Living Legacy: The Dombrowa Ruv, Rav Yosef Ungar, zt”l

Living Legacy: The Dombrowa Ruv, Rav Yosef Ungar, zt”l

Friday, 2 Cheshvan marks the yohrtzeit of Rebbe Yosef Ungar of Dombrowa, who succeeded his father, Rebbe Mordechai Duvid, zt”l, the founder of the dynasty.

He was born in the year 5560 (1800), the same year his holy father came to serve as the Ruv of Dąbrowa Tarnowska (Dombrov). Rav Mordechai Duvid was a close talmid of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizensk, and of the Chozeh of Lublin, who said of his father Rav Tzvi Hirsh, who sold wine: “When he measures out wine for his customers, he is meyached yichudim the way the early tzaddikim would do during davening!”

The connection to the chozeh continued with the son Rav Yosef, whom the Chozeh showered with love.  From an early age, it was evident that the child was destined for greatness. He learned great sections of Shas and Poskim from his father, Rav Mordechai Duvid. In addition to the holy Chozeh, he spent time in the courts of the Radoshitzer Rov, the Saraf of Molgenitza, and others.

He became engaged to Rebbetzin Gittel, the daughter of Rav Moshe Elyakim Briya, a son of the Koznitzer Maggid, who was the son in law of Rebbe Elozor of Lizensk, the son of the No’am Elimelech. After their wedding, the couple settled in Koznitz, where he continued to learn all areas of Torah from illustrious father in law.

With the passing of his father in law in 5588 (1827), Rav Yosef assumed the Rabbonus in Koznitz—a position he would hold for close to two decades, and in which his name as a tsaddik, a mekubal, and ba’al mofes began to gain renown.

On 7 Shevat, 5606 (1845), his illustrious father, Rav Mordchai Duvid, was niftar, and was interred in Dombrowa. Following this, Rav Yosef returned to succeed his father in the Admorus of Dombrowa. For the ensuing 22 years, he was known as a great leader in the entire region. Thousands streamed to his door to be helped with great yeshuo’s in all areas.

He fought valiantly the winds of assimilation and those who sought to introduce new ways in Yiddishkeit. He was revered by the tzaddikim of his time, who looked to him for his piety and for his leadership. 

On 2 Cheshvan of the year 1867, the Dombrover Ruv returned his pure soul to its Maker. He was succeeded by his son, Rebbe Yisroel Elimelech, who was eventually succeeded by his son, Rebbe Mordechai Duvid, and his son was Rebbe Benzion Ungar. Rav Beznion’s son, Rav Yaakov Yitzchok (named for the Chozeh of Lublin, who was an ancestor of the Rebbetzin of Rav Yisroel Elimelech, in addition to being the Rebbe of Rebbe Mordechai Duvid) made it to America, where he is succeeded by his sons: Rebbe Benzion, the Dombrover Rebbe, and Rav Mordechai Duvid, the Rebbe of the Bobov-45 chassidus, who continue the golden chain of this holy dynasty that has uplifted and inspired Yidden for more than two centuries.


Photo credits:

The photos of the Admor of Bobov-45 visiting the Shul in Dombrov, as well as the resting place of his holy ancestors, comes courtesy of Beis Tzaddikim. 

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