In 5302/1542, Harav Yosef Karo finished his Beis Yosef on the Tur in the city of Tzfas.
5500/1740, Harav Aharon Zelig of Zolkova, zt”l, author of Amudei Sheish
5611/1851, Harav Shalom Yosef Friedman, zt”l, son of Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin
5651/1891, Harav Zev Wolf Landau of Strikov, zt”l
5643/1883, Harav Avraham Yaakov Friedman of Sadigura, zy”a
Harav Avraham Yaakov was born on 20 Cheshvan 5580/1820. His father was Harav Yisrael, the holy tzaddik of Ruzhin.
When Harav Avraham Yaakov became bar mitzvah, he married Rebbetzin Miriam, the daughter of Harav Aharon, the Beis Aharon of Karlin, zt”l.
Harav Yisrael of Ruzhin was niftar in Potok on 3 Cheshvan 5611/1851, and his six sons, including Harav Avraham Yaakov, continued leading their father’s myriad Chassidim. That year, on 11 Elul, the oldest son of the Ruzhiner, Harav Shalom Yosef, passed away.
Harav Avraham Yaakov was then called to lead a flock in Sadigura, where his father, Harav Yisrael, had previously resided. In Sadigura, he established a beis medrash to which thousands came. Rav Avraham Yaakov exercised immense influence on all aspects of Jewish life throughout Russia, Galicia and Poland.
Not long after he became Rebbe, Rav Avraham Yaakov was imprisoned by the Austrian authorities in the notorious dungeons of Chernovitz. When the Ruzhiner was niftar, the Russians had been confident that they had seen the end of Beis Ruzhin. Thus, when they realized that the Ruzhiner’s successor was proving himself both competent and beloved, they were furious and ready to do anything to get rid of him. So when the opportunity presented itself they grabbed it.
A Jewish forger of Russian banknotes was apprehended by the police. In his possession, they found a letter from the Rebbe blessing him in all his endeavors. Grasping this “golden opportunity,” the local maskilim got involved and testified that the Rebbe was the forger’s partner.
The Rebbe spent 15 months in a cell and was finally released with the help of many shtadlanim, among them Sir Moshe Montefiore, z”l.
Many of Harav Avraham Yaakov’s divrei Torah are collected and printed in the sefer Ner Yisrael.
Zechuso yagen aleinu.
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