Living Legacy: Rav God’l Eisner, zt”l
This week, 25 Adar, we mark the yohrtzeit of a legend in the Gerer chassidus, and to many outside it. Rav God’l was not only a legendary mashpiah to generations of young Gerer chassidisim—before the churban, in which he lost his entire family, as well as after it. He was a demus of complete transcendence above all his suffering… cleaving to his Creator with all his might. He was a walking repository of wisdom and wit that looked at our world with skepticism, pursuing the truth with a fierce pursuit.
He was born in 1903, in Lodz, a Polish shtetl that is said to have had sixty Gerer shtiebelach spread throughout it. Here, he grew up in a world of Torah and chassidus, becoming known in his youth for his tremendous hasmodoh—concerned with nothing aside from Torah and Avodah…remaining within the four walls of the shtiebel, among the ovdei Hashem who greatly influenced him—except for the nesiyos to Ger.
This was a cornerstone of the chassidus… a journey that would fortify the chassidim for months, until the next nesi’ah. His journeys to his Rebbe, the Imrei Emes, began as a child. Later, he would organize his own groups. He would say, “Simply upon arriving to Ger, and seeing the chasidim going in and out… the entire trip was already worthwhile. Everything after that was pure profit.”
In 1922, he married the daughter of a prominent Gerer Chossid from Lodz, and continued his avodah, learning from morning till night.
As noted, the chinuch that he received from the chassidim was one of disdain for this world and its mundanity. His wife fell ill with a terrible illness, and was laid up in the home of her parents, while he needed to care of their only daughter. None of this impacted his avodas Hashem; to the contrary, it only strengthened him.
He soon became a melamed in order to support himself... imbuing in his students a fire for Yiddishkeit.
When the war broke out, their ability to acquire remedies for his wife became even more limited, and she soon passed away, in the Lodz ghetto. He would lose his parents and his siblings in the Lodz ghetto, and his daughter would be taken al Kiddush Hashem in one of the camps. Hy”d.
Throughout the years in tyeh labor camps, Reb God’l was a beacon of emunah, of sharp wit, and of joy—despite the terrible circumstances. He did not look at himself, but only about how he could help another Yid.
Emerging from this gehinom, he returned to Lodz… and what did this giant do but sit right back down in the Beis medrash and continue learning. He eventually went up to Eretz Yisroel, where he was reunited with his Rebbe, and later followed the Beis Yisroel of Ger, who appointed him Mashgiach of Yeshiva Chidushei Harim in Tel Aviv, where he impacted thousands of bachurim and yungeleit.
Volumes have been written about the strength, the depth, and the wisdom of this man who remains a legend among generations of Gerer chassidim.