Chassidus began as a revolutionary movement, and though success made it the establishment, later generations of Rebbes were still not afraid to break the mold. Against the backdrop of crushing poverty, the haskala, the scourge of communism, and the ever-present threat of pogroms, the Rebbes faced some formidable enemies. Rabbi Wein details the unique responses of four Chassidic Rebbes who rose to the challenges of their times, leading their Chassidim with love and devotion.
The Radziner Rebbe - Most of us shy away from controversy, but the Radziner Rebbe thrived on it. Whether it was railing against phonies or taking the minority opinion in Halachic matters, Rabbi Gershon Henoch Leiner had no fear of public opinion. Yet for all the storms he faced, history has proven him to be a visionary far ahead of his times.
The Sokolover Rebbe - After the death of the Kotzker Rebbe, his Chassidim split and followed many rebbes, but the one who most closely resembled the fiery original was his great-grandson, the Sokolover Rebbe. Sought out by many, he was a self-taught medical expert and political diplomat, but most surprising of all was his outspoken support of the resettlement of the Land of Israel.
The Radomsker Rebbe - In an era of rivalry amongst Chassidic Rebbes, the Radomsker Rebbe considered himself a chassid of all Rebbes, honoring and visiting as many as he could. Rabbi Wein paints the picture of a genuine tzaddik – from his single-handed support of eighteen yeshivas to his choice to remain with his Chassidim in World War II, suffering alongside them until the tragic end.
The Boyaner Rebbe - While many Hasidic Rebbes inherit their positions, others rise to it on personal merit. The Boyaner Rebbe, Rabbi Moshe Friedman, was one of the latter. Uprooted from his hometown in Galicia by World War I, Rabbi Wein follows his extraordinary trek through Europe where he won the love and loyalty of so many Jews, he achieved the status of “universal Rebbe.”
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|Author||Rabbi Berel Wein|