Compilation of Memories (Memoirs)
Part 48

Memorial to Zablotow

There was a memorial meeting organized on the 8th of Tevet for those slain in my home town of Zablotow. My dear friend, Mr. Abraham Bloch, who had a high position in the Electric Company in Haifa, brought me to the hall of Beit Keren Kayemet, on 11 Rechov Tzvi Shapiro. The meeting started about 8:00 in the evening. Mr. Abraham Kressel from the village Kfar Hess spoke about how he and his friends זל were active in the Zionist Movement from the beginning of 1900. After WWI, he and his friends established the big Hebrew School with money from his Chaverim in New York. The teachers and the young generation of Zionists were R’David Tzvi Gross and R’Abraham Grass זל. They established the Yeshiva in the town. We all stood up for a moment of silence in their memory. From this school came people like the Kressel family and others who built and fulfilled the dream of Israel. Among them was the writer G. Kressel. After A. Kress finish his talk, I was asked to speak and here are the contents of that speech.

“Honored sisters and brothers, we welcome you, those who came from the town of Zablotow and those from Tel Aviv and its surroundings. We gather together with the souls of our fathers, their fathers, our sisters and our brothers. (The audience stood for a moment of silence) We remember those who were destroyed by the murdering Nazis and their evil, murdering Ukrainian and Polish accomplices. ימש May their memories be wiped from the book of life. We join together and remember the souls of our holy fathers from the time they established our town until its destruction. Among them were five generations of holy Rabbis, beginning with the first Rabbi of the town, the Tzadik R’David (Dudki) זצל He was the main teacher, the arbiter of right and wrong and the judge. When he was the Admor, thousands of Chasidim believed in him and came every day with requests and advice.”

The wife of the Tzadik R’Dudki was Pessi Leah זל. She was the daughter of the Tzadik R’Moshe Leib Sasaver זצל. The famous Tzadik R’Meirl from Petshenishin זצל said that he was a husband of spiritual purity. Dudki was an outstanding student of R’Moshe Leib זצל. Pessi Leah sat in the seat of the Admorite fter the Tzadik R’Dudki died.

(Pages 230/231)

She influenced with blessings, advice and medical guidance to all who requested. There were three generations of Admorim. The Rabbis of Zablotow were as famous as the Admorim of Kosow and Vishnitz and had many followers.

We join together in the memory of the soul of Rabbi R’Gershon Hager זל, son and grandson of the Rabbis that I mentioned, who died before his time in New York. About two weeks ago there was a memorial in the “Bilu School” for Rabbi R’Menachim Hager זל, grandson of R’Dudki.

The first speaker was the Head Rabbi of Tel Aviv, the Gaon Rabbi Issar Yehuda Untermann שליטא. He had written about what R’Hager expounded on the portion of the week וישב. (Note* This portion deals with the story of Joseph and one of the dreams he had as a young boy. RDK) Joseph dreamed of a grapevine that had three branches and there was a bud on one which developed into a cluster. In the Talmud there is a long page on this important portion. One commentary by the great R’Eliezer ben Horcanus said: the grapevine is the world; three branches are Abraham, Israel and Jacob, when they ripened they became the tribes. Rabbi Untermann related this to the above three Admorim.

Since Gershon was the son and grandson of these Zablotov Admorim, I will allow myself to explain this portion: The grapevine is Rabbi R’Menachim Mendel זצל from Kosov who established the dynasty of Rabbis, Kosov and Vishnitz. Two Rabbis of this family, the sixth generation, are in our country. The Tzadik R’Menachim wrote the book “אהבת-שלום” (Love of Peace). He was famous in Poland, Hungary, and Bukovina and had thousands of followers that came to his courtyard in Kosov daily. The first branch was the Tzadik, his son R’Dudki, the first Rabbi of Zablotow. The branch was his son R’Jacob (Yakli) זצל. The third branch was the second son of R’Dudki, R’Mendeli from Damitch זצל. Dudki’s third son R’Hersheli is the Rabbi and Admor in the town of Petshenishin. The fourth son of Dudki is R’Michli, the Admor of Starozinec. The grandfather of R’Gershon was R’Menachim, the third Rabbi of Zablotow R, Mendli, the only son of R’Yachli. R, Mendeli had five sons and three daughters. The grandsons were R’Abraham, the Rabbi of Damitch and R’Chaim, the fifth Rabbi of Zablotow. The sons were R’David זל, his wife was the daughter of the owner of a large estate in Tarnipol. R’David inherited the estate and was known for fairness, generosity that helped his father and brothers. The second son was R’Mendeli, the fourth Rabbi of the town. R’Isaac זל was the son-in-law of the hero of Berditow. The fourth son R’Yoshi זל was the Rabbi of Tisbinitz. The fifth son was the Gaon R’Gershon who was a witness in WWI and a Rabbi in Tlust that went to America and was famous. One of the three daughters, Perli, I think she is still living in Givat Rambam. R’Mendeli זצל the Admor of Damitch, the second son of R’Dudki זצל, had only one daughter, Gitli זל. Her husband, the Admor Joseph David זל was the grandson of the famous Admor Matli of Chernobyl זצל. Gitli had two sons, R’Abraham and R’Itzli זצל. R’Joseph David died, the daughter of R’Mendeli and the grandson of R’Abraham inherited the chair of the Rabbinate of the grandfather of Damitch. This expanded to include the town of Zablotov. The majority of the inhabitants of the town chose Rabbi Chaim זל to be the Rabbi of the town. He was son of R’Moshe זל and was thought to be the fifth generation of Rabbis of Zablotov. This was a step above R’Abraham that was thought of as only the third generation of the dynasty.

(Page 231)

To our sorrow the Rabbi R’Abraham and his wife, his son-in-law R’Mordechai Ashkenazi and his family, as well as R’Chaim and his wife Adina are among the victims murdered in the horrible Holocaust.

Zablotov is no more, the Beit Knessets with all its contents collected over hundreds of years, burned. The Hebrew Schools, the Yeshivot, the Chederim of the private teachers were all destroyed. Wheat and grass grow where our people lived. Where the head stones were, the feet of the evil Ukrainians and Russians tread. ימש (may their names be wiped)

The holy bones of generations were taken from their graves in the cemetery, burned and their ashes used as fertilizer.

Woe is the heart that bleeds and the eyes that tear. No memory remains of thousands of dead. Rabbi Gamliel said: their good deeds and their Torah are eternal. That means we do not need tents, places for gravestones for the bodies of the righteous. Their good deeds and Torah which was part of their lives will be remembered forever. The important book “עיר ומתים” (City and the Dead) that we published in 1949 is a gravestone memorial to their memory. It is a Mitzvah that we meet every few years to remember the souls of those who lived in our town. You my brothers and sisters will be blessed if you remember the dead and we join together with their souls every two or three years. Their memories will protect you and give you long life. May their names be blessed and remembered. May their souls be in the book of life and may they rest in peace, Amen.

To end this meeting, I have a commentary from the Talmud in which חזל interprets the portion of the three branches. It is written R’Yirmiyahu Bar Aba said: “The grapevine is Jerusalem; the three branches are the three legs, Pesach, Shavuot, Succoth, to be celebrated in Jerusalem. It will be as millions of flowers blossoming and blooming in over Israel. We will bloom as a people. These are the three raised cups of poison; Egypt drank one in the days of Moshe, the second in the days of Pharaoh Necho (595-610 BCE) and may Egypt together with their neighbors and all haters of Israel drink the third cup quickly.”

(Note* We have a detailed list of the Admorim from Zablotowv. It will be at the end of the diary RDK)

Mr. Abraham Bloch, who spoke for many years in Yiddish, gave a speech in Hebrew that was pleasant to hear. The memorial ended at 9:45 and A. Bloch brought me to my apartment with his car, lit the lights in the hall and came up with me. May he be blessed with good health and peace.

Grandfather’s Comment: I got the invitation to the memorial meeting on Friday, the 1st of Tevet. I found that the meeting was to be on Erev Shabbat and I asked myself, why didn’t they ask advice from some of the old grandfathers? They made a mistake. A) Memorials are organized at the beginning or middle of the week. B) The 10th of Tevet is a memorial day of all the Jewish people in Israel. C) The Rabbi R’Gershon who was born in Zablotov recently died and should have been mentioned. I had my doubts if I would participate in the memorial due to an unpleasant event. On the 2nd of Tevet, I had a stroke. I fell into bed and the doctor took care of me with shots and medicine for two days and it passed. I felt better on Wednesday and Thursday and wanted to join my beloved friends and the family of my life. These were the four generations of righteous Rabbis beginning with the Tzadik R’Yakli זצל.

(Pages 231/232)

He had a nice face, wore a sable hat, had a long white beard and during the week his mouth murmured Torah and wisdom. His son R’Mendeli זצל, talked like his grandfather, the Admor Moshe Leib Sasaver זצל. Those who came after Yakli, the fourth Rabbi R’Moshe and his brother R’Isaac were in Cheder with me. I would go in and out of their houses. I decided to join the Memorial with full heart and soul.

There is another important reason. A man must meet friends and beloved family. חזל says, a man should meet his friends, so that they will remember him. It is enough for a wise man to receive a hint. יא טבת א קויש

Content last updated Friday, March 15, 2013 at 07:47 PM Mountain Daylight Time

Zabolotiv, Ukraine

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Updated March 2013
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