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[ Page 129 ]

        The problems that Rabbi Yudovsky experienced slowly had their effect on his health, and he later became ill with tremendous physical suffering. Three months ago, Rabbi Yudovsky came down with TB, which eventually took his life.

        The death of Rabbi David Mordechai Yudovsky was an irreplaceable loss. We lost both a great Torah scholar and a good friend of everybody. He had a place in his heart for everyone, and shared every person's problems. He always offered a consoling word for anybody. Any out-of-town visitor or downtrodden person would find his way to Rabbi Yudovsky, who would never ignore anyone, no matter how unknown that person was to him. He was a person who was willing to give large amounts of charity with a full hand even when he scarcely had enough for himself.

[Photo:] Mrs. Rachel Yudovsky, wife of Rabbi Yudovsky

        Rabbi Yudovsky never wavered from the truth, even when it pertained to his own benefit, as the following case illustrates: When he was asked if there was anything that his own family needed, he responded that he didn't need anything, since G-d would not abandon them just like he hadn't abandoned him. When he was asked if his son-in-law was suitable to become a rabbi, he responded that although he was a great scholar and was suitable, he warned that his son-in-law could not become a rabbi without the agreement of the greatest scholars.


        Some time later, Rabbi Yudovsky's son-in-law Rabbi Noach Kohn, replaced his father-in-law, and assumed the rabbinical post on the “Polish side” in Drohitchin until 1929, when he and his family moved to the United States.

        Rabbi Yudovsky's wife and two daughters arrived in the United States before World War I and settled in Baltimore. Their only son, Moshe, remained in Poland where he studied in the yeshivas. His last yeshiva was in Vilna, where he shared the fate of the rest of the Jews of Vilna.

        Zalman Shevinsky, a member of the “Polish side,” told the following story about Rabbi Yudovsky:

        Rabbi Mordechai Yudovsky received a letter of rabbinical appointment from a certain town that wanted to invite him to leave Drohitchin. In cooperation with the business leaders, he called a meeting to discuss the issue. All invited businessmen came to the meeting on time; they were gathered in the synagogue, and were waiting for the rabbi to come out of his private room. They continued to sit and wait, but it got late and the rabbi didn't come out. R. Nachum Shevinsky (Zalman's father) and a few other businessmen went into the rabbi's room, where they found him deeply engrossed in his studies, and asked him, “Rebbe, we came to talk about your issue, so why are you silent and won't come out to meet us?”

        Rabbi Yudovsky responded, “I have been thinking over what it would mean if I were to receive a higher income in the other town. Then what? No, I won't go there, I am going to stay here with you. Just fix the roof on the synagogue, and repair the invalid Torah scroll. That's all I ask of you.”

        Another story: Rabbi Yudovsky drew up a sale certificate for R. Nachum Shevinsky, which took a long time, of course. The rabbi had to check his books and write such-and-such. Shevinsky then offered the rabbi 5 rubles for his work. Rabbi Yudovsky started to tremble, “G-d forbid that I should take any money from you! You buy yeast from me – that's my fee, it's enough.” Rabbi Yudovsky didn't take any money.

        The rabbi was entirely unimpeachable, and therefore no other testimony about his honesty and purity is necessary….

[ Page 130 ]

(R. Velvel the Dayan )

[Photos: Rabbi Ze'ev Miller and Mrs. Miriam Miller]

        Rabbi Ze'ev Miller, known as “Velvel the dayan ,” was born in 1868 to his father, R. Aharon, a distinguished merchant in Kletsk, and was educated in Kletsk, and later in Volozhin, where he received rabbinical ordination.

        In 1890, R. Velvel approached the Drohitchin leader, R. Moshe Poritzker-Valevelsky, to marry his daughter and become R. Velvel's son-in-law. Over a period of several years, R. Velvel settled in town and continued his studies in the House of Study while he waited for an opportunity to obtain a rabbinical post, which soon arrived.

        When the aged rabbi of Drohitchin, R. Menachem, left for Palestine and turned over his rabbinical post to this son-in-law, Rabbi Isaac Kalenkovitch, Rabbi Miller was appointed rabbinical judge in Rabbi Kalenkovitch's rabbinical court.

        In 1911 Rabbi Miller moved to Sernik, near Pinsk, where he served in the post of rabbi until 1940, when he died in a Pinsk hospital after a difficult operation. Rabbi and Mrs. Miller had four sons and three daughters. Of the entire family, only one daughter – Sarah Mirsky – survived because she had left for the United States many years earlier. In addition, one son – R. Hirsh Miller – survived because he escaped the German murderers, and arrived in the United States after going through Russia, Japan and Shanghai. Rabbi Hirsh Miller was the son-in-law of the rabbi of Shanghai, Rabbi Ashkenazi.

        Mrs. Miriam Miller and the following children was killed (may G-d avenge their blood!): R. Aharon from Lennen (near Lunenetz); R. Leib, the rabbi of Sernik; R. Menachem, the rabbi of Wisotsk (near Pinsk); and daughters Chana and Perl and their families.

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