Tisha B’Av 2016 – August 14, 2016
Rabbi Tzvi Yechezkel Michelson
1856 – August 25, 1942 (12 Elul 5702)
Dr. Hillel Zeidman – Warsaw Ghetto Diaries
Torah of Rabbi Heschel M ‘Lublin and Krakow
Rov of Lublin and then Krakow
1600 – 1663 (20 Tishrei – October 21)
Kli Yakor on Devorim, Chapter 1, verse 7.
Thursday night, August 11, 2016, davened at Anshei Sholem. After Maariv I took a long walk and listened to Rabbi Sholem Rosner, YU.org. on Parshas Devorim. Rabbi Rosner told over a Torah thought found in the Chanukas Hatorah from Rabbi Heschel. This is the first time I have heard a speaker quote from the Chanukas Hatorah. I have the book, probably one of handful of people who know of the Sefer. The Chanukas Hatorah came out in 1900 and was published by Rabbi Chanoch Henock Arison from the city of Zgierz. Rabbi Heschel who lived in the 1600s did not publish a book of his Torah on Chumash, rather his Torah was written down by other. Rabbi Chanoch Henoch gathered together the Torah of Rabbi Heschel and published it in the book titled, Chanukas Hatorah. The back of the book contains a biography of the life of Rabbi Heschel.
The book has Haskomos – approbations from three of the descendants of Rabbi Heschel. One of them was from Rabbi Tzvi Yechezkel Michelson, HYD. http://hevratpinto.org/tzadikim_eng/180_rabbi_tzvi_yechezkel_michelson.html
If you open up any Sefer published in Poland from 1900 to 1939, you probably will find a Haskoma from Rabbi Michelson. In the back of the Sefer, Atares Tzvi, by my great-great grandfather, there is a picture of a meeting of the Warsaw Community Council. My grandfather was on the council and is in the picture. I showed the picture to Henry Morgan and he said, here is my uncle, Rabbi Tzvi Yechezkel Michelson. I kept running across Rabbi Tzvi Yechezkel Michelson and always wondered what happened to him. A while back, the book mobile from Lakewood came to Chicago to sell Seforim. For $2.00 I picked up the book, Warsaw Ghetto Diaries written by Dr. Hillel Zeidman. In it Dr. Zeidman who was a historian in the Warsaw Ghetto, chronicled the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto and the end of Polish Jewry in 1942 – 1943. He followed the English calendar. My Hebrew is bad and it was hard for me to read the book so I set it aside. My Hebrew slowly improved and a few years later I decided to read from the diary on each day the entry of that day. I read the entry of August 25, page 60. The entry is titled, “The leaders of the Ghetto in the furnace of the Selection.”
Page 61 – “Two elder Rabbis, Rav Tzvi Yechezkel Michelson, the well known author, the elder of the Warsaw Rabbis, was 86 years old and Rav Noah Rogozinski went down with us. We thought – even with everything they (the Nazi’s) did, they will not kill these elder Rabbis.
I stood with the people who were waiting for the judgment (of the selection by the Nazi’s. Those that went to the right lived and those to the left were sent to Treblinka and death). The faces of the exhausted people were pale. I was not sure if I would find a merit to be counted with those that would be saved. I saw how Professor Balaban was treated. He is a well known person, they (the Nazi’s) considered his fate and decided to keep in alive. Doctor Sapir, Dr. Stein, Orlean, Fredonson were accompanied by a Kapo who would walk with these men and speak in their defense (to the officers deciding their fate). They went to the right (to live another day). But regarding the two Rabbis, Michaelson and Rogozinski, no words would save them. I saw them standing with those that were to go to the Umschlag (the train station that took the Jews to their death in Treblinka). Rabbi Michelson stood before the soldiers with his head held high and his body straight, he appeared calm, but in truth he was lost in his thoughts. The Rav of Warsaw was 86 years old, for many years was the Rav of Plonsk, is the author of 43 books, besides what he had in manuscripts – stood without hope, alone, abandoned within his congregation, destined for death, waiting to be slaughtered. Next to him was the Rav from Lita, a regal person, Rogozinski. Their lot has been decreed.”
I cry for these. My Zedi, Rabbi Avrohom Meir Morgenstern, who I was named for and my Bubby were killed in Treblinka. Professor Michael Savage on his radio program read a first person account what is like for the Jews when the train door opened until they were marched to their death in the gas chambers, roughly 30 minutes later. Al Eleh Anei Bochiya – on these I cry.
My friend Leon asked me why was it that no words would spare the two Rabbis. The reason I believe is that the Nazi’s realized that the backbone of the Jewish people are its Rabbis, its Torah Scholars and felt that these leaders had to be killed before anyone else.
On Shabbos I told over the Torah thought of the Chanukas Hatorah. I also told over a beautiful Kli Yakor and Ibn Ezra on Chapter 1, Verse 7:
|7Turn and journey, and come to the mountain of the Amorites and to all its neighboring places, in the plain, on the mountain, and in the lowland, and in the south and by the seashore, the land of the Canaanites, and the Lebanon, until the great river, the Euphrates River.||זפְּנוּ | וּסְעוּ לָכֶם וּבֹאוּ הַר הָאֱמֹרִי וְאֶל כָּל שְׁכֵנָיו בָּעֲרָבָה בָהָר וּבַשְּׁפֵלָה וּבַנֶּגֶב וּבְחוֹף הַיָּם אֶרֶץ הַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַלְּבָנוֹן עַד הַנָּהָר הַגָּדֹל נְהַר פְּרָת:|
Once you see the Kli Yakor, then you will understand the reason for the Yisiv P’sik after the first word in the verse.