.

He was very humble, and didn't think highly of himself at all. He behaved with humility even toward people who were very simple. He would hug and kiss G-d fearing scholars, and he taught thousands of students. Among his students were Rabbonim who served in various communities.

He fasted one third of his life. Whenever hard times befell the Jewish people, or someone was seriously sick, he wouldn't eat all day, but would fast and learn with others, and say Tehillim together with many people, thereby crying bitterly.

He didn't join people for any festive occasion, and didn't leave his house to partake in weddings or any joyous occasions.

He used to keep up a correspondence with the great Rov, Rav Meyer of Premishlan, who ordered that a siddur should be written by hand for the Rov of Csenger. He sent it to him, so that he should pray from it.

He had a phenomenal memory. If he saw someone only once he would always remember him. Among the guests that came to him there was a man who had received a sizable donation from him. When the man appeared in his shul a second time, he gave him more money. The man asked him why he is giving him a second donation. He answered him that forty years ago when he was a student of Rav Meyer Ash Ztl, he was going back home by foot, and he slept over in his house when he passed by the village he lived in. He slept near the stove in a very narrow space, and accidentally knocked down a whole pot which contained coffee. The coffee completely spilled. Now that he remembered it (and the guest also was reminded of it), he feels the time has come to reimburse him for this. As he was speaking, he described to him the house that he lived in, and its location with all the details.

Many times thoughts of Torah and new insights would enter his mind, when he wasn't even thinking about them. He thought that he had seen them in one of the seforim that he learned. After searching for them, he couldn't locate them. There were many times that he would begin lecturing to his students in great depth for hours at a time, and it was unbelievable that while he was speaking to them, he just chanced upon these new insights. He remarked to his students that we know from the Talmud that before a child is born, an angel teaches him the whole Torah. He reasoned that that's where he learned the new facts which he had just presented, and since he didn't forget them, he didn't have to toil in order to attain new approaches in learning. As he spoke he was like a stream of water that gets stronger and stronger, and like a river which flows endlessly.

He led his flock, the community of Csenger for forty years, from l834-l874 until he was called to join the Heavenly Academy in the fifth of the month of Kislev. His pure soul departed the world in holiness without pain. All Jewry mourned him, and all the great Rabbis eulogized him, everywhere that the news about the fact that the Holy Ark was taken away was heard.

~ The Fifth Candle ~

After Rav Asher Anshel Yungreis Ztl ascended Heavenward in the year l874 the community of Csenger announced in the presence of the great Rabbis who were there that they are appointing his son, Rav Avrohom Halevi to fill his father's place. Rav Avrohom, in his great humility, didn't want to accept the offer, but after much urging was persuaded to take upon himself the yoke of the Rabbinate.

He was born in Csenger and named after his holy uncle, the Gaon Rav Avrohom Viener Fasselburg Ztl, who took over the Rabbinate in Mishkoltz after his father passed away. His father was the holy Gaon Rav Osher Anshel Viener, Ztl, the grandfather of the “Menuchas Osher”. Every time people mentioned his name they referred to him as the “holy Gaon”, because every aspect of his behavior since he was a child bespoke holiness and purity. He was raised by his father the “Menuchas Osher”, who didn't allow him to go learn in Yeshivos, and supervised him to a great extent.

The throngs of visitors that came to Csenger didn't cease even after the passing of his holy father, and people flocked to him for advice and for cures. Rav Avrohom, didn't want to accept upon himself the crown of the Rabbinate, and considered it to be a burden. It was only after people pleaded with him a lot, that he agreed to override his desire for the benefit of the public, and he was the Rov of Csenger for thirty years. For over forty years he was a Rosh Yeshiva, and he had many disciples, a great number of whom became Rabbis and Poskim.

Like his holy father, he would fast for three days in one stretch. This was a fact that he hid from people, and no one knew about it until his old age, when something happened that the secret became divulged. Like a father who has pity on his children, he did all that he possibly could to assist everyone that came to him with their problems. He dispensed much more charity than he could afford.

However, regarding all matters that pertained to the honor of the Al-mighty, he wouldn't give in to anyone. His would fill his heart with pride in order to uphold the teachings of the Al-mighty. On the other hand, his love for people, and his efforts to be mekarev them (draw them close to Torah) knew no bounds.

Whenever he spoke with people, he addressed them with an abundance of friendship, which exceeded the usual level of courtesy, no matter what the social standing of the person was. This pertained to matters concerning individuals or many people.

How glorious were the times when “his voice was heard when he came into the holy place (shul)” (These Hebrew words are based on the possuk in Shemos (28:35) where the Torah speaks about the Kohain Godol wearing a garment called “me'il” which had bells and pomegranates, so that when he entered the Bais Hamikdosh their sounds should be heard. So too, the voice of the Rov of Csenger resounded with holiness to lecture to the people of his community, thereby drawing their hearts closer to Our Father in Heaven. When they heard his voice, from which sparks of fire emanated, the tears would flow like a river.

cse032.jpg [32 KB] - Rav Avrohom Halevi Yungreis
Rav Avrohom Halevi Yungreis Ztl
The Rov of Csenger

Once when he was travelling somewhere to attend to matters concerning the community, he was stuck on the road before Shabbos Hagodol (the Shabbos before Pesach), and decided to spend Shabbos in the home of Rav Naftoli Hertzka, the Rov of Ratzfert, Hungary, who was a student of his father, the “Menuchas Osher”.

When the time of the sermon which is customary for the Rov to give on Shabbos Hagodol arrived, the Rov ascended the platform and said: My dear brothers, and friends, now the time of the sermon has come. However, since we have a great luminary in our midst today, who is the son of my teacher and Rabbi, the “Menuchas Osher”, he will take my place, and you and I will listen.

Then the Rov of Ratzfert descended from the platform, and escorted my grandfather on his way up.

When he was paying a routine visit to his older brother, Rav Moshe Nosson, the Rov of Tiso Fi'red, all the students of the Yeshiva of the town accompanied him when he left to go back to Csenger. Before he reached the gate of the courtyard, he placed many coins into a pocket of his that was torn, and the coins started falling on the ground. The students of the Yeshiva started exclaiming loudly that he was losing his money. He smiled at them and said that it was alright, and they could take the money for themselves.

During most of the years of his life, he suffered from painful illnesses, but he bore his pain with love. A few minutes before he passed away, he walked through every room in his house, thereby kissing the mezuzos. He changed his clothing, and washed his pure hands, and entered the room of his father, the “Menuchas Osher”. He laid down on his bed, and returned his pure and holy soul to the Creator on the nineteenth day of Sivan, l904. May his soul be tied to the bond of Eternal Life.

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