Rabbi Volf Greenglass, a symbol of the hardships of the Jewish people in the previous generation and Judaism’s current prosperity, passed away Wednesday, 22 Teves 5771.
He was 94.
Menachem Zev Greenglass (halevi) was born to a non Chabad family in the Polish town of Krasnik, near Lublin, and was sent to learn in the Chabad Yeshivos Tomchei Tmimim in Lodge and Otwock where he acquired his vast knowledge in Torah, Kabbalah and Chassidus.
Legend has it that when he was drafted to the Red Army, he asked a friend to break his toes so he could not run or walk properly and thus be disqualified from the many dangers and challenges for an observant Jew in the battlefield.
With the Second World War taking its toll on Europe, and the Nazi troops heading into Poland, Rabbi Greenglass and his classmates fled to Shanghai, China, where they learned in the newly opened exiled branch of the Chabad Yeshiva.
From there Rabbi Greenglass traveled to Montreal, Canada, as one of the 9 shluchim sent by the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, to cultivate the Jewish community there.
Their first achievement was establishing the Rabbinical College of Canada, also known as Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim. Thousands of students from non observant families got the taste and love for Judaism in the school.
When the Yeshiva Gedola was established, Rabbi Greenglass was soon appointed as the Head Mashpia spend many years teaching and inspiring thousands of Lubavitch bochurim who went on to become leaders in their own right.
He was known to say, “I never put down (criticized) a bochur, I only elevated him.”
Together with his longtime friend Rabbi Leibel Groner, who served as the Rebbe’s secretary, he made the first attempt to document Chabad customs in the monumental book “Sefer Haminhagim.”
In Montreal he was referred to by members of the Jewish community as a Tzaddik and Malach (righteous man and angel). The Rebbe once called him “my Kabbalist.”
In 2006 he fell during davening at the Yeshiva shul and went through a few operations. He miraculously survived and returned to teaching and guiding young and old.
His wife passed away many years ago and he is survived by his sons Avremi Greenglass, Yossi Greenglass and daughter Surie Cohen; grandchildren and great grandchildren.