Upcoming Munkatcher Yahrzeit Shabbos



                      This year, Shabbos Parshas Bamidbar, is on Sivan 2, May 15. The second of Sivan is sacred because it is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Chaim Elazar Shapiro, zt”l (1872-1937), revered Munkatcher Rebbe and famed author of the Minchas Elazar. He was the son of Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Shapiro, zt”l (1850-1913), Munkatcher Rebbe and author of Darkei Teshuvah; son of Rabbi Shlomo Shapiro, zt”l (1832-1893), Munkatcher Rebbe and author of Shem Shlomo; son of Rabbi Elazar Shapiro, zt”l (1808-1864), Lanzuter Rebbe and author of Yodea Binah; son of Rabbi Zvi Elimelech Shapiro, zt”l (1783-1840), Dinover Rav and author of Bnei Yesoschor.


Munkatcher Rebbe



Genealogy of the Minchas Elazar


The Minchas Elazar was the son-in-law of Rabbi Shraga Yair Rabinowitz, zt”l (1839-1912), Biala’varzig Rebbe and author of Oren Eidus. The Darkei Teshuvah was the son-in-law of Rabbi Chanina Horowitz, zt”l (d. 1881), Ulinover Rebbe. The Shem Shlomo was the son-in-law of Rabbi Yekusiel Shmelka Erblich, zt”l (1800-1861), Sasover Rebbe and son of Rabbi Moshe Leib Erblich, zt”l (1745-1807), Sasover Rebbe and author of Chidushei RaMal. The Yodea Binah was the son-in-law of Rabbi Yehoshua Heschel of Dukla, zt”l. The Bnei Yesoschor was the son-in-law of Rabbi Ben Tzion Yitzchok, zt”l, Koshiga Rav and brother-in-law of Rabbi Elimelech Weissblum, zt”l (1717-1787), LizhenskerRebbe and author of Noam Elimelech, as well as of Rabbi Meshulam Zushe Lipman, zt”l (d. 1800), Anipoli Rebbe and author of Menoras Zahav.


          Rabbi Chanina Horowitz, grandfather of the Minchas Elazar, was the son of Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz, zt”l (d. 1837), Melitzer Rebbe who was also known as the Baal Shem Tov Katan; son of Rabbi Naftali Zvi Horowitz, zt”l (1760-1827), Ropshitzer Rebbe and author of Zera Kodesh. Rabbi Chanina Horowitz was the son-in-law of Rabbi Eliezer Horowitz, zt”l (d. 1860), Djikover Rebbe and son of the Zera Kodesh.




Minchas Elazar, zt”l


Recognized as a Talmudic genius early on, the Minchas Elazar was appointed as Munkatcher Rosh Beis Din in 1903 and succeeded his father upon his passing in 1913. A prolific author, the Minchas Elazar wrote more than 30 sefarim, several of which are multi-volume works studied in all Chassidishe and Yeshivish streams. With exceptionally great wisdom, he guided his community to growth, peace, and prosperity. Under his reign, the Jewish community grew to be the majority of Munkatch’s population.


World Jewry focused its attention on the Minchas Elazar when he traveled to Israel in 1930 and when he married off his daughter in 1933. Journalists from all over the world joined the more than 20,000 participants who came from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and elsewhere. Photographers filmed the wedding, which today serves as one of the treasures of Munkatcher Chassidim. The secular world, too, found greatness in the Minchas Elazar. Heads of state of many countries regularly sought his advice and guidance.


Grand Preparations


The 73rd yahrzeit of the Minchas Elazar will be commemorated on Shabbos Parshas Bamidbar, Sivan 2- May 15. Thousands of Munkatcher Chassidim will converge on the main Munkatcher Beis Medrash on 14th Avenue at 47th Street in Boro Park. The present Munkatcher Rebbe, who leads today’s Munkatcher Chassidim, is Rabbi Moshe Yehuda Leib Rabinowitz, eminent grandson of the Minchas Elazar. Today’s Munkatcher Rebbe is sought out routinely for advice by leading chassidishe rebbeim, roshei yeshivos, kehillah rabbanim, and businessmen. His address is well known as a wellspring of clarity and wisdom for those who are troubled. The Munkatcher Rebbe will be conducting the tefillos, tisch, and a Siyum HaShas on the yahrzeit Shabbos.


The following times are approximate and are to be confirmed. Friday Minchah and Kabbalas Shabbos will begin at 8:40 p.m. Friday night tisch will be at 11:30 p.m. and last late into the night. Communal Tehillim recited by Munkatcher children will begin at 9:00 a.m., with Shabbos Shacharis at 9:30 a.m., followed by a grand kiddush. The Siyum HaShas will be part of the yahrzeit tisch, which will begin at 6:00 p.m. Shabbos Minchah is at approximately 7:50 p.m., followed immediately by shalosh seudos.


Committees are being organized to coordinate events and provide for the needs of the multitude of guests expected. Usher Frankel is serving as liaison. Those wishing to eat their Shabbos meals together with visiting chassidim must register (347-254-9744). On Friday, in advance of Shabbos, refreshments will be served to all guests in the shul’s hall beginning at 5:00 p.m.


Vishnitzer Group to Meron


Rabbi Menachem Mendel, Kiamesha Vishnitzer Rav and son of the Monsey Vishnitzer Rebbe, will be leading a group of chassidim to Israel and Europe. Leaving Tuesday, April 27, the group will join those that have arrived previously and go to quarters in Tzefas. There they will conduct Shabbos Parshas Emor in preparation for the celebratory events that will take place in Meron on Sunday, Lag B’Omer, May 2.  The Kiamesha VishnitzerRav,together with severalof his brothers,will lead Shabbos tefillos and tisch. On Motzaei Shabbos, the Kiamesha Vishnitzer Rav will ceremoniously light a traditional medurah (bonfire) in honor of the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, zt”l (Rashbi). The group will then visit his gravesite in nearby Meron.


On the following day, Sunday, the group will travel to Poland to mark the yahrzeit (34th Omer) of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Turem, zt”l (1745-1815), Riminover Rebbe. He was a disciple of the Maggid of Mezeritch, zt”l (1704-1762), the prime disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, zt”l (1698-1760). Upon the passing of his mentor, Rabbi Mendeleh “inherited” his intellect and was thronged by thousands of chassidim for the rest of his life.


The group will also travel to Lizhensk, Dinov, Lanzut, and will return to the United States on Tuesday, May 4.


Toldos Zvi Rebbe to Travel


On Monday evening, Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac Horowitz, Toldos Zvi Rebbe in Williamsburg, conducted tefillos and tisch in honor of the yahrzeit (Iyar 6) of his ancestor, Rabbi Yosef Meir Weiss, zt”l (1838-1909), first Spinka Rebbe and author of Imrei Yosef. The gathering also served as a tzescheml’shalom (farewell) tisch where chassidim came to take blessings from their Rebbe before he left. On Tuesday, at noon, the Rebbe began his trip from Newark Airport to Poland and Hungary.


On Wednesday morning, the Rebbe will arrive in Warsaw and proceed to Koznitz, Lublin, and Radishitz. On Thursday, the Rebbe will be in Berditchev where he will conduct tisch for his travel group as well as for the Berditchev Jewish community. On Friday, the Rebbe will be in Mezebush, the city of the Baal Shem Tov, where a Bris will be celebrated. Mezebush is also where the Rebbe will conduct Shabbos tefillos and tisch, anticipated as the highlight of the trip. Tefillos will take place in the old beis medrash of the Baal Shem Tov. On Motzaei Shabbos, the group will visit the gravesite of the Baal Shem Tov. That same evening, the group will travel to and pray at gravesites in Komarna.


The itinerary for Sunday and Monday includes Lizhensk, Lanzut, Ropshitz, and Cracow, from where their return flight will originate. Their arrival on Monday afternoon will be followed by a kabbalas panim reception at the Spinka Beis Medrash in Williamsburg.


The Toldos Zvi Rebbe is the son of Rabbi Shmuel Zvi Horowitz, zt”l (1921-1997), greatly beloved Spinka Rebbe and lovingly referred to as Reb Hershele Spinka.  He was the son of Rabbi Avrohom Abish Horowitz, Hy”d (1897-1944), Kruler Rav and son-in-law of Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac Weiss, Hy”d (1875-1944), adored Spinka Rebbe and author of Chakal Yitzchok; son of Rabbi Yosef Meir Weiss, zt”l (1838-1909), founding Spinka Rebbe and author of Imrei Yosef.  Reb Hershele served his grandfather as personal attendant 24 hours a day, literally, sleeping in the same room. Rabbi Avrohom Abish and Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac were murdered in the Holocaust. Reb Hershele lost both his parents and grandfather.


In 1947, Reb Hershele arrived in America and settled on the Lower East Side, establishing a beis medrash on East 7th Street. His piety drew many adherents and, in 1961, he moved his beis medrash to Keap Street in Williamsburg. That beis medrash endures to this very day. Hundreds of people crowded his doorstep daily, seeking his advice and blessing. Sadly, the Torah flame people knew as Reb Hershele burned its last on Friday Night, Shabbos Parshas Re’eh, Av 27-August 29, 1997, collapsing in midst of delivering divrei Torah during his holy tisch, in the presence of his chassidim. Thus was a holy personality taken from within our midst.


Reb Hershele was succeeded by five sons. They are: Rabbi Yesochor Dov Berish Horowitz, zt”l (d. 2007)), late Shmuel Zvi Spinka Rebbe of Williamsburg, eldest son of Reb Hershele Spinka. Rabbi Yesochor Dov Berish was succeeded by his eldest son Rabbi Yosef Meir Horowitz, Shmuel Zvi Spinka Rebbe in Williamsbug; Rabbi Avrohom Abish Horowitz, Beis Yitzchok Isaac Spinka Rebbe in Williamsburg; Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac Horowitz, Toldos Zvi Spinka Rebbe in Williamsburg; Rabbi Nuta Horowitz, Beis Avrohom Spinka Rebbe in Boro Park; and Rabbi Naftali Horowitz, Krula Rebbe of Williamsburg, all of whom nobly carry on with pious devotions to Heaven, as their father taught by example.


Rosh Chodesh with the Igud


On Thursday, Rosh Chodesh Iyar, April 15, the Rabbinical Alliance of America / Igud Horabbonim convened its monthly Rosh Chodesh Conference at the Radomsker Beis Medrash Tiferes Shlomo at 4304 14th Avenue in Boro Park. Rabbi Leibish Frand serves as the Radomsker Rav of Boro Park. Albert Kahn, renowned activist campaigning for family heads to have life insurance, generously sponsored the sumptuous luncheon served. The refurbished and beautified Radomsker Beis Medrash has become a magnet for learning groups as well as many minyanim for tefillah.


Igud Dayan, Rabbi Yoshua Yonason Lustig, opened the session with the recital of Tehillim 130. This writer, as Igud director, introduced Rabbi Frand, who delivered scholarly Divrei Torah of Rabbi Shlomo Rabinowitz, zt”l (1801-1866), Radomsker Rebbe and author of Tiferes Shlomo, after whom the beis medrash was named. The session was graced with the presence and participation of Igud President, Rabbi Abraham B. Hecht, together with Igud Rosh Beis Din, Rabbi Hershel Kurzrock. Rabbi Hecht delivered a short presidential address.


Only days after the sentencing of a neighborhood convicted child molester to a long prison term, this writer opened a discussion regarding the responsibilities of the community to the individual. Is the community required to help in the defense of those charged with any crime, all having a legal presumption of innocence? Once convicted, does the nature of the crime possibly absolve the community of any responsibility other than helping the family? Should persons suspected or rumored to have anti-social proclivities be directed to medical and/or psychological aid? Does the community have any responsibilities to such persons after they decline professional help?


Rabbi Leibish Koenig, Kobersdorfer Rav, shared insights of the mitzvah of pidyon shvuyim (redeeming captives), as well as episodes of pidyon shvuyim by his sage father, Rabbi Chaim Yeshaye Koenig, Yoka Rav and author of Chukei Chaim.