Living Legacy: The Rebbe Rav Hirsh of Riminov, zy”a, on his 175th yohrtzeit

Living Legacy: The Rebbe Rav Hirsh of Riminov, zy”a, on his 175th yohrtzeit

30 Cheshvan marks the 175th yohrtzeit of the holy Rebbe Rav Hirsh of Riminov—a tzaddik who exemplifies the story of a holy soul, hidden inside of a simple story, eventually going on to become one of the greatest chassidishe Rebbes who affected yeshuos in his lifetime and beyond.

The Rebbe Reb Hirsch was born in the year 5538 (1777) in the Galician town of Dombrowa, to his father Reb Yehuda Leib Katz, a Kohen. At the age of ten, he was orphaned from both of his parents, and when to live with a relative. This arrangement did not work out very well, due to the poverty, and so the young lad set out on a journey that would lead him to the courts of the great Chassidic luminaries.

He arrived in the court of Rebbe Avrohom Moshe of Pshovorsk, known as the Ohr Pnei Moshe, where he received his first exposure to chassidus. Rav Moshe sent him to the holy Rebbe Mendele of Rimanow who was then in Frysztak, Poland.

He became tethered to Rebbe Mendele, but, as all holy acquisitions go, it did not go without challenge; the story of the way he eventually gained the exalted title of “Reb Hirsh Meshoreis,” the attendant of Rebbe Mendele, is part of the Chassidic lore.

His rebbe could sense the holiness when Rav Hirsh arranged his bed, and would say that when Reb Hirsh sweeps the beis medrash, he sweeps the klipos along with them.

Although his rebbe handpicked him as his successor, instructing his talmidim to follow Rav Hirsch after his passing... he demurred at first, and journeyed to the court of the Ropshitzer Rov, where he sat and learned day and night. After a while, he acquiesced, and assumed the leadership of the Rimanower chassidim in that town.

He was widely considered the tzaddik hador of his generation, and the divrei Chaim of Sanz would spend Shabbos Parashas Parah in Rimanow, saying, “on this Shabbos of purity, one must be by the tzaddik hador.”

The chessed and tzeddakah of Rebbe Hirsch was legendary; he gave away everything he had to those in need. He was a great ba’al yisurim, losing two wives in his lifetime, and was nevertheless always joyful.

In the winter of 1846, he traveled on a journey, and feel ill. He returned to Rimanow at the end of Cheshvan, and was confined to a bed for one week, following which he returned his holy neshamah to his Creator.

He was interred in an ohel adjacent to his rebbe and predecessor, Rebbe Mendele of Rimanow. These two holy resting places were a place of yeshuos and tefillos for the Yidden of Galicia and beyond before the war, and were restored to their former glory by the legendary Reb Mendel Reichberg—enabling Yidden from around the world to continue to pour out their hearts in the presence of the holy tzaddik, Rebbe Hirshele Rimanower. 

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