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Chapter Two – Great Secrets… The Secret of the Hassidut…

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[Section TOC - see main page]

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The Radomsk Dynasty

by Zvi-Meir Rabinowicz

Pages 75-79 and 87-89 were translated by Meir Razy edited by Sara Mages

Pages 80-86 and 90-94 were translated by Sara Mages


Tiferet Shlomo – Rabbi Shlomo HaKohen Rabinowicz

A. His youth

R' Shlomo HaKohen Rabinowicz of Radomsk was born in the year 5563 (1803) to his father R' Dov Zvi HaKohen and his mother Mrs. Frumpt in the town of Wloszczowa near Radomsk. His father, a descended of scholars and rabbis, was the son of R' Arie Leib HaKohen, president of the court in Nowe Pole. R' Arie Leib HaKohen was the son of HaRav R' Alter, president of the court in Wodzislaw. R' Dov Zvi did not serve in the rabbinate but earned his living as a merchant. He was known for his simplicity and piety, one of the Hasidim of ha-Chozeh[1] R' Yaakov Horowitz of Lublin, and R' Yaakov Yitzhak the “Holy Jew” of Peshischa. The boy Shlomo, who was named after his grandfather

HaGaon R' Shlomo of Pinczow author of the books Beit Shlomo and Yakhel Shlomo, already excelled in his early years with great talents and special grace. He amazed all who saw him with his outward appearance and great cleverness. He received a distinct Hasidic-religious education at the local yeshiva in Wloszczowa under the guidance of R' Arie Leib and R' Reuven president of the court in Żabno and Wloszczowa. Already in his childhood he attracted the attention of the great tzadikim[2] of Poland. The Hasidim tell about the famous Hasidic wedding in Zarnowiec, the place where thousands of Hasidim gathered to catch a glimpse of the revered figures of ha-Chozeh of Lublin and the “Holy Jew.” Among the attendees was R' Dov Zvi, accompanied by his nine-year-old son, Shlomo. On the Sabbath all the boys came to greet ha-Chozeh with Shabbat Shalom. When ha-Chozeh saw the boy Shlomo he asked: whose son is he? When he has been told that he is the son of R' Dov Ber, he summoned his father to him and told him to keep an eye on his son because he would grow to “a big tree” with the passage of time. The “Holy Jew” heard Shlomo singing Shir HaShirim [Song of Songs] in Wloszczowa's synagogue. He was impressed by the beautiful voice kissed the boy on his forehead saying: “The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's” (Song of Songs 1:1). Years later, R' Shlomo used to say that this kiss on the forehead is still burning in him. Also the tzadik, R' David of Lelow, who used to take care of Jewish children when he passed through the Polish communities, called him out of a group of boys, gave him a candy and told him: “Your grandfather, R' Shlomo of Pinczow, is only missing a Mikve (a symbol of the Hassidut), you will fix it.”

When the boy Shlomo matured his parents sent him to the Great Yeshiva in Piotrkow. The head of the yeshiva, HaRav R' Avraham Zvi, son of R' Eliezer 5537-5579 (1776-1818), author of the compendium of inquiries and responses titled Brit Avraham, was considered one of the geniuses of his generation. All the towns in the vicinity of Piotrkow Radomsk turned to him with inquiries concerning prohibition, permissions and Jewish laws. At first he was a rabbi in the town of Pilica. In 5562 (1801), he assumed the role of rabbi and head of the yeshiva in Piotrkow, progressively elevating it into a prominent Institution of Torah Learning. R' Avraham Zvi corresponded with questions and answers with the Geonim R' Yaakov of Lisa [Leszno] author of Chavat Daat, and R' Akivah Eiger of Pozen. Rabbis from Poland and Germany turned to him with complicated questions. But in particular he was approached with questions from the immediate area, from the towns of Czestochowa, Zarki, Ksiaz, Wodzisław, Nowe Pole, Pinczow, Przedborz, and more. Distinguished by his pedagogical approach, R' Avraham Zvi veered from the traditional protracted dialectical method known as pilpul. In an answer he wrote to R' Arie Leib HaKohen, grandfather of R' Shlomo of Radomsk, who was president of the court in Nowe Pole, he described his method of teaching at the yeshiva: I refrain from adopting newer trends that emerged in the generations following Maimonides. Instead, my pursuit is firmly anchored in the study and adherence to the Talmud, the Gemara, and the scholars of those older generations.”

In his sermons in Piotrkow R' Avraham Zvi relied not only on the basics of the legend but also on philosophical books of the Middle Ages and Moreh Nebuchim [“The Guide for the Perplexed”] by the Rambam [Moses Maimonides], that he was very fond of. In Piotrkow yeshiva the young man Shlomo became famous as a genius. The head of the yeshiva brought him very closer, and the student also remembers his rabbi with great admiration and brings Torah innovations that he had heard from him in his childhood. During his studies at Piotrkow yeshiva, the young man Shlomo wrote Torah innovations on the tractates of the Six Orders of the Mishnah. In Piotrkow he also studied with one of the local rabbis, R' David Charif author of “The House of David” about Masechet Gittin section of the Talmud. For a while he studied with R' Moshe Aharon president of the court of Kutno. At that time the spirit of the Hassidut was spreading across the yeshivot in Poland, and also the young man Shlomo was drawn to this movement that spoke to the hearts of the youth with pleasant words and feelings of love and singing. R' Avraham Zvi of Piotrkow, a mitnaged [opponent of the Hassidut], made earnest attempts to dissuade his students from embracing this new movement. However, Shlomo's other mentors, R' Moshe Aharon of Kutno and R' David Charif, aligned themselves with the teachings of “The Holy Jew” of Peshischa, the tzadik who gathered around him all the yeshiva students in Poland. Also HaRav of Wloszczowa R' Reuven was one of the distinguished students of ha-Chozeh of Lublin and the loyal friend of R' Dov Zvi of Wloszczowa. All of them influenced the young man Shlomo who already in his youth began to get closer to the Hassidut and Kabbalah studies.

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A Hasidic legend tells a miraculous story about his school days at Piotrkow Yeshiva. Once, after studying the Torah at night, young Shlomo approached the window of Beit HaMidrash across the cemetery immersed in thoughts and enthusiasm. And behold, great terror fell upon him, the fear of death, a cemetery. And to abate his fear he took the “Shofar and blew a few blasts. However, great was his astonishment when to the sound of the blowing of the Shofar by the young man - the future tzadik - all the dead rose from their graves and dressed in white surrounded Beit HaMidrash saying: here is the Shofar of the Messiah!… This wonder legend, about the blowing of the Shofar by R' Shlomo which can work wonders, resurrect the dead and bring closer the days of the Messiah, was handed down from father to son in the vicinity of Radomsk -Piotrkow…

At the advice of R' Reuven the Rabbi of Wloszczowa, R' Shlomo married Gitale daughter of the Hasid R' Shmuel. Rebbetzin Gitale, his faithful wife, was known for her righteousness. She supported her husband throughout his life, helped him in the bad days and got to see his great years when thousands of Hassidim from all over Poland flocked to Radomsk. For most of her years she fasted every Monday and Thursday. Immediately after the wedding, she opened a textile shop, engaged in trade and negotiated with faith to add to the family's livelihood, because her husband's meager earnings were not sufficient to support the family. She has done so until her old age. She earned a living from the labor of her hands and did not want to enjoy free gifts also from her sons.


B. The source of the Hassidut

After his wedding, when R' Shlomo was supported by his father-in-law, he devoted himself entirely to the study of the Torah and Kabbalah. At night he engaged in the writings of the Ha'ari and became known as great in the Torah and piety. In those days he also joined the growing Hasidic movement. The Hassidut split into two streams after the passing of ha-Chozeh, R' Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz of Lublin. One stream was first led by the “Holy Jew” R' Yaakov Yitzhak of Peshischa. After his death R' Simcha-Bunem of Peshischa took his place. This stream opposed the way of popular Hassidut founded by ha-Chozeh of Lublin and R' Elimelech of Lizhensk .Peshischa's tzadikim gathered the Polish scholars around them and founded an ideological Hassidut like Chabad in White Russia [Belarus]. They rejected the concept of miracles, the unnecessary descent to the masses of Jews and excessive admiration of the tzadik. Hassidut Peshischa preached to the study of the Torah, emphasizing the intellectual and theoretical foundation, the study the philosophy of the Middle Ages and delving into the works of the Maharal of Prague. They were mainly concerned with nurturing the spiritual needs of the Hasidim instead of taking care of their material needs. The role of the tzadik was to guide the Hasidim toward spiritual enlightenment and supreme humility, and against carrying out acts that are not out of thought or intention in doing the act.

The popular stream was under the leadership of the tzadik, R' Meir Halevi of Apt (Opatow). According to the Hasidim tradition, on Sabbath Parshat Pinchas, shortly before his passing, ha-Chozeh of Lublin honored his disciple R' Meir Halevi, with an aliyah to the Torah, and instead of reading until Sh'lishi he told him to read to the middle of Khamishí, and when he reached the verses: “Let God, Source of the breath of all flesh, appoint someone over the community who shall go out before them and come in before them, and who shall take them out and bring them in, so that God's community may not be like sheep that have no shepherd.” (Numbers 27:16-17), he trusted him to be his successor. R' Meir HaLevi of Apt was among the students of HaGaon R' Yitzhak Avraham of Pinczow author of the book questions and answers Keter Kehunah. R' Meir was a rabbi in Stawiszyn and later in Apt - one of the oldest communities in the interior of Poland which had become a center for the Hassidut.

R' Meir'l Apter, as he was fondly called, led the popular Hassidut like his rabbi ha-Chozeh of Lublin. In his opinion, the role of the tzadik is “to ask for mercy for the Jews, to put aside his own affairs, and his and his family's necessities, in order to always pray for all the Jews.” It is not for a tzadik to climb to the “heights” and deal only with the social elite. On the contrary, “the tzadik must stick to those souls that are not yet properly purified and clean and purify them.” In general, the tzadik must “affect the Jews with good influences and all their wishes, everything they need according to the time and this is the meaning of the verse: “and they shall judge the people at all times.” “According to the time they will be judged by Jewish law.” For this reason, R' Meir was interested in the Hasidim's needs, gave financial advice and made sure to fill their needs through intercession, prayers and advice in the manner of the first tzadikim. Typical is R' Meir's prayer which was printed at the title page of his book Or la-shamayim [“Light for Heaven”] This prayer contains all the basics of the Hassidut and its ways. R' Shlomo HaKohen recited it before his daily prayers intentionally and enthusiastically: “Master of all worlds… help me to have a measure of submission and humility, a spirit hidden in my heart and my soul at all times and at every moment. Let your fear be before me that I will not sin… and your love will burn in my heart all the time and your wisdom will empower me to be before my eyes your greatness and valor… and I will not chase after honor and greatness and riches, because if you set my soul to do your will that is right in your eyes, and I will be ready at any moment to surrender my soul, my spirit and body for the sanctification of your name … and no man's jealousy shall rise upon me, nor shall I be jealous of others… and instruct me the way of your laws for your servant with a broken heart and with joy and with a humble spirit and with the love of your Jewish people, and may your name be sanctified by me and by my children, and their descendants to the end of all generations.”

R' Meir was famous for his fine melodies and his pleasant prayer by the amud[3] accompanied by a choir. All the famous musicians and cantors came to hear his poetry, including the famous musician Yontel of Lublin who sang the melodies of R' Meir which were known in all the tzdikim courts in Poland.

R' Shlomo HaKohen became one of the ardent Hasidim of R' Meir of Apt. He traveled to him to observe his prayer and chanting and to hear his singing and music. R' Shlomo also traveled to R' Simcha-Bunem of Peshischa and, according to Hasidic tradition, when he extended his hand to him for a greeting of shalom, R' Simcha-Bunem, who was already blind, remarked: “This man possesses the wisdom of King Solomon.” These words of praise did not affect R' Shlomo. He did not like the way of Hassidut Peshischa and continue his journey to Apt. R' Simcha-Bunem and his students were very sorry that an important young man like him left the Peshischa house.

Numerous legends envelop R' Shlomo's journey from Radomsk to Apt. He walked from Wloszczowa to Przedborz, from there to Lopuszno and from there to the village of Redlin. Wherever he went, the place where he prayed was sanctified. In the village of Redlin the house made into synagogues for all the Jews in the area, and it has been told that to this day there has been no fire in this house. The legend also tells that once, when he was walking to Apt in the snowy winter days he grew weary, entered the forest to recover a little, but he was not unable to rise. His

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weakness increased until he fainted and the snow almost covered him. However, the heavens had mercy of the tzadik of the generation. Suddenly a cart passed by and in it sat a Polish farmer who woke him up from his fainting, put him in the cart and led him to the city of Apt. When they arrived to the inn, R' Shlomo inquired about the fare. The farmer answered him: six zloty. R' Shlomo entered the inn to get to exchange the money and pay the farmer. However, when he returned he saw neither a farmer nor a cart. Not on this street, not in the whole city, and no one saw a cart coming or going. Hasidic tradition holds that it was a revelation of the Prophet Elijah. R' Meir of Apt held R' Shlomo in high regard, and an anecdote revolves around a Shabbat dinner where R' Meir requested R' Shlomo to lead the Kiddush prayer. During the prayer, R' Shlomo became overtaken by ecstasy, proclaiming that “the name of God is floating over the tongue of R' Shlomo of Radomsk.”

Another of his other mentors in the Hassidut was R' Fiszel of Strykow 5503-5585 (1742-1825). He was the son of R' Yosef Levi the Hasid of Biala Cerkiew, a disciple of R' Yaakov Yosef of Pollonoye (Polonne Ukraine). Because of the Haidamakas' pogroms under the leadership of Ivan Gonta (Tamuz 1768) R' Yosef Levi fled from Ukraine to Brzeziny in Poland. His son, R' Fishel, still had time in his native land to get to know R' Dov Ber the Mezeritcher Maggid [preacher]. In Poland he continued to engage in the Hassidut alongside R' Elimelech of Lizhensk and R' Yisroel the Maggid of Kozhnitz. R' Fiszel became famous in Poland as one of the greatest tzadikim. He excelled in holiness and purity and love of the Jews. R' Shlomo tells about him: “as we knew from the divine tzadik Admor[4] R' Fiszel of Strykow, may his merit shield us, who can never believe that any Jew would sin and commit some offense, and everything they told him, he did not believe and said that no Jew would sin, and this is due to the extent of his holiness and adherence to God who loves his Jewish people.” The Hassidim told about him that he did not know the shape of a coin, He distributed the “red coins” [gold coins] to the poor and was satisfied with the meager salary he was allocated as the rabbi of the city. Among his disciples were R' Simcha-Bunem of Peshischa, R' Chanokh of Alexander and others.

His third rabbi in the Hassidut was R' Isaiah Weltfreid of Przedborz - Simchat Olam [“Happiness of the World”] (died 5594 - 1831). He was a native of Lask and in his youth moved to Przedborz. There, he befriended R' Yaakov Yitzhak the “Holy Jew” of Peshischa. Both studied at the Lissa Yeshiva with HaGaon[5] R' David Tebli and over time both became famous as tzadikim. Both were influenced by R' David of Lelow who brought them closer to the Hassidut, to ha-Chozeh, R' Yaakov Yitzchak Horowitz of Lublin. R' Isaiah was accepted as rabbi in the Jewish metropolis Przedborz, which was famous with its scholars and its ancient synagogue. After the passing of ha-Chozeh in 5575 (1815), he became the Hassidim Rebbe. R' Shlomo was one of his most prominent students and in admiration he brought his Divrei Torah in his book Tiferet Shlomo.

His fourth rabbi in the Hassidut was R' Dov-Ber of Radoshitz (died 5603- 1843). He was a rabbi in Przedborz, one of the greatest students of ha-Chozeh of Lublin and became famous as a popular tzadik. Thousands, who saw him as a “miracle worker,” flocked to him and called him “Second Baal Shem.” R' Shlomo of Radomsk traveled to him to Radoshitz to complain before him about his closeness to the masses of people, instead of teaching Torah and Hassidut to yeshiva students who are thirsty for the Word of God.”

R' Shlomo was renowned in the Hassidut world as great and holy, but his financial situation was very tight. For a short period he taught in the village and his wife, Rebbetzin Gitale, engaged in trade. But, as the family grew so did the hardship and R' Shlomo returned to his center of Torah, to the rabbinic dynasty that he was connected to for generations, and was accepted as rabbi and president of the court in the city of Radomsk.


C. R' Shlomo HaKohen the tzadik of Radomsk

After R' Shlomo ascension to the rabbinical in Radomsk, he continued to engage in Torah and work and was known as a tzadik and holy. His approach to prayer was marked by fervent enthusiasm, drawing numerous followers, from near and far, who congregated at Beit HaMidrash to experience his morning devotions. The people of Radomsk tell: that when he took on himself Ol Malchut Shamayim [“The Yoke of Heaven”] in Kriyat Shema, and when he reached “God is One,” his voice was heard throughout the city. His prayer also became famous because of his pleasant and clear voice, and when he prayed in front of the Holy Ark and raised his voice in singing - all who heard were enchanted.

His behavior made a great impression throughout his life, to be awake all night and to engage in the Torah. He spent all the days of the week in the Beit HaMidrash, and only returned home for a meal on the Sabbath. All passers-by in Radomsk knew that there was one place in the city where the sound of the Torah does not stop all night long - Beit HaMidrash in the city. His son, R' Zvi-Meir, attests to him: “my honorable father, teacher and rabbi zlh”h[6]… shouted a lot at people who had just arrived and stayed up an hour or two past midnight and then went to sleep. And he said, in the name of those who tell the truth, the Holy Rabbi the Man of God our teacher R' Elimelech [Weisblum of Lizhensk] author of the book Noam Elimelech that he used to sleep until about midnight… get up after midnight…and studied the Torah.” Therefore, R' Shlomo used to stay up almost all night, from midnight onwards. And they often came to him from near and far at midnight, to talk ablaut the weekly Torah portion and hear his words of wisdom. There were various reasons for this behavior of his. The aforementioned son said, that he was


The seal of the president of the court R' Shlomo HaKohen Rabinowicz

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influenced by R' Chaim ibn Attar author of Or ha-Ḥayyim, who did not sleep after midnight, even in the nights of the month of Tammuz [a period of lamentation leading to Tisha Be'Av], to up and lament like a widow for the destruction of the house of out God with great tears, and to complete the night with the Talmud.”

Numerous chapters within his book, Tiferet Shlomo .are dedicated to the subject of nigh study and the practice of Tikun Chatzot (midnight prayer). According to the hints of the Kabbalah, the night is particularly suitable for prayer and study. This is the time of Rachel Imano [Rachel our mother] who speaks positively about her sons. In his opinion: “The Holy Shechinah[7] is called Rachel and her every desire is always to bring the words of the righteous, that they are holy sheep before God, Blessed He. And that is the meaning “In the evening she would go there, and in the morning she would return” (Ester 2:14). Because, every night she brings before God, Blessed be He, all the deeds of the tzadikim that they had performed on that day to boast about them: even those that were considered wild and foreign and far from God, and this is the essence of the uniqueness of the Holy One, He and His Shechinah.” And this is the way of the tzadikim to practice like Yaakov Avinu who “spent 14 years in the academy headed by Ever and did not sleep at night because he was studying the Torah…and we also found it with King David, may he rest in peace, that he did not pass midnight in his sleep and likewise in all the tzadikim… because by the fact that the tzadikim engage in the Torah at night they bring down the power of the “Other Side” and subdue it, so that they would not have control… so as not to defile people.” However, the main goal is the prayer for the redemption of the Jews and raising the Divine Spirit from its ashes, to be concerned about the destruction of the Holy Temple, and to be standing and waiting for the redemption soon in our days, and then His blessed name will be glorious and magnificent, as it is written: “The Lord is great and very much praised, in the city of our God, the Mount of His Sanctuary” (Psalms 48:2). Because the main exaltation of the Creator, Blessed be He, “when the city [Jerusalem] shall be built on its mound and the palace on its proper site shall be established” (Jeremiah 30:18). That is why every person should get up and stand at midnight, as written: “Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches!” (Lamentations 2:19). Another reason was to be counted among the tzadikim, the covenant keepers who stay away from all impurity at night, who are called “who stand in the house of the Lord at night to be saved.”

His material situation worsened during the first years of his stay in Radomsk. The family grew and numbered about six people, and the meager salary allocated to him on behalf of the Radomsk community was not enough for his livelihood. Therefore, the Rebbetzin Gitale opened a fabric shop and engaged in trade, as was clearly stipulated in the rabbinical script, that “the wife of the rabbi, may he live long and happily, is permitted to sell and buy in our city as she wishes.” Therefore, R' Shlomo sat all day in Beit HaMidrash, ate and slept there, discussed the laws of the Torah and the city's affairs. Passersby cane to Beit HaMidrash in Radomsk and published the name of the “smart rabbi of Radomsk” in the entire area. From time to time Rebbetzin Gitale appeared in Beit HaMidrash and brought a little food for her husband to revive his soul. However, her many troubles in the trade and the salary of the community - were not enough for a modest income. The family lived in two small rooms and with great difficulty they were able to fulfill the family's needs in footwear and clothing. R' Shlomo was modest and did not want to enjoy financial donations. On one occasion, he was summoned to Przedborz to adjudicate a court case in a conflict that broke out in the city, and after he issued the verdict to their satisfaction, they wanted to pay him an “arbitration” fee. R' Shlomo did not want to accept in any way. Aware of his stance against accepting payment, the townspeople surreptitiously placed a considerable sum of money in his coat pocket. Before his trip to Radomsk, Rebbetzin Gitale found the money in the pocket and used it to purchase shoes for their little daughter Rachel. When R' Shlomo came home he saw his daughter Rachel wearing new shoes. He asked the source of the expense and the rebbetzin told him about the money she found in his coat pocket. R' Shlomo responded with agitation, saying: “Even barefoot, she will find a scholar for a husband.” Rachel married the scholar R' Lipman - of the great Hasidim of Kock, and lived to a venerable age.

Despite being very poor, he did not want to receive a salary from various Hasidim, who recognized him as righteous and holy and demanded his advice. His rabbi, Dov Ber of Radoshitz sent him many sick people - to bless them with Birkat HaKohanim [Priestly Blessing], but R' Shlomo refused to see them. He did not want to use his position as a tzadik as a source of income.


D. The trip to Kazimierz and the parting from R' Moshe of Lelow

In the meantime, the situation has changed in the Hassidut in Poland in general and in the vicinity of Radomsk in particular. Hasidic Poland was then mainly under the influence of R' Mendel of Kock. This tzadik gathered around him thousands of intelligent scholars. He championed uncompromising spiritual purity and rigorous adherence to the tenets of the Bible and Talmud. R' Mendel's approach diverged starkly from that of many of his followers, who implored him for assistance in securing employment and income. He did not listen to economic decrees and the affairs of this world. R' Mendel drove away all the “homeowners” - the poor and rich Hassidim, who take care of sons and daughters and need “longevity sons and food.” Known is the saying: “I will be satisfied with two hundred Hasidim who will go up on the roof and shout Ein od milvado! [“There's no other besides Him”]. Once, came to Kock a poor Jew, who had an adult daughter who needed a dowry in order to get married, and he had no penny in his house. The Jew stood, in grief and with a burning insult, before the Rabbi of Kock and told him about his poverty and distress. But, R' Mendel attacked him with shouts: what else do you want from me? That I will marry your daughters? Is that why you came to me? Get out of here?” The Jew was frightened by his rabbi's screams and started to back away, but R' Mandel was not content with that and continued to run after him and chase him away with curses and shouts. In the middle of the shouting R' Mordechai Yosef of Izhbitza approached, stopped R' Mendel and spoke to him softly: our rabbi is this how you speak to a Jew who is in trouble and distressed? Is this the love of a Jew? - R' Mendel hesitated a little and replied immediately: “He will speak to me as a count - and I will answer him - as a king, but he speaks to me as a beggar and I treat him like a beggar!” It is understood that his answer is both brilliant and handsome, but it does not contain condolences for the suffering of the Jew and, even more so, such an answer was not acceptable by the popular Hassidim and the tzadikim of the house of Leżajsk and ha-Chozeh of Lublin that Ahavat Yisrael[8] was their strong desire.

In the opinion of R' Elimelech of Lezajsk, the rabbi of all the Hasidim in Poland and Galicia, the role of the tzadikim is “aiding orphans and widows in finding spouses, securing the release of prisoners and war captives, healing the infirm, offering solace to the bereaved, assisting the destitute, and continuously empathizing with the afflictions of the Jewish people, extending kindness to all people, have pity on the poor and always feel sorry for the troubles of the Jews.”

His disciple, R' Yaakov Yitzhak of Lublin, stated that the tzadik must “politely and patiently listen to every person even if they talk for too long and without focus. For this reason the popular tzadikim paid the same attention to each person, sophisticated or uneducated, believing that every person is special. This is also the opinion of R' Shlomo HaKohen that “at this time it is not in reality that all Jews will be as full of Torah and mitzvot like the Tannaim and the Amoraim, and what will happen to uneducated. One has the understanding to learn, but does not have the ability to fulfill the commandments of charity and benevolence. and one who has the ability to observe the mitzvah of charity and does not have the leisure to study, or does not have the understanding to learn at all, as we see some people who are unable to understand any Torah words, and one who does not have the ability to learn

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and not to give charity… and what we will do with such people? - to this came this theory…all Jews have a portion in the world to come… the Jews have one property: even if they don't have (Torah) only Ahavat Yisrael alone, as Hillel said to the convert “you shall love your neighbor as yourself… and for the rest - go and learn it, and in this he also the possession in His unity, may His name be blessed.

Over a short period of time as the notable rabbis who had been disciples of ha-Chozeh of Lublin and R' Simcha-Bunem of Peshischa passed away, a new path was cleared for R' Shlomo HaKohen to ascend. His name became known among the tzadkim of Poland and its Hasidim. After the passing of R' Dov Ber of Radoshitz in 5603 (1843), many of his Hasidim embarked on a journey to Radomsk and took upon themselves the authority of R' Shlomo. At first, he did not want to take the role of the Admor and banished the Hassidim, but they did not give him rest and sometimes he acceded to their requests and received “notes.” He maintained his custom of expelling the Hassidim to his last days, and sometimes he locked his room for several weeks. The Hassidim sat by the tens and hundreds in Beit HaMidrash and waited for the window of opportunity when the Rabbi of Radomsk would see them. When he did receive them, he treated them with utmost respect and love. He preached in praise of the Hassidic philosophy of R' Elimelech of Lezajsk and ha-Chozeh of Lublin, and blessed his Hassidim while spreading his palms as in Birkat HaKohanim. He soon became known as a “salvation worker” and many flocked to him from near and far.

R' Yitzhak of Warka, a disciple of R' Simcha-Bunem of Peshischa, who was famous for his Ahavat Yisrael, passed away in 5608 (1848). Many of Warka's Hassidim came to R' Shlomo of Radomsk. Among them was R' Eliyahu of Pożdżewirk, an estate owner and a renowned Hasid. When he came to him he expressed his sorrow for the death of his rabbi of Warka, R' Shlomo of Radomsk answered him “the prayer Mi Sheberach [a prayer for the living] holds greater value than El Maleh Rachamim [a prayer for the deceased]. Kock Hasidim also came to R' Shlomo in secret to seek his advice and enjoy his wisdom. R' Mendel locked himself in his room for many years and the Hassidim needed a rabbi and a leader. The close associates of the Rabbi of Kock also came to Radomsk. When once a Hasid told R' Mendel of Kock about the “new rabbi” in Radomsk, R' Mendel responded: “R' Shlomo of Radomsk has a burning heart for our Father in Heaven.”

Many Hasidim joined R' Shlomo after the immigration of the Admor, R' Moshe of Lelow, to Israel in 5611 (1851). R' Moshe was the son of the tzadik R' David of Lelow, famous for his compassion towards the Jewish people and his honesty. Fathers told sons about his personality shrouded in the majesty of mystery, his great love for Israel, and his affection for small children and animals. He was also loved and revered by the Christians in the surrounding area. “And instruction of kindness is on his tongue, and the love for all who were born in the image [of God].” In the opinion of R' David there is no such thing as a bad Jew, and if a Jew is found whose deeds are bad, it is because of the influence of “the gentiles in him, of the gentile environment. He demonstrated his love for all Jews in his statement: “How can you call me a tzadik when I love my children more than any other Jew?” Upon his son R' Moshe's complaint about a fellow Jew opening a competing store, R' David was amazed by his words and asked him: aren't you happy my son that your neighbor also makes a decent living? R' David was dressed in simple clothes and tied a straw belt around his waist and lived a life of sorrow. Not for nothing did he once explain the saying: “The Holy One, Blessed be He, will arrange a dance of the righteous” (Taanit 31a:9). That in the future God supposedly will ask the righteous to forgive him for the suffering, poverty and oppression they suffered in this world. R' David walked around the towns of Poland, visited the cheders, asked for the welfare of the Jewish children and gave them candy and money.

R' Moshe of Lelow's son was born in 5538 (1778) and was educated by his father in the Hasidic circle of ha-Chozeh of Lublin. R' Moshe was the son-in-law of the “Holy Jew” R' Yaakov Yitzhak of Peshischa, and assumed the role of rabbi in Przedborz following the passing of his rabbi, R' Yeshaya of Przedborz (5591- 1831). Many Hassidim traveled to shelter in the shadow of R' Moshe after the passing of R' David of Lelow. He followed his father's ways, was known for his honesty and righteousness sand the Poland's tzadikim greatly respected him. R' Yisrael of Ruzhin said about him before his travel to Eretz Yisrael: “There is no Poland in the light of the candle” (Bavli Shabbat 12a). Poland's Hasidim do not know how to appreciate the candle - the light in the personality of R' Moshe. In his old age R' Moshe decided to settle in Israel. His wife, Rebbetzin Rivka, opposed his decision. But R' Moshe did not want to deviate from his decision and immigrated to Israel together with his sons[a]. He was honored everywhere he went. His journey made a great impression in all the towns of Poland his and awakened longings for the Holy Land. The most heartfelt farewell was held at the home of R' Shlomo HaKohen in Radomsk. R' Moshe of Lelow ordered his Hasidim to accept R' Shlomo HaKohen as their tzadik, and asked R' Shlomo to bless him with Birkat HaKohanim before his journey to Israel. The Hasidim parted from their elderly rabbi in the presence of the new Rabbi of Radomsk with tears and sorrow. R' Shlomo supported R' Moshe and his sons and sent considerable sums for the benefit of the poor of Kollel[9] Polin-Warsaw.

And now, even though hundreds of Hassidim began to flock to him hear the words of his teachings, and crowned him their rabbi, R' Shlomo himself was not happy about it, “they hung the bell on me” - he used to say - “against my will.” From time to time he locked himself up in his room, did not accept anyone and drove his Hasidim away from him with reprimands and “curses” - which were interpreted by the Hasidim as blessings. Sometimes, he left his Hasidim and traveled by himself to other tzadikim, and so he acted to his last days. After all, traveling to the tzadik of the generation is one of the foundations of his teachings, and R' Shlomo lived up to his principles. In his opinion, this is a preparation for welcoming the Messiah in the near future. After all - “known is the greatness of the virtue of the righteous and all those associated with them, who walk a long distance to welcome them, since the time Baal Shem Tov came to the world and spread his light over the face of the earth. Because, before this time there was a generation of righteous who engaged in the Torah, in work and

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benevolence, and they secluded themselves in their homes and were holy and pure. But now, in these generations, the main thing is join a great authority and share its inheritance for his benefit now and in the future… For this reason we are happy that we get to welcome them, so that they will influence us from their light of holiness that we will soon be privileged to welcome our Messiah, and all the righteous that will stand in the resurrection, and soon we will be blessed to see the comfort of Zion and Jerusalem.” Great is the power of the righteous of this generation to enlighten the souls of the Jews and complete their correction, as we have heard from the Holy Rabbi of Radoshitz (R' Dov Ber) zlh”h, who was accustomed to recounting the act of the Holy Rabbi Chaim Chaykl of Amdur [Indura, Belarus] zlh”h who put restrictions on himself, fasted several times from Shabbat to Shabbat and a thousand nights woke up from his sleep to study all night. And yet, his purification was not completed until he came to the Holy Rabbi, our teacher R' Dov Ber of Mezeritch zlh”h on the Sabbath as we know.”

Famous in the Hasidic world is R' Shlomo's journey to R' Yechezkel of Kazimierz. He was one of the disciples of ha-Chozeh of Lublin, the Maggid of Kozhinitz [Yisroel Hopstein] and “The Holy Jew” [Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowicz of Peshischa] who was then the elder of the tzadikim of the previous generation. He often recited the Torah and for every action and deed he used to find a reference in the Torah. His work was in joy and singing. He used to say - “I don't feel pleasure on the Shabbat without a new tune.” His sons and descendants, of the Modzitz family, were the creators of the Hasidic music in Poland, the Modzitz music. R' Yechezkel, even though he was one of the students of R' Simcha Bunim of Peshischa, belonged to the popular stream of the Hassidut in Poland. Typical is one of his Hasidic saying: “our Sages wrote that the name “Yisrael” itself can be viewed as an acronym for the words, Yesh Shishim Ribo Otiyot La Torah (“there are six hundred thousand letters in the Torah”). Every Jew has a root and a letter in the Torah. And just as Sefer Torah should be surrounded by parchment, every Jew should be special in his service to God. And just as in a Sefer Torah one letter should not be far from the other in the word, so it is necessary that the people who are close to each other not be distant from each other. And just as every Sefer Torah has to be sewn together, and if not, there is no sanctity of a sefer [book] on it except as a Pentateuch, it is also necessary that all Jews will live together in unity. And the closer people are like a word, and some like a Parasha, and some like one order and like a book, as is written in the Torah, so are the matters of its approach, as well as in all the laws of Sefer Torah.”

R' Shlomo of Radomsk visit to Kazimierz earned the reputation of the meeting of the two greatest musicians in Hassidut Polin [Poland]. On the Sabbath before the holiday of Shavuot, R' Shlomo of Radomsk received the honor of leading the Musaf prayer. “Out of his humility,” R' Shlomo prayed simply, as a regular cantor. However, R' Emanuel of Przedborz approached him in the middle of the prayer and whispered to him that it is customary in Kazimierz to sing Anim Zemirot [“I shall sweeten songs”] after the prayer, and then R' Shlomo began to sing with “sacred enthusiasm” as was his custom - “and he

Impressed with his holiness and purity, and the entire Beit Midrash was filled with light and the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness.” On the first day of the holiday of Shavuot, R' Shlomo was honored with the first Aliyah as a Kohen and especially with the reciting of Akdamut, the prominent piyyut[10] in the hymns of the day dedicated to the receiving the Torah. R' Shlomo agreed but stipulated two conditions: 1) that he will not sing a lot of piyyutim. 2) that they prepare for him a large choir of singers and musicians and R' Shlomo will train them for prayer and singing. R' Yechezkel prepared for him a large choir of eighty men, among them the son of R' Shmuel Eliyahu of Zvolin [Zwoleń]. And when they all broke out in loud singing and the voice of the conductor R' Shlomo was heard, “everyone felt the joy of holiness and immense enthusiasm” and “as if the house walls and the windowpanes were shaken.”R' Shlomo of Radomsk's singing of the Akdamut and his dancing made a great impression on R' Yechezkel of Kazimierz, who walked in Beit HaMidrash and expressed his admiration and wonder: Have you seen such a anything? Have you heard such a thing?


Title page of the book Tiferet Shlomo


The Hasidim tell, that R' Yechezkel advised R' Shlomo HaKohen to return home for the holiday of Shavuot because the Radomsker Hasidim are waiting for his arrival. It is written (Exodus 19:14): “So Moshe descended from the mountain to the people,” and

Rashi interpreted: “this teaches that Moshe wouldn't have turned to his business but from the mountain to the people. And seemingly this is puzzling, what kind of businesses did Moshe Rabbeinu have? - but the meaning is: that he did not turn to “his own business” - and to his spiritual ascension, to receive the Torah according to his highest rank, but “he descended from the mountain to the people” - to teach the people and prepare them to receive the Torah, and this is the praise of Moshe who cared for the people and not for himself.” To this R' Shlomo answered him: but how can one leave “Mount Sinai?!”


E. His way and influence in the Hassidut

In 5616 (1857), R' Yechezkel of Kazimierz passed away. One by one the great tzadikim passed away, the remnants of the old generation, the leaders of the group, who did not inherit the throne of righteousness by the merit of ancestors, but because of their righteousness and teachings. Hassidut Polin did not yet know about the dynasties, which were customary for a long time in Wolyn and Russia. In Poland only excellent students drew the hearts of the Hassidim. The tzadikim's sons had no influence. A child can write the number of Hassidim who traveled to them. In 5619 (1859), R' Menachem Mendel of Kotzk passed away - the great revolutionary in the Hasidic thought in Poland.

Year after year new Hasidim joined R' Shlomo of Radomsk. The small Beit Midrash was not sufficient for the huge crowd that flocked from all over Poland. In 5621 (1861), a special and spacious Beit Midrash was built (“Des Rabines Beit Midrash”) that contained thousands of Hasidim. It was especially crowded on the Sabbath and holidays. On the holiday of Shavuot about four thousand Hasidim used to come from all over Poland and Galicia. The number of visiting Hasidim

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exceeded the number of residents in Radomsk. To Radomsk came the elder Hasidim, the remnants, of the Hasidim of ha-Chozeh of Lublin, the “Holy Jew,” R' Meir of Apt and more. Great rabbis came to talk with him about Diveri Torah and hear his witty sayings. Thousands of ordinary Jews flocked to Radomsk - to hear his prayer and ask for his blessing.

R' Shlomo saw his main role as the generation's educator and guide. Characteristic are his words at the dedication of the Great Beit Midrash. He began in the verse: “this is my God, and I will make Him a habitation” (Exodus 15:2), and interpreted in Targum Onkelos[11]: “God is law and I will build him a temple.” Meaning: I will build him a house, a temple equal to the glory of God. The reason for the importance of a temple will be understood according to the words of Tikunei haZohar[12] (page 13), that the form of the Tabernacle “and all its parts, the courtyard and the Temple and the Holy of Holies, the altar and the menorah and the table and the Holy Ark and the Torah in it, they all allude to the human form in general and in particular.” Each vessel in the Temple symbolizes a part of the human body “and here, when a man sanctifies himself - the whole building of his 248 organs and 365 tendons is modeled after the Holy Temple, and the inspiration of the Divine Presence continues on him, as it was in the Holy Temple,” because “the Holy Temple was mainly inspired by the holiness of the Jews.” And as is written in the Bible: “then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them” (Exodus 25:8). It is not said in him - but among them because all the holiness of the Holy Temple comes from the holiness of the Jews.” This is also the level of the tzadik of the generation about whom King David said: “I shall never forget Your precepts for through them You have sustained me” (Psalms 119:93). The life of the righteous - is in his heart and by his good deeds and his holiness and purity - as if he is building a Holy Temple. “The inspiration of the Shechinah is in his heart and within him and does not need the Holy Temple.” And this is the meaning of the verse: “I rejoiced when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord” (Psalms 122:1). He wants to say about himself - that I - David - the Holy Temple and the House of God - because “the heart is the Holy of Holies and it is as King David - and to this said Moshe and the Jews: “This is my God, and I will make Him a habitation - I will build a temple for him within us - inside the heart.”

What was the secret of his great influence? What was his great power to attract a huge number to him? - Let us hear what the faithful Hassidim tell about his way of life, the ways of reciting the Torah, his Code of Jewish Law, his relationship with the Hassidim and his prayer and music.


F. To his character

R' Aharon Marcus “the philosopher of the Hasidim,” author of several books in philosophy and linguistics, was his outstanding student. R' Aharon devoted a special chapter to the image of his revered rabbi, and here is the beginning of his words:

The Gemara tells: “The Sages taught: There was an incident involving R' Eliezer and R' Yehoshua, who were traveling in a ship, and R' Eliezer was sleeping and R' Yehoshua was awake. R' Yehoshua trembled, and R' Eliezer awoke. R' Eliezer said to him: What is this, Yehoshua, for what reason did you tremble? R' Yehoshua said to him: I saw a great light in the sea. R' Eliezer said to him: Perhaps you saw the eyes of the leviathan [whale], as it is written: And his eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn” [Job 41:10]. RaMCHaL [R' Moshe Chaim Luzzatto], in the book Adir Bamarom [“Mighty on High”], reminds the Kabbalah view of the composition of the eye, through which the soul radiates… There it was said that before man had skin and flesh, his eyes were huge soul lights. Several times have I seen this thing with the tzadik R' Shlomo… The unforgettable impression surpasses everything that the pen, or the artist's pencil, can draw, including the sensitive plate of the camera. The patriarch of the nation, whose power to grow such fruits in his old age is immortal… This wonderful righteous had a great pulling power, despite his seemingly rigid and strict character, until in the days of riots, without a passport, I overcame my natural fear, maybe they will shot me or drown me, and I sneaked up on him by difficult rout… a different times and in incomprehensible ways. They came to him to express revelations saturated with the indescribable radiance of his body, which served as a cover for his free spirit…

In vain the artist's pictorial imagination strives to bring up the faithful image of Aharon HaKohen, or one of the Great Kohanim of his grandsons. Although the impression we received from the creative power of his soul was so mighty, until the imagination was joined to the cognition to determine that this, not otherwise, was the image of HaKohen HaGadol[13].

One of his Hasidim, HaRav Yitzchak Shmilovich author of the book Pele Yoetz, writes: In all time I glorify, praise and exalt his great name, that I was granted ,when I were a young boy, to see the holiness of his face on the three Sabbaths of the year.” “The love of R' Shlomo HaKohen zlh”h is burning inside me…” I remember when I saw him the first time, and his holy image shone before my eyes. I thought then, that if this is the image of a “good Jew,” who could imagine the image of our holy patriarchs, Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov…

The same rabbi is telling that once his father, R' Binyamin Ze'ev of Piotrkow, one of the most important and closest Hassidim of R' Shlomo HaKohen parted from his rabbi. After parting he turned his face back and was stunned to see his rabbi standing in his place with his hands outstretched as in Birkat HaKohanim, and continues to bless him…

Also on his seal was engraved the shape of a Torah crown and below hands outstretched in prayer…

It should be noted that not only Jews came to him, gentiles also came to ask for his advice - he knew to speak Polish and sometimes used his knowledge of Polish in his witty jokes. The nobles of Poland often consulted with him during the Polish national uprising in 5623-1863. The nobles revealed their secrets to him and asked his advice knowing that R' Shlomo would not betray them.


G. His teachings, prayer and music

R' Aharon Marcus writes: “great was his teachings that he said at his table, great was his singing and prayer by the amud.

R' Shlomo HaKohen writes in his book about the “table,” and that the tzadikim's prayer has the power “to remove the Satan from a person and to abolish the evil inclination that is called later,” as Ba'al Shem Tov, may his merit protect us, had taught us. He gave marvelous counsel, made great wisdom from all the generations before him, to raise the glory of the Creator and have many students, to teach them ways of holiness and purity in the Torah and the preparation of the prayer. When our eyes see the disciples of his disciples from all the righteous of the generation, from whose lips we live, and all those who cling to them will succeed and bear fruit, and so he said: “Whoever is privileged to be one of the observant of the Sabbath, one of the guests to his table, he gives him the elixir of life to heal him and saved from all lust, and also intends to behave in his home in holiness and purity.”

The Hassidim describe in an impressive way the impression he made with his music and teachings at the Shabbat “table.” R' Yitzchak Shmilovich writes: “It is known that everyone who heard the pleasant voice of the Admor zt'l, immediately a complete answer to our Father in Heaven, arises in his heart ,and when he began to recite the Torah with wonderful innovations - all listeners felt in their souls - valuable advice for the worship of the blessed God.” R' Aharon Marcus describes the Shabbat table and the reciting of the Torah: “at that moment his eyes shone like the jewels in the high priest's breastplate.”

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Reciting the Torah and writing were a sacred work for him and on the title page of his book he wrote in his handwriting: “For the sake of the unification between the Holy Blessed One and His Shechinah”… I am starting to write to my soul words of reverence for God and moral rebuke about the order of the weekly Torah portions, may it be the blessed Creator's will that we get to learn and to teach, to keep and do with reverence and love, and we will be rewarded to see the consolation of Zion, Jerusalem and the Jews, and His glory will fill the entire earth in the near future, Amen.” In his opinion, “it is clear that thanks to the Torah the world was created and all the existence of the world is by the Torah, therefore, by the renewal of the Torah the world will be renewed, and it is written: “and in His goodness renews every day, continually, the work of creation,” and “there is no good but the Torah,” because “every day it should appear in your eyes as if it was new” and “with them renews every day the work of creation. It was found, that the renewal of the world is by the tzadik who renews Torah innovations, that's why Hazal said, “that by the Torah he becomes a partner of the Holy One, blessed be He.” And if indeed the Hassidim's Torah innovations are far from the simplicity of the Bible, after all, “several sacred books wrote deep secrets in the Book of Ruth, and we have already heard from the Holy Rabbi of Medzhybizh z”l who said: “is not possible that this was Ruth's intention at that time of such deep matters.” And the same is the case with the multiple intentions that are included in the words of the patriarchs and Avraham Avinu, “and how is it possible that in such a short time Avraham Avinu, may he rest in peace, directed all these intentions.” but a great rule in our hands, that everyone who observes the commandments “with all his heart, carefully and reverently, then all the intentions and peculiarities are made on their merits.” His teaching was saturated with hints from the Kabbalah and based on the words of Sefer ha-Zohar[14], the innovations and writings of the Ha'ari [Yitzchak ben Solomon Luria Ashkenazi] and the rest of the first and last Kabbalists. Sometimes he often seasoned his words with witty quips, or his rabbis' folk tales and Hasidic sayings.

R' Shlomo was especially famous as a talented musician and cantor. A faithful description of his ability in playing music was written by the cantor A. B. Biranbaum and these are his words:

“The voice of R' Shlomo of Radomsk was thin and high and very pleasant and he led the prayer before the Holy Ark in great splendor, as one of the previous cantors. The elite musicians from among the homeowners and the Hassidim, flocked to him to hear his prayer, and since they came they adhered to him and received his “authority.” And therefore, most of Radomsk's Hassidim play music or, at least, like music. Before the High Holidays R' Shlomo'le arranged the prayers among his Hassidim, his singers. Each Hasid had a kind of moral obligation to go to his city's cantor and to learn from him his best songs… and they were very strict with the music and careful not to lose a single sound or a light harmony from the melody. The cantor, who gave them his song, was certain that they would spread his music in faith throughout the world, without subtraction or addition, and after they had learned a few songs well they gathered every free day in one of the houses to sing the songs in a choir, and later traveled to Radomsk with their sifted and clean goods. And there, they sang the songs before Shlomo'le and the work was done. And out of concern that the Hassidim would neglect their duty at home, R' Shlomo'le sent every year, about six weeks before the High Holidays two emissaries to supervise their work. Also many of the best cantors of those days, who did not walk arm in arm with the Hassidim, were counted among the pious and the possessors in Radomsk, and R' Shlomo'le did not reject them. On the contrary, he brought them closer in a generous spirit, even those who were already suspicious in the Hassidim's eyes.

Among those who adhered to him were the cantor of Lodz known as R' Leizer'ka and the cantor Abosch Meir of Krakow, and they were also the main agents for the Radomsk music. With his clear voice Shlomo softened the hearts of all his listeners. He had a very musical soul and in general he really liked to play, and on his table played the best Jewish violinists of Poland of those days. They traveled at their own expense to Radomsk, to the rabbi zt”l, and did not want to receive a payment, and they all adhered to the rabbi and were counted among his Hasidim.”

The aforementioned, R' Yitzchak Shmilovich, who heard the prayers and music of R' Shlomo, writes:

“I had the privilege of hearing his holy voice in his prayer, and all his prayer was with great joy, holiness and purity, only in the reciting of Zichronot (in Rosh Hashanah prayer) when he came to the prayer: HaBen Yakir Li Efraim and finished, he stopped and cried a lot and tears flowed from his eyes like water, and so he continued his crying until “Because you remember all the forgotten things” and again he finished the blessing with very great joy, and all who heard it were in awe out of joy, and how many times they all saw that he was almost devoted in his prayer, and, in particular, when he came to, Dari Ma'ala with Dari Mata, Keter, what can I say, when I remember the prayer of the Admor zt”lmy very innards were agitated and l I still remember him. And I remember when I heard from his holy mouth his recitation of Keriat Shema: Shema Yisrael [Hear, O Israel] etc. And the voice came out of him with holiness and purity, with great enthusiasm, which is impossible to describe in writing. And without a doubt that those who heard his voice, even though sixty years have passed since his death, still remain with them as a holy impression, and blessed are the ears who were privileged to hear such a thing… and when he said “the soul” he said in a pleasant voice, and the hearts of all listeners were drawn to worship the Blessed God. And the voice descended into the chambers of the stomach, and whoever heard his voice became a penitent, and so it was at the time of[15], when he sang the hymn Yedid Nefesh [“Beloved of the soul”] and El Mistater [“The God who's hidden”]. The meal lasted for many hours during the night, and the people who sat in darkness saw a great light, and the night was as bright as day, and God, Blessed be He, will save us so that I would be able to hear his voice again when we will ascend to Zion with a song and HaKohen HaGadol will stand with Urim and Thummim[16] Amen.”

The same R' Yitzchak Shmilovich brings in the introduction to his book about his father, R' Benyamin Ze'ev Shocht cantor in Plawno and Piotrkow, “who was among those close to the author of Tiferet Shlomo, and is known…from the virtue of R' Shlomo HaKohen, on whom it was said Na'im Zemirot Yisrael[17], he was very fond of new tunes for the High Holidays. Once he sent a special messenger to my honored father with a letter written in his holy hand in these words: “To prepare songs for the Jews' God,” because the man knew how to play music and invent pleasant melodies, and so my father z”l has done, he traveled to Radomsk before Rosh Hashanah and arranged for him the music for the prayers, and the author of Tiferet Shlomo worked the prayer work with them. “

A great virtue was for the music of R' Shlomo HaKohen. Once he said: “a new song for High Holidays - is obligatory for me like the mitzvah of waving etrog and lulav in the holiday of Sukkot.”

In his opinion, playing and singing are derived from “King David who was the first to write songs and praises as said in the Six Orders of the Mishnah” (Berakhot 7). “What is the meaning of the name Ruth? That she had the privilege that David, who inundated the Holy One, Blessed be He, with songs and praises,” and that's why all the songs and praises said from King David, may he rest in peace, are named after him. And no more, except that the virtue of King David is greater than that of Aaron HaKohen because it is written about Aaron: “and Aaron was silent” (Leviticus 10:3). And King David said: “So that my soul will sing praises to You and not be silent” (Psalms 30:13), meaning, that at a time of trouble he sang and praised the Holy One, Blessed be He. It's being told that when R' Mendel of Kock heard this saying in his name - he praised it excessively.

How important music was to him is shown by the fact that every week he sent a special ruble to his Hasidim in Jerusalem, to arrange Seudah shlishit in Jerusalem and play his songs in the Radomsk version. Interesting is a letter

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from one of his Hasidim in Jerusalem, R' Pinchas of Radom, which was sent from there after an illness befell R' Shlomo HaKohen. In the letter the Hasid tells about his vision in a night dream by Rachel's Tomb. In the vision I heard a loud noise and I asked: what is this loud and terrible noise, and a man came to me… and said to me: “You don't know that HaRav R' Shlomo'le Radomsker is in great danger?” And then his mother came to him and calmed him down that R' Shlomo is safe and sound, and led me “to a small room and I saw the Admor sitting on a chair and his face was hot as a fire torch, and I was afraid to look at him, and the Hasidim surrounded him and he was among them singing the hymn Mi El Kamocha - I saw all this in my dream.”

“The old Radomsk music - wrote me Mr. M. S. Geshuri, researcher of Hasidic music, maintain their freshness and their attractive power. They are always current among the Radomsk Hasidim, wherever they are, and they serve as elixir of life and spiritual pleasure for them. And when they sit together they sing them with the enthusiasm and joy of youth, as if they were new tunes. From time to time Radomsk Hasidim gather together and revive the old tunes, and in doing so raise the heartwarming image of the founder of the Radomsk Hasidic Dynasty, R' Shlomo Rabinowicz, and return to him and his sweet melodies with longing love. Such an intense of the Hasidim for their musician Rebbe - is rare among the Hasidim!”

The music has one style, a style that is immediately evident in the specific Radomsk character that accompanies grace and simplicity… The fundamental tone in his music is saturated with lyrical sadness. Most of the tunes transport the listeners to an atmosphere of restful meditation and seriousness that penetrate into the heart… Even in the actual elation of the cheerful tunes, there is a special intimacy in his music, which increases the warmth and excites the Hasidim to this day.


H. Ahavat Yisrael and charity

The foundation and root of the Radomsker Hassidut was Ahavat Yisrael. In the opinion of R' Shlomo HaKohen: “this is what we also heard from the tzadikim of our generation, who did not reprimand a person in his face to say to him: why did you do this? -Everything in terms of satisfaction and reconciliation, in a wise way with good words until the person sets his heart to turn from his sins. And so said the Jewish rabbi the man of God of Peshischa zt”l, that he accepted the words of the tzadik rabbi R' David of Lelow, may his virtue stand us in good stead, to no longer scold people with words of reproach and condemnation to repentance them before God, Blessed be He, but to talk to them in words of contentment and ease, bring their hearts closer with love and inspire them to fear God. One should always learn about the Jews, and remember their good deeds before the Blessed One, because all are holy, all are pure, and all do with fear and awe the will of their doom, and as we knew from the holy rabbi, R' Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev, that in the days of Hanukkah he rejoiced and boasted before God, Blessed be He, about the mitzvah of the Hanukkah candle that the Jews light to say: see how good your sons are, how careful they are in your commandments! And this virtue comes from the size of love to God, Blessed be He… And as we knew from the Admor Reb Fishel of Strykow, who never believed that a Jew would sin, and will commit an offense, and he did not believe everything they told him, because he said that no Jew would sin.”

And it is not only forbidden to see evil in a Jew, but the obligation is to surrender the soul for the benefit of the Jew. As the virtue of Moshe Rabbeinu, may he rest in peace, who said: “But if not, erase me out of the book you've written” (Exodus 32:32) - and so said King David, may he rest in peace: “I have sinned, and have acted iniquitously, but these sheep, what have they done? (II Shmuel 24:17), and also written about HaKohen HaGadol: “and Aharon will carry the judgment of the children of Israel over his heart”(Exodus 28:30) - and this was the meaning of the Choshen Mishpat [Breastplate of Judgment] that the HaKohen HaGadol wore, “who is greater than his brothers” - meaning: that he would have sacrifice himself for his Jewish brothers. Because of this “the righteous of the generation must bring every Jew closer,” even the simplest people, so that not a single Jew will be lost even if he is of a very low rank. In any case, the


The seal of R' Shlomo HaKohen president of the court of the Holy Community of Radomsk - to mark his library books


source of the origin of his soul is a divine part from above, of the sons of Avraham Yitzchak and Yaakov for whom the world was created. Ahavat Yisrael should be to such an extent “That each and every one of the children of Israel will be in his eyes as his real brother,” and whoever turns a blind eye from the “inferior without mercy on them” he is in the term of “You shall not desecrate My Holy Name” (Leviticus 22:32) - “because this is a desecration and cessation of my holy name.”

R' Yitzchak Shmilovich tells “that one should not guess and write the magnitude of mercy of the Admor zt”l. When he read the notes - if a “note” came before him - he saw in his holy spirit that everything is good and his face lit up with great joy, and on the contrary - his face changed from the magnitude of mercy and sorrow he did not have the strength to hold the note and it fell from his hand, and I saw all this myself. And the main work of the Admor zt”l was to pray for all the Jews and to have a good effect with his prayer.”

Ahavat Yisrael was expressed in actions. He made sure to provide a source of income for the poor. During the winter made efforts to supply firewood for the poor. He did not fear for his honor in matters of charity and kindness. He himself went to feed the sick and collect alms for the benefit of the poor. In 5628 (1868), he became famous for his actions regarding the redemption of soldiers from the army. According to the law, for the sum of 400 rubles it was possible to redeem from military service. Then, R' Shlomo amended regulations in Radomsk and imposed on each of the city's residents huge sums to “redeem” from the army. He quarreled with the stingy who did not want to participate in this fundraising campaign. Many stories have been told about his action. It is told, that R' Shlomo got on the bimah and swore that in his life “no poor man will go to serve in the army.” After all, the rich were able to redeem their sons and only the simple and poor men were sentenced for long service in the Russian army. R' Shlomo has done everything to redeem the poor. He went, accompanied by his assistant R' Tuvia,

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from house to house to collect money for this purpose. It is told that he then said: “since the destruction of our temple, the Jews did not give as much charity as they did at the time for the redemption of the soldiers.”

In his opinion, it is the duty of the tzadik is to be interested in the affairs of the community, no like those tzadikim “who did not look at the distress and sorrow of the Jews, only at the sorrow of the Shechinah, and all their days they only expect and wish for the greatness of the Creator, Blessed be He, with a zeal for Adonai Tzva'ot[18]. But indeed, this is not the way to the place where the light dwells. The tzadik will only succeed when he also looks at the good of the Jews, inspires mercy, compassion and kindness for them and feels sorry for their trouble… And this is what Yaakov said to Yosef: “Go now and see to your brothers' welfare, to see their best and influence them even while they are in exile”… After all, “the Shechinah does not need our mercy, because supposedly God, Blessed be He, can help himself at the moment.” But, “the main sorrow for the length of exile, that we, the Jewish people, are numb and overwhelmed, that's why when Yosef heard these words he replied: “I am looking for my brothers” - meaning: “the welfare of the Jews I seek and expect to see their welfare and salvation forever and to have mercy on them.”

R' Aharon Marcus writes about him: “he settled for less, hated greed and fled honor, and pushed aside his children from the common Jews.” I have already mentioned that he did not want to receive “arbitration fees” for his rabbinical jurisdiction, or when he was called to nearby cities to mediate in public affairs. In his opinion, the judge who receives legal fees “expects that there will be disputes between the Jews and he will receive a fee for “rabbinical jurisdiction” held by him, or when he is called to nearby cities to mediate in public affairs. In his opinion what is written about Shmuel's sons “and they turned after gain, and they took bribes and perverted justice.” (I Shmuel 8:3), meaning: that they did not follow the ways of their father who prayed for peace among the Jews and judged a Jew at no charge… and, God forbid, that they took a bribe, they only had to take wages from their litigants, as was customary at this time, and that's it “and perverted justice” - they ruled as they thought and did not direct the truth.

In his sermons in Radomsk and his teachings by the tables, he preached endlessly for integrity, distancing from any trace of cheating, even from the gentiles, and from lust for money also for the sake of a mitzvah.

In his opinion, the hint in “You shall each revere your mother and your father, and keep My Sabbaths” (Leviticus 19:3) is to teach us the way in the mitzvot, that we would be clean in body and in money, in other words, if he needs money to honor a father or a mother and use it for Oneg Shabbat, or charity for a scholar who's invited for the Sabbath, as explains in the Holy Zohar, with that it is possible to say that he will commit an injustice with the money, meaning, that he will covet silver and gold on their behalf, and say in his heart: I do many mitzvot and good deeds, and I will not transgress even one, to take something from a gentile or to raise the size which is also idolatry. And he said in his heart: after all, I don't take for myself, only for honoring my father and the scholars who sit before God in Beit HaMidrash, and to this the scripture says: (Leviticus 19:5) “When you slaughter a peace offering to the Lord, you shall slaughter it for your acceptance,” and he interpreted: if you think an improper thought, He will not accept it, after all, the Holy One Blessed be He, only desires clean mitzvot even with an abominable thought… Therefore, the money will be pure and you shall leave it for the poor and the stranger, you will not steal it, you will not covet in your heart when you give charity, tuition fees and doing mitzvot. Based on this, you will steal and deny when you say: after all I don't take it for myself only for the poor and for my sons' study of the Torah. And we quote here in the name of Ba'al Shem Tov, that the Archangel Michael asserts to the credit of the Jews, that they God forbid, cheat in negotiations, they do everything only for Heaven's sake, to support sons for the study of the Torah and to marry a daughter to a scholar, I, God, am faithful to pay wages and will help you to do charity and I hate hates robbery in an offering, and in this there is a connection to these verses.”

And just as he preached hatred of greed, he specifically opposed the practice of the teaching and Hassidut as a spiritual asset in order to derive profits from them.

R' Aharon Marcus writes: the “status of dignitaries was hated by him,” and when “dignitaries” came to him dressed in respectable clothing and exploited the Hassidut for money, he treated them with contempt. Once, one of the grandsons of R' Meir of Apt, his former rabbi, came to him bundle of “recommendations” in his hand and R' Shlomo said to him: “the grandsons come to me with a lot of letters like decorated brides.” As is known, he did not allow his sons to sit at the Shabbat table either, so that they would not proud of their father and take advantage of his right for financial purposes or bragging rights.

In his book, R' Shlomo writes nice words about the “begging” of the “beautiful Jews.” “Distance yourself from a false matter… you shall not accept a bribe”… It seems to me that this is aimed at those people who demand and preach with words of the Torah and legend. Their intention is Matnat Yad [donation] and “their desire is money.” And the one who said, distance yourself from a false matter even if he is poor and depends on other human beings, he must not aim in his teaching to extract pleasure from people, as Hazal said: “Don't consider the Torah as a means of livelihood, Heaven forbid,” even though the livelihood of many is only from others in the community. But still, it is not right of him to come with a strong hand and an outstretched arm to his friend to give him Matnat Yad without his heart wanting to do so, and not to aim all his days to make money. Even in the matter of receiving charity there are still many considerations that one must be careful of. As explained in the books, by accepting alms from each person he, Heaven forbid, impairs the degree of his soul, lowers it from its virtue and wisdom and his understanding of God's way. Begging degrades a person and lowers him to a low level.

In particular, he mocked all kinds of self-satisfied beautiful “Jews” who pride themselves on their wealth and learning. Such a Jew thinks that because he is “respected in the eyes of mankind” his heart rejoices in his midst to say to himself: “My strength and the might of my hand that has accumulated this wealth for me” (Deuteronomy 8:17). And what's more, I am still studying and learning a lesson every day. This is not the way, but rather “to pursues to know God all the days and nights, and all his affairs and deeds are only for a noble and moral purpose, and the reason of his study in the Torah - is for the sake of piety, “and, God forbid , not for his own glorification.” It is said, that once a Jew boasted to him that he studied three pages of Gemara every night. R' Shlomo HaKohen answered him: “the pillars and their bands of silver” (Exodus 38:10). The purpose of studying the Torah is to improve the person and elevate him morally, “the more he learns he will put more reverence for God in his heart.”

For this reason also a common man, who is busy all day with his livelihood and his mind is not devoted to the study of the Torah, if he is behaves in morality, in negotiation in faith, he is similar to the one who studies the Torah. As he said: “even if the person must ask for his livelihood every day and is not free to engage in the Torah day and night, and if he behaves according to the Torah, not to deceive and not to steal and not to lie and the like, etc. When he is engages in negotiations - he engages in the Torah, because he must pay attention to everything he does so that he does not violate God's commandments. The Torah is not the main thing. Great is the Talmud that leads to good and moral deeds.

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I. His spiritual character

Piotrkow's doctor, R' Chaim David Bernhard, ba'al teshuvah[19], a disciple of R' David of Lelow and ha-Chozeh of Lublin, used to visit R' Shlomo HaKohen in his old age.”He expressed himself, that like a big fish that sometimes rolls out of the big sea into a small pond, R' Shlomo has no place in this lowly generation.” The great man cannot adapt to his generation, and is always full of internal struggles in his relation to his Hasidim and admirers.

R' Shlomo was a great Torah scholar, and sat and diligently studied the Gemara and Poskim. HaGaon R' Chaim of Sanz testifies about him: “He dove with sharpness into the depth of the issues in the Six Orders of the Mishnah to clarify a rule in answering a question.” Great was R' Shlomo in his knowledge in the Kabbalah. All who read Tiferet Shlomo saw his great knowledge of the Zohar literature and the Ha'ari's writings. He loved books and in his library were various manuscripts in the Kabbalah and Hassidut by Ha'ari [Yitzchak Luria], Moshe de León, Yosef Gikatilla, R' Yaakov Zemach, R' Shlomo Pinczow, R' Yehoshua Heshle of Apt, and more.

Once he said to one of his Hasidim who looked and marveled at the great library. “You should know that all these authors did not wash their hands at dawn.” The Hasid was stunned and asked: is it possible? Yes, R' Shlomo answered him - they studied the Torah all night and did not need to wash their hands at dawn.”

He led the rabbinate in Radomsk at a high level and a strong hand. When he collected the money for the redemption of the poor from the service in the army, he forced all the townspeople, without exception, and especially the rich, to participate beyond their means. He was not one of the strictest in instruction, prohibition and permission, and also used to ease severe customs. He abolished the baking of thick matzot in Radomsk, and ordered to bake thin matzot which, in his opinion, do not turn sour quickly. He was not strict on eating matzot soaked in water, and mocked those who were strict about it pointing to his bookcase “all these writers eased on eating matzot soaked in water.” He once said jokingly: “a miracle happened to us that potatoes were discovered at a later time, because if this fruit had been discovered in the days of the strict sages, they would have forbidden eating it on Passover because of the prohibition of legumes.” He also eased on fasting especially for weak people, allowed to smoke on the holiday, etc.

On the other hand, he became very strict in matters of Shabbat and chastity. He opposed the new fashion of “crinoline” dresses and announced a ban on wearing such dresses in the synagogue. He amended regulations not to bury women next to men and more.

R' Shlomo was famous in the Hassidut world as one of “Notaries of the Covenant.” In his opinion this is a test to all God-fearing people. “Of the custom of people who deviated from the moral path, who study and pray and imagine that their prayer would rise to heaven, more than the ministering angels… but all this was if you preserved the sanctity of marriage.” Because it is known from the Holy Sefer HaZohar and all the sacred books, that the main thing of sanctity is keeping the covenant, both spirituality and from bad thoughts, Heaven Forbid, and the sanctity of marriage.”


Dr. R' Chaim David Bernhard of Piotrkow


And in another place: “it is known that the main sanctity of a person depends on maintaining his visibility in life.” As it written: dedication is in the eyes - holiness is in the eyes, that's why you have to be very careful because “damage to visual privacy is considered damage”… meaning, that he damages the name of God. But in Balaam, the wicked prophet, it is written “fallen yet with open eyes” (Numbers 24:4), meaning: this was his downfall because he was open-eyed and did not keep visibility in his life.”

He was famous for his wit and sharpness. Spoke the truth in his heart and mouth. He did not shy away from proving those who deserved it with witty words and stinging sharpness. Many jokes and wise sayings were common among the Hasidim of Poland. R' Aharon Marcus wrote: “he abhorred the mass sayings and also the abominable behavior of the dreamers. The simple statement glistened on his lips and his sayings were witty and charming.”

Because of his mentioned qualities, the love of truth and the sharpness of wisdom, he could not tolerate the simple peoples who and gathered by his Beit Midrash door to be saved by him in all sorts of salvations. He drove away the ignorant and rude who forced their way inn with the crowd of his admirers. But they often traveled to him. R' Shlomo was famous as a miracle worker and a savior. Rabbi Aharon Marcus writes: “he was the last in his district, among noble personalities about whom such wonderful and incomprehensible things are being told. However, everything I saw with my own eyes, from a careful observation, rejecting all illusions, he puts an end to all possible doubts. Even in the darkness of stormy times the indelible impressions do not disappear from

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the memory even in one day. His eye sailed beyond time and space. It would be an insult to his honor if we reduce ourselves to details. I would like to mention only one short proverb which is typical in several respects. On the last Shabbat Shuvah[20] before his death, which he predicted several months in advance, he sat after the Havdalah[21] and talked about world affairs:”there are gentiles today, who think in wisdom that King Solomon did not know about in his wisdom.” We must not forget that the rabbis of the old generation, and especially R' Chaim Halberstam of Sanz from his generation, rejected all external wisdom and especially the latest. Along with this it should be noted that external wisdoms were completely foreign to him. He did not know the foreign letters and also did not want to know them. However, this fact did not prevent him, like Ba'al Shem Tov, from paying attention to the spiritual atmosphere of the nations.”

The struggle in his soul was evident in his attitude towards the masses. On the one hand, he was one of the last of the popular tzadikim who put the love of the Jews as their principle, and in his opinion all Jews are holy and pure. “In every Jew there is a holy and supreme spark from his upper soul and a divine part that is waiting to be attached to its root, yet it is covered and hidden within the person for carnal reasons in this world.”

And this is the measure of the true tzadik who must be as Moshe: “and the main virtue of the tzadik is when he is tied with Ahavat Yisrael, that each and every one of his sons seems to him to be his brother, even if he sins he must atone him and influence him positively, and this is the interpretation of the sentence - “when Moshe had grown up” - this is the greatness of Moshe “when he went out to his brothers” - that each of the Jews was his brother to have mercy on him.” The tzadik is similar “to a tree and all the disciples are the branching branches, and when the tree blossoms to bear fruit, all the disciples are also the branches that will bear fruit with him… a hint to people of lesser value who are like his bones and sinews, if they are connected to the tzadik they will also rise with him.”

However, on the other hand, he couldn't tolerate the petty questions of the common people, who came to him to complain about a cow that stopped giving milk, etc.

R' Aharon Marcus writes: “like all the righteous of truth, he also felt the descent from the peak of his spirituality to the people as a heavy burden, but he did not avoid it out of a lot of pity.”

For the reasons of Ahavat Yisrael R' Solomon needed the people and their concerns. He mockingly dismissed the many “wonders” seen by him, “this is also a wonder” - he used to say mockingly. Also in his book he sees miracles - the attempt of the providence to mislead the righteous. “God tests the righteous” - this is the way of God to test people in order to grant them good. Sometimes a person reaches a level of greatness and is shown something that makes him good and Just in the eyes of God. This is all a challenge. Even the greatest tzadikim - God shows their greatness by letting them to perform miracles in the land and everyone runs after him. And this is at first only a test to see how he will feel about himself and if this will make him negligent in the work of the Creator, blessed be He. However, who is the wise man who will understand all his actions and will check his own deed so as not to become haughty to his brother - then, “God will bless him seven-fold and he will be very successful. And we also heard a story from the Holy Rabbi Ba'al Shem Tov z”l that he forced one of his students to be a rabbi and judge of his city, and pretended to be angry with him. The student did not want to accept this position and when Ba'al Shem Tov saw this, he revealed to him that he only wanted to test him. Therefore, a person must be God fearing and very anxious for all his affairs - maybe this is only for a test.” In another place R' Shlomo HaKohen sees in the “miracle” - a spiritual means, so that after the miracle the tzadik will be able influence his Hassidim in matters of Hassidut. “The tzadikim cause salvation to flourish through the ways of this world, showing miracle and wonder, so that they will attract more students to them, and these students will spread the light of their teachings and holiness…they all gathered to ask for their needs and came to him (to the Tzadik) and by it he was able to explain to them the ways of HaShem.”

However, he was not always able to accept the role of Admor. From time to time he was in a gloomy mood, and then he kept all his Hasidim away from him, scolding them, told them to go home and not come to him. He used to say: “I am not an Admor and don't come and interfere with my studies, if you want to see miracles, travel to Piotrkow to the Brukarz[b].”

His anger at the Hasidim especially increased during the government's decrees on the Polish Jews. In those days he secluded himself in Beit HaMidrash for whole weeks. Hundreds Hasidim wandered around as scolded and wretched orphans in the hallway and the courtyard of the Beit Midrash and R' Shlomo scolded them and sometimes also cursed them. Once he said: “I don't have an opinion in heaven, the decrees on the Jews are multiplying, I scatter the “room!”

Such periods of estrangement and anger towards the Hasidim were repeated several times a year. Only one of his most loyal Hasidim, R' Kalman Friedman (Kalman Benider) from the city of Bendin [Bedzin], sometimes managed to calm his anger and influence him to reconcile with his Hasidim.

Many jokes are told about this “anger”: once, on a Sabbath, R' Kalman asked the assistant R' Tuvia to enter the rabbi and tell him that he wants to ask the rabbi a “question.” R' Shlomo HaKohen allowed him to enter - why - R' Kalman asked - on every Sabbath we read one chapter in Pirkei Avot [“Chapters of the Fathers”], and at the end of the summer, when it is not possible to finish all the chapters, two chapters are joined together. And in reading the Torah, the weekly Torah portions are not joined together at the end of the year but in the middle of the year, such as Acharei Mot [“After the Death”] and Kedoshim that are attached together in the middle of the year?

R' Shlomo said to him: surely the excuse is ready for you, say!

- If the weekly Torah portions were not attached in the middle of the year - the Kedoshim[22] (Parashat Kedoshim) would not connect with anyone.

Another time, when R' Shlomo reprimanded his Hasidim and told them on the Shabbat to get away from him and return home, R' Kalman approached him to part from him while saying that “it is a mitzvah to listen to the words of the rabbi” and even travel on the Shabbat…

Another time, R' Kalman asked R' Shlomo HaKohen if the “decree” (not to welcome the Hasidim) also applies to those under the age of twenty (who are not subject to punishment). However, when a Jew came from Eretz Yisrael, or when good news came from there, he reconciled with his Hasidim. The magic word “Eretz Yisrael” changed his mood for the better.

Despite R' Shlomo's rejections, his Hasidim did not stay away from him. They stayed for weeks in Radomsk until he reconciled with them. Also the curses did not frighten them. They explained it according to the well-known legend about R' Shimon bar Yochai who sent his son to R' Yonatan ben Esmai and R' Yehudah ben Grim to receive their blessing. But, they cursed him and R' Shimon bar Yochai explained that all curses are blessing

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J. His friends, disciples and sons

R' Shlomo HaKohen cultivated amicable relationships with all the outstanding rabbis of the generation and its tzadikim. Even though he was one of the disciples of R' Meir of Apt [Opatow], who had a grudge in his heart for the Peshischa-Kock Hasidim, R' Shlomo was a peacemaker, and in his time the disagreement between the popular stream and the Peshischa-Kock stream subsided. When a dispute broke out between the Radomsk Hasidim and the Sanz Hasidim in Kazanow, Galicia, R' Shlomo traveled to R' Chaim of Sanz for the holiday of Shavuot and by this the controversy subsided. Since then, and also after the passing of their father, his sons continued to visit R' Chaim of Sanz.

Typical is a letter written by R' Chaim Halberstam of Sanz in 5624 [1863/4] after a serious illness afflicted R 'Shlomo HaKohen. The letter exudes love and friendship.

With God's help, Friday the eve of the Holy Sabbath 5624 by the abbreviated era, here in Sanz

To my friend the great rabbi, God's holy, son of holies, splendor of time and its glory, many will follow his light, the glory of the generation, the great pillar, the great scholar, praise for the glory of his name, our teacher and rabbi R' Shlomo, may his light shine brightly.

I received his letter yesterday and rejoiced in hearing that God eased his illness, which will soon dissipate, restoring him to the vigor he enjoyed in his youth. May he flourish in his later years and peace and quiet will prevail in his home, and the sons will be like olive shoots around his table, and he will see from them the holy seed and God will give them bread and all the best, and may we all be redeemed soon. Peace and blessings be upon you from your friend who prays for your well-being and holds you dear.

And peace to all who find shelter beneath your protective wings, and in particular to my friend, the Hasid our teacher and rabbi R' Yisrael, may his light shine brightly. God willing, on Sunday I will travel abroad to drink sheep's milk since I haven't returned to my strong health as before, and the good God will heal me promptly.

HaKadosh Chaim Halbershtam

Rabbi Shlomo also maintained amicable relations with R' Yitzhak of Warka, a disciple of R' Simcha-Bunem of Peshischa, who was known for his affection for the Jewish people and his advocacy with the Polish government on behalf of the Jews. Moreover, loving relationship prevailed between R' Yitzhak Meir Alter the Rebbe of Ger, and R' Shlomo HaKohen. They met several times in Warsaw and were tied in bonds of love and friendship. Here is a congratulatory letter from R' Yitzhak Meir of Ger on the occasion of the wedding of R' Zvi-Meir HaKohen, R' Shlomo HaKohen's son.

With God's help, 12 Elul 5622 [7 September 1862] by the abbreviated era

Life and peace to my beloved friend the rabbi, the great scholar, the great pillar, the illuminating lamp, the brilliant scholar, the famous tzadik etc. our teacher and our rabbi, R' Shlomo HaKohen, may his light shine, president of the court of the Holy community of Radomsk.

A letter of love from the rabbi and teacher, may he live, arrived to me from the joy of his son, may he live, and may the blessed Almighty grant him sons and grandsons who will devote their days to Torah study and acts of kindness, and the joy of all our descendants among the Jews. I hope that in the coming days he will remember me and my family favorably, and we will pray in our hearts that love will be added at any time to be one association to work for the blessed Almighty. And it will be written and sealed for all good in the holy days that come to us in the good way, he and the members of his family and the companions and those who huddle in his shadow within all Jews.

The words of the one who wishes your wellbeing,
HaKadosh Yitzhak Meir son of Chaya Sara

There's also a letter from HaGaon R' Yeshaya Muszkat, Rabbi of Praga, Warsaw, from which it is possible to see the rabbi's admiration for R' Shlomo HaKohen. And this is the letter:

With God's help, Thursday the eve of Rosh Chodesh Tamuz [29 Sivan] 5625 by the abbreviated era [25 May 1685], here in Praga

To the friend of God and Israel, he is the rabbi, the shining light, the sharp and knowledgeable, the renowned Hasid, the great luminary, the genius, the glory of Israel, our esteemed teacher and rabbi, R' Shlomo, president of the court of the Holy Community of Radomsk.

A year ago I heard about the anguish of my dear grandson, the praised young man, the teacher and rabbi Yitzhak son of Shifra. And here, also now, I ask you to mention his name before God, for he is currently traveling to the hot springs where he is unknown to anyone, etc. This is in brief.

And I say shalom and life of blessing to all his family members. The words of his friend always asks for peace and glory, Yeshaya Muszkat, Rabbi of Praga

There was also an exchange of letters and friendly relations between him and the rabbis:

R' Shimon Sofer of Krakow, R' Yosef-Baruch “the Good Jew” of Neustadt [now Prudnik, Poland] who occasionally visited Radomsk, R' Emanuel Weltfreid Rabbi of Przedborz, R' Chaim Elozor Wax Rabbi of Piotrkow author of the Questions and Answers Nefesh Haya, R' Shlomo Frenkel of Pazinow, and more.

Among his famous disciples and Hasidim were: R' Yaakov the Rabbi of Widoma (a town near Przedborz, 5506-5646). R' Yaakov was first a friend of R' Shlomo HaKohen, they studied together under R' Isaiah of Przedborz. R' Shlomo once said: R' Yaakov is fortunate for not having to assume leadership responsibilities and being able to dedicate all his time to Torah study. R' Yaakov of Widoma acknowledged R' Shlomo's leadership and was considered his most loyal friend. According to R' Yitzhak Shmuelewich - he was a great scholar who devoted himself to divine worship, and every year, when the 15th day of Av arrived, he began to study at night tractates Keritot, Ta'anit, Rosh Hashanahs, Yoma, Sukkoths and said: repentance and good deeds are KTRYS [like a shield] against pogroms - KTRYS - the initials of the aforementioned tractates. Every year, on Yom Kippur he finished all the aforementioned tractates. R' Yaakov led a yeshiva in his city and there he spoke on Torah innovations before his students in the name of his friend. After the passing of R' Shlomo HaKohen “many Hassidim gathered around him and some of them slept at his home and he ate with them every day with the little he had.”

R' Dr. Chaim David Bernard was a famous physician in Piotrkow and a righteous Admor. His life is shrouded in legends and folktales. In an authorized source, “The Dictionary of Polish Doctors,” it is told about him: David Bernard was born in Dzialoszyn in 1782 (5542). From 1805 (5565), he prepared for medical sciences in Wroclaw. He received an honors degree in medicine in Erfurt, Germany. After a while he served as a physician for the Polish legions. Later he served as the physician of the Radomsk region. He lived in several cities in the country and mostly in Piotrkow where he worked at the Jewish Hospital. He passed away on 3 February 1858 (5618). Dr. Bernard was an Ultra- Orthodox, an observant of the Jewish mitzvoth and also became a devout Hasid.” In another authoritative source, the Archives of the Community of Warsaw, his name is mentioned among the educated people of Warsaw and the assimilated Jews, who took care of the secular education of Jewish children.

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R' Aharon Marcus tells about the change in his soul, once, on Sabbath eve, he heard ha-Chozeh of Lublin reciting psalm 107 in Tehillim and turned from a heretic into an ardent Hasid. Dr. Bernard was one of the best doctors in Poland. He continued his medical studies in Wroclaw, settled in Radomsk and only socialized with Christians. Once, R' David of Lelow met him and told him: “if you repent, you will bring unimaginable pleasure to your Father in Heaven.” These words spoken by this holy man did not miss their purpose. The doctor rushed home and threw his kitchen utensil out of the window. He began to live a life of reverence for God and punished himself with severe punishments even though he continued in the medical profession. My teacher and rabbi the tzadik of Radomsk visited him in his old age when he lay on his deathbed. He comforted him by saying: “the previous days shall be canceled” (Numbers 6:12) that is to say: the days of his youth that passed in rebelliousness will not count for him. He immediately got up and said: thanks to [the book] Or ha-Ḥayyim, which I know by heart, I hope that the first days will be added to me according to the sayings of Hazal: “Great is repentance, as one's intentional sins are counted for him as merits” (Yoma 86b: 3), meaning, the days of his youth spent in rebelliousness will not count for him. He immediately got up and said: “thanks to [the book] Or ha-Ḥayyim that I know by heart, I hope that the first days will be added to me according to the sayings of Hazal: “Great is repentance, as one's intentional sins are counted for him as merits” (Yoma 86b: 3).

R' David of Lelow took him to Lublin, and he told that in the holiday of Shavuot, during the prayer, ha-Chozeh showed him the receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai in a vision.

R' Chaim-David explained the verse of the prayer “Creator of remedies, Glory, Master of miracles.” “Creator of remedies” - when a person is sick he must first take his medication, and when they are not useful - he will turn to God - he will recite psalms, and if that doesn't help either, then he will turn to “Master of miracles” - and hope for a miracle.”

R' Chaim-David visited R' Shlomo many times, he stayed with him in the days when R' Shlomo kept himself secluded from his Hasidim and also ate at his table on the Sabbath. The Hasidim tell, that when they once asked R' Chaim about the uniqueness of R' Shlomo after he visited tzadikim like ha-Chozeh of Lublin and R' David of Lelow - he answered: I received from ha-Chozeh of Lublin the signs of the form of a tzadik who is among the “guardians of the Holy Covenant,” all these signs are in R' Shlomo of Radomsk. He has the “wisdom of Solomon” and like “Yosef HaTzadik.”

R' Yssachar Dov of Wolbórz 5563-5638 (1802-1877), was the son of a modest family in Piotrkow. His father, R' Moshe Tornheim, was a wheat merchant. They educated their only son to Torah and Hassidut. He received his education from esteemed rabbis such as R' Shalom-Zvi of Zagirz, and then sat regularity at the home of the Saraf R' Meir-Yechiel of Moglanitza, and his substitute R' Elazar of Kuznica. Following the passing of his teachers, R' Issachar Dov settled in the town of Wolbórz near Piotrkow and thousands flocked to him to receive his blessings. R' Yssachar Dov maintained a life of devotion, fasted from Sabbath to Sabbath, and distributed the little money people gave him for his blessings to needy. His wife engaged in trade and supported family. R' Dov Beirsh occasionally traveled to Radomsk. In his book Avodat Yssachar (Lodz 5672/1911) he often mentions Torah innovations in the name of R' Shlomo HaKohen.

On Yom Hillula[23] of R' Shlomo HaKohen he used to come to Radomsk with all his Hasidim.

R' Aharon of Krakow, son of R' Klonimus Kalman Epstein, acclaimed author of the book Maor VaShamesh [“Light and Sun”] - was among the devoted Hassidim of R' Shlomo HaKohen. He traveled to him often even though he had a crowd of admirers in Krakow and a special Beit Midrash, “The Study of Rabbi Aharon.” Once, when R' Aharon squeezed through a crowd as one of the Hasidim. R' Shlomo HaKohen said about him:

Hazal said (Bava Batra 99a:2) “The space occupied by the Ark of the Covenant is not included in the measurement” (that the Ark in the Holy Temple miraculously stood and did not take up space) - indeed, the Ark did not heave measurement and did not take up space, but the Tablets of the Covenant were only found in the Ark.

R' Michael Shochat of Radomsk, an erudite scholar, authored the comprehensive work “The Knowledge of Sacrifice”(Piotrkow 5641) focusing on the intricacies of slaughtering regulations. In the consent for that book it is noted: “When R' Shlomo HaKohen studied with the yeshiva students on winter nights, after the studies in the yeshiva, the honorable rabbi R' Michael the ritual slaughterer engaged in extensive discussions with R' Shlomo HaKohen of Radomsk almost every night.”

R' Aharon Marcus, an author and Zionist activist, was born in Hamburg in 5603 (1843). His formative education started at the local “Talmud Torah.” He studied with the sage R' Yitzhak Bernayz Chief Rabbi of Hamburg, and Rabbi Baruch Yitzhak Lifschitz son of R' Yisrael Lifschitz president of the court in Danzig. Already in his youth he became known as a prodigy in his studies, and his rabbi suggested that he should travel to Bukowsko to study at the famous yeshiva. Several years later, a resident of Krakow, whose son studied at the Bukowsko Yeshiva, influenced him to come to Krakow. R' Aharon accepted his advice and when he arrived in Krakow he joined the Radomsker Hassidim. At that time some of Radomsker Hassidim were wise and God-fearing students, and some knew ha-Chozeh of Lublin. R' Aharon studied Kabbalah and Hassidut and embarked on numerous visits to R' Shlomo HaKohen. His talents, knowledge and passionate devotion were considered at the Radomsker court. It is told that R' Shlomo HaKohen said on him that he has a “high spirituality.” He devoted one of the most beautiful chapters in his book “The Hassidut” to R' Shlomo HaKohen. His son' R' Yisrael Marcus writes: “the extent of the attachment and faith that my father had in the holy Admor author of Tiferet Shlomo zt”l, cannot be described in writing, he always praised him and told great and wonderful things about his holy rabbi and his teachings were always spoken by him… and not a day passed in his life that he did not quote from Torah thing or a deed from his rabbi zt”l. Even in his last days, he spoke a lot about him, and was many times with him at the resting place of R' Elimelech in Lezajsk, twice at the Admor of Sanz. And he did not move away from him and loved him with all his soul to his last day. And one day before the passing of my father z”l, on 29 Adar, was the of anniversary of his rabbi author of Tiferet Shlomo, and he order to light a memorial to his rabbi's soul, and place the candle in front of him so that he can see and look at it.”

R' Aharon Marcus is famous for his books in German and Hebrew: Der Hasidizmus, Brazeli, Keset ha-Sofer about the Torah, Hartmann's Inductive Philosophie im Chassidismus, and more. He made a living as an accountant and in his free time engaged in literature. He was an enthusiastic Zionist leader and attended the First Zionist Congress. Theodor Herzl said about him: “Marcus does not make his living from Judaism but lives for Judaism.” He made

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great propaganda in favor of Zionism in the tzadikim courts in Chortkov and Rosin, and collected letters from rabbis in favor of Zionism. He also planned a special organization of rabbis for its benefit. However, the Russian Zionists opposed his opinion and the rabbis' participation in the Zionist movement. This matter made a depressing impression on Marcus, and as a result he decided to curtail his Zionists activity even though he participated as a guest in the Zionist Congresses. R' Aharon Marcus passed away in 5676, 1916 in Frankfurt am Main.

R' Shlomo's sons and sons-in-law were:

  1. R' Arie-Leibush HaKohen – philanthropist and a religious man, made a living from trading in Radomsk and became rich. After his father's death he joined the Hasidim of R' Chaim Sanz.
  2. R' Zvi-Meir HaKohen – filled his father's place in the rabbinate.
  3. R' Avraham Issachar HaKohen became the Admor of Radomsk.
  4. His daughter Sara wife of R' Yisrael Krohn, a scholar and a resident of Radomsk.
  5. His daughter Rachel wife of R' Lipman Litmanovich, a wise scholar and a Kock Hassid.
  6. His daughter Rivka wife of R' Yehiel Landau, a scholar and a Hasid. In his old age he left all his sons and property in Radomsk and immigrated to Eretz Yisrael.

K. His death

In the last months before his death he began to hint to his Hasidim that his days were numbered. Once, came to him R' Yisrael Yitzhak, president of the court of Plawno a village near Radomsk. R' Shlomo invited him for a lunch, which lasted many hours, and talked with him a lot about the Torah and wisdom. At the end of the conversation he informed him that his days were numbered and in his opinion his son, R' Zvi-Meir HaKohen, should fill his place in the rabbinate.

A few days before his passing, R' Shlomo called his Hassidim after midnight and told them a strange story about death, Paradise and the work that the tzadik must do after his death when he will welcome Ha'ari Hakadosh, Ba'al Shem Tov[24] and more. Also within the pages of the book Tiferet Shlomo there are several conversations about the day of the Tzadik's death and his value. In his opinion, it is explained in the Holy Zohar and the writings of Ha'ari z”l, that the hour of a righteous person's passing from this world is higher than all the days of his life. He explained that these transitory days hold profound significance, representing a time during which many of the Tzadik's prayers and blessings are answered. He referred to the Bible description of Moshe's blessing just before his death, he only wanted to bless them and continued the blessings for the future to come like Yaakov Avinu, may he rest in peace, and also R' Shimon bar Yochai who worked and made changes in the order of Haidra Zuta (Zohar Ha'azinu) before his death, to continue as the supreme blessing to this world.

On Thursday morning, the 28th day of the month of Adar, he distributed cake and wine at the synagogue after the morning prayers. That week (23 Adar), the tzadik, R' Yitzchak Meir Alter, author of the book Chiddushei HaRim, passed away. He summoned his son-in-law, Lipman Litminowitz, asked him to arrange the funeral and said to him: “you see my beard is already white, I am asking you that after my death my rabbi Zvi Meir HaKohen will fill his place as the Rabbi of Radomsk.” According to another story he added: I will probably be invited as a cantor for next Shabbat!” That day he came to Radomsk R' Aharon of Krakow, son of R' Klonimus of Krakow author of the book Maor VaShamesh. R' Shlomo HaKohen said to him: “the Aron (Ark) carried its bearers” (Bavli Sotah 35a). The next day R' Aharon was among the pallbearers of R' Shlomo HaKohen coffin [Aron Metim in Hebrew].

On Friday morning, on the eve of the Holy Sabbath 29 Adar, he took Sefer HaZohar, started studying it. Around midnight he put his hands on Sefer HaZohar and so he fell asleep and died on Sefer HaZohar…

I knew another old Jew who entered Beit HaMidrash after midnight and saw R' Shlomo HaKohen sleeping on Sefer HaZohar. The Jew left quietly, tiptoeing… so as not to wake up his rabbi. However, when a few hours passed those close to him who came to wake him realized that his soul had departed in purity…

The funeral took place on the next day, Shabbat eve, and thousands of people from the whole area attended the funeral. Among the coffin bearers were his distinct Hassidim, R' Aharon of Krakow, R' Yaakov of Widoma and more.

Even before the funeral the leaders of the city of Radomsk appointed his son, R' Zvi-Meir HaKohen to serve as the city's rabbi.

An Ohel[25] was built on his grave, in which his sons and grandsons, the Admorim of Radomsk, were later buried. Every year, on the tzadikim's Yom Hillula, thousands of Jews, from near and far, gathered in Radomsk, prayed and said psalms and lit candles in memory of their souls.


L. Exile and redemption in the teachings of R' Shlomo HaKohen

The issues of exile and redemption in the teachings of R' Shlomo HaKohen are mainly derive from the teachings of the Kabbalah and Hassidut. The writings of the Ha'ari and Sefer HaZohar stand at the center of all his conversations about the exile and the redemption. However, in his words we can already hear an echo of the awakening of Hovevei Zion [Lovers of Zion]. R' Shlomo HaKohen knew very well the controversy surrounding the proposal of R' Zvi Hirsch Kalischer about the offering of Passover sacrifice, and the proposals of R' Kalischer and R' Eliyahu Guttmacher to the settlement of Eretz Yisrael. He was friendly with R' Eliyahu Guttmacher and followed the activities of these two Hovevei Zion. It is told, that when the controversy arose around the offer of R' Kalischer regarding the offering of the Passover sacrifice in Jerusalem, R' Shlomo HaKohen was full of anticipation for the moment when he, as a Kohen, could return to the work of offering the sacrifice, and when the Sages of his time, R' Akiva Eiger and R' Moshe Sofer, resisted the idea for practical reasons, R' Shlomo HaKohen complained and said: “shame on the missed opportunity!”

Great is the pain and shame in exile. The question that comes to mind: “why is it that we, the Jews, the poorest of all other nations, should be subjugated to oppressive work, and because we are attributed to the sons of our holy forefathers we will be enslaved to the inferior and lowly Egyptians?” According to Ha'ari's Kabbalah: the exile has a mysterious intention: “it is known to all who have a part in the secret of God, that the intentional root of the exile of the Jews among the nations is to raise the scattered holy sparks, the broken vessels, in the four corners of the land, and the miracle is in bringing in our scattered among the heathen and the gathering of our outcasts, When all the imprisoned and beaten souls are set free there will be nothing left of them…

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“And for that God, Blessed be He, brought the Jewish people to take a prisoner out of prison - the sparks of holiness that they had swallowed are Tikkun olam .”The holy sparks scattered in exile can be redeemed by observing the commandments and doing good deeds with enthusiasm.”One should do the mitzvah with great enthusiasm”… and above all, with holy and pure thoughts and amending the covenant is a fundamental measure. In this exile there is not only physical slavery, but also spiritual slavery. “This matter of heavy exile upon the Jews is not only about the matters of the body, because, God forbid, in exile the soul is also enslaved under the hands of foreigners. And all the Torah and the mitzvot of the Jews are in exile, as is explained in the books “because in our many iniquities the secrets were given to outsiders.”

R' Shlomo HaKohen brought several times the beautiful story of the Safed Kabbalists about the gloomy exile.”It is known what's written in the book Emek Hamelech [“The Valley of the King”] about the act brought by R' Avraham HaLevi z”l, one of the disciples of Ha'ari who was an incarnation of Jeremiah the prophet. He always mourned the destruction of the Holy Temple and the Ha'ari z”l ordered him to go to the Western Wall. And there he had a revelation of the Shechinah, at first in black clothing in the way of a grieving woman with her head uncovered, and immediately she appeared to him in the splendor of her beauty with immense joy.”

The mourning and the joy are revealed one after the other. Indeed, great darkness prevails in exile. The Shechinah is in exile. But out of the darkness light will appear. “So it was under the leadership of God, Blessed be He, with the Jewish people in our exile that in all their the days of poverty and rebellion were greatly oppressed, only then He saved them from the darkness and brought them out into great light… and this is the matter of our righteous Messiah, that Hazal said that on the day the Holy Temple was destroyed the Messiah was born, and on the day God, Blessed be He, thought to destroy the wall of Jerusalem, He drew a line on the building of the future.” We exist in exile because we know that even in the great darkness God and Shechinah are with us, so to speak, with us in exile, and she is protecting us, after all, even now, despite us being in the lands of the exiles and are exiled from our father's table, and don't know when He will reveal to us, and the spirit of His Shechinah is in our midst as in the days of the ancients, God glory has not departed from us and God does not despise the Jewish people. The Shechinah is in our midst and standing behind the wall, He [God] is imprisoned with us and is close to all who call Him and He hastens to redeem us with an everlasting redemption.”

And, according to this, he interpreted the verse in Yaakov's blessing (Genesis 49:1) “Gather and I will tell you” - Rashi's interpreted it: he sought to reveal the end and the Shechinah walked away from him… Here, when Yaakov Avinu, may he rest in peace, began to look at each generation and generation, what would happen to the Jews until the coming of the Messiah, and he saw the length of the bitter exile and the great darkness. He grieved in his heart and the Shechinah separated from him because of the sadness, but the tribes comforted him and opened and said: “Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Ehad [“Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One”]… because one should be happy in what will be a future in the redemption - God is one for the whole world.”

The main part of our prayer for redemption should be for the redemption of Shechinah from exile. Because, at the opinion of R' Shlomo HaKohen, every Jew must always grieve and worry in his heart about the sorrow of the Shechinah in his midst, and he will not boast in his soul, because it is good for him to say: peace be upon you my soul, eat and drink, etc., because what are you going to eat and drink, and revel in the nourishment of your soul, and you are imprisoned in the chains of exile, and supposedly he is imprisoned in handcuffs and his name is desecrated by the Gentiles for 18 hundred years.” Along with the Shechinah the Jewish people are also in exile. But, “it is known that from the day the Temple was destroyed and we have been exiled from our land, the Holy Shechinah is also with us in exile. And the one who wrote that He is imprisoned in handcuffs to allude to the Holy Shechinah, and the purpose of all our intentions in our prayers should be to pay attention to the Shechinah that will be saved, and anyway we too will be saved in all good things.” The redemption of the Shechinah is the redemption of the nation's honor from its humiliation. And this is the way of the true righteous “who cannot bear the sorrow of the exile of the Shechinah in this world, and their hearts are embittered in their midst, until they are proud of the bitterness in their lives and want to leave From this world and all, as it is pointed out by Eliya the prophet who asked for her soul and death several times, until she could see the sorrow of the exile of the Shechinah and from that moment on it is worthy of the house of Israel during this bitter exile, to put the heart and sorrow of the Lord.

The Shechinah will be redeemed in the future redemption and the Jews will be redeemed in a physical and spiritual redemption. The Torah will also be redeemed and lifted up: “at the time of redemption comes… the Torah will be renewed, as it is said in the Bible: “when Torah shall emanate from Me” (Isaiah 51:4), that is, that all the Torah study and the mitzvot that the Jews had done in exile will be renewed and exalted.”

In the future, great will be the honor of the Jews, because in exile they showed their great strength. Surely, when the Messiah will come soon in our days, everyone will want to do penance even the gentiles. As it says in the Bible “O house of Yaakov, come and let us go” etc. Because then there will be the divine revelation and all the inhabitants of the earth will know etc. And for that reason, then the answer will no longer be useful, only to those who were in exile in the siege and the predicament, when there was no more divine revelation then, while he most had faith in God, Blessed be He, truly with awe and love.”

As the situation in the exile is getting worse, redemption is getting closer. There is a hint in this that weak hands should be strengthened according to what we see in the gravity of the exile which is getting stronger every day. We will explain the matter according to the parable of a specialist doctor who enters a patient. At the beginning he has a mere bad feeling, but he is still strong and walks around like a healthy person. And when the doctor comes to visit him, he says that he needs great mercy, medicine and drugs. And in the passage of time, when his illness worsen and he lay on his deathbed, the doctor entered him again and told everyone standing by him not to worry about anything anymore he would soon be cured of his serious illness. Here, in the eyes of those who see, it is a wonder of wonders… But the truth is: because the doctor understood that it was only the beginning, and that his illness would surely weigh him down every day, therefore he needed a lot of medicine, drugs and compassion. But now, when all the hardships have passed over him, he is sure that sweat will fall on him and he will quickly heal, and so is also the matter of exile… because, God, Blessed be He, knows that salvation will be soon, because the hardship of slavery will complete the end.” Our descent is the precursor to our ascent and our redemption, “and it is written in the Gemara (Megillah 16a:15) “When they descend. They descend to the dust, and when they rise, they rise to the stars.” Meaning, just as the seed sown in the earth is the reason for its growth and rising from the ground, it is, after it rots and there is only a tiny bit left in it, then it will rise and grow in the grain of the field. Indeed, so with the Jews, the reason for their growth and ascension to the highest heaven is that they themselves are low to nothing in reality, so that later they will ascend and reach the highest heaven.” “For the future to come, the Jews will have a renewed attainment of divinity and knowledge of appreciation. And then the Jews will resemble the man who came to “the king's palace and enters the precious courts, and sees the glory of his greatness and the crown of his majesty, then he will give a thousand thanks to the glory of the king who stands against him, as if he were with “king of kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He.” Because, now that we are in this exile and we do not know how great is the glory of God, Blessed be He, and the splendor of his greatness in the heaven

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and in the land, let not all the service and praise be done as in the time of the redemption, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh together shall see that He is our God, all the upper lights will be drawn and come down and he will pour out His spirit upon all flesh, and them our eyes will see and our hearts will rejoice, and then our mouth will be filled to give thanks and praise more strongly and more boldly to His great name, Blessed be He, and as it is said in the Bible: “on that day shall the Lord be one, and His name one” (Zechariah 14:9).

Therefore, we see that R' Shlomo HaKohen theory on the redemption of the exile is rooted in Ha'ari's Kabbalah. To discover the higher purpose - the raising of the holy sparks that are scattered in it. By virtue of moral elevation, holiness and purity, man is exalted and exalted above all the sparks, and together with this he redeems the holy Shechinah, which is mournful and desolate in the Jewish exile. Indeed, the bondage is great and the darkness is great - but out of the darkness - a great light will appear, the Jewish people will be redeemed and with it the holy Torah and the Shechinah, all the nations will know and know the glory of God. All the nations will recognize and know the honor of God. The entire creation will be exalted in the revelation of God on all flesh and His effect on the light of the entire universe.


M. Eretz Yisrael and Hibbat Zion[27] in the teachings of R' Shlomo HaKohen

As we saw in the previous chapter the sorrow of the Shechinah's exile occupies an important place in the theory of R' Shlomo HaKohen. The Jewish people are humiliated among the gentiles and with it the Torah, the mitzvot and the Shechinah, but together with them Eretz Yisrael is in the hands of conquerors, and as it is necessary to redeem the Jews, so it is necessary to redeem Eretz Yisrael from the hands of the foreigners. According to R' Shlomo HaKohen, all thoughts should be focused on one point: the redemption of the people and the land. “Now, because of our many sins, the foundation of Israel has fallen to the dust, and His honor is engendered by the wicked and everyone is angry and goes against His will, and such and such person should pay attention, with all his heart, to resent and be sorry for the destruction of the Holy Temple and the exile of the Shechinah, and have mercy on her with all kinds of mercy.”And Zion stretches out her arns and begs and wails every night to save her as is known.” Also the study of the Torah is not important without the sorrow for the Shechinah and Israel: “And the father who sits in prison will be comforted when his son comes to him and say: today I renewed a nice joke in the Rambam, or in the Gemara, Poskim and Tosafot. The father answered him: why do you say such things to me, what did you do for me to take me out of prison… The wrong thing is not to rest or be quiet all day and all night only to save me and rescue me with all your heart and all your soul” (Tiferet Shlomo, on Torah, Re'eh).

“And indeed, that was the intention of the tzadkim who gave their lives for the sanctification of Hashem for the restoration of the Shechinah, because they could not hold back and suffer any longer the sorrow of the exile of the Shechinah.”

And the same is for the sorrow of the land, Eretz Yisrael, the desolate and occupied by gentiles. Holy is the land and exalted from all lands. It is known from the books that the whole world is nourished by the essence of Eretz Yisrael, as said “Zion is a beauty complex because it is the point of the land, as said in the Bible, “May the Lord bless you from Zion, all influences are from Zion.” Jerusalem is especially holy and the place of the Holy Temple, from where the Torah derives all its power.”The essence of the Torah is in the Holy Temple on Mount Moriah.”And it will be that the place the Lord, your God, will choose in which to establish His Name is holy from then until now, and the first holiness is sacred for its time and sacred for the future to come.” It is the duty of the tzadik to arouse the longings for Zion among the generation, and thanks to this they will redeem themselves. The tzadikim are called the “children of Zion,” because of their longing for Zion. And so it is written: “the children of Zion will exult with their King, they will praise His name in dance - the children of Zion are the tzadikim that all their days are only looking forward to the building of Zion - therefore they are called by its name, and they will praise His name in dance - and the Holy One, blessed be He, will make a dance for the tzadikim.” In the opinion of R' Shlomo HaKohen, by awakening with great love for Eretz Yisrael, we will be the last generation to be enslaved and the first to be redeem. Everything depends only on us and our awakening to Zion. And here are his fiery words that recall in their content R' Zvi Kalischer's words of enthusiasm about Eretz Yisrael… “Thus, the inheritance of the children of Israel will not be transferred from tribe to tribe” (Numbers 36:7). These words allude to the virtue of the holiness of the Eretz Yisrael and Jerusalem, may it be rebuilt and re-established speedily in our own days, Amen! Because every person should yearn with all his heart for Eretz Yisrael and its holiness, as it is said: - Pray for the peace of Jerusalem - “Zion, whom no one seeks out” (Jeremiah 30:17). And the issue of passion is raised by itself about the soon-to-come redemption in our days. And we were like the man puts to his heard the words of the scripture “we will not be transferred from tribe to tribe,” because the Torah was careful not to transfer property from tribe to tribe, even though all twelve tribes of Israel are holy and what is the difference between them, nonetheless, the Torah was careful about that.” Moreover, at this time in our many sins the Holy Land is under the hands of the Ishmaelite and foreigners will swallow it up and inherit it.” And now “Nations have come into Your heritage, they have defiled Your Holy Temple, they have made Jerusalem into heaps (Psalms 79:1).”Because it is necessary to tear one's heart, to cry out to the Holy One, blessed be He, to have mercy on the land and to gather the exiles into it with joy soon, and here is this awakening of the passion for the land when it is truly from the bottom of the heart. May he truly be kind in his soul for the honor of the Holy Land, and in this he arouses compassion and the desire for a speedy redemption. And it is written that He said “and a later generation, your descendants, who will rise after you, why did the Lord do so to this land? One must understand why the scripture linked it to the last generation and did not ask about it before. But here it is as we explained, that the generation whose eyes and hearts will ask about it, and they will grieve over the destruction of the land and Jerusalem, and by their passion and desire for the earth, they will awaken the redemption and will be the last generation before the redemption.

R' Shlomo, opposed those who traveled from abroad to Eretz Yisrael, and all their thoughts were to get money from abroad. He once said to a poor man who asked his how to make a living from the distribution: “It is better to sit abroad and look forward to Eretz Yisrael than to sit in the Eretz Yisrael look forward to abroad.” He also wrote in his book: “when you sit in Eretz Yisrael and the thoughts are open to abroad - it is like living abroad.”

R' Shlomo, supports the Jews of Eretz Yisrael and sent money often. Many receipts and letters from R' Shlomo were found in Jerusalem. He also used to send every week a ruble to his Hasid, R' Pinchas of Radom in Jerusalem, for the expense of Seudah shlishit on the Shabbat in Jerusalem. This meal was called the “Radomsk Seudah Sshlishit.” The Radomsker Hasidim in Jerusalem gathered and sang in the Radomsker style. He greatly admired the Tzadik of Ovruch, R' Avraham David, who settled in Safed and was the leader of the Jewish settlement in Safed during the Druz's riots and the earthquake. He named his son, who filled his place, Avraham Yissachar Dov.

In the most restless days when he got angry at his Hasidim and withdrew from them, when Eretz Yisrael was mentioned to him, or when they brought him greetings of letter from there, his mood immediately changed for the better and he reconciled with his Hasidim and was filled with mercy for them.

[Page 92]

Admorim from the family of Tiferet Shlomo


Title page of the book Chesed L'Avraham


A. Rabbi Avraham Yissachar HaKohen (Chesed L'Avraham)

The youngest son of R' Shlomo HaKohen, and his successor as the Radomsker Admor, was the tzadik rabbi, R' Avraham Yissachar HaKohen. He was born in 5603 (1843) in Radomsk and was educated by his father. At a young age he was known for his good virtues and his love and affection to all mankind. He excelled in his great humility and in the simplicity of his relations with every person. He was sick all his life with diabetes, but his great suffering did not dim his kindness and great love for the Jews. R' Yissachar HaKohen was a great scholar in the Torah and Kabbalah, and behaved like his father, R' Shlomo HaKohen, with holiness and purity. His book, Chesed L'Avraham, on the Torah and the holidays (Piotrkow 5653), is one of the best books in the Hassidut. From the book it is possible to learn about his great knowledge in the Torah and the purity of his virtues. A lover of peace and a pursuer of peace, from the offended who do not insult, always maintained the purity of morals and friendship among his Hasidim. In one of his letters, which was written at the beginning of his leadership as an Admor, to the Bendin Hasidim about a quarrel that broke out between them, he warns them “I came to ask you to calm down the controversy because you must fulfill the commandment of “To leave it - leave it” as [Onkelos] translated it:” leave what is in your heart on him and leave (help) him…” to appease the people close to us, and talk to them that no man should think evil of his neighbor in his heart. Because every heart knows the bitterness of its soul and everyone needs to fix this and not think about others, and God, Blessed be He, will give you love, harmony, peace and friendship, as said in the Bible “For the sake of my brethren and my companions, I shall now speak of peace in you” (Psalms 122:8)… and thanks to peace, they will be blessed today with abundance blessing and success and all the best.”

The same line of Ahavat Yisrael is also evident in his book, and in his opinion “the main prayer of a man is for the Jews, to raise their heads and demand the best for them. And if the person removes himself from this prayer, he is called a sinner, as is written in the Bible: “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you” (I Shmuel 12:23)… and one must make penance so that he will have atonement for not praying.”

And just as he was loved and cherished by his Hassidim and admirers, he was loved by the great rabbis of the generation. In a special obituary printed by his friend, HaRav R' Chaim Elazar Shapira, Rabbi of Munkacs, he wrote: “When I was in Carlsbad, I had the privilege of enjoying the beauty of his teachings, to see the pleasantness of his piety and righteousness, and it was engraved in my heart without exception and I hoped to visit his temple for a week of pleasure, and now, oh no! he was unfortunately taken from us… and how could I describe in writing on a paper even a little of his wisdom and devotion and the pleasantness of his work… all who saw him recognized that God blessed him for his kindness and the contribution of his virtues and his righteousness. His wisdom lit up his face… a humble and valuable man, and the Rambam's words will be understood about him at the end of this passage from the basic laws of the Torah and a righteous man for blessing: …” to the point where everyone lauds him, loves him, and yearns to follow his actions - he has sanctified the Name, and about him the verse states, “He said to me, ‘You are My servant, Yisrael - that through you I am glorified’”… because the tzadik was really to name and glory.”

R' Avraham Yissachar passed away on 13 Elul 5652 [5 September 1892] at the age of 49 and [was buried] in his father's Ohel.

Great in the Torah and reverence were his sons: his successor R' Yechezkel HaKohen, R' Natan Nachum HaKohen the Admor of Krumluv- Zawiercie, R' Shlomo HaKohen of Olkusz, R' Yaakov Yosef HaKohen presiding judge in Klobuck and author of the book Emet L'Yaakov. And his son-in-law: R' Avraham Kalish the Admor of Amshinov in Radomsk.


B. R' Yechezkel HaKohen (Knesset Yechezkel)

R' Yechezkel HaKohen was born in 5624 (1862) in Radomsk. Already in his youth he excelled in his knowledge of the Torah and piety. At first he was a rabbi in the city of Nowe Opole but after the death of his father, R' Avraham Yissachar HaKohen, he became the Admor of Radomsk. In his days the Radomsker Hassidut grew and expanded. The city became a center of Hassidut in Poland and Galicia. R' Yehazkel HaKohen was famous for his lofty virtues. He loved the Jews and was interested in the well being of each of his Hasidim. Despite the severe diabetes, from which he suffered terrible agony, he never stopped studying his daily lessons and his interest in the needs of the individual and the community. Great was the reverence and exaltation of the Hasidim towards their Rebbe. Although he always had a smile on his face, he welcomed everyone with kindness. He prayed silently, but his inner enthusiasm exceeded every limits. The Hasidim said about him “His joy is on his face and his sorrow is in his heart.” The purity of his character was revealed in this, that he did not want to enjoy his followers. Sometimes, there was a shortage in his home and there were no means for the medical expenses, but R' Yechezkel did not want to receive money from his Hasidim. He earned his living from a brick factory in partnership with one of his Hasidim. His Torah by the “altar” was spoken with great enthusiasm and his words coming from the heart shocked the listeners. In 1905, when the revolution broke out in Russia, R' Yechezkel tried to stop the youth from joining the revolutionary movement. R' Yehazkel feared the Tsarist regime's revenge and especially the corruption of the youth and their withdrawal from the way of the ancestors. It is said that once he had a fight with one of the revolutionary leaders, and after he saw that a gun was in the revolutionary's hand, he revealed his heart and said to him: even if you shoot me, I will not stop punishing you for your actions…

His Torah innovations were printed in the book Knesset Yechezkel (Bendin 5673).

He passed away on 18 Heshvan 5671[20 November 1910), Parshat Chayeh Sara.

[Page 93]

Title page of the book Knesset Yechezkel


C. Rabbi Shlomo Chanoch Hakohen (Shivchei Kohen)

Rabbi Shlomo Chanoch Hakohen, the last Admor of the Radomsk Hasidic dynasty, was born to his tzadik father R' Yechezkel HaKohen in the city of Novipola. In his youth he studied at the famous Mstów Yeshiva with the head of the yeshiva, R' Dov Berish Einhorn. Later, when his father became the Admor of Radomsk he studied in Beit HaMidrash in Radomsk, together with his friend, HaRav Yitzchak Mordechai Rabinowicz, presiding judge in Plawno. His father-in-law was R' Moshe Elimelech Rabinowicz, son of R' Avraham Yissachar HaKohen. After his wedding he became interested in the trading business at the home of his mother-in-law, Mrs. Mintshe, whose husband died in his youth. Mintshe was rich, a distinguished merchant and owner of a shop in Radomsk. Even in his youth, Shlomo Chanoch did not want to enjoy others, he wanted to be independent and make a living from his hard work. In 5671, when he was 26 years old, he became an Admor in Radomsk and fulfilled the place of his father R' Yechezkel. At first he did not want to accept the duty of an Admor, but under the pressure of the Hasidim, and the Hassidic rabbis in Radomsk such as: R' Yisrael Stieglitz of Kamieńsk, R' David of Żelechów, HaRav R' Berish of Dabrowa (author of Ner le-Meah), HaRav R' Avraham Klainplatz of Pławno (author of Tzilosha deAvraham), HaRav Bruin of Wolborz, HaRav Alter of Pabianice and more, he agreed to their request and the request of his four little orphaned sisters. Even after he became an Admor he continued his line not to make a living from his Hasidim, and as a wealthy and well-versed in trade he participated in various trading businesses with his Hasidim. After the First World War he succeeded in his business and became one of the richest men in Poland. He opened stores and factories in Lodz, Piotrkow, Sosnowiec, Berlin in Germany and more, and appointed his relatives and his Hasidim as officials and business managers. But, together with that, he was interested in the life of the Hasidim, received every person warmly and with love. When he read the “notes” that were handed to him he immediately became familiar with all the private affairs of the person. He read letters with great speed, and knew how to manage his many complicated businesses in Poland and Germany with great knowledge. During the First World War he was by chance in Berlin. There, he was influenced by the German rabbis, Dr. Carlebach and Dr. Kohen, to issue a manifesto in favor of Germany, but he refused and because of this he suffered poverty during the war. He returned a few months later, but since Radomsk was occupied by the Russians he settled in the city of Sosnowiec which was under German rule. He remained in Sosnowiec also after the establishment of the Polish government, and only from time to time, on the occasion of the anniversary of a death of a family member, or family matters, he returned to Radomsk. He was sick with diabetes and suffered a lot all his life. His doctors advised him to spend the whole year in a hospital, but because of his sense of responsibility towards the followers, and his many businesses, he could not carry out the doctors' order. Many times he expressed his opinion that he would have eliminated his business if it were not for the dozens of people, the officials, managers and employees, whose livelihoods were connected to the his businesses. Out of severe sufferings, He welcomed his Hassidim, took an interest in their situation and devoted many hours to private matters, to advice and training and public affairs. He married off his sisters in great wealth and chose “geniuses” grooms for them, and supported them for many years. His brothers-in-law were: R' Moshe Halberstam the Admor of Krasna, R' David Halberstam of Zmigrod, R' Moshe Weiss in the Committee of Rabbis in Lodz and R' Yoel Twerski from Rava-Ruska.

In 5685, he founded a network of yeshivot in many cities in Congress Poland under the name Keter Torah [Crown of the Torah]. He paid half of the budget for these yeshivot from his own money. He set a condition with his Hasidim, as much as they will give - he will also give. He founded yeshivot in Radomsk, Sosnowiec, Bendin,


R' Shlomo Chanoch Hakohen - his portrait is drawn in the text of Shir HaShirim [Songs of Songs]

[Page 94]

Katowice, Lodz, Częstochowa, Kielce, Novolog, Żarki, Wolbrom, Krakow, Podgórze, Chrzanów, Oświęcim, Wadowice, Tarnów, and more. At the head of the yeshivot network stood his son-in-law, R' David Moshe HaKohen, son of R' Natan Nachum Rabinowicz the Admor of Krumlov. His aforementioned son-in-law gave lessons at the big yeshiva in Sosnowiec. The yeshiva administration published a special monthly named Keter Torah with the participation of the yeshiva students and the head of the yeshiva, who was great in the Torah and was respected by all the rabbis of Poland and Lithuania His many Innovations were printed in the book Shivchei Kohen (Keter Torah) which was published in New York after his death (5713). I still remember with how much love and devotion R' David Moshe studied the Torah day and night, his sharpness and knowledge in all the secrets of the Torah. R' Chaim Ozer Grodzinski of Vilna [Vilnius] said about him: “We did not know there was such a gem in Poland.”

With the occupation of Poland by the Nazi the life of the rabbi in Sosnowiec was in danger. The Nazis were interested in destroying the great leaders and the rabbis. For that reason the Admor and his family moved to Warsaw. There, he lived at the home of the learned Hasid, president of Kolle Eretz Yisrael-Poland, Natan Pinchas Erlich of the dignitaries of Warsaw. When they offered him to leave Poland and move to another country, he refused, saying, “I dwell in the midst of my people.” He also refused to go with the deportations to the extermination camps. He chose to stay in his home and go to a” Jewish grave.” He also did not want to surrender to a Nazis' decree on the Sabbath, did not shave his beard, did not go to forced labor, etc. On the 18th of the month of Av 5702 (1 August 1942), the Nazis broke into his house and murdered twenty six Jews. The Admor, who was dressed in Sabbath clothe, was murdered along with his entire family, his wife Rebbetzin Ester, his only daughter Reizil and her genius husband R' David Moshe HaKohen.

The homeowner's son, R' Dov Erlich, who was miraculously saved , brought the Admor for burial next to the Ohel of the Admor of Novominsk at the Warsaw cemetery. The Hasidim in America and Eretz Yisrael published a book called Shivchei Kohen [(“Praises of the Priest”], containing the teachings of the Admor and his son-in-law R' David Moshe.

The Admor's brother, R' Elimelech Arye HaKohen, a rabbi in Szydłów, perished in Mauthausen concentration camp in Germany.


D. R' Natan Nachum Rabinowicz

R' Natan Nachum HaKohen, the Admor Krumluv- Zawiercie, was the son of R' Avraham Yissachar HaKohen author of the book Chesed L'Avraham. He followed his father's ways and was famous for his kindness and his noble virtues. He was hospitable and received everyone with great respect. All his sons-in-law were the sons of Admorim in Poland, among them, HaRav Yeshayahu Shapira of Grodzisk and, may he live long and happily HaRav Chanoch Henoch Bornsztain the Admor of Sochatchov, well-known Mizrahi leaders and important public figures. His son HaRav David Moshe became the son-in-law of R' Shlomo Chanoch the Admor of Radomsk. The Radomsker Hassidut reunited thanks to the bonds of marriage. In 5703, R' Natan Nachum was deported to Majdanek concentration camp together with his family.

His son, R' Shlomo Elimelech HaKohen Rabinowicz, Rabbi of Zawiercie, and his wife Hinda, perished in Auschwitz.


E. R' Avreml of Amshinov, may HaShem avenge his blood

In the “rebbe's” court in Radomsk lived R' Avreml of Amshinov, son of R' Menachem Rabbi of Amshinov, a descended of the Vurke Hasidic dynasty which excelled in Ahavat Yisrael. R' Avreml of Amshinov was the son-in-law of the Rabbi of Radomsk, R' Avraham Yissachar HaKohen author of Chesed L'Avraham. Since his arrival in Radomsk he lived in the Rebbe's “court.” Almost all day he was dressed in silk clothes and a shtreimel[28] or wrapped in a Tallit and Tefillin. He behaved in holiness and purity and his whole life was devoted to Torah study and prayer and Ahavat Yisrael. There was a fusion between asceticism and simplicity. On the one hand he was stripped of materiality. He fasted all his days and shortly before sunset he prayed Shacharit [morning prayer], but this asceticism, and the lack of sleep in time, did not keep him away from people. On the contrary, he brought every human being close to him, even the simplest with great love. He was a definite hater of greed. Because of his aforementioned behavior, he received his Hasidim at a late hour and did not think at all about the affairs of this world, and because of this poverty prevailed at his home. His wife, Rebbetzin Zipa (Zipora), daughter of the author of Chesed L'Avraham who was used to an affluent life, was forced to live in austerity and in sorrow. Besides that, a disaster happened in his life. His only son died on him when he was still young, and the grief of the parents for their handsome and talented son, whose face has been described as the face of an innocent angel.

All his spiritual greatness was revealed in the days of destruction. In those days his home was a refuge for the Jews' sorrow. He bore the Nazi humiliations with pride. The extermination survivors tell that two young Nazis once came to him and lit his beard on fire with a match. R' Avreml defended himself and cursed the Nazi that his hand would fall off. The next day, the Nazi's hand was amputated in the factory. He came with his friend to ask the rabbi for forgiveness, but the rabbi did not want to extend his hand to them in peace. They brought a cart full of vegetables and fruit. The rabbi did not want to take it from them and to enjoy the gift, but instead he ordered to scatter the vegetables in the yard, so that each poor Jew could come and take as much as he wished.

In the last liquidation, when he was offered to leave Radomsk for another ghetto, he did not want to do so. “I lived with these Jews and I want to die with them.” R' Avreml was murdered in the last liquidation of Radomsk Ghetto. May HaShem avenge his blood.

Translator's Footnotes

  1. Yaakov Yitzchak HaLevi Horowitz, known as ha-Chozeh of Lublin (“The Seer of Lublin”) 1745-1815, was a Hasidic Rebbe from Poland. Return
  2. Tzadik (pl. tzadikim) a title given to people considered righteous, such as biblical figures and later spiritual masters such as Hassidic rabbis. Return
  3. Amud, Hebrew for “pillar,” refers to the lectern in the front of the synagogue from which the prayers are read. Return
  4. In Hebrew, a Hasidic Rebbe is often referred to as an Admor, which is an abbreviation for Adoneinu, Moreinu, veRabbenu (”Our Master, our Teacher, and our Rabbi”). Return
  5. HaGaon (lit. “The genius”) is an honorary title for a Jewish scholar who is noted for his wisdom and knowledge of the Talmud. Return
  6. Zlh”h - may the memory of the righteous be a blessing for the life of the world to come.
    Zt”l - may the memory of the righteous be a blessing. Return
  7. Shechinah is derived from the word shochen “to dwell within.” The Shechinah is God as God is dwelling within. Return
  8. Ahavat Yisrael: (lit. “Love for one's fellow Jews”) as enjoined by the Biblical precept “Love your fellow like yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). Return
  9. Kollel - a charity organization founded in 1796 in Poland by the Torah leaders of European Jewry. Return
  10. Piyyut (pl. piyyutim) is a Jewish liturgical poem, usually designated to be sung, chanted, or recited during religious services. Return
  11. Targum Onkelos is the primary Jewish Aramaic targum (”translation”) of the Torah, accepted as an authoritative translated text of the Five Books of Moses and thought to have been written in the early second century CE. Return
  12. Tikunei haZohar (lit. “Repairs of the Zohar”) is a main text of the Kabbalah which was composed in the 14th century. Return
  13. HaKohen HaGadol (lit. “High Priest”) was the head of the Israelite priesthood. He played a unique role in the worship conducted in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple in Jerusalem, as well as in some non-ritual matters. Return
  14. Sefer ha-Zohar (lit. “Book of Splendor”) is the primary text of the Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism). Return
  15. Seudah shlishit is the third meal customarily eaten by Sabbath-observing Jews on each Shabbat.  Return
  16. The terms, Urim and Thummim, have traditionally been understood as “light(s)” and “perfection(s)” or as “perfect light.” Urim and Thummim were means of revelation entrusted to the high priest. Return
  17. Na'im Zemirot Yisrael is a traditional name for King David. Return
  18. Adonai Tzva'ot, the “Lord of Hosts,” is one of the names of God. Return
  19.  Ba'al teshuvah (lit. “Master of return) is a Jew who adopts some form of traditional religious observance after having previously followed a secular lifestyle or a less stringent form of Judaism. Return
  20. Shabbat Shuvah (“Sabbath [of] Return”) refers to the Shabbat that occurs during the Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  Return
  21. Havdalah (lit. “Separation”), is a Jewish religious ceremony that marks the symbolic end of Shabbat and ushers in the new week.  Return
  22. Kedoshim (lit. “Holy ones”) is the 30th weekly Torah portion (parashah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the seventh in the Book of Leviticus. Return
  23. Yom Hillula (lit.“Day of festivity”) refers to the the anniversary of a death of a great tzadik who taught Kabbalah and/or Hassidut. Yom Hillula is commemorated specifically through joy and festive celebration.  Return
  24. Rabbi Yisrael, known as Ba'al Shem Tov (lit. “Master of the Good Name”), was the Eastern-European 18th century founder of the Hasidic movement. Return
  25. Ohel (lit. “Tent”) is a structure built around a Jewish grave as a sign of prominence of the deceased.  Return
  26. Tikkun olam (lit. “Repairing of the world”) refers to various forms of action intended to repair and improve the world. Return
  27. Hibbat Zion (lit. “Love of Zion”) movement was founded in Russia in 1882, and its aim was national renaissance of Jews and their return to Eretz Yisrael. Return
  28. A shtreimel is a fur hat mainly worn by members of Hasidic Judaism, on Shabbat and Jewish holidays and other festive occasion. Return

Text footnotes

  1. [page 79] This legend is told about the voyage of R' Moshe of Lelow to Eretz Yisrael: R' Moshe traveled through Galați [Romania] and when the ship docked at the shore, his loyal assistant, R' Lipa of Szczekociny, got off the ship and never returned. After the ship sailed from the shore, R' Moshe was very sad and on Sabbath eve, before the Kiddush, he insisted and said: I will not say the Kiddush until my loyal assistant returns. A massive storm ensued immediately, and while R' Moshe held the Kiddush cup in his hand, R' Lipa appeared. The legend adds that R' Lipa was taken prisoner but the abductor said: I must release him! An elderly Jew is standing on top of me and doesn't give me rest. This legend probably served as a basis for S. Y. Agnon book, Bilvav Yamim [”In the heart of Seas”]. Chanania, the story's hero, who disappeared and reappeared, is the incarnation of R' Lipa of Szczekociny.
    After the holiday of Sukkot the immigrants arrived in the Acre shore and traveled from there to Safed and Tiberias, but R' Moshe's destination was Jerusalem. R' Moshe said: “When I will stand before the Western Wall, I will raise my voice as a Shofar for the long exile and the delayed redemption. However, when he prepared to go to the Western Wall, he fell ill and after he stayed in Israel for 74 days, as the number of years of his life, he died on the thirteenth day of Tevet 5611 [18 December 1854]. His grave is next to the grave of Zechariah the prophet. After his death, the Hasidim of Poland gathered around his son R' Eliezer Menachem. Beit HaMidrash, Ohel Moshe, named after R' Moshe of Lelow, was built in the old city of Jerusalem. His descendants, the Biederman family, took part in the building of Jerusalem and their influence grew on the Polish Hasidim in Israel and abroad, in the creation of a center for Hassidut Polin in Jerusalem. Return
  2. [page 86] Brukarz in Polish: road paver. His intention is to a popular Tzadik named R' Moshe son of R' Tzvi, who was a road paver and a servant of the Maggid of Kozhnitz [Yisrael Hopstein]. At the end of his life he settled in Piotrkow and became a “rabbi” for the masses and expert in exorcising dybbukim [malicious possessing spirits]. Return


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