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18 Menachem Av 5773 - July 25, 2013 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Dovid Moshe Rabinowitz, zt"l, Hy"d — Rosh Yeshivas Kesser Torah

In honor of his yahrtzeit, 18th Av (5702-1942)

"I had no idea that there existed in the Poland of our times such a great gaon," noted R' Chaim Ozer Grodzensky zt"l. He had just become acquainted with R' Moishele Rabinowitz and they had already had a deep Torah discussion, lasting several hours. Subsequently, R' Chaim Ozer sent him a warm approbation, rare in its content, for the sefer that R' Moishele intended to print.

After the Holocaust, in which so many precious Jews were taken, among them the cream of our nation, the Tchebiner Rov, HaRav Dov Berisch Weidenfeld, confided to his talmidim:

"In addition to the six million kedoshim for whom I mourn, I cry particularly due to loss of R' Moishele Radomsker Hy"d. Every time I met him I did not recognize him — so much had he risen in Torah and greatness since the previous time."

He then added, "Had he survived the churban, he would have illuminated the entire Torah world with his gadlus."

Already when he was a young man, not long after his marriage to the daughter of the Tiferes Shlomo of Radomsk, he was asked by his father-in-law to head the network of thirty-six yeshivos Kesser Torah that were spread out over Poland and Galicia, a task he carried out with great success.

In the central yeshiva, Kibbutz Hagovohah in Sasnovtza, he was seen more than once pursuing a difficulty in a sugya for twenty hours straight, until everything was clear.


In the court of the Radomsker Rebbe, every yom tov roshei yeshivos, talmidei chachomim and ordinary Jews alike converged to spend the holy days together with the Rebbe. But there was a side dish to this treat, too. As a young talmid who observed the scene said, "While the tischen took place, the Rebbe's son-in-law, R' Moishele, would sit on the sidelines where every few minutes another talmid chochom would ask him a kushya that was troubling him in the sugya he was learning.

"R' Moishele sat and answered each one's difficulties as though the Torah and all its seforim were an open book before him."


Shavuos night found R' Moishele awake in shul with everyone. However, all through the night his learning would be interrupted by people and their kushyos. By the time it was dawn, R' Moishele was not satisfied. As the sun rose and everyone went home to rest, Rabbenu returned from the mikveh into the Beis Midrash, said the bircas haTorah with enthusiasm and threw himself into learning until the rest of the olom returned for shacharis.


A talmid of R' Moishele who survived the war wrote in his memoirs the following: "I was privileged to accompany Rabbenu to the health resort town of Krenitz. Even here he did not go out for walks, but stayed in the house learning, until his father-in-law insisted that he take a walk for the sake of his health. We started walking and met the Brisker Rov.

"Immediately a lively discussion ensued between the two. Then R' Moishele asked that the Brisker Rov test me, his talmid. I began to say chiddushim that I had heard from my Rebbe, but before I could continue, a fierce Torah argument broke out between the two personalities.

"It was a scene the likes of which Krenitz had never witnessed: two gedolei Yisroel in a stormy debate; one brings a rayo only to be rebuffed by the other's kushya. One asks and the other answers. Until finally the storm subsided and the Brisker Rov asked for a drink so he could recover from the heat of his fiery discussion."

The Bilgorayer Rov, HaRav Mordechai Rokach brother of the Admor R' Aharon of Belz, writes of his special connection with R' Moishele Radomsker, "During World War II there was a Jewish businessman who had permission to travel from Cracow to Warsaw. He became our postman and would deliver letters to R' Moishele in Warsaw and then bring back a reply in divrei Torah here to Cracow.

"In one letter, R' Moishele claimed that since the world was snowballing into a situation of inevitable war, according to the gemora it is incumbent to declare a fast day. However, since food is so scarce, no one has the strength to fast. Whatever little food can be found must be eaten in order to keep alive.

"In the end we decided together with the other rabbonim of Warsaw to declare a learning program in maseches Taanis and may Hashem accept our learning as though we had fasted.

"R' Moishele wasn't satisfied just to learn the masechta with his talmidim. He was mechadesh amazing chiddushim, part of which he sent to me in writing."

Concludes the Bilgorayer:

"I was filled with a kinas sofrim. How can a person in today's perilous life plunge so deeply into the masechta, being mechadesh as though nothing is going on around him?

"He continued writing to me until the middle of chodesh Av. Then there were no more letters. It was only later that I found that R' Moishele had been killed al Kiddush Hashem on the 18th Av. Hashem yikom domo."


The Admor of Radomsk, having been blessed with great wealth, naturally sought a special husband for his one-and-only daughter. Sons of the greatest rebbes of Poland, Hungary and Galicia were suggested, but many were turned down for fear that the lure of money would have a bad effect on the chosson.

After Reb Moishele was chosen, the Radomsker knew he had, with the help of Hashem, taken the right boy. Even years later he had barely an idea what the coins and notes of the local currency looked like.


His unique relationship with his talmidim was legendary. R' Moishele had no children of his own, but each bochur in the yeshiva was treated as his only son. If Rabbenu noticed that a boy was getting pulled by the outside influences on the streets, he would shower him with an abundance of love, speak to him in his special way and draw him back to the yeshiva bench with a new enthusiasm.

As he himself would say, he felt that being a Kohen it was his task to "love peace, pursue it and draw people closer to Torah."


The numerous chiddushim of R' Moishele on maseches Zevochim were put together by his talmidim, who readied them for printing. They prepared three whole volumes on the first five blatt(!), ending with an additional collection of one hundred and fifty terutzim to a famous kushya.

However, his father-in-law, the Admor of Radomsk, refused to let the work go to print. "My son-in-law has not yet been blessed with children," he explained. "It is written, `Zeh sefer toldos odom,' and I am afraid that here the sefer will be reckoned as his toldos, his children. Let us wait until he has children first!"

The whole project was put on hold, and since R' Moishele never had children, this branch was brutally cut off by the Nazis and all the writings lost. Woe to us . . .


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