Menachem Shlomo Bornsztain

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Menachem Shlomo Bornsztain
Sochatchover-Radomsker Rebbe
Term 1965-1969
Full name Menachem Shlomo Bornsztain (Bornstein)
Born 11 October 1934
Predecessor Chanoch Henoch Bornsztain
Successor Shmuel Bornsztain
Father Chanoch Henoch Bornsztain
Mother Freidel
Children Shmuel Bornsztain
Avraham Nosson Bornsztain

Menachem Shlomo Bornsztain (11 October 1934–10 August 1969), also spelled Borenstein, Bornstein, or Bernstein, was the fifth Rebbe of the Sochatchov Hasidic dynasty. He acceded to the position of Rebbe following the death of his father, Rabbi Chanoch Henoch Bornsztain, the fourth Rebbe of Sochatchov. He was officially known as the Sochatchover-Radomsker Rebbe, having also accepted the leadership of the Radomsk Hasidic dynasty upon the request of its surviving Hasidim, whose leaders had been murdered in the Holocaust. He served as Rebbe for only four years; he was killed in a traffic accident at the age of 34.

Early life[edit]

Bornsztain's father, Rabbi Chanoch Henoch, was the son of Rabbi Shmuel Bornsztain, the Shem MiShmuel, and the grandson of the Avnei Nezer, founder of the Sochatchover dynasty. His mother, Freidel, was a daughter of Rabbi Noson Nochum of Krimelov and a granddaughter of the Kenesses Yechezkel of Radomsk. At his brit milah, which was delayed until his sixth week of life due to illness, he was named Menachem Shlomo after his paternal great-grandfather, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, and his maternal ancestor, Rabbi Shlomo Hakohen Rabinowicz, the Tiferes Shlomo of Radomsk.[1]

As a young child, Bornsztain was noted for his clever mind and ability to express himself. He attended a private Talmud Torah in Jerusalem and became a student at the Knesses Chizkiyahu yeshiva in Zikhron Ya'akov in 1950, where he showed great diligence in his Torah learning. The rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Noah Shimonowitz, arranged chavrusos for him with the yeshiva's top students, as well as with the rosh yeshiva himself, to develop young Bornsztain's abilities. Two years later, when Rabbi Elyah Lopian entered the yeshiva as Mashgiach Ruchani, Bornsztain developed a very close relationship with this Mussar giant.[1]


Bornsztain married the daughter of Rabbi Daniel Movshowitz, one of the rabbis of Tel Aviv. Thereafter, his father, the Sochatchover Rebbe, who lived in Jerusalem, dispatched him to Tel Aviv in order to oversee the Sochatchover shtiebel there. Bornsztain moved to Tel Aviv and learned in Kollel Beis Yehudah, led by Rabbi Michel Feinstein, the son-in-law of the Brisker Rav. In 1960, he was officially appointed Rav of the Sochatchover shteibel on Rashi Street in Tel Aviv.[1]

As Rav of the Sochatchover shtiebel, Bornsztain established times for Torah shiurim, most of which he delivered himself, drawing large crowds from throughout the neighborhood. He also worked to convince secular families to send their children to yeshivas. He was known to spend countless hours dispensing solace and advice to people who came to him with their troubles. When the Rav of Tel Aviv's Yad Eliyahu neighborhood died suddenly during Hanukkah 1963, a new leader was sought to lead and unite the various factions in the neighborhood. Although he was only 30 years old, Bornsztain was unanimously selected for the post after delivering a brilliant speech in the local synagogue. He was inducted on 6 January 1965 in a festive ceremony. His father, Rabbi Chanoch Henoch, was unable to attend due to poor health.[1]

As Rav of the Yad Eliyahu neighborhood, Bornsztain supervised the renovation of old shuls, the expansion of Torah shiurim, and the establishment of tzedakah and chesed organizations. At the same time, Bornsztain was chosen to lead Kollel Keser Torah Radomsk in Bnei Brak, named after the network of 36 yeshivas in pre-war Poland established by the fourth Radomsker Rebbe and headed by Bornsztain's uncle, Rabbi David Moshe Hakohen Rabinowicz, who had been murdered in the Warsaw Ghetto. He assumed this position on 3 May 1965, commuting daily between Tel Aviv and Bnei Brak.[1]

Becoming Rebbe[edit]

With the sudden death of his father, Rabbi Chanoch Henoch, on 23 September 1965, Rabbi Menachem Shlomo was asked by the Sochatchover Hasidim to become their Rebbe. Although he initially refused, he eventually agreed to be crowned as the fifth Rebbe of the dynasty. As a descendant of the Radomsker dynasty (his grandfather, the Second Sochatchover Rebbe, Rabbi Shmuel Bornsztain, had married the granddaughter of the First Radomsker Rebbe, Shlomo Rabinowicz[2]), Bornsztain was also asked by the Radomsker Hasidim who had survived the Holocaust to become their Rebbe as well. After consulting with gedolei Torah, Bornsztain officially became known as the Sochatchover-Radomsker Rebbe.[1]

His first move as Rebbe was to establish a yeshiva where he himself gave shiurim. He gave himself over completely to his Hasidim, his students, and the community at large.

On 10 August 1969 (26 Av 5729), Bornsztain was traveling home by taxi from a visit to an elderly Hasid hospitalized at Tel HaShomer. An army vehicle crashed into his car head-on, throwing Bornsztain from the cab. Twenty-four hours later, he died of his injuries. He left behind his Rebbetzin and children, all under the age of bar mitzvah.[1]

A few years after his death, his Hasidim crowned his eldest son, Shmuel, as the sixth Sochatchover Rebbe.[3] His second son, Avrohom Nosson Bornsztain, was appointed as Rav of the Radomsker shul in Bnei Brak.

Rebbes of Sochatchov[edit]

  1. Avrohom Bornsztain, the Avnei Nezer (1838–1910)
  2. Shmuel Bornsztain, the Shem Mishmuel (1856–1926)
  3. Dovid Bornsztain (1876–1942)
  4. Chanoch Henoch Bornsztain (d. 1965)
  5. Menachem Shlomo Bornsztain (1934–1969)
  6. Shmuel Bornsztain (b. 1961)

Rebbes of Radomsk[edit]

  1. Shlomo Hakohen Rabinowicz, the Tiferes Shlomo (1801–1866)
  2. Avraham Yissachar Dov Hakohen Rabinowicz, the Chesed L'Avraham (1843–1892)
  3. Yechezkel Hakohen Rabinowicz, the Kenesses Yechezkel (1862–1910)
  4. Shlomo Chanoch Hakohen Rabinowicz, the Shivchei Kohen (1882–1942)
  5. Menachem Shlomo Bornsztain, Sochatchover-Radomsker Rebbe (1934–1969)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Growise, Yisroel Alter. "The Sochatchover Rebbe, Harav Menachem Shlomo Bornstein, zt"l, 40 Years Since His Tragic Passing". Hamodia Features section, 27 August 2009, pp. C4-5.
  2. ^ Belovski, Zvi (1998). Shem Mishmuel. Targum Press. p. xx. ISBN 1-56871-141-7. 
  3. ^ Rossoff, Dovid (1998). Where Heaven Touches Earth. Guardian Press. p. 471. ISBN 0-87306-879-3.