Living Legacy: Rebbe Yisroel of Stolin, zy”a, upon his Hundredth Yohrtzeit
The second day of Rosh Hashanah marks the 100th yohrtzeit
of the Stoliner Rebbe, Rebbe Yisroel, zy”a, commonly known as “Der
Frankfurter,” since he was buried in the German city of Frankfurt.
Rebbe Yisroel was born to his father, Rebbe Asher of Stolin, on 10 Kislev, 5629 (1868) in the city of Stolin. His parents waited many years until he was born, and the Simcha among all the Stoliner chassidim at the birth of the future Rebbe was immeasurable. The boy was named Yisroel, for the heiliger Ba’al Shem Tov, the founder of chassidus—and purity and his holiness were apparent from a young age.
He brought special joy to his holy grandfather, Rebbe Aaron of Karlin (the second), author of the sefer Beis Aaron, who saw in this grandchild the succession of the Stoliner dynasty. He would constantly extoll the greatness of his young einkel, saying to his son: “He will not be seen learning (like the beis Aaron), he will not ‘pravve’ mikva’os (the way the “yunger Rebbe did)—yet he will be greater than both of us!
Indeed, he would go to great lengths to conceal himself in all aspects, allowing for only tiny glimpses of his greatness in Torah, avodah, and in open ruach hakodesh... what overflowed. He would go on to lead thousands of chassidim from throughout Russia and Poland, and many in Eretz Yisroel—all of whom would make the arduous journey for the merit to be in Stolin, in the presence of the Rebbe.
A Tragic Passing
When the boy was juts 4 ½ years old, his holy father. With pure simple faith, the chassidim forged ahead—crowning the young, 4 ½ year old Yisroel as their Rebbe. This is how he became known as the Yanuka, the young Rebbe.
The Rebbe married Rebbetzin Brocho Shaindel, a daughter of Rebbe Dovid of Zlatipoli, a granddaughter of Rebbe Yochanan of Rachmastrivke.
It was in the immediate aftermath of WWI, and the Rebbe has worked tirelessly for the wellbeing of the suffering of the Yidden in Russia until the very end. He reestablished chadorim and yeshivos—soliciting money from America for this purpose, knowing that a Torah education is the only thing that could fortify the young people during the coming terrible years of Communism.
The glory of Stolin from those days, the incredible mofsim that occurred on a regular basis, and the impact that he had on thousands of Yidden in tenure as Rebbe, can fill volumes. All the while he concealed himself completely, dressing extremely simply.
The Frankfurter asked that on his kever it should only say his name Reb Yisroel ben Reb Asher. And when he traveled to Germany for treatment, and he was niftar there on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, he was interred in the local cemetery, with the simple words inscribed on his kever.
Just as in life, the Rebbe insisted on being outwardly simple, so too after his passing, this is how he wanted it.
His kever has continued to attract chassidim from throughout the world who make the effort to stop in Frankfurt at the holy tziyun, and many have merited great yeshuos there.
The Rebbe had two sons in America. Rebbe Yaakov Chaim—known as “the Detroiter,” as he is buried in Detroit—arrived in America in 1923, a year following the passing of his father. From his perch on Rodney Street, he tirelessly worked to build Torah and Yiddishkeit in America.
He was niftar in 1946, the same year that his holy brother, Rebbe Yochanan, the grandfather of the current Karlin-Stoliner Rebbe, arrived here, and built upon the holy work of his brother in instilling the fire of chassidus within the hearts of Klal Yisroel—perpetuating the living legacy of their illustrious forbear who has left this world one century ago.