Living Legacy: Rav Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, zt”l

Living Legacy: Rav Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, zt”l

14 Tishrei, Erev Sukkos, marks the yohrtzeit of Rav Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, a Rov and Rosh Yeshiva in Hungary, the leader of the Eidah Hacharedis in Yerushalayim, and renowned posek who left behind a wealth of teshuvos.

 He was born in 5627 (1867) in the Hungarian town of Paks, to his father, Rav Yisroel Dushinsky, a scion of prominent tzaddikim, including the Tosfos Yom Tov. He learned under many prominent gedolim of Hungary, including the Shevet Sofer, in Pressburg.

 He married Rebbetzin Sheindel, the daughter of Rav Mordechai Yehuda Leib Winkler, known as the Mahder Rov, and author of the Levushei Mordechai. He was a talmid of the Ksav Sofer in the Pressburger Yeshiva, and one of the most prominent Rabbonim in Hungary. Sadly, she was niftar in 1919, while Rav Dushinsky was rov in Galanta. Her matzeiva was refurbished in recent years.

 In 1895, he became the Rov of Galanta, near Pressburg, where he became known for his hasmodoh and his deep yiras Shomayim. In 1921, following WWI, he assumed the rabbonus of Chust. However, he accepted this position on condition that he would be able to devote himself to the yeshiva, only dealing with the communal matters on Thursdays. His yeshiva grew to 400 bachurim, many of whom went on to become the leaders of the future generations. He became renowned and revered throughout Hungarian Jewry.

 Following the passing of Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, Rav Dushinsky was invited to assume his position as the leader of the Eidah Hacharedis. In 1933, he made his way to Eretz Yisroel, accompanied by a group of talmidim. Here he established Yeshiva Beis Yosef Tzvi, and taught Torah to his talmidim.

 In the aftermath of the Churban, with so many forlorn young people making their way to Eretz Yisroel, Rav Dushinsky rescued them from spiritual decline. His love for his talmidim was legendary.

 A prominent marbitz Torah was once walking, when he was stopped by an elderly man from the neighborhood, who asked him, “did you know my Rebbe, Rav Dushinsky?” To which he replied that while he never met him, who did not hear of Rav Dushinsky. The old man wistfully related: “I will tell you who my Rebbe was.”

 It was in the time following the Holocaust, and I had strayed away from Yiddishkeit. One day I encountered Rav Dushinsky, and immediately he recognized me, and said: ‘Aren’t you so-and-so, from such-and-such a town, who learned this masechta by me, during this zman?’ When I expressed my amazement at his recall, he responded by pulling out a worn out notebook, showing me rows and rows of names of bachurim. He proceeded to say: ‘I don’t know what became of all of these talmidim, and whether they survived the Holocaust. But in my heart they remain alive forever.”

 Despite his fierce zealotry against Zionism, his main preoccupation was Torah. He would sit secluded in Torah learning for hours upon hours, and his breadth of Torah knowledge is indescribable, as evidenced by his seforim.

 In the hours approaching Sukkos of 1948, he returned his pure neshomoh to its maker, and was interred in the Shaarei Zedek Cemetery, concluding 80 years of learning, teaching, and leading his People.

 He was succeeded by his son Rav Yisroel Moshe, who was succeeded by today’s “Dushinsky Rebbe,” Rav Yosef Tzvi Dushinsky, who bears the name of his saintly grandfather, perpetuating his living legacy.

 

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