Yosef Greenwald

Yosef Greenwald (Hebrew: יוסף גרינוואלד 1903 – Brooklyn 1984) was the second Rebbe of the Pupa Hasidic dynasty, and the charismatic leader of all the Pupa Hasidim. Prior to World War II, he was a rabbi and rosh yeshiva in Pápa, Hungary.

Rabbi Yosef Greenwald
Pupa Rebbe Yosef Greenwald.jpg
TitlePupa Rebbe, the Vaychi Yosef
Joseph Grunwald

16 September 1903
Died11 August 1984
SpouseChana Greenwald, Miriam Weber
Children10 children, Rabbi Yaakov Yehezkiya Greenwald
Israel Menachem
Yaakov Shlomo Meislish
Moshe HaLevi Rosner
Sarah Rivkah
Jewish leader
PredecessorRabbi Yaakov Yechezkiya Greenwald (I)
SuccessorRabbi Yaakov Yechezkiya Greenwald (II)
BeganAdar, 1941
Ended13 Av, 1984
Main workVaychi Yosef
Yahrtzeit13 Av

Greenwald was the son of Rabbi Yaakov Yechezkiah Greenwald of Pupa - author of Vayaged Yaakov (1882-1941), son of Rabbi Moshe Greenwald of Chust - author of Arugas HaBosem.

Greenwald was a devoted Belzer Hasid. After the war, he settled in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and established the contemporary Pupa Hasidic movement. He travelled to Belz many times before World War II, and after the war, he made the trip from the United States to Israel to visit Aharon Rokeach, the fourth Rebbe of Belz.[1]


Early lifeEdit

Greenwald was born on Wednesday, the 24th of Elul 5663 (16 September 1903), in Brezovica, Hungary.[2] In his youth, he studied Torah in his father's yeshiva in Pápa, Hungary.

In 1925, he married Chana, the daughter of his grandfather's brother Rabbi Ya'akov Yechezkiya Greenwald, who was orphaned by her father and adopted by her father's brother, Rabbi Eliezer David Greenwald (author of Keren Ledovid), who lived in Satmar (Romania) and began to serve as dayan. He published the books of Eliezer David Greenwald, and after his death on the 1st of Sivan, he replaced him as the head of the Keren Ledovid Yeshiva, which numbered about 100 students.[3]

Rabbinical careerEdit

After his father's death in 1941, Greenwald moved to Papa (Hungary), and began to serve as rabbi and Rosh Yeshivah. He brought additional students from Satmar to study in the yeshiva, and hid some sixty young men who fled from Slovakia and Poland and escaped from labor camps, despite the danger involved. Day and night, he worked hard to study the revealed and hidden Torah, and sometimes, he came to the yeshiva late in the night to see that the students were not spending their time. He used to learn "Shnayim mikra ve-echad targum" from the Sefer Torah. On Friday night, he led a Tish for the hundreds of yeshiva students and balebatim from the community who came to his home, and every Shabbos afternoon, he said a sermon in the great Beit Midrash of the community and taught Pirkei Avot. Before Seudah Shlishit, he used to immerse in the mikvah. Since the yeshiva numbered close to 400 young men, it was decided in the year 5713 (c. 1953 CE) to enlarge the yeshiva building.[3]

World War IIEdit

On Lag BaOmer 5704 (Thursday, 11 May 1944), Greenwald was sent to an Arbeitslager (Nazi labor camp), and despite the harsh conditions and ill treatment imposed by the Nazis, he continued to study Torah together with forty yeshiva students who stayed with him in the camp. On the 17th of Tammuz 5704, his mother was murdered together with the Jews of Pápa. Toward the end of World War II, he was miraculously saved from being sent to a concentration camp in Germany, and hid in the Glass House in Budapest (Hungary).

When the Holocaust ended, Greenwald learned that his wife and ten children had been murdered. After the war, he returned to Pápa and began restoring the glory of Pupa. He re-established the Yeshiva, and tried to rehabilitate the community. In the post-Holocaust years, the Rebbe provided lodging and meals for hundreds of young men, and re-established his yeshiva. As both father and mother, the Pupa Rebbe arranged sustenance and marriages for his orphaned students.

He married the daughter of Rabbi Yissachar Weber. In the year 5706 (c. 1946 CE), he moved with the yeshiva, which numbered approximately sixty young men, to Szombathely (Hungary), and later to Antwerp (Belgium),[3] where he lived for several years.

United StatesEdit

In 1950, Greenwald emigrated to the United States, settling in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn with several students, where he started his congregation and yeshiva anew. He became famous as a great genius throughout the Torah, Shas, and Poskim, founded the congregation "Kehilath Yaacov - Pupa", and continued as Admor of the Pupa Chassidut. He founded orphanages and educational institutions for refugees from Papa, kindergartens, Talmud Torah, Mesivta, and Kollel for yeshiva students.

In 1979, Greenwald established the Toldos Yaakov institutions in Jerusalem.

He supported the making of eruvs in his hometown,[4][5][6][7][8][9] prayed with great Deveikus, and slept little, was appointed as a member of the Central Rabbinical Congress, and many asked him about Halachic questions.[2]

As one of the leading rabbinic authorities in Williamsburg, he had close relationships with the other rabbis who lived there, including his uncle Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Greenwald, Rav of Tzehlim, and Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, the Satmar Rebbe.

In 5740 (c. 1980 CE), he was appointed president of the Central Rabbinical Congress of the United States and Canada.

On the first day of Rosh Hashana, thousands came to receive his blessing, including rabbis and Admorim. During the Purim meal, he allowed all the participants to ask the most difficult questions, and responded immediately to each questioner.

He married his daughters to Rabbi Yaakov Shlomo Meislish and Moshe HaLevi Rosner.

Greenwald was once in Jerusalem and carried out a book on Shabbat in order to show that the eruv of the Eidah Hacharedit was kosher.[10]


On Saturday night, 7 Av 5754, Greenwald prepared for the Yahrtzeit meal of his grandfather, the author of Arugat HaBosem, and suddenly suffered a stroke. He was hospitalized at the Westchester Medical Center for a week, and on Saturday night, he died. Thousands of disciples attended his funeral.[11]


His descendantsEdit

  • His son Rabbi Yaakov Yechezkia Greenwald II, his father's successor.
  • His son Rabbi Israel Menachem Greenwald, rabbi of the Toldot Yosef Pupa Boro Park congregation.
  • His son Rabbi Aharon Greenwald, a Dayan of the community of Pupa in New York.
  • His son-in-law Yaakov Shlomo Meislish, rav of Liminuv.
  • Moshe HaLevi Rosner, rav of Tarcal.

Notable StudentsEdit


  1. ^ "Why three Malachim? a Story". World of Belz. 26 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b "אדמו"ר רבי יוסף גרינוולד מפאפא".
  3. ^ a b c "אדמור רבי יוסף גרינוואלד מפאפא". MyTzadik.
  4. ^ Adam Mintz, A Chapter in American Orthodoxy: The Eruvin in Brooklyn - Hakirah p. 24
  5. ^ גילוי דעת – מכ"ק אדמו"ר מפאפא זצ"ל – ועוד
  6. ^ דעת הגה"צ מפאפא זצוק"ל בענין העירוב, וליקוט דע"ת מעוד גדולי דור העבר זצ"ל, ולהבח"ל גאוני דורינו שליט"א
  7. ^ דעת גדולי הרבנים זצ"ל בענין תיקון עירובין News Report p. 62א
  8. ^ http://www.israel613.com/books/ERUV_BORO_PARK_147-H.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  9. ^ http://www.israel613.com/books/ERUV_BORO_PARK_160-H.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  10. ^ related by Ha-Rav Moshe Halberstam of the Eidah Ha-Charedit in Yerushalayim. Commentary on Pirkei Avot "Az Yomru" of Ha-Rav Yitzchak Aharon Goldberger, Dayan and for Pupa Chasidim, pp. 73, 77
  11. ^ Jewish Telegraphic Agency, "Rabbi Joseph Grunwald Dead at 81", August 14, 1984
  12. ^ ויחי יוסף - חנוכה / גרינוואלד, יוסף בן יעקב יחזקיהו / תש"נ - אוצר החכמה
  13. ^ "ויען יוסף - א / גרינוואלד, יוסף בן יעקב יחזקיהו / תשנ"ה". אוצר החכמה.
  14. ^ "ויען יוסף - ה / גרינוואלד, יוסף בן יעקב יחזקיהו / תשס"ט". אוצר החכמה.

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