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The Rabbis of Brody of the Past 150 Years

by Meir Wender

Translated by Moshe Kutten

It is almost an impossible task to write about Brody scholars. The city was the center of Torah and Judaism for hundreds of years, and the number of its prominent Torah scholars reached hundreds if not thousands. Not many of them immortalized their names through books that they have published, and details about a few others that have appeared in history books, are extremely sparse. The research of this topic would require much time and an enormous effort, and even then, the unknown would be greater than the known. The Kloiz[1]of Brody gained a glorified fame during the eighteenth century. Its people were considered the greatest Jewish scholars of the occult and the revealed[2]The most prominent leaders were Rabbi Khayim Tzanzer, Rabbi Moshe from Ostrog and Rabbi Khayim Landau from Podkamin. Prominent leader and Gaon[3]Rabbi Ephraim-Zalman Margaliot (5521 [1760/1] - 5588 [1827/8]) also studied there, however most of his fame and activity in Brody were in the beginning of the 19thcentury, after the decline of the Kloiz'sglory. N. B. Gelber[4]laid the foundation for the research about the history of the Brody community and accurately chronicled the scholars of the Kloiz; however, his book contains many inaccuracies, so there is room for a deeper and more detailed study. We will restrict ourselves to providing information about Brody's rabbis and dayanim [rabbinical judges. MK] during the period of a hundred and fifty years prior to the Holocaust. However, even within this well-defined period, the hidden and the unknown are considerable.


A. Rabbis

Kristianpoler Family

Members of the Kristianpoler family, the grandfather, his son and his grandson, held the Brody rabbinate position for three generations, about one hundred years. The patriarch of the dynasty was Rabbi Meir who was born in 5500 [1739/40] to his father R' Tzvi-Hirsh, son of Moshe and grandson of Gavriel, the A.B.D[in Hebrew - Av Beit Din or the Head of the Rabbinical Court. MK] of Bialikomin as well as the R.A.B.D[Rabbi and Head of the Rabbinical Court. MK] in Lvov. Rabbi Meir studied in his own country under Rabbi Shmelke, who later moved to Nikolsburg. He did not join his friends, Rabbi Yosef Stern and Rabbi Mordekhai Mardosh Weinreb to study under Rabbi Yonatan Eybeschutz. Rabbi Meir married the daughter of Rabbi Shekhnish from Brody. He served in the rabbinate of the town of Kristianpol in Eastern Galitsia, and that is where his last name came from. From there he was called to serve in Galina's rabbinate, where he exchanged Halakha questions and answers with the author of “Noda biYhudah[5]who praised him greatly. Rabbi Meir became the first rabbi of the district of Brody in 5545 [1785]. He passed away on 16 Nissan 5575 [April 26, 1815] and was eulogized sullenly by

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Rabbi Ephraim Zalman Margaliot and Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Hurwitz, the son of Rabbi Pinkhas, who was the son of Rabbi Tzvi Halevi Hurwitz, author of the book “Ha'Hafla'ah[6]. His teachings and approbations were scattered among various books. Out of all of his writings, only the book “Yad Ha'Meir” [“Meir's Memorial”. MK], was published in Warsaw in the year 5634 [1870/1], containing innovations about the six orders of the Mishnah[7]. His son in-law was Rabbi Yehuda Leib, who was the son of the prominent leader R' Yisrael Khaim Daniel of the Wahl family from Iasi.

His son, Rabbi Yekhiel-Mikhel Ben-ZionKristianpoler who was born in 5553 [1792/3], was not elected to inherit his father's position because of his young age, and the community elected Rabbi Aryeh-Leib Teomim. Only in the year 5591 [1830/1], Rabbi Yekhiel-Mikhel was elected to serve as the Chief Rabbi of Brody. He served in that tenure for thirty-two years until his death on 9 [Sivan. MK] 5623, [May 27, 1863]. His wife was Mrs. Khaya-Bluma, the daughter of Rabbi Aharon Padua, A.B.Dof Brisk, Lithuania, the author of “Minkhat A'haron” and the grandson of the minister Rabbi Shaul Wahl. Rabbi Yekhiel Mikhel was one of the most prominent rabbis of his time due to his vast learning, pleasant manners and piety. With all of his religious roots, there was a trace of modernity reflected by his general education and the fact that he was fluent in German and French. This is how he also educated his three daughters, and therefore he was respected by the Poles, as well as by the Austrian officials and the intelligentsia. The Haredi's fought him, at times, and Rabbi Shlomo Kruger nicknamed him “apikoros[8]due to his tolerance toward any person's state of mind. After his death, people from all circles of life mourned and eulogized him. Rabbi Yekhiel-Mikhel Hibner, Chief Rabbi of Nizhnov, wrote many praises about him, such as the fact that he was erudite and knew languages, came from a renowned family, was learnt, modest, benevolent and a man who sanctifies G-d's name among the gentiles. His daughter Sara-Akhsah was the wife of Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Orenstein, the Rabbi of Lvov. His daughter Breindel married Nathan Riter Von Kalir son of R' Meir. He was the head of the chamber of commerce in Brody and Vienna and was secular, while she kept a Haredi way of life. His son, Rabbi Yisrael was a scholar in Brody. Rabbi Yekhiel's son, Rabbi Meir Kristianpoler,who was born in 5576 (1816), was elected to the Brody's rabbinate after him. He served in his role for twenty years from Shvat [January] 5626 [1866) until his death on 6 Elul 5646 [6 September] (1886). His grandson, Rabbi Alexander Kristianpoler, who was born in 5645 [1884], served as the Rabbi of Lintz in Austria, was deported to the Minsk Ghetto, and perished there in 5702 [1941/2].


Rabbi Arye Yehuda Leibush Te'omim

Rabbi Aryeh Yehuda Leib Te'omim came from a renowned family with lineage tracing back to the Ga'on Rabbi Yona Te'omim Frenkel, author of “Kikayon De'Yona[9]as well as the renowned Rabbi Shaul Wahl and the Maharshal[10]. He married Mrs. Michal, the daughter of the leader R' Shmuel Bik, one of Brody's honorable people. She was the divorcee of Rabbi Meshulam Igra, who agreed with her father to arrange for her to remarry with a scholar. Indeed, Rabbi Aryeh Leib was known from his youth as a prodigy and was accepted as the Rabbi of the Liznesk community. He was there during the time of Rabbi Elimelekh and was his adversary since he objected to the Hassidic way of life. Rabbi Aryeh Yehuda was accepted to the Brody rabbinate in 5575 (1815) in place of Rabbi Meir Kristianpoler. He became very ill in 5587 (1827) and ceased to function. The heads of the community, accepted, without his knowledge, Rabbi Eliezer Landa to fill the position. However, both of them passed away during the cholera epidemic which spread during the summer of 5591 [1831]. Rabbi Eliezer Landa passed away after Rabbi Te'omim on Saturday 4 Elul [13 August]. Rabbi Teomim's published books were: “Gur Aryeh[“Lion Cub”. MK] . MK], “Ayelet A'havim”[“Doe of Loves”. MK], and “Ye'elat Hakhen” [“Ibex of Grace”. MK].

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Rabbi Elazar Landa

Rabbi Elazar Landa was born in 5538 [1877/8] to his father Rabbi Yisrael Landa son of the famous Rabbi Yekhezkel, the author of “Noda BiYhuda[11][“Known Among the Jews”. MK]. He grew up in his stepfather's home – Rabbi Moshe Khasid, in Rufshitz and later resided in Lvov. He was accepted as the Rabbi of Brody in 5589 (1829), however, he passed away two years later, on 11 Tamuz 5691, from cholera. He was a brilliant scholar and excellent expounder. His Responsa were published in books such as “Noda BiYhuda”, “Mey Be'er” [“Well Water”. MK] and “Zekher Yeshayahu” [“Memory of Yeshayahu”.MK]He became famous by his great book “Yad Hamelech” [literally – the King's Hand but it means “On a Grand Scale”. MK] on the Rambam[11]. Three parts were printed in Lvov in 5626 [1865/6] and only part D and the rules appendix were left in manuscripts.


Rabbi Yitzkahk Khayut

Rabbi Yitzkhak was the son of the famous Ga'on Rabbi Hirsh Khayut. He was born in Zolkeva on 23 Elul 5602 [4 September 1842]. There are people who claimed that Rabbi Shalom Rokeach[12]of Beltz attended his Brithas a relative of the family. Other claimed that when Rabbi Rokeach visited Zholkeva and saw the baby in a crib, he told his father: “It is through this offspring, Yitzkhak, that you will be reckoned” [a phrase taken from Genesis 21:12. MK], since he would be the one, out of all of his brothers, who would continue the rabbinate dynasty. He studied Torah zealously, from his youth, and excelled due to his sharp mind. At the age of thirteen, he was able to direct the “questions of the unlearned”. In his youth, he studied with other students for eighteen hours a day. When his father was accepted to the rabbinate in Kalish, he went there with him. His father showed him the key for opening the treasures of the Torah and hid from him the keys for his other treasures. He was certified to teach by Rabbi Shlomo Kluger. In 5622 [1860/1] he married Mrs. Ethel-Mikhal, the granddaughter of Rabbi Akiva Eger, daughter of the Jewish leader R' Peretz Shapira from Podkamin, a descendant of the author of “Megaleh Amukut[13][“Discoverer of the Deeps”. MK], who left twenty thousand guldens to establish a fund for charity institutions.

He was a merchant most of his life, and did not use the rabbinate as a profession to sustain himself by. He rejected three times the pleadings of the heads of Zholkeva's Jewish community, who asked to make him their leader. He kept a Yeshiva on his own account and taught Torah there every day. He edified many students, some of whom became prominent rabbis. He was a public servant, dealing with public needs, was in charge of the Torah schooling, a member of the “Chovevei Zion” [“Lovers of Zion”[14]. MK ] movement and one of the founders of the “Organization of the Believers” in the city. He possessed noble attributes and was therefore well-liked by people from all circles in town. At his old days he finally acceded to the town people's pleads to accept the burden of the rabbinate position. He was elected with the majority of the votes, in the summer of 5654 [1894], over four other candidates, all of them from Brody: Rabbis Binyamin Kluger, Elazar Landa, Moshe Reinhold and Nathan Levin. He fell suddenly sick seven years later. All the prayers for him, which lasted three whole days, did not help. He passed away on Wednesday, 24 Shvat, 5661 [13 February 1901]. Rabbis from all over Galicia came to his funeral and relayed praises about him. He left three sons and a daughter. From all of his written essays, only three books have been published: “Siakh Yitzkhak” [“Yitzkhak Discourse”. MK] about the Mishnah'sTractate Makot,published in 5660 [1899/1900] in Podgorze [Near Krakow. MK], as well as the Responsa book “Siakh Yitzkhak” [“Yitzkhak's Dialog”. MK], Part A, published in 5670 [1909/10] in Brody. The array of people who presented questions was very diverse and included rabbis from neighboring countries: Russia, Romania, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The Respona book was published by his student Rabbi Yisrael-Avraham Frenkel from Brody.

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Rabbi Avraham Menakhem Mendel Halevi Steinberg

He was born in Seret, Bukovina in the year 5607 [1846/7] to his father Rabbi Meir, son of R'Shmaia. He studied there with the DayanRabbi Ben-Tzion Landau. He was a famed Torah scholar from his early childhood, and used to amaze famed adult Torah greats. He was accepted to the rabbinate of Snyatin in 5639 [1878/9] after a fierce fight that took place in town around the election. The rabbi belonged to Sadigura-Chortkov Hassidim who obviously supported him. However, Vizhnitz Hasidim in town objected to him fiercely. When he realized, after several years, that the dispute was not dissipating, he wanted to move to the Zlotshev rabbinate, but he could not achieve that. Over time, people from all circles, who were charmed by his great personality and by his wide fame in the Torah world, reconciled. After the death of his friend “Maharsham” (Rabbi Shalom-Mordekhai Hakoehn Schvedron) of Berezhany, he became the stronghold for questions from people from all over, who asked for his opinion. He was accepted to Brody rabbinate in 5664 (1904), thanks to the votes by the Hassidim and their supporters, however, the progressives, due to their influence with the mayor, managed to postpone the formal nomination for several years. He lived in Brody for six years until World War I broke and he had to escape to Vienna, where he rose above all as one of the most important rabbis among the rabbis in exile. After the war, he returned to Brody and fulfilled the duties of his rabbinical role, as before, until he passed away in 1 Sivan, 5688, [20 May 1928]. Before he went on his exile, he deposited in the bank 29 essays in his handwriting. People succeeded to release the write-ups from Petersburg, only after a tremendous effort. Most of his essays, such as the great commentary about the “Sefer Yereim[15][The Book of God-Fearing's”.MK] written as appendix to an education book, as well as other assays were lost in 5702 [1941/2]. Only three volumes survived from Ghetto Lodz and his grandchildren handled their publishing. During his life the following books were published: “Kdusha Shvi'it” [“The Seventh Sanctity”.MK] in 5669 [1908/9] and the Responsa book “Makhaze Avraham” [“The Vision of Abraham”. MK], volume A, in Brody in 5687 [1926/7]. Volume B of the book was published in New York in 5724 [1963/64]. A third volume is also scheduled to be published [Volume C was eventually published in New York in 1988. MK]. His sons were all Torah leaders in their own right and occupied important rabbinical positions in several communities in Israel.

Moshe Steinberg, his grandson, inherited his position. He was the son of Rabbi Shmaia A.B.Dof Premishlian. He served as the last Rabbi of Brody's Jewish community before its annihilation. He married Mrs. Rakhel, the daughter of Rabbi Yaakov Frenkel-Teomim, the Rabbi of Podgozha. During the German conquest, they were hidden by a Ukrainian farmer in bunkers and hideouts, with a great risk, until the day of the liberation. He was the only Rabbi from before the war who survived in Poland, and was nominated to be the Rabbi of Krakow until 5707 [1947]. He then moved to Prague, and in the beginning of 5708 [1948] he immigrated to the US, where he served as the A.B.Dof the Rabbinate Union, the Rabbi of the synagogue “Makhze Avraham” on Broadway, New York, and the rabbi of West Manhattan. He was a remarkable learner from the old generation, and a sermon giver by a divine grace. He prepared his book of answers for publication, which is already in binding, however, he was not fortunate to see the book published. Rabbi Moshe Steinberg passed away on 23 Tammuz, 5747 [20 July 1987].


B. Dayanim

The first Dayanknown to us during the period covered here is the rabbi AvrahamHilfor. The Rabbi was listed as subscriber of the book “Noam Megadim” in 5564 (1803/4) and signed with the title of Dometz [in Hebrew – acronym of ”Dayan and Teacher of Righteousness”[16]] in Brody.

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Rabbi Aryeh-Yehuda Leib author of “Lev Aryeh”[“The Heart of a Lion”. MK]

He was born in Brody in the year 5519 [1758/9] as the only son to his mother Zlata and his father Akiva Halevi, the brother of Rabbi Reuven, the rabbi of Bialystok. He was related to the family of the author of “Turei Zahav[17][“Rows of Gold”. MK]. He was orphaned at a very young age and grew up at the home of his uncle, the brother of his mother, Yaakov Segal. In 5538 (1778) he married the daughter of his uncle – Khana-Henia, and after she passed away in 5571 [1810/11] he remarried Ms. Khaya, the daughter of Rabbi Khayim Ettinger of Brody. He studied diligently under the city scholars, and was nominated as a Rabbi and Teacher of Righteousness in 5546 [1785/6]. In the year 5564 [1803/4] he was called to serve as the head of the Yeshiva of Podhaitza, and nine years later came back to Brody to serve as the A.B.Dand Maggid[Jewish preacher. MK]. Five years later, he fell sick, and asked the city's honorable people to take care of his wife and children. Rabbi Aryeh-Yehuda Leib passed away on 29 Shvat 5578 [February 5, 1818]. His two-volume book “Lev Aryeh” acquired a substantial fame. The book was reprinted many times. Rabbi Shaul Natansohn, attached the proofreading notes that he wrote during his youth on the book's pages. With the author's agreement, he added many warm words about the author's talent. He indicated that the author had a straight way in teaching, the way he was taught by his teachers - the students of Rabbi Yonatan Eybeschutz. He stated that “his teachings of the holy word, were like a spread out dress”. His last essays were left, in a written form, with his grandson, Rabbi Ya'akov Levi, ”the Roeh[the Seer. MK] of the Brody community” – the meaning of the title is unfamiliar to me. He published his grandfather's book, in Brody, in 5667 [1905/6], under the name of “Nakhalei Dvash” [“Brooks of Honey”. MK], about festivals and holidays. Rabbi Steinberg added, with the author's approval, that all of his writings were “based on vast knowledge and consultation”. I provided additional details about his history in my book “Meorei Galicia” [Galicia's Luminaries. MK], Part A, pp 289-291.


Rabbi Shlomo Kluger

The light of Rabbi Shlomo Kluger (acronym Maharshakin Hebrew) shone in the skies of Brody, for about fifty years, and from there, his brilliance glowed throughout the entire Jewish diaspora. He was born in 5546 (1786) in Komarov, Poland to his father, A.B.DRabbi Yehuda Aharon, a descendant of the Maharal[the acronym is in Hebrew for Rabbi Yehuda Loew Ben Betzalel of Prague. MK] and the Maharam[the acronym is in Hebrew for Rabbi Meir Ben Barukh of Rothenburg. MK] and his mother Gitel, daughter of Rabbi Yosef, A.B.Dof Biala, and granddaughter of Rabbi Yaakov, A.B.Dof Lutsk, and author of “Kokhvei Yaakov” [“Stars of Yaakov”. MK]. He studied under Rabbi Hochgelerenter and Rabbi Yaakov Krantz who was then a Maggidin Zamoshtch. He married Ms. Libah Malia, the daughter of the Jewish leader R' Khayim Weinreb, from Rawa-Ruska and went to study there under his famous Geonimbrothers-in-law. His first rabbinate role was in the town of Kulikov, and then from 5575 (1815) as the rabbi in Josefov. In 5580 [1819/20] he was called to serve as a Dometz, Rabbi, A.B.Dand a Maggidin the ”great Jewish City” of Brody. Rabbi Ephraim Margaliot admired him immensely and spent any free time with him. He stood on guard for any matters related to religion in the city, established proper regulations and taught Torah to students from all layers of the public, because of his humble ways, and hearty attitude towards every person. In matters related to G-d, he stood his ground very firmly, without fear from anybody, and did not shun away from stormy confrontations or piercing arguments with other Geonim. Such an argument erupted about the affairs of the married women from Zhitomyr, the slaughterer from Berdichev , the machine-produced matzah and others. In 5603 (1843) he quarreled with the community leadership concerning

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the matter of transporting the dead by carts. He won the argument, but asked to be transferred to another location. He accepted Brizhan community's offer to relocate there. However, after his first sermon there, he caught cold, fell sick with the typhus and had to lie down in his bed for many weeks. He saw in it a sign that he must go back to Brody, however, in the meantime, Rabbi Hamburger was nominated to replace him there. Therefore, he just resided in Brody as a private person and was sustained by his admirers, especially the Jewish leader R' Yosef Natansohn. While in Brody, he had a big influence on the community life, and won the trust of the greatest Jewish leaders of his generation. He acquired fame as the greatest teacher of his time, and people from near and far places turned to him for his judgment. He passed away on Wednesday, 1 Tammuz 5629 [10 June 1869]. People from many Jewish settlements mourned and eulogized him.

His elder son, R' Khayim-Yehuda was the grandfather of Rabbi Avraham Itingah from Dukla. His second son was Rabbi Avraham Binyamin. His oldest daughter Khana married R' Shlomo-Tzvi Halbreich, the head of the community in Sokolovka. Rabbi Shlomo was like a fertile spring - sprouting ideas. Despite being a fast writer, he did not manage to put all of his bountiful thoughts in writing. People said that he authored 345 essays, the same number of essays as the numeric value, in Gimatria, of his name – Shlomo, as well as more than 8000 answers. Only thirty of his books, about different subjects of the Torah, were published. Many of his writings are still waiting for somebody to redeem and publish them. Volumes of his essays survived and arrived at the archives of the National Library in Jerusalem. He used to count them by assigning a number to each. The total reached about 160 before he passed away.

Rabbi Kluger's son – Rabbi Avraham Binyamin, who was born in 5601 [1840/1}, served as his right hand man in all halakha matters and public needs. He was not elected to serve in a rabbinate role in Brody and resided there as a private person making a living on his own. He was elected for the rabbinate in Zolkiew, but the election was not realized and he remained in Brody. He had an extensive correspondence with rabbis and authors, and his innovations were imbedded in many books. In addition to all of his innovations, which remained as manuscripts, he published several books including: “Responsa Sharei Binyamin” Respona Binyamin's Gates. MK]“Ottot Lemoadim” [“Signs of Holidays”. MK] and more. When World War I broke, he exiled to Vienna. He passed away, during the war, in 29 Kheshvan, 5676 [November 6, 1915]. He had three children with his wife Pesil - Rabbi Yehuda Aharon, the author of the book “Toldot Shlomo” [“The History of Shlomo”. MK], about his grandfather, R' Sholomo, a wealthy man in Vienna who was childless, and Sara-Leah, the wife of the Jewish leader R' Aharon-Tzvi Weishaus from Stanislav.


Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Hamburger

He was A.B.Din Zborov, Pshevarsk, Yas, and Rovne, and at the end of his life, the Chief Rabbi, A.B.D, Teacher of Righteousness and Maggid in Brody. This is where, in 5603 (1843), he worked on the book “Torat haRamah“The Teaching of the Ramah[ the acronym in Hebrew for Rabbi Meir Abulafia. MK] and in 5612 (1852), the book “Shoresh Me'Yaakov Hasheni” [“Roots of the Second Yaakov“. MK]


Rabbi Tzvi-Hirsh Hurvitz

He was the son of Rabbi Yaakov-Yukl from Bolekhov. He studied under his uncle, Rabbi Naftali of Rufshits, the brother of his father. At the age of 18, he married the daughter of the Jewish leader, R' Aleksander-Sender Segal Landa.

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of Brody. He seved as a Dometzand A.B.Din city of Kashevitz for decades. He passed away on 11 Kheshvan, 5640 [28 October], (1879) and was buried in the nearby town of Zhurovna. He left, in his writings, many innovations but only his will was published: “Shem Derekh” [“The Name of the Road”. MK] 5697 (1937).

His son, who was born in 5593 (1833), was also a Dometzin Brody, under the Maharshak[Rabbi Shlomo Kluger, see above. MK]. Some people claim that he was the son-in-law of R' Aleksander Sender Landa, and not his father. He passed away in Stryj on 22 Elul 5658 [September 9], (1898) according to his son R' Eliyahu from Siget.


Rabbi Yaakov Avigdor

He is a descendant of Rabbi Avigdor Kara of Prague, after whom the family is named. The origin of the family is Istanbul. When they immigrated to Odessa in 5570 (1810) they continued to sign their name with the Hebrew acronym S”T[18]like the Sephardic Jews. The elder daughter, Kheina, married the Jewish leader Osterzetzer and part of the family was named as such. Her brother, Yaakov married her daughter and was her dependent. Rabbi Yaakov moved to Brody in the year 5590 (1829/30) and resided in Brody while serving as the Rabbi of the nearby town of Podkamin. He was named after the town later on. He studied together with Rabbi Shlomo Kluger, and published his first books with indices and editing notes. The Maharshak[Rabbi Shmuel Kluger. MK] appreciated his knowledge and personality and recommended him as his replacement. He preferred him to his own son – Rabbi Binyamin, and the heads of the community fulfilled his wishes and nominated Rabbi Yaakov as the Rabbi and A.B.Din the city. Many students flocked to town to learn from him and they would remember his radiant image to the days of their old age. He passed away on 27 Nissan 5645 [12 April], (1885) and left a penniless widow and orphans. His book about the six orders of the Mishnah, “Khelek Yaakov” [“Yaakov's Share”. MK] was never published. A family of rabbis descended from him. His son, Rabbi Avraham Iisaskhar-Ber, A.B.Dof Trava-Wloska was the father of Rabbi Yaakov, A.B.Dof Drohobitch and Mexico and Rabbi David, A.B.Dof Andrikhov. His second son, Rabbi Shalom was known as one of Brody's sages during the period before First World War. I wrote about him broadly in the beginning of the first volume of my book - “The Encyclopedia of Khakhmei Galicia” [“The Encyclopedia of Galicia's Sages”. MK].


Rabbi Khayim Yehuda Leib Litvin-Sosnitzer

He was born in 5600 (1839/40), in Bobruisk, to his father R' Yisrael. He was one of the principal avrekhim[Torah Students] who gathered around the author of “Tzemakh Tzedek” [“The Plant of Justice”. MK] from Lubavitch[19]. At the age of fourteen, he married the daughter of the Jewish leader Aba Krasik of Sosnitza in Tsernigov province and was his dependent. This is why he was named Sosnitzer after his location, although his surname was Litvin. When his father-in-law lost his wealth, he moved to Minsk. He fell sick there and went to Germany, Hungary and Galicia to seek a cure. Rabbi Yosef Natansohn from Lvov brought him close to him as he recognized his vast knowledge of the Halakha. Rabbi Natansohn recommended him as the replacement for Rabbi Sholomo Kluger. He served in Brody for seventeen years and did not discriminate against anybody. Due to some family tragedies

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he took, once again, the wanderer's stick. His wife passed away and he took the daughter of Rabbi Elazar Moshe, A.B.Dof Pinsk, for his second wife. His son - the promising prodigy, Rabbi Shimon, the son-in-law of Leibush Hurvitz and A.B.Din Stryj, passed away not long after his mother. In the year 5646 (1886) Rabbi Litvin-Sosnitzer was accepted to the rabbinate of Smorgon in the province of Vilna and he served there for seventeen years as well. He passed away on 11 Nissan, 5663 [April 8, 1903]. Out of all of his writings, only the two-volume Responsa “Sha'arei De'ah” [“The Gates of Knowledge”. MK] was published in 5644 [883/4], in Lemberg-Pshemishl. Additional details about him can be found in the “Encyclopedia of Galicia Sages”, Volume 3, pp 464-470.


Rabbi Yisrael Halevi

He was the grandson of Rabbi Aryeh Leibush, the author of “Lev Aryeh” [Lion's Heart”. MK]. He served as a Dometzin Brody at least from the year 5623 (1863). He was the brother-in-law of R' Yosef Elkana, the son of the MaggidRabbi Yosef Moshe of Zlozitz. He published the book of his grandfather “Be'er Mayim” [“Water Well”. MK] and wrote an introduction to the book. It is logical to assume that his surname was actually Levi. He was a relative of Rabbi Yaakov “Ha'Roeh” [“The Seer”. MK] of Brody community.


Rabbi Menakhem Mendel Schor

He was a Dometzin Brody since 5646 (1886) after the death of Rabbi Yekhiel-Mikhel BenTzion Kristianpoler, while the community did not select a new Rabbi. Perhaps he was Rabbi Manli the Dometzregistered in the Book “Khomer Ba'Kodesh”, 5636 [1875/6], together with his son-in-law Rabbi Yosef of KloizSterlisk.


Rabbi Yitzkhak Aizik Schoenfeld

He was a Dayan in Brody after Rabbi Yitzkhak Khayut. He is the author of the books “Ha'Tmuna” [“The Picture”. MK], published in Lemberg in 5652 [1891/2] and “Imrot Tehorot” [“Pure Phrases”. MK], 5660 [1899/90]. He passed away at the age of 97 and served as a religious judge even on his last day. His son, Rabbi David-Tzvi, was a Rabbi in Bucharest.


Rabbi Bonim'l

Served as a Dayan in Brody. Dov Sadan recalled about him “that he was like a column that does not move when he prayed, as if there was no such thing as the praying like the Hasidim in this world…” (Dov Sadan: “Mi'mekhoz Ha'Yaldut” [From a Childhood Region. MK] page 311.


Rabbi Shlomo Yaakov Kuten

He was born in 5633 [1872/3] to his father Yosef Aharon, the Rabbi of Leshniov. On his mother's side he was related to Rabbi Pinkhas Kurita, Rabbi Gedalia of Linitz, Rabbi Zusha from Anipoli and Rabbi Zeev Volf

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of Chorny, Ostrov. He married the daughter of Rabbi Monish Halprin, Slaughterer and Kosher Inspector in Brody and edited the book “Menkahem Meshiv Nefesh” [“Menakhem the Invigorator”. MK] of his father-in-law and incorporated his innovations in them. His father passed away in 5653 (1893) when Rabbi Shlomo was twenty years old and he replaced his father as the Rabbi of Leshniov. After the First World War he was elected as the Rabbi and A.B.Dof Brody. During the last few years before the Holocaust, he moved to become the Rabbi of Vladimiretz, and most likely perished there as a martyr.


Rabbi Yehuda Zundel BABAD[20]

He was born around 5630 (1870) to his father Rabbi Shalom Yaakov son of Avraham, A.B.Din Busk, son of Rabbi Yaakov A.B.Dof Busk and Radzikhov, son of Natan, A.B.Dof Yevrov and Busk, brother of Rabbi Yehoshua Heschel, A.B.Dof Tarnopol. Rabbi Yehuda served in the rabbinate of Leshniov and Shtervitz. A few years before the break of the Second World War, he was called to serve as the Chief Rabbi and the A.B.Dof Brody. The Nazis cut off the thread of his life and he died as a martyr.


Rabbi Yosef Popresh

He was born in Brody to his father, R' Yaakov, one of the community's honorable people, who was the son of Reuven, son of Rabbi Yitzkhak Aizik “Hagadol” [“The Great One”. MK], who was, on his father's side, the grandson of Rabbi Natan Shapira, the author of “Megaleh Amukut” [“Discoverer of the Deep”. MK], and on his mother's side, the grandson of the Mekubal[21]Rabbi Meir Hakohen Papirsh. Rabbi Shalom of Belz and Rabbi Yisrael from Ruzhin attested about Rabbi Yosef that he would not take even a walk of more than four cubits without fearing of G-d. His son R' Zeev Wolf moved to Przemysl and gained fame among the Hasidim of the city. R' Zeev Volf was an editor in a printing house and himself an author of two books, by the name of “Zeved Tov” [“Good Bestowal”. MK]. He died at the age of 73 at the end of the month Shevat 5660 (1900).

Rabbi Yosef was called Poper-BABAD since his mother Hinda was the daughter of the famous GaonRabbi Yosef BABAD, the rabbi of Tarnopol and the author of the book “Minkhat Khinukh” [A Commentary on Sefer Ha'Khinukh. MK[22]]. He was a wealthy scholar and supported himself through his many assets. When he traveled to Belz for Sabbath, the Rabbi of Belz[23]spent time with him in seclusion and stated later that the youth enlightened him about the halakha. Like his ancestors, he served as the president for the fund for the poor of Eretz Yisrael, and contributed much of his own money to charities for the poor, while his daughters baked khala's for them. After the death of Rabbi Steinberg in 5688 (1927/8) he presented his candidacy against Rabbi Steinberg's grandson - Rabbi Moshe Steinberg. Since the votes for them were spilt, they casted a lot and he won the rabbinate. However, the authorities invalidated the election under the influence of his opponent's supporters and only in 5694 (1933/4) he was nominated as A.B.Dalongside with Chief Rabbi Steinberg. He passed away at the end of the summer of 5699 (1939). Three years later, on 8 Tishrei 5702 [29 September 1941], a big massacre took place in Brody, when his wife and six children perished. His wife was the daughter of R' Yisrael Elazar Halevi Kaminer, the brother in law of the Rabbi of Gur (Gora) and his wife Miriam, daughter of R' Yosef Halevi Natanson from Brody. Following his grandfather's book “Minkhat Khinukh”, he called his books about the Torah commandments “Minkha Khadasha” [“New Commentary”. MK]. Two volumes out of his overall book “Yabi'a Omer”[Expressing Views”. MK] were published during the period between 5694 [1933/4] – 5697 [1937/8]. The third volume was in the process of being printed

[Page 95]

when the war broke and was lost, like the rest of his writings. His family members republished the two volumes in photo-print in 5728 [1967/8] in Brooklyn, US.

I did not include Rabbi Khayim David Monzonin the list. I wrote about the Monzon Admorim[24]in the third volume of the “Encyclopedia of Galicia Sages” pages 746-750. We also need to mention Rabbi Rubinand his wife Eidel nee Belz who was an Admoron her own, whom Prof. Sadan wrote about.

Translator's Notes

  1. Kloiz– Jewish communal house of learning, praying and gathering. Return
  2. The Jewish Hassidic movement sees reality as having two layers, hidden and revealed. The revealed is the reality based on the traditional Torah and Talmud while the hidden is the mystical interpretation of the Bible. Return
  3. Gaon” was the formal title of the heads of the academies of Sura and Pumbedita in the diaspora of Babylonia. The geonimwere recognized by the Jews as the highest authority of instruction. It eventually became an honorific title for any rabbi or a scholar who had a great knowledge of Torah. Return
  4. Nathan-Michael Gelber: “Toldot Yehudei Brody” (The History of the Jews of Brody) 1548 -1943, Jerusalem, 1955. Return
  5. Rabbi Ezekiel Landa, also known as “Noda BiYhudah” [Known among the Jews”] after the title of his major work. Noda BiYhudais a reference to phrase appearing in Psalms 76:2 and also a tribute to his father, whose name was Yehuda (Judah). He was born in Opatow, a small town in Poland, to a wealthy and learned father and became the Chief Rabbi of Prague at a very young age. Return
  6. Ha'Hafla'ah” (“The Amazing”) - Hurvitz's chief work, is an essay about the Mishnah's tractate Ketubot, with an appendix, “Kuntres Aharon.” (“Aharon's Booklet”). The second part contains an essay about tractate Kiddushin, also with an appendix that appeared under the title “Sefer Ha'Makneh”, “(The Book of the Camp”). Return
  7. The Mishnah(from the Hebrew word, which means “study by repetition”) was the first major written work of the Jewish oral traditions known as the “Oral Torah”. It is also the first major work of rabbinic literature. The rabbis who contributed to the Mishnah were known as the Tannaim, of whom approximately 120 are known. The period during which the Mishnah was assembled spanned about 130 years, in the first and second centuries CE. The Mishnah consists of six orders each containing 7–12 tractates. Rabbinic commentaries on the Mishnah from the next four centuries, done in the Land of Israel and in Babylonia, were eventually redacted and compiled as well. In themselves, they are known as Gemara.The books, which set out the Mishnah in its original structure, together with the associated Gemara, are known as Talmud. Two Talmudswere compiled, the Babylonian Talmud (to which the term “Talmud” normally refers to) and the Jerusalem Talmud. Unlike the Hebrew Mishnah, the Gemarais written primarily in Aramaic (from Wikipedia). Return
  8. Apikoros- one who negates the rabbinic tradition. Return
  9. Joshua Feivel Te'omim (son of Rabbi Jonah Teomim, who wrote the “Kikayon De-Yonah” (Kikayon is a name of a tree. The surname Te'omim means twins in Hebrew). Return
  10. Rabbi Shlomo Luria (his acronym in Hebrew is Maharshal) was one of the most prominent Halakha jurists and interpreters of the Talmud in the 16thcentury. Return
  11. Rambam– acronym in Hebrew for Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon, one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars of the Middle-Ages in Spain. Return
  12. Rabbi Shalom Rokeakh from Beltz, also known as “Sar Shalom” (“Prince of Peace” - “Isaiah 9:6) was the founder of the most prominent Hasidic dynasty - Beltz Hasidic dynasty. Return
  13. Nathan Note Shapira (1585- 1863) – Author of “Megaleh Amukot” (Discoverer of the Deeps”) was a prominent Polish rabbi and a Kabbalist. Return
  14. “Ohavey Tzion”– (“Lovers of Zion”) – a pre Zionism movement which aimed to build Eretz Yisrael. Return
  15. Sefer Yere'im”– authored by Rabbi Eliezer son of Shmuel from Metz (1140-1248), in which additions to some of the Mishnatractates are detailed. Return
  16. Dometz– an acronym in Hebrew which means Dayanand Teacher of Righteousness – describes the rabbi who deals with halachic questions brought before him. The term was first mentioned in some of the Dead Sea Scrolls to denote the person who is the leader being the most knowledgeable in the Torah. In the Hassidic communities the Dometzis the teacher responsible for all halakhic rulings (as opposed to the chief rabbi, who is responsible for managing the spiritual affairs of the community). Return
  17. David Halevi Segal (1586 – 1667) – the author of: ”Turei Zahav” (a significaunt commentary on Shulkhan Arukh[literally “Set Table”] which is the most widely consulted work of Jewish law) was as one of the greatest Polish rabbinical authority of his time. Return
  18. Many of the descendants of Sephardic Jews sign their name with the Hebrew acronym of the words “Pure Sephardic” to emphasize the fact that they were descendants of those who did not have to behave as “anusim” and remained openly in their Judaism. Return
  19. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson of Lubavitch (1789-1866), the author of “Tzemakh Tzedek” (“The Plant of Justice”) was the third Rebbeof the Hasidic movement of Khabad. Return
  20. BABAD – a prominent families of Rabbis in Galicia, the name BABAD came from an acronym in Hebrew which means the son of A.B.D.Return
  21. Mekubal - a scholar of Kabbalah. Return
  22. Sefer Hakhinuch– literally means the Book of Education, was a book published anonymously in 13th century's Spain, which methodically discusses the 613 commandments of the Torah, their biblical source, and philosophical underpinnings. “Minkhat Khinuch”serves as a legal commentary through the perspective of the Talmudand other sources from the 11-15 centuries. Return
  23. The Belzer Rabbi was the head of the Belzer Hasidic dynasty (also known as The Rebbe). At the time of Rabbi Yosef Poprish, the Belzer Rabbe was Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach (1894–1926) the grandson of the founder of the dynasty, Rabbi Shalom Rockeah (Also known as “Sar Shalom” (which literally means the Minister of Peace). Return
  24. Admor– acronym in Hebrew for the words “Our Master”, Teacher and Rabbi a title reserved for a head of a Hasidic family or sect. Return


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