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Menachem Mendel Morgensztern of Kotzk, better known as the Kotzker Rebbe (1787–1859) was a Hasidic rabbi and leader.

Menachem Mendel of Kotzk
Kotzker Rebbe
Menachem Mendel from Kock grave.jpg
Grave of Menachem Mendel of Kotzk
Term1827–1859
Full nameMenachem Mendl Morgensztern
Born1787
Goray, Poland
Died27 January 1859 (22 Shvat 5619) =
Kotzk
BuriedKotzk
DynastyKotzk
Predecessor(first rebbe)
SuccessorDovid Morgensztern
FatherLeybush Morgenstern
MotherElka
Wife 1Glike Nay
Children 1Dovid Morgensztern
Wife 2Chaya Lipszuc
Children 2Sara Cyna
Brucha
Binyomin
Moshe Yeruchom

LifeEdit

Born to a non-Hasidic family in Goraj near Lublin, Poland, he became attracted to Hasidus in his youth. He was known for having acquired impressive Talmudic and Kabbalistic knowledge at an early age. He was a student of Reb Bunim of Peshischa, and upon the latter's death attracted many of his followers. Morgensztern was well known for his incisive and down-to-earth philosophies, and sharp-witted sayings. He appears to have had little patience for false piety or stupidity.

From 1839 he lived in seclusion for the last twenty years of his life.[1]

Students and legacyEdit

The Kotzker Rebbe never published any works. He wrote many manuscripts, but he had them all burned before his death. Several collections of his sayings have been published, most notably Emes VeEmunah (Truth and Faith).

The Kotzker Rebbe's disciple Rabbi Avrohom Bornsztain, author of Avnei Nezer and first Sochatchover Rebbe, was his son-in-law (having married Sara Tzina Morgenstern, the daughter of the Kotzker Rebbe).

The Kotzker Rebbe is considered to be the spiritual founder upon which the Ger dynasty in Poland is based, through the teachings of its founder and first Rebbe Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Alter, known for his work as the Chidushei Harim, who was a preeminent disciple of the Kotzker Rebbe and his brother in law through his second wife.

One of his major students was Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Leiner of Izbica.

DynastyEdit

  • His eldest son, Rabbi Dovid Morgensztern, succeeded him as Kotzker Rebbe (1809–1893).
  • The third Kotzker Rebbe was Rabbi Chaim Yisrael Morgenstern (the Pilover Rebbe, 1840–1905).
  • The fourth Kotzker Rebbe was Rabbi Yitzchak Zelig Morgenstern (the Sokolover Rebbe, 1866–1940).
  • The fifth Kotzker Rebbe was Rabbi Jacob Mendel Morgenstern (the Węgrów Rebbe, 1887–1939).
  • The sixth Kotzker Rebbe was Rabbi David Solomon Morgenstern, who emigrated to London, England and then, Chicago, Illinois where he served the Chicago community.

His sayingsEdit

"If I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you. But if I am I because you are you and you are you because I am I, then I am not I and you are not you!"

"Not all that is thought need be said, not all that is said need be written, not all that is written need be published, and not all that is published need be read."

"Where is God to be found? In the place where He is given entry."[2]

"You don't love fish. If you loved the fish, you would not have killed it and cooked it on a fire."[3]

"Just as it is the way of an ape to imitate humans, so too, a person, when he has become old, imitates himself, and does what was his manner previously." In other words, most of us, at some point in life, either consciously or not, become satisfied with who we are and what we've become. As such, we cease to strive toward attaining greater spiritual heights. We are content to live out our remaining days as a mere imitation of ourselves![2]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Joseph Fox (1988). "IX". Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk : a biographical study of the chasidic master (PDF). Brooklyn, N.Y: Bash Publications. ISBN 0-932351-21-2. OCLC 18599344.
  2. ^ a b Simcha Raz; Edward Levin (1995). The sayings of Menahem Mendel of Kotsk. Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson. p. 10. ISBN 1-56821-297-6. OCLC 30734940.
  3. ^ http://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/800124/jewish/Can-Love-Overcome-Resentment.htm

SourcesEdit

  • Fox, Dr. Joseph (1988). Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk: A Biographical Study of the Chasidic Master. New York:Bash Publications Inc.
  • Heschel, Abraham Joshua (1973). A Passion for Truth. New York:Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • Raz, Simcha, Levin, Edward (trans.) (1995). The sayings of Menachem Mendel of Kotsk. Northvale, N.J.:Jason Aronson Inc.

External linksEdit

  • [1] Fox, Joseph Dr., "Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk" A Biographical Study of the Chasidic Master, .pdf book download
  • [2] The Hammer of Solitude: Boundaries and Alienation in the Life of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Morgenstern of Kotsk