Living Legacy: Rebbe Avrohom Yehoshua Heschel of Skver
The third of Kislev marks the yohrztzeit of the great tzaddik, Rebbe Avrohom Yehoshua Heschel of Skvyra, the eldest son of Rebbe Itzik’l of Skver—the founder of the chassidus—who was the son Rebbe Mordechai of Chernobyl, a son of the Me’or Einayim, zy”a. His mother was Rebbetzin Yocheved, a descendant of the Apter Rov and the Zlochiver Maggid.
He was born in the town of Skver in the year 1826, a year after the passing of his illustrious zeide, the Apter Rov, and he was named for him.
He was a great tzaddik and kadosh, and a great lamdan who sat and learned literally day and night with great diligence (his father would lovingly call him “my wild lamdan,” and testified that his son truly learns Torah lishmah). Even in his youth, in the lifetime of his father, he was known for his incredible avodas Hashem, his ahavas Yisroel, and he became known as a great ba’al mofes who would effect yeshu’os for his fellow Yidden.
The Rebbe once needed to be in Odessa for medical reasons for an extended period of time. The Yidden there were so enamored by his avodas Hashem and his great fervor that they became his ardent chassidim. So much so, that when his father, Rebbe Itzik’l, came to visit, they exclaimed: “Let us go out and greet the Rebbe’s father!”
As noted, he was a tremendous masmid. He would sit and learn for hours on end, and this was seen on a fast day, when he would learn from Shachris until mincha without a break, and purim night, from after the megillah until Shachris in the morning, without breaking his fast from the previous day.”
He was also a great ba’al mofes, and his father would send Yidden whom he could not assure a yeshu’ah to his son, who would bench them, and they would see great salvation.
In the year 1885, his father Rav Itzik’l left this world, and he was appointed Rebbe in his stead. Out of his tremendous humility, he insisted on leading the chassidus together with his two brothers, Rebbe Dovid and Rebbe Yisroel. He was niftar eighteen months later, leaving behind holy and illustrious children. He was laid to rest in the ohel of his father, in the town of Skver.