The Modzitzer Rebbe, Reb Chaim Shaul Taub Shlita is making his first visit to the United States as Rebbe. He will be in Far Rockaway and the Five Towns for Parshas Yisro, in Flatbush at the Modzitzer Shtiebel for Parshas Mishpatim and in Boro Park for Parshas Terumah. He will also be making visits to Lakewood and Monsey. (A brief biographical overview of the Rebbe in the extended article.)
The Modzitzer Rebbe Shlita — A brief biographical overview
Moreinu VeRabbeinu, Rebbe Chaim Shaul Taub, the Modzitzer Rebbe Shlita, was born on 13 Adar 5711. He is the son of the previous Modzitzer Rebbe, Rebbe Yisrael Dan, the Nachalas Dan זצוק”ל, and תלח”ט his mother, the daughter of Rebbe Shmuel Aharon Shitzdrovitsky Zt”l of Bialystok.
His greatness was already noticeable in his youth. In Talmud Torah, Yesodei HaTorah in Tel-Aviv, he skipped a grade – twice, and his rebbes took note of his sharp mind, quick grasp and insight. This resulted that at the age of eleven, he was already learning in Yeshivas Ponevezh L’Tze’irim, whose Rosh Yeshiva was then HaGaon HaRav Aryeh Leib Steinman שליט”א.
Later on, he attended the renowned Ponevezh Yeshiva, under the founding Rosh Yeshiva, HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Yosef Kahaneman זצ”ל, who guided his learning personally, calling him “my missile.” After a short while in the yeshiva, he became a talmid of HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Rozovsky זצ”ל, who became his rebbe muvhak in Torah and Halacha.
After the passing of Rav Rozovsky, the Rebbe שליט”א learned from the Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav David Povarsky זצ”ל (who happened to also be the Rosh Yeshiva of his father, the Nachalas Dan זצ”ל, when he learned in Yeshivas Beis HaTalmud in Tel-Aviv). Rav Povarsky זצ”ל also gave smicha to the Rebbe שליט”א, and noted in his letter that “fortunate is the Kahal who will have him as their leader.”
After his marriage to the daughter of the Rebbe Avraham Menachem Danziger – Alexander Rebbe זצוק”ל, the Rebbe Shlita learned in Kollel Kaplan in Tel-Aviv, headed by HaGaon HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz שליט”א. His rebbes noted his depth of Torah learning, his diligence, and his great analytic ability to learn a sugya aliba d’Hilchesa [according to the final Halachic outcome].
At the same time, the Rebbe שליט”א was called upon to serve in the Chief Rabbinate of Tel-Aviv. In the tradition of Modzitz, the Rebbe served as a Rav – involved in psak halacha and hora’ah long before becoming a Rebbe, and was appointed the Rav of the Tiferes Shaul shul of his grandfather, the Imrei Aish זצ”ל, on Rechov Dizengoff in Tel Aviv. Simultaneously, he was a member of the rabbinical offices in Tel-Aviv in matters of marriage and Shabbos.
The Rebbe שליט”א was his father’s “right hand man.” When the Imrei Shaul Yeshiva L’Tze’irim and the Imrei Aish Yeshiva were established, he was appointed its Rosh Yeshiva and he gave shiurim to the talmidim. He was responsible for their physical and spiritual welfare, making numerous fundraising trips to maintain the Torah learning and the growth of Modzitz Chassidus via the Yeshiva.
The Yeshiva, with its talmidim was a very important chapter in the Rebbeשליט”א ‘s life. His warmth and love for each and every talmid gave them the feeling of being a special “only son.” He also concerned himself with their shidduchim, and even helped many of them with financial problems. Chessed for others has always been very important to the Rebbe שליט”א, even though it increases the struggle to maintain and develop his Torah scholarship. He managed to do this in a very humble manner, out of deep respect for his father זצ”ל, to whom he related as a servant before his master.
In all public matters, the Rebbe שליט”א helped to explain the lofty ideas of his father זצ”ל. In fact, one couldn’t determine the Rebbe’s own opinion on most matters; he was so totally supportive of his father זצ”ל.
The Rebbe reflects lucidly one of the pillars of Modzitz chassidus – the ready and warm acceptance of any and every Jew. Expressing some of the themes that date back all the way to the Beis Medrash of the Chozeh of Lublin, the Rebbe שליט”א has the uncanny ability to hide his Gadlus and to help one feel totally comfortable. And as his father זצ”ל’s right hand man for so many years, he also became deeply aware and concerned with issues of both individuals and of Klal Yisroel, offering sagacious advice to young and old, reflecting both his Z’chus Avos, and years of experience.
There are many stories relating to the Rebbe Shlita’s advice to others during his father’s final illness. It became readily apparent that the Rebbe זצ”ל had passed on to him all details concerning each one of his Chassidim. Often the Rebbe שליט”א told a Chassid that he was going to discuss the matter with his father זצ”ל, and would bring him an answer upon leaving the hospital. Those who accompanied the Rebbe שליט”א on his visits to the hospital later testified that indeed he went out of the car and into the hospital, but often did not go up to his father’s room, but rather turned around and came back to the car with the answer to the particular problem. The Rebbe’s mother related that on the Shabbos that the Rebbe זצ”ל suffered his illness from which he never recovered, the Nachalas Dan told her that she should see to it that their son, the Rebbe שליט”א, should take hold of the reins of leadership. A similar message was transmitted to the Rebbe zt”l’s gabbaim and those of his inner circle.
At the funeral of the Nachalas Dan Ztvk”l, one of the elder Chassidim announced that the Rebbe Shlita would succeed his father as the Rebbe for all the Chassidim, both in Israel and abroad, to continue the Modzitz dynasty. Without exception, the Chassidim accepted the declaration, adding that the Nachalas Dan had indeed left us our consolation.
It is our fervent Tefilla [prayer] that the Rebbe Shlita should have a long reign, to lead his flock of Chassidim, as was the wish of his forebears – and with him we should greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu.