שבת ט' בכסלו תשפ"ג 03/12/2022
Search
  • The Mission Continues

    As in the past so it remains today - we were and still are under the selfsame commitment to adhere to the directions of the Gedolei Yisrael, who stand guard against breaches of purity threatening our camp. When we were required to ask – we asked. When we were instructed to depart – we left. The moment we are summoned back to raise the flag, every other consideration is pushed to the side and we answer: We are ready!

    Read More...

בראי היום

  • Harav Yisrael Friedman zy”a, the Rebbe of Husyatin

    מוטי, ויקיפדיה העברית

    The ancestral chain of Harav Yisrael Friedman, the founder of the Husyatin chassidic court, originates with the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Husyatin chassidus has its roots in Galicia and eventually came to Tel Aviv, during the turbulent years between the two World Wars.

    Read More...

Place

  • Maccabi'im Gravesite

    In honour of Chanukah, we will discuss a fascinating, ongoing investigation attempting to establish the place of burial of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol and his family.

    Read More...

Join Our Mailing List!

Please add a Valid Email Address
Join
Thanks!

Reflections

Crowning Glory of 19th Century Hungary

Rav Shlomo Ganzfried – ambassador of the Hungarian community and sentinel at the guard-post of Torah and Judaism; his famous works illuminate the study of Halacha until this day

Avi Lazer 20/07/2009 17:40
Rav Shlomo was born in Ungvar, Hungary, in the year 5564 (1804). His father Rav Yosef spared no effort in the education of his gifted son. So it was that he merited seeing blessing from his offspring, who at a very young age showed clear signs of a promising future. But the good days for father and son did not last long; in the year 5572 (1812), when Rav Shlomo was a mere eight years old, he was orphaned of his father and left bereft of the paternal support and love that was to guide him through to adulthood. His widowed mother found it difficult to support the household, and so they led lives of poverty and deprivation. At that time Rav Hershli Charif spread his shelter over him and became both father figure and mentor to the young boy. Rav Shlomo’s anguish at his father’s untimely passing was somewhat stilled by his diligent Torah study, in compliance with the verse: “If not for Your Torah, my delight, then I would have been lost in my afflictions”.

In the year 5579 (1819) when he was but fifteen years old, his Rav left the city of Ungvar and moved to Banihad to serve as Av Beis Din there. When a Rav departs – his student departs with him. There in the city Banihad, Rav Shlomo found friends after his own heart, some of whom became famous in later years as leaders of the generation. After he satiated his hunger with Shas and Poskim, Rav Shlomo returned to his widowed mother’s house and his birthplace Ungvar, where he continued with his life’s love – the study of Torah.

When he became of age, he married the daughter of the eminent Reb Yom Tov Lipa Modrer. Knowing that his son-in-law Rav Shlomo did not want to be crowned with the title of Rabbanus, Rav Yom Tov endowed him with a large sum of money with which to build up a business and thereby support his family. At first Rav Shlomo dealt in the wine trade, which he conducted with faith, integrity and meticulous honesty. But success did not shine upon him, and in a short while he lost the entire sum he had been given. His father-in-law, who loved him as a son, once again granted him a generous sum and opened up a new business for Rav Shlomo in his birth place, Ungvar.

In spite of his involvement in running the business, Rav Shlomo’s Torah study did not suffer. He made Torah his first priority; earning a livelihood was of significance only inasmuch as it was necessary. It is told that once his widowed mother came to check up on the business, and asked him: ‘What did you come up with in business today?’ Rav Shlomo opened his drawer and spread out before her eyes pages of his Chiddushim…

After a while the business took a downturn and Rav Shlomo lost his money in a deal that didn’t succeed. With no other choice, he was forced to make use of the crown of Torah – and in 5603 (1843), at the age of thirty seven, he took on the yoke of Rabbanus in the town of Rashowitz.

Seven years later, in the year 5610 (1850), the community of Ungvar sent a request to Rav Shlomo asking him to serve as Av Beis Din in the town. Rav Shlomo responded in the affirmative, stating that he would be glad to serve his people in his own hometown. With that, the prediction of the Chasam Sofer came true, about which he had written sixteen years earlier: ‘The Rav, distinguished in Torah, the exemplary Dayan… in the holy community of Ungvar’.

With the rise of the Reform (Neolog) class in Hungary and their liberal sprinkling of seeds of heresy throughout the Jewish communities there, Rav Shlomo together with other leaders of the generation began to erect fences to ward off the scourge. In the year 5629 (1869) thousands of Torah-true Jews, with the ‘Ksav Sofer’ at their helm, gathered in Budapest in a memorable event to appoint Rav Shlomo as the representative of authentic Judaism before the ruling powers of the country. With glory and dignity, he indeed raised the banner of Torah and pure Hashkafah, and sanctified Hashem’s Name in public many a time. At this critical point in time, Rav Shlomo lent his full support to the separation of religious and secular communities in Hungary, so that the religious would not be dragged down by the secular or be dependent upon them in any way.

In the year 5638 (1878) at the age of seventy four, Rav Shlomo fell ill and was confined to bed. The leaders of the generation together with Jews worldwide raised their voices in prayer for his recovery - and so it was, since the gates of mercy are never locked, Rav Shlomo regained his health. However in 5641 – 1981 at the age of seventy seven, he became ill once again, and suffered for six years in terrible pain. During all this time he did not desert his post at the helm of Torah and Rabbanus.

On the eve of Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Masei, 28th Tamuz 5646 (1886), Rav Shlomo suddenly became profoundly weak and could not leave his bed. He ushered in the Shabbos, recited Maariv and pronounced Kiddush over wine – all the while glowing with the ethereal radiance of Shabbos. As he felt his strength ebbing away and his end drawing near, his family gathered around him in his room. His lofty soul departed in purity amidst the holy words of Vidui and Krias Shema.

His most renowned and monumental work is the ‘Kitzur Shulchan Aruch’, which as its name implies, is a condensed version of the Shulchan Aruch itself. Rav Shlomo expertly and consisely arranged the Halachos in a shortened version and simplified language. Many of the Acharonim use this work as a basis to their own teachings.

Another phenomenal Sefer is the ‘Keses haSofer’, dealing with laws of writing Sifrei Torah, Tefillin and Mezuzos. The Chasam Sofer instructed his students not to approve of any Sofer unless he had learnt this Sefer in its entirety. Other famous works include: ‘Toras haZevach’ on the laws of ritual slaughtering and what deems an animal non-kosher; ‘Lechem Simla’ on the laws of ritual impurity, immersion and the building of Mikvaos; ‘Ohalei Shem’ dealing with names of men and women with regards to marriage and divorce contracts; ‘Peirush al haTefillos’ is a commentary on the Siddur ‘Derech haChaim’ written by the author of the ‘Chavas Daas’. ‘Pnei Shlomo’ is yet another outstanding compilation, enumerating his original insights on the Gemara Bava Basra. ‘Shem Shlomo’ is a work on the Sugyos of Shas, and ‘Apiryon’ is a commentary on the Torah with Agada.

There are countless other works that were never printed and remain as handwritten manuscripts, such as ‘Pnei Adam’ – a commentary on the Sefer ‘Chayei Adam’ of Rav Avraham Danzig; ‘Lashon haZahav’ dealing with grammatical rules in the Hebrew language, and ‘Klalim b’chachmas ha’Emes’ – an illuminating commentary on the Zohar.