Radomsk (Hasidic dynasty)

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Radomsk (Hebrew: רדומסק‎) is a Hasidic dynasty named after the town of Radomsko in Łódź province, south-central Poland.[1] The dynasty was founded in 1843 by Rabbi Shlomo Hakohen Rabinowicz (the Tiferes Shlomo), one of the great Hasidic masters of 19th-century Poland.[2] His son, grandson and great-grandson led the dynasty in turn, attracting thousands of followers. On the eve of World War II, Radomsk was the third largest Hasidic dynasty in Poland, after Ger and Alexander.[3]

The town of Radomsko was destroyed and most of its Jews deported and killed during the German occupation of Poland in World War II. The fourth Radomsker Rebbe, Rabbi Shlomo Chanoch Hakohen Rabinowicz, was murdered by the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942, bringing the father-to-son dynasty to an end. In 1965, Radomsker Hasidim who had survived the Holocaust and were living in Israel asked Rabbi Menachem Shlomo Bornsztain, the fifth Sochatchover Rebbe and a descendant of the first Radomsker Rebbe,[4] to become their Rebbe as well, and he agreed. Bornsztain's son, Rabbi Avrohom Nosson Bornsztain, is the current Rav of the Radomsker shul in Bnei Brak..

History[edit]

Leadership[edit]

Great Synagogue in Radomsk

The founder of the dynasty was Rabbi Shlomo Hakohen Rabinowicz (the Tiferes Shlomo) (1801–1866), who had begun serving as Rav of Radomsko (Radomsk) in 1834.[5][6][7] Under his leadership, the Jewish community of Radomsk grew both in prestige and population.[8] When Grand Rabbi Moshe Biderman of Lelov moved to the Land of Israel and instructed his Hasidim to follow Rabinowicz, the latter's influence as a Rebbe grew significantly[7][9] and Radomsk became a major Hasidic center.[6] The masses revered their Rebbe for his lofty prayers, beautiful singing voice, and benevolence towards their needs,[5][10] while the more scholarly Hasidim admired his profound discourses in Halakha and Kabbalah.[6][11] Rabinowicz's discourses on the Chumash and Jewish holidays were published posthumously in Warsaw in 1867–1869 as the two-volume Tiferes Shlomo.[12][13] This work, considered a textbook of Hasidic thought,[14] met with widespread acclaim and has been continuously reprinted.[15][16]

Upon the Rebbe's death in 1866, his youngest son, Avraham Yissachar Dov Hakohen Rabinowicz (1843–1892), succeeded him. Rabbi Avraham Yissachar Dov was also a great Torah scholar[17] and was musically gifted.[18] After he became Rebbe, he attracted many Hasidim from Poland and Galicia.[9][13] He suffered from diabetes[17] and died in Radomsk a year shy of his fiftieth birthday.[19] His Torah teachings were compiled under the title Chesed L'Avraham, published in Piotrkow in 1893.[20]

He was succeeded as Rebbe by his second son, Rabbi Yechezkel Hakohen Rabinowicz (1864–1910), who had initially served as Rav of Novipola. The third Radomsker Rebbe was known for his dedication to Torah study,[17] his extreme modesty, and powerful sermons.[21] He suffered from diabetes like his father[17] and also died before the age of 50.[22] An estimated 25,000 people attended his funeral from all over Poland and Galicia.[17] His Torah teachings were compiled under the title Kenesses Yechezkel, published in 1913.[17]

His eldest son, Rabbi Shlomo Chanoch Hakohen Rabinowicz (1882–1942), succeeded him.[17] The fourth Radomsker Rebbe was a dynamic and charismatic leader.[3] Thousands of Hasidim attended his court on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.[23] The Rebbe was also quite wealthy.[24][25] He owned a glass factory and homes in Berlin, Warsaw, and Sosnowiec; he re-established his court in the latter city after World War I.[3][26] He also amassed a huge personal collection of old manuscripts and prints that was said to be the second-largest private library in Poland after that of the Gerrer Rebbe.[24]

Keser Torah yeshiva network[edit]

Main article: Keser Torah Radomsk

The fourth Radomsker Rebbe innovated a new trend in Hasidic education in Poland. Until World War I, Hasidic youth traditionally studied Torah and learned the customs and lore of their dynasties in shtiebelach (small houses of prayer and study) across Poland. As the war uprooted hundreds of thousands of Jews and decimated established communities, the shtiebelach lost their central place in Hasidic life.[27] In 1926, the Rebbe announced his plan to create a network of yeshivas called Keser Torah (Crown of Torah). By 1930, nine yeshivas were functioning in major Polish cities, together with a "Kibbutz Govoha" (high-level study group) for advanced students and avreichim (married students) in Sosnowiec.[3] The Rebbe appointed his new son-in-law, Rabbi Dovid Moshe Hakohen Rabinowicz (1906–1942), to serve as rosh yeshiva for the entire network.[27] By 1939, there were 36 Keser Torah yeshivas enrolling over 4,000 students in Poland and Galicia. The Rebbe paid for the entire operation, including staff salaries, food, and student lodging, out of his own pocket.[3][27]

World War II[edit]

Memorial to Rabbi Shlomo Chanoch Rabinowicz in the Warsaw Jewish cemetery.

On the eve of World War II, Radomsk was the third largest Hasidic dynasty in Poland, after Ger and Alexander.[3] In Kraków, there were more Radomsker shtiebelach than Gerrer shtiebelach.[24]

Following the German invasion of Poland, the Keser Torah yeshivas disbanded[27] and the Rebbe escaped to the town of Alexander, but from there was most likely sent by the Nazis into the Warsaw Ghetto.[24] His son-in-law, Rabbi Dovid Moshe Rabinowicz, was also incarcerated in the Warsaw Ghetto, where he continued to deliver shiurim to Keser Torah students.[28] The Rebbe and all the members of his family, including his only daughter, son-in-law, and their infant son, were shot to death during the Aktion of 1 August 1942.[3][24][28] They were buried in a mass grave in Warsaw's main cemetery.[3][27] With the Rebbe's death, the father-to-son lineage of Radomsker rebbes came to an end. (The Rebbe's brother, Rabbi Elimelech Aryeh Hakohen Rabinowicz, died in Mauthausen.[29])

Rebirth in Israel[edit]

After World War II, Radomsker Hasidim and Keser Torah yeshiva students who had survived the Holocaust established Kollel Keser Torah in Bnei Brak, Israel. In 1965 they approached Rabbi Menachem Shlomo Bornsztain, son of the Sochatchover Rebbe and a nephew of Rabbi David Moshe Rabinowicz, to lead the kollel (Bornsztain was also a direct descendant of the first Radomsker Rebbe, as his grandfather, the second Sochatchover Rebbe, married the daughter of the first Radomsker Rebbe.)[4] Bornsztain accepted the offer and commuted from his home in Tel Aviv to Bnei Brak.[30] When Bornsztain acceded to the leadership of the Sochatchov dynasty in 1965, the Radomsker Hasidim asked him to become their Rebbe as well, and he officially became known as the Sochatchover-Radomsker Rebbe.[30] Following Bornsztain's untimely death in 1969, his eldest son, Rabbi Shmuel Bornsztain, became the Sochatchover Rebbe and another son, Avrohom Nosson Bornsztain, was appointed as the rav of the Radomsker shul in Bnei Brak.[31]

Today Radomsker communities exist in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, Israel; Brooklyn, New York; Lakewood, New Jersey; and Montreal, Canada.[27] The Radomsker Rav of Boro Park, Rabbi Leibish Frand, heads a Radomsker beis medrash in Brooklyn.[32][33]

Music of Radomsk[edit]

The first Radomsker Rebbe, Rabbi Shlomo Hakohen Rabinowicz, had a beautiful singing voice and was renowned as a hazzan and composer of Hasidic music. He composed and sang new nigunim (melodies) each year for the High Holy days and Jewish holidays.[34] He also sent money to one of his Hasidim in Safed, Israel so the latter would organize a Radomsker Shalosh Seudos meal every Shabbat at which his niggunim would be sung.[34] The second Radomsker Rebbe was also musically gifted, and the niggunim of the first two Radomsker Rebbes were sung in all Radomsker courts. Rabbi Chaskel Besser, a prominent Radomsker Hasid in New York after World War II, produced an album titled Niggunei Radomsk (Melodies of Radomsk) to preserve the music of the dynasty.[18]

Lineage of Radomsk dynastic leadership[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ Skolnik, Fred; Berenbaum, Michael (2006). Encyclopedia Judaica, Ra–Sam 17. Thomson. p. 57. ISBN 0-02-865945-7. 
  2. ^ "Radomsko". jewishgen.org. 4 January 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Tannenbaum, Rabbi Gershon (7 April 2009). "Radomsker Rebbe's Yahrzeit". The Jewish Press. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Belovski, Zvi (1998). Shem Mishmuel. Targum Press. p. xx. ISBN 1-56871-141-7. 
  5. ^ a b Bader, Gershom. "Reb Shlomohle Radomsker". Radomsker Memorial Book. p. 111. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Finkel, Avraham Yaakov (2003). Kabbalah: Selections From Classic Kabbalistic Works From Raziel Hamalach To The Present Day. Targum Press. p. 348. ISBN 1-56871-218-9. 
  7. ^ a b "Yahrzeits – Week of 29 Adar". chazaq.org. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  8. ^ Feinkind, T. "The Radomsker Dynasty". Radomsko Memorial Book. p. 112–114. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  9. ^ a b Ungar, Manashe (19 April 1950). "Radomsker Rebbe Who Perished in Jewish Martyrdom in the Warsaw Ghetto". The Day-Morning Journal. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  10. ^ "Radomsko (Radomsk), Solomon Ha-Kohen Rabinowich of". Jewish Virtual Library. 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  11. ^ Aron, Milton (1969). Ideas and Ideals of the Hassidim. Citadel Press. p. 314. 
  12. ^ Rosenstein, Neil (1976). The Unbroken Chain: Biographical sketches and the genealogy of illustrious Jewish families from the 15th-20th century. Shengold Publishers. p. 232. ISBN 0-88400-043-5. 
  13. ^ a b "Chasidim of Radomsko". diapositive.pl. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  14. ^ "The Tiferes Shlomo". nishmas.org. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  15. ^ Finkel, Kabbalah, p. 349.
  16. ^ Carlebach, Rabbi Shlomo (15 March 1984). "Purim: Nothing Else Matters". The Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach Foundation. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g Poznanski, Yehieil. "Remembrances of the Past". Radomsko Memorial Book. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  18. ^ a b "Radomsker Music". radomsk.org. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  19. ^ "Hilula and Yarzeit for the Hebrew Month of Elul". Yesh Shem. 2011. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  20. ^ "Chesed L’Avraham (Radomsk)". Kedem Auctions. 2011. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  21. ^ Finkel, Avraham Yaakov (1994). Contemporary Sages: The great Chasidic masters of the twentieth century. J. Aronson. p. 21. ISBN 1-56821-155-4. 
  22. ^ Saltiel, Manny (2011). "Gedolim Yahrtzeits". chinuch.org. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  23. ^ Farbstein, Esther (2007). Hidden In Thunder: Perspectives on faith, halachah and leadership during the Holocaust. Feldheim Publishers. p. 118. ISBN 965-7265-05-3. 
  24. ^ a b c d e Unger, Manashe (19 April 1950). "Radomsker Rebbe Who Perished in Jewish Martyrdom in the Warsaw Ghetto". Day-Morning Journal. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  25. ^ Geltwert, Jack (2002). From Auschwitz to Ithaca: The transnational journey of Jack Geltwert. CDL Press. p. 45. ISBN 1-883053-74-9. 
  26. ^ Rabinowicz, Tzvi (1970). The World of Hasidism. Hartmore House. p. 167. 
  27. ^ a b c d e f "Keser Torah Radomsk". radomsk.org. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  28. ^ a b Kaliv World Center (2002). Shema Yisrael: Testimonies of devotion, courage, and self-sacrifice, 1939-1945. pp. 329–330. ISBN 1-56871-271-5. 
  29. ^ Rabinowicz, Tzvi, The World of Hasidism, p. 175.
  30. ^ a b 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.
  31. ^ השבת בקהילות הקוש [This Shabbat in the Holy Communities]. Kol Mevasser (in Hebrew). 27 November 2009. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 
  32. ^ Tannenbaum, Rabbi Gershon (1 August 2007). "Radomsk Torah Splendor Remembered In South Fallsburg". The Jewish Press. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  33. ^ Tannenbaum, Rabbi Gershon (21 April 2010). "Rosh Chodesh with the Igud". The Jewish Press. Retrieved 7 January 2012. 
  34. ^ a b "The Musical Talents of the "Tiferes Shlomo"". Heichal Hanegina. 29 March 2006. Retrieved 21 January 2012. 

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