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9 Elul 5773 - August 15, 2013 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Ha'admor Reb Tzodok Hacohen Rabinowitz zt"l of Lublin

In honor of his yahrtzeit, 9 Elul 5660

Although Rabbi Tzodok hailed from Lublin, his name spread as the "genius of Krinitz." This was because, after being orphaned of his father, HaRav Yaakov Hacohen Rabinowitz zt"l rov of Kreisburg at the tender age of six, R' Tzodok went to live with his uncle, HaRav Yosef Hacohen of Krinitz, author of Capos Zohov.

There in Krinitz, Lithuania, he was to be seen standing outside in the cold night, learning by moonlight. The cold and hunger gnawing at him were ignored for hours as the young boy learned without a stop.

His name also became associated with a sharp mind and wit.

The young genius was once sitting under a tree with his friends and quietly mentioned the number of leaves on the tree. "Well, there's no one to prove you wrong," laughed his friends. "For who's going to count?"

"Pluck one branch," replied the boy, "and count its leaves without me seeing, and then I'll tell you how many are left on the tree. A single calculation will prove that I'm right." His friends did as he had bidden and, of course, R' Tzodok's new number was in coordination with the amount that had been removed.

Another story told of Rabbeinu took place when he was recently married and living at his father-in-law's house in Voldovka. Upon answering a knock at the door, R' Tzodok beheld two tzedokoh collectors with a basketful of eggs. They were collecting eggs for the poor who could not afford this staple themselves. Being destitute himself and knowing that his father-in-law had nothing to give either, R' Tzodok told the collectors of his predicament. "However, I'd like to help you somehow," he added, and then he had an idea. "I'll tell you how many eggs you have in your basket and at least save you the bother of counting them. This will be my donation."


In his sefer Meishiv Tzedek four droshos are printed, phenomenal in their erudition and depth, yet they are the ones he gave at the age of thirteen on the occasion of his bar-mitzvah.

The author of Sichas Mal'achei Hashoreis relates in the introduction to his sefer that when R' Tzodok was a seven-year-old living under his uncle's wing, R' Yosef had to travel far away to collect money for an advance payment for his sefer Capos Zohov that he was hoping to publish shortly.

Six months passed and the uncle had not returned. His distraught family was worried for his safety, seeking some assurance as to his well being.

Unable to see their anguish, the boy did a "sheilas chalome," and informed the family of R' Yosef's location and that all was well with him.


His was a soul that constantly yearned to go higher. To this end R' Tzodok traveled to the Torah greats of his generation, to learn from their Torah and their ways.

One day R' Tzodok arrived at the home of the Yeshuos Yaakov. Seeing the door ajar, R' Tzodok walked right in.

A little startled at seeing a person walk in without hesitating, a son of the Yeshuos Yaakov demanded of R' Tzodok: "Do you perhaps know half of Shas that you deem yourself worthy of walking into the Rov's house?"

Humbly, Rabbeinu answered in a low voice, "Yes, I do know half of Shas."

"Oh yes! Which half?"

R' Tzodok stepped closer and whispered in his ear, "Whichever half you want."


Despite his own sharp mind, or perhaps because of it, R' Tzodok was enthralled by brilliant talmidei chachomim. He would often relate with special admiration the times when he observed Rabbi Shlomo Kluger in Brod. R' Shlomo sat surrounded by four sofrim, who wrote his chiddushim. He would instruct each one to write a teshuvoh on a totally different subject, yet kept up all four writers simultaneously.


Later in life he met the elderly admor Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Leiner zt"l, of Izhbitza, who won him over with his derech ho'avodoh. R' Tzodok became his talmid muvhak and brings many of his Rebbe's chidushim in his sefer. In fact many of R' Tzodok's own novellae were built upon those of his Rebbe.

He also took upon himself many of his holy practices. One of the latter was only to eat a meal if it was a seudas mitzvah. To this end, every day before eating, R' Tzodok would finish a masechta. On Shabbos, he would make a siyum on masechtos Shabbos and Eruvin.

Rabbenu had a very large library containing over five thousand seforim, among them many rare and valuable kisvei yad. In his sefer we have an example where R' Tzodok writes from a handwritten manuscript of the Gra.

All these seforim were bought with the money that people gave him as the Cohen at a pidyon haben.

R' Tzodok shunned the idea of having personal gain from the crown of his Torah and, therefore, his Rebbetzin opened a small secondhand clothing store. The meager amount that came in was what they lived on, only covering a bare minimum. Yet despite pressure brought to bear by his chassidim, he would never personally benefit from public money. The Rebbetzin fully supported his principle and in fact at her levaya R' Tzodok said next to her bier, "Half of my reward in Olom Habo is yours because only in your merit am I what I am. Come and take your share to your world now."


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