Friday, March 14, 2014
Complementing Book 4a: Yahrzeits of Tzadikim for Weeks 22 through 25
This week contains the yahrzeits of Rabbi Aharon Leib Leifer of Premishlan (2nd of Adar) and Rabbi Yisrael Alter of Ger (also the 2nd of Adar).
Rabbi Aharon Leib of Premishlan was one of the leading Chassidic figures of Eastern Europe. He was the son of Rabbi Meir the Elder and the father of Rabbi Meir’l of Premishlan. The Chassidic dynasty of Nadvorna, from which many present rebbes descend, originates from Premishlan.
Rabbi Yisrael Alter was the fourth rebbe of Ger. He escaped Poland during the Holocaust, and came to Israel in 1940. He was rebbe from 1948 until his passing in 1977. He had a very prominent role in rebuilding the Ger dynasty after it had been decimated by the Nazis. Today, Ger is the largest Chassidic dynasty in the world.
Other yahrzeits this week include Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac of Zhidachov (30th of Adar Alef), Rabbi Shabtai HaKohen Katz, the "Shach" (1st of Adar), Rabbi Baruch Halberstam of Gorlitz (son of Rav Chaim of Sanz, also 1st of Adar), Rabbi Eliyahu HaKohen of Izmir (also 1st of Adar), Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik (Rosh Yeshivas Brisk, Yerushalayim, 2nd of Adar)
This week contains two yahrzeits related to the Kaliver Chassidic dynasty, of Hungary: Rabbi Leib Sarah’s (4th of Adar) and Rabbi Yitzchak Eizik Taub of Kalev (7th of Adar).
Rabbi Leib Sarah’s was a close disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, and one of the hidden tzadikkim. He was known by the name of his mother, because of her righteousness in marrying another hidden tzadik to avoid the advances of a nobleman. He spent his life raising money to ransom imprisoned Jews and to support other tzadikim. (Ascent)
Rabbi Yitzchak Eizik Taub is the founder of the Kalever dynasty. He was “discovered” by Rabbi Leib Sarah, who brought him to study with Reb Shmelke of Nicholsburg. He also later studied under Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk. He was known as the “Sweet Singer of Israel” and well known for his nigunnim (Chassidic melodies). He was the first rebbe to establish a Chassidic presence in Hungary.
Also this week is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Avraham Landau of Chechanov (5th of Adar).
This week contains the yahrzeits of Rabbi Chayim Yosef David Azulai (the “Chida,” 11th of Adar) and Rabbi Avraham Bornstein (the “Avnei Nezer” and “Eglei Tal,” also 11th of Adar).
The Chida is one of the greatest Sephardi authorities of all time. An expert in Jewish law as well as Kabbalah, the Chida was also a historian and bibliographer. He wrote over 71 works. He was a student of Rav Shalom Sharabi [the Rashash] and Rav Chaim ben-Atar (the Ohr HaChaim). (Ascent)
The Avnei Nezer was the son-in-law of Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Kotzk and the founder of the Chassidic dynasty of Sochatchov. Similar to the Chida, his expertise lied not only in mystical texts, but also the in the revealed realm of practical Jewish law.
Other yahrzeits this week include Rabbi Yosef Rosen of Dvinsk (the Rogatchover Gaon, 11th of Adar), Rabbi Elazar Lipman Weisbloom (father of the rebbes, R' Elimelech of Lizensk and R' Zusia of Anipoli, 11th of Adar), Rav Avraham Abuchatzera (son of the Abir Yaakov, 11th of Adar), R' Naftali Tzvi of Bobov (12th of Adar), Rav Nachman Goldstein (the Tcheriner Rav of Breslov, 13th of Adar) Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (13th of Adar), Rabbi Ze'ev Wolf of Zhitomir (Purim, 14th of Adar), Rabbi Pinchas Menachem Alter of Ger (the “Pnei Menachem,” 16th of Adar), Rabbi Elazar Menachem-Mendel of Lelov (16th of Adar).
This week contains the yahrzeits of Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk (21st of Adar) and Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Rothenberg/Alter (the "Chiddushei HaRim, 23rd of Adar).
Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk was on of the main disciples of the Maggid of Mezritch. He was known as the "Rebbe of Rebbes" of the Jews of Poland/Galitzia. He was the brother of Reb Zushia of Anipoli, and many of his disciples became rebbes in their own right, including the Chozeh of Lublin, the Ohev Yisrael, Reb Menachem Mendel of Rimanov, and the Maggid of Kozhnitz. His also the author of the Noam Elimelech, one of the foundational texts of Polish Chassidism.
Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Alter was the founder of the Ger dynasty, which, in great part because of his inspiring and caring leadership, became the largest of all Chassidic groups. His work, Chiddushei HaRim, is also a Chassidic "classic."
Other yahrzeits this week include Rav Chanoch Henach of Alexander (18th of Adar - He served as the rebbe of Ger for some time after the Chidushei HaRim passed away), Rabbi Nachum Mordechai of Chortkov (son of Rabbi Yisrael Friedman, 18th of Adar), and Rabbi Meir Yechiel of Ostrovtze (19th Adar 1928).
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