Today’s Yahrtzeits & History – 11 Kislev


yahrtzeit-candleRav Yehoshua Katz, Rav in Krakow (1734)

Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Halevi of Pressburg, author of Imrei Ravrevei (1762).

Rav Simcha Ashkenazi of Dessau [Dasseau] (1785)

Rav Yechiel Heller, Rav of Sovalk [Suvalk]. Among his sefarim are Shailos U’Teshuvos Amudei Ohr, Ohr Yesharim on the Haggadah, Oteh Ohr on Shir HaShirim, and Kinah L’Dovid which was a hesped on Rav Dovid Luria. He was niftar at the age of 47.

Rav Yitzchak Friedman (1924). Born in Sadigura, both of his parents were grandchildren of the Ruzhiner Rebbe. In 1903, he married, and with the passing of his father, he set up his court in Rimanov. He was niftar during a fund-raising expedition in the United States. A close friend and relative collected hespedim for the Rebbe in a sefer called Akeidas Yitzchak.

Today in History – 11 Kislev

· A Jewish community which had existed since Roman times is expelled from Naples, 1510, fifteen years after the Spanish conquest of the island
· Death of Baruch Spinoza, a Jewish heretic who was excommunicated in Amsterdam for his philosophy of pantheism, 1677.
· Hans Frank, the Nazi Gov. of Poland, required Jews to wear a blue star, 1939.
· 7,000 Minsk Jews executed 1942

{Yahrtzeits licensed to Manny Saltiel and Newscenter}



    Rabbi Rosenfeld, a leader of Breslov until his passing in 1978, received his Smicha from Rabbi Avraham Sternhartz, recognized leader of Breslov Chassidus in Russia and Jerusalem and from Rabbi Avraham Yoffen, dean of the Bais Yosef yeshiva in Europe and America. His penetrating mind and relentless zeal enabled him to achieve a mastery of all fields of Torah-learning including the Talmud, Shulchan Aruch, Chassidic teachings, and not least, the Kabbala. Not content to be merely a scholar, he used his encyclopedic knowledge and dynamic presence to inspire and encourage great numbers of men and women from all walks of life, through personal contact, classes and by leaving behind a living legacy of over 1000 Torah tapes. In addition his efforts were instrumental for building the Breslov Yeshiva in Jerusalem, the center of World Breslov Chassidus.

    Early years

    A scion of a Breslov family, the Rosenfelds trace their lineage back to Reb Aharon, the Rav of Breslov and Reb Shmuel Yitzchak, the Rav of Tcherin, both of whom were among the most prominent followers of Rebbe Nachman. Born in Gydinia, Poland in 1922, Reb Zvi Aryeh was stricken with diphtheria when he was just six months old. His father, Reb Yisrael Abba, went to the Chofetz Chaim and asked the aged sage to alter the baby’s name (customarily done for someone seriously ill). The name Benzion was added.

    The family arrived in the United States in 1924. Growing up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, Reb Zvi Aryeh attended the Rabbi Chaim Berlin School and then Yeshivah Torah Vodaat High School. Afterwards he studied under the world renowned Rabbi Avraham Yafen, in the Navardi — Beis Yosef Yeshivah. At age twenty-three, after completing the entire Talmud for the second time along with his many other studies, Reb Zvi Aryeh was ordained as a rabbi (given smichah).

    Assuming responsibility for some of his father’s charitable obligations, after the latter’s passing in 1947, Reb Zvi Aryeh began corresponding with Reb Avraham Sternhartz in Jerusalem. Make his first of over fifty trips to the Holy Land in 1949, he met with Reb Avraham, who instilled in Reb Zvi Aryeh the burning need to spread Rebbe Nachman’s teachings in America. This became his life’s mission, and for thirty years Reb Zvi Aryeh was a pioneer in the baal teshuvah movement in the United States — all the while introducing more and more people to Rebbe Nachman’s teachings. He encountered angry parents, threats to his life and family, and was even made to face charges for kidnapping (see Rabbi Nachman’s Stories #12). Yet, he continued to be active in different aspects of the world Breslov scene today.

    Lessons and lectures

    Forever giving lessons and lectures, Reb Zvi Aryeh loved to share his vast knowledge of the Talmud, Midrash, Zohar, Kabbalah and Rabbi Nachman’s teachings in classes attended by Sefardim and Ashkenazim alike.

    He also excelled in worldly wisdom and was able to dispense sound advice in financial matters. Yet, materially he himself lived a very meager existence, with only a teacher’s salary to support himself and his family.

    Aside from the time he spent teaching in school and lecturing on Rebbe Nachman, Reb Zvi Aryeh devoted himself to collecting funds to build the Breslov Yeshivah in Jerusalem. Exhorted by Reb Avraham Sternhartz and encouraged by Reb Eliyahu Chaim Rosen, he raised most of the construction costs. When the building was finished, he continued to raise funds to publish Rebbe Nachman’s works in Hebrew. He also pioneered the translation of Rebbe Nachman’s teachings into English. This began with Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom, which Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan translated at Reb Zvi Aryeh’s behest. Actually, Reb Zvi Aryeh himself edited the book.

    Immense love for the Holy Land

    Reb Zvi Aryeh also raised and distributed funds for he needy Breslover families in Israel. He had an immense love for the Holy Land and wished to settle there himself. The one thing which always held him back was the new students that kept joining his classes each year. He once decided that should a whole year go by without a new student being attracted, he’d move to Jerusalem. Stricken with cancer at age 56, he finally moved to Jerusalem in the summer of 1978, thereby giving himself a few months to prepare for his passing.

    Even when he became bed-ridden and extremely weak, his students would study the Talmud and Zohar at his bedside, with Reb Zvi Aryeh following the discourse and interjecting points from time to time. A father figure to his students, many of them came to Israel for a few days just to spend one last time with him. For as long as it was possible, he continued reciting the Tikkun HaKlali, often with the assistance of one of his students. Reb Zvi Aryeh left a legacy which includes thousands of hours of taped classes and lectures, all of which give insight into Rebbe Nachman’s teachings as the relate to all aspects of Torah.

    The 11th of Kislev is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Zvi Aryeh Rosenfeld z”l. He brought many to the teachings of Rabbeinu Zal. He enriched every mitzva and every nuance of kedusha with down-to-earth excitement, total faith and bitachon. We are sincerely grateful for a rabbi who was one-stop source for amazing ruchnious and gashmious advice. So many years after his passing we still feel a deep void.


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