Living Legacy: Rav Meir Yosef Rubin, zt”l, the Last Rebbe in Kerestir
Among the prominent descendants of Rav Yeshayele of Kerestir is the Rubin family. They are the children of Rav Meir Yosef, who was married the daughter of Rebbe Avrohom Steiner, a son of Rav Yeshayele. The yohrtzeit of Rav Meir Yosef—whose, like so many Yidden in Hungary, met their terrible fate at the hands of the Nazis in the Spring of 1944—falls on the fifteenth of Sivan.
He was born in the year 1899 in the Galician town of Brizdovitz to his father, Rav Baruch Rubin who was the rov in the town—a direct descendant of Rav Osher Yeshaya Rubin of Ropshitz, a son-in-law of the Ropshitzer Rov. They were also descendants of many great luminaries of the Chassidic world. On his mother’s side, he was descended from the tzaddikim of Zidichoiv.
In his youth, he learned under his illustrious father, as well as under the Levushei Mordechai of Mahd, from whom he later received semicha.
On the second day of Kislev of the year 1919, he married Rebbetzin Rivka Tzirel, the daughter of Rav Avrohom Steiner of Kerestir, the son and successor of Rebbe Yeshayale. The wedding indeed took place in the town of Kerestir.
For six years—from the time of his wedding, until the time of Rav Shayale’s passing—he was zoche to spend much time in the home of his illustrious grandfather who drew him close with great love. Indeed, Rav Yeshayale foresaw that his son, Rav Avrohom, would not live very long after him. Thus, he foretold that his beloved grandson would assume leadership in Kerestir.
Sadly, the tenure of Rav Avrohom lasted for twenty-two months; from 3 Iyar of 1925 to 18 Adar 1927, and this is when Rav Meir Yosef took over as rov of Kerestir.
He fostered many relationships with tzaddikim of his generation, and was known to learn for many hours on end. Even though he was preoccupied with communal needs, he nevertheless remained tethered to his learning. Whenever people were in need of yeshu’ah, they knew that they could find the Rebbe at the shtender, sitting and learning.
He also continued the kerestirer tradition of hachnosas orchim, caring for the material needs of his brethren with food and drink aplenty.
This would last for seventeen years, until he would be taken al kiddush Hashem, along with millions of his brethren in 1944. The Rebbe was taken from the ghetto in Uhel, and from there to Auschwitz. His descendants, including the Rubin family, as well as the Kossoner Admorim who are also descended from the Rebbe, continue his golden legacy to this very day.