Living Legacy: Rav Mordechai Lenerovitch of Kemeche

Living Legacy: Rav Mordechai Lenerovitch of Kemeche

Yehuda Alter 

The 8th of Sivan marks the yohrtzeit of Rav Mordechai Lenerovitch ABD Kemeche, author of Parashas Mordechai, a ga’on and kadosh who dedicated his entire life to Torah and avodah and kindness to others, shaping and molding illustrious talmidim, and guide countless Yidden to a life of avodas Hashem. 

Rav Mordechai was born to his father, Rav Moshe ABD Mihalovitz, in the year 1870. His mother was Rebbetzin Elka. 

From his early youth it was apparent that he was destined for greatness. Even as a child, he would sleep no more than four hours a night, and spend his days and nights toiling in Torah. Gedolei Torah marveled at his dedication to learning as such a young boy. One of the tzaddikim of his generation attested to this, writing, “I have known him to be extremely diligent, with a burning desire to learn and disseminate Torah. All of his droshos are filled with light, and a spirit of knowledge of Hashem permeated him.” 

His father sent him to learn in the legendary Pressburger Yeshiva, then under the leadership of Rav Simcha Bunim Sofer, author of Shevet Sofer. He also learned under Rav Shimon Sofer ABD Erlau, who wrote of him: “He learned here for a number of years and he lived in my home, learning with great hasmodoh and yiras Shomayim.” 

Rav Mordechai married Rebbetzin Miriam, the daughter of Rav Menachem Mendel Glick, ABD Kemeche (A town not too distant from Satmar, in northeastern Hungary). The shidduch came about in the following way: Rav Menachem Mendel sent a letter to the Pressburger Rov asking him to suggest a suitable chosson for his daughter, a godol in Torah and yiras Shomayim who will eventually be able to take over the Rabbonus of Kemeche. A short time later, he received a letter in return, wherein the Ga’on wrote that he suggests the bochur, Rav Mordechai. 

After some years of sitting and learning in the home of his shver with exceptional diligence, his father-in-law appointed him to the rabbonus of the town. He established a yeshiva in the town, where numerous bachurim sat and learned with hasmodoh—and a number of them emerged as great gedolim. In his capacity as rov, he led with a firm hand, insisting on the fulfillment of every minhag Yisroel. 

The rov’s petirah also came about through his insistence on mitzvos. It happened that a Yid walked into the beis medrash with leather shoes on Tisha b’Av, and the rov reprimanded him. The Yid was a mechutzaf, and was disrespectful to the rov, and his family began to persecute rav Mordechai following this incident, leading him to fall ill, and eventually leave this world on 8 Iyar of 1925 at the age 55. 

He left behind three seforim filled with divrei Torah, and a son, Rav Gedlayahu, who perished in the Holocaust, Hy”d. Rav Mordechai is interred in Kemeche in an ohel that exists to this day. 

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