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[Page 127]

at the Slabodka Yeshiva, the great rabbinical leader and rabbi of Brisk, Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik came to the yeshiva for a visit. As was customary, hundreds of students came to visit him at the Dagmar Hotel. When I went there and mentioned my father's name, R. Chaim answered, “Oh, R. Eliyahu, he's a dear person!”

[Photo:] R. Eliyahu Goldman, father of Rabbi Yehuda David Goldman

        My grandfather had only one brother known as Zissel R. Tzemach's. His full name was R. Alexander Ziskind, and was named after the author of the great scholar from Grodno who wrote Yesod Shoreseh Ha'avodah [Principles of the Base of Divine Service]. My grandfather's brother, R. Zissel, was also the father of my father-in-law, Rabbi Mordechai Zundel Rubenstein, who studied together on Volozhin with the great scholars, R. Moshe Mordechai Epstein and my teacher, R. Baruch Ber Leibovitz. My father-in-law was also the author of many books, including The Jewish Man and My Travels in Russia.

My grandfather, R. Yossel, died at the height of the First World War under a hail of bullets that fell on Drohitchin on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, 1915. Together with the rest of the Jews, my grandfather ran for shelter into the trench on the Vion. On the last night of the battle he left the trench and went into a nearby house (belonging to Sanny the Pot Maker) where he gave up his holy soul. Together with my uncle Yitzchak Efraim's, my father, R. Eliyahu, who was also in Drohitchin at that time, buried my grandfather in the old cemetery near the graves of the martyrs of Osevitz. Later, when my wife, child and I returned from Motele (where we saw the arrival of the Germans), I and Zeidel Steinberg (the son of Naftali the teacher) built a structure over the grave of my grandfather.

        As mentioned, my uncle Yitzchak Efraim's, was known as Yitzchak, the Mishiver and was a land tenant. Among other estates, he leased the Stanislav and Rakum estates. Yitzchak Efraim's was a major community leader in Drohitchin.

        At his death my grandfather was about 90 years old, and had been in Drohitchin for more than 60 years, and was respected and admired by everyone with mere mention of his name. His photo still hangs in the homes of many Drohitchin Jews living in the United States. He was one of the finest individuals ever produced in the Polesia region. In addition to being a great teacher, he also got along well with people; he had a shining countenance and a constant smile on his face. He never became angry, and always tried to judge people favorably. He was our pride. I remember how on one eve of Yom Kippur our entire family, young and old, would go to Grandfather for a blessing. He would lay his hands on each person's head and would bless us with tears in his eyes.

        As stated above, my grandfather had four sons and one daughter, none of whom are still living. However, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren currently lived in Israel, New York, Philadelphia, Virginia, St. Joseph, Missouri and Chicago.It can be said about our grandfather that the glory of the children is their parents.

[Page 128]

Yisrael Baruch Warshavsky

photo: Rabbi David Mordechai Yudovsky]

Died in 1913

The great Rabbi David Mordechai Yudovsky died on the first day of Shavuot, at the age of 46. He was a rabbi in Drohitchin for 12 years, and we loved him greatly, because in addition to the fact that he was a great scholar and a famous speaker, he excelled in personal character traits and good deeds. In order to accurately describe Rabbi Yudovsky, I would like to relate his biography.

        The great Rabbi David Mordechai Yudovsky was born in Kuznitza, a small town near Grodno, to poor parents. In his youth he already demonstrated great devotion to his religious studies, and when he decided to travel to the Volozhin Yeshiva without any financial means to do so, he decided to walk to Volzhin by foot, without even a morsel of bread to stave off his hunger. When he arrived at the Yeshiva, the head of the school was Rabbi Zvi Leib, and Rabbi Yudovsky became known as the Scholar from Kuznitza.

        He arrived in Drohitchin 26 years ago, when he was a newly married young man. At that time no one even knew where he came from or how he ended up in Drohitchin. All we knew was that the “ascetic” (as he was known in town) studied Torah night and day. He had a permanent place to study in the old House of Study near the oven where he studied with intense devotion. Once in a while he would get up and stroll around the House of Study, behind the Torah-reading platform, and then return to his seat and his books. He would only separate himself from his books during prayer services, at which time he used to stand behind the Torah-reading platform and pray quietly and modestly without anyone even noticing him.

        During this 14-year period, his single goal was to absorb as many books as possible without expecting a rabbinical post. People felt that Rabbi Yudovsky himself was a book together with the rest of the books surrounding him. He earned a livelihood from the community and usually lived on the edge of poverty. Then his situation changed, which led to his untimely death.

        The old rabbi in town traveled off to Palestine, and was replaced by his son-in-law. This led to the community being divided into two camps. One side chose the rabbi's son-in-law as rabbi. The late Rabbi Yudovsky had to put up with a great deal from his own followers who wouldn't stop at anything. In fact, there were even many cases of informing on other Jews to the gentile authorities, and people were feeling intense fear and suffering. However, it soon ended, and even the opponents had to keep quiet; many even eventually became good friends of the rabbi.

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