Monday, March 22, 2010

Yahrzeit of the Apta Rebbe


On Shabbat, we commemorated the Yahrzeit of the famous Apta (Opatov) Rebbe, Rabbi Avraham Joshua Heshel.

Rabbi Avraham Joshua Heshel was born in 1748 and passed away on 5 Nissan 1825. He was known as the Apta Rav and remained famous until today.

He was born in Zmigrod, near Rzeszov, as the son of Rabbi Shmuel of Neustadt. In 1763, he married Chaya Sarah, the daughter of Rabbi Yaakov Titkin. In 1788, he became the Rabbi of Kolbuszov, where he lived in severe poverty. It was in there that Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov introduced him to Chassidut and his mentor, Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk.

In 1800, Rabbi Avraham Joshua became Rabbi of Opatov (Apta). After a unhappy stay in Iasi (Moldavia), he moved to Medziborz . However, it is unknown if he was the official Rabbi there.

He was survived by two sons (Rabbi Yitzchak Me'ir and Rabbi Yosef Moshe) and three daughters (Yocheved, Dinah and Rachel).

His grandson Rabbi Meshullam Zusya of Zinkov published his work OHEV ISRAEL in Zhitomir in 1863.

The Apta Rebbe was opposed to asceticism and emphasized the love for Klal Israel. He stressed that it was the purpose of the people to seek the nearness of G - d by sanctifying all their thoughts and activities.

He believed that he had lived before. That he had been a high priest (Cohen HaGadol) or a King of Israel. Thus he maintained that he had to go through various reincarnations because his love of Israel had not been perfected.


- M.E. Gutmann, Migdolei HaHasidut, pp. 172 - 233

- The Encyclopedia of Hasidism by Tzvi M. Rabinowicz


1 comment:

  1. For a Pesach story of the Apter Rebbe when he was Rav of Kolbanov