Chaim Elazar Spira

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Chaim Elazar Spira
Pestrý týden, 1937-05-22, Lazar Spira.jpg
Spira in 1937.
TitleMunkacser Rebbe
Chaim Elazar Spira

December 17, 1868
SpouseRochel Perl, daughter of Yakov Moshe Safrin of Komarno
ChildrenChaya Fruma[1] ("Frima")[2] Rifka Spira
  • Tzvi Hirsch Spira of Munkacz (father)
  • Esther, daughter of Chanina Horowitz of Ulanów (mother)
Jewish leader
PredecessorTzvi Hirsch Spira[3]
SuccessorBaruch Yehoshua Yerachmiel Rabinovich
Main workMinchas Elozor

Chaim Elazar Spira (December 17, 1868 – May 13, 1937)[4] was a rebbe of the Hasidic Munkacs dynasty.[5]

Family background[edit]

Spira was born in Strzyżów, Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, Austria-Hungary, now part of Poland, where his grandfather, Shlomo Spira, was a rabbi. Chaim Elazar's father, Tzvi Hersh Spira,[3] was from Spira family which had held rabbinical positions in Munkács dating back to the founder of the Munkács Hasidic dynasty, Tzvi Elimelech Spira of Dinov (Bnei Yisoschor),[6] who was Chief Rabbi from 1828 to 1832.

Spira became Chief Justice of the Rabbinical Court in Munkács in 1903, where he worked along with his father until the latter died in 1913. He succeeded his father as Chief Rabbi of Munkács and the surrounding communities.[7]


Spira wrote and published over twenty books on the Jewish law, Torah, Hasidism, and religious philosophy and customs including the six-volume Minchas Elazar. He opposed political Zionism and the Agudat Yisrael.[8][9]

Chaim Elazar Spira

Spira established elementary schools under the name "Machzike Torah."[citation needed]

He founded a yeshiva (rabbinical college) in Munkacs, named Darchei Tshuva, after the title of his father's sefer (book).[10]

Journey to Jerusalem[edit]

The Minchas Elazar

In 1930, Spira visited Palestine for a thirteen-day trip to visit the elderly kabbalist Solomon Eliezer Alfandari (known as the Saba Kadisha, "Holy Grandfather") and also to visit with his followers in Palestine.

He met with Alfandari for long hours behind closed doors over the span of a week. While Spira was in Jerusalem Alfandari died.

Details of the trip were recorded in a book written by a disciple of Spira's, Moshe Goldstein, who was one of those accompanying the Rebbe on his trip. The book was reprinted several times in Hebrew and Yiddish, and was translated to English in 2009 by Artscroll Publications.[11]

Wedding of daughter in 1933[edit]

Spira's only daughter, Chaya Fruma Rivka (known as Frima),[2] married Baruch Yehoshua Yerachmiel Rabinowicz in Munkács on March 15, 1933.[1]

Over 20,000 guests attended the wedding.[2] According to the daily newspaper Rudý večerník, "The wedding lasted for seven days".


Spira's tombstone

Spira died in 1937 and was succeeded as Chief Rabbi by his son-in-law Baruch Yehoshua Yerachmiel Rabinowicz, Spira's only daughter Frima's husband, who was chief rabbi until the Nazi occupation of Munkács in 1944.[12]

Spira's gravesite in the Munkács Jewish Cemetery dresses pilgrims, especially on the anniversary of his death on the third day in the month of Sivan.


Munkacs World Headquarters (Boro Park, Brooklyn)

The Munkacs Hasidic dynasty is now led by his grandson, Moshe Leib Rabinovich, who lives in Brooklyn.


Batei Munkacs, the Israeli residential neighborhood founded by Spira,[13] draws tourists.[14][15]


  1. ^ a b "Munkacz's Nine Minutes of Fame". Mishpacha. June 6, 2012. ... the wedding of the Minchas Elazar's only daughter, Chaya Fruma Rivka 17 Adar – March 15, 1933
  2. ^ a b c "A Jewish Community in the Carpathian Mountains- The Story of ..." ... from across Europe and overseas for the wedding ... of Rabbi Baruch Rabinowitz and Chaya Frima
  3. ^ a b it says so on his monument (shown below)
  4. ^ C. B. Weinfeld (2017). A Tapestry of Stars. pp. 343–352. ISBN 978-1-4226-1902-5.
  5. ^ "Munkatsh Hasidic Dynasty".
  6. ^ Note spelling Shapira. "Chassidic Rebbe Biographies". Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech Shapira of Dinov (1785 - 18 Teves, 1841), a renowned ...
  7. ^ "Rabbi Chaim Elazar Shapira". ... chief rabbi and head of the Beit Din ... with the passing of his father, ... 1913, Chaim Elazar ...
  8. ^ H. Rabinowicz (1970). The World of Hasidism. Hartmore House. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-87677-005-4.
  9. ^ Al Nadler (1994). "The War on Modernity of R. Hayyim Elazar Shapira of Munkacz". Modern Judaism. 14 (3): 233–264. doi:10.1093/mj/14.3.233. JSTOR 1396352. ... by the ultra-conservative hasidic Rabbi of Munkacz ... Shapira ... Zionist .. perceived .. greater threats to ...
  10. ^ "Esther Spira". Zvi Hirsh Spira (Darchei Tshuva). ... one son: Chaim Elazar Spira (Minchas Elazar).
  11. ^ Moshe Goldstein (2009). Journey to Jerusalem: The Historic Visit of the Minchas Eluzar of Munkacs Zt'l to the Saba Kadisha Zt'l. Artscroll Mesorah Publications. ISBN 978-1422608876.
  12. ^ "Rabbi Moshe Yehuda Leib Rabinowitz Munkatch Rebbe". R' Baruch Joshua Jerachmeel Rabinovitch served as ... in 1937 until the Nazis occupied Munkacs in 1944.
  13. ^ "A Letter from the Admor author of 'Minchat Elazar' of Munkacs". March 27, 2017. Archived from the original on November 8, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018. ... and established the Batei Munkacs neighborhood.
  14. ^ "How to get to Batei Munkacs in Israel by Bus". find the best routes to Batei Munkacs using public transit... updated schedule... bus
  15. ^ "The Nachlaot Nook - Apartments for Rent in Jerusalem". Neighborhoods in Nachlaot (plural of nachala, lit. "homestead") include ... Batei Munkacs, ...

Further reading[edit]

  • Goldstein, Moshe (2009-01-01). Journey to Jerusalem. ArtScroll. ISBN 978-1-4226-0887-6.
  • Aviezer Ravitzky, "Munkacs and Jerusalem: Ultra-Orthodox Opposition to Zionism and Agudaism," Zionism and Religion, eds. Shmuel Almog, Jehuda Reinharz, and Anita Shapira (Hanover and London, 1998), 67-89.

External links[edit]