The Bohusher Rebbe, zt'l

  Chazal tell us that when Hashem was creating the world He saw that the tzaddikim would only be a small minority of the overall population and He therefore spread them over the generations. One of these tzaddikim was the Bohusher Rebbe, HaRav Yitzchok Friedman zt'l. During his ninety years, his only concern was to help and look after Yidden (Jews) from all walks of life, even at great risk to his own life.

The Rebbe was born on the twenty sixth of Iyar 5663 (1903) in Spikov, Russia to his father HaRav Sholom Yosef, who was a son of Reb Dovid, the second son of the first Bohusher Rebbe, Reb Yitzchok zt'l. Reb Sholom Yosef was the only member of the Ruzhiner dynasty allowed to live in Russia by the Czarist government. Spikov thus became a center for the many Ruzhiner chassidim in the area, including many who had still graced the court of the Ruzhiner himself.

Reb Yitzchok grew up and was educated in this atmosphere. As a young child he was already well known for his astuteness. The Boyaner Rebbe, the Pachad Yitzchok, proclaimed after having met him, that he would be a great Rebbe one day.

At the young age of seventeen he received semichah (Rabbinical ordination) from famous rabbonim, including Rabbi Yehuda Leib Tzirelson of Kishinev. In that year, 5680 (1920), an epidemic of typhus broke out which claimed many victims, including Reb Sholom Yosef and his wife who were niftar (died) within three weeks of each other. Reb Yitzchok also developed the disease and became gravely ill. He was so ill that he was unable to sit shiva (mourn) for his parents. The Communists, who were just beginning to assert themselves at the time, tried to make life for religious Yidden as difficult as possible. Various decrees were enacted against spreading Yiddishkeit (Judaism), with harsh punishments for those who disobeyed. Nonetheless, Reb Yitzchok shouldered the heavy responsibility of looking after his father's chassidim who looked to him to take over his father's place. Reb Yitzchok only remained in Spikov for a year. He saw that fighting against the Communists would be futile and advised everyone to leave, even endangering himself to aid their evacuation.

In 5681 (1921), Reb Yitzchok fled to Bohush in Romania, hundreds of miles away. In Bohush he joined the household of his uncle, Reb Mendel Bohusher, and in 1924 he married his cousin, Yocheved Feige. In 1930 he moved to the Romanian capital, Bucharest, where he opened his own beis hamedrash (study hall). Until the war years he spent all day learning and teaching - fifteen separate shiurim (classes, lectures) daily from early morning until very late at night. The beis hamedrash soon became too small for the many people who wished to be close to Reb Yitzchok, and new premises were needed. A big building was found and became a center for Yidden from all walks of life. Everyone was warmly received and Reb Yitzchok helped and looked after each and every one of them.

With the outbreak of the Second World War in 5699 (1939), Romania became a haven for refugees escaping from Nazi persecution. Romania was among the few countries in Europe that the Nazis did not enter and thousands crossed the Romanian border seeking safety. This situation did not last long; in 1940 a neo-Nazi government came to power. A new army called the Iron Guard was formed and thousands of Yidden were killed in pogroms. It became forbidden under penalty of death to conceal refugees who had escaped from Nazi persecution.

During this time Reb Yitzchok's greatness came to light. His beis hamedrash became the number one address for every refugee. Everything was arranged: a team of expert forgers wrote out papers for any new arrival, and each person was given warm meals and a bed to sleep on. The beis hamedrash became the place for all communal activities and the spearhead of the rescue campaign. Reb Yitzchok personally went around checking that everybody was properly taken care of and that no one had been left out. Among the many people to take refuge there were several gedolim (great leaders): the previous Vishnitzer Rebbe zt'l and his sons; Dayan Weiss, the Minchas Yitzchok zt'l; Reb Yidelle, the Dzikover Rebbe zt'l; and the Bobover Rebbe shlita.

Reb Yitzchok was careful to provide the best service that he could. Napkins were even set out for dinner. Years later, the Rebbe was asked why he found it necessary to give napkins at a time of war. He answered that among the many refugees were people who had been used to a high standard of living before the war and he wanted to make it as easy as possible for them.

His concern for every person is illustrated by the following story: The Rebbe noticed that one of the refugees never touched any of the meat dishes served. A quick investigation revealed that he was worried about kashrus (kosher standards). He was concerned that some of the refugees were not so strict about kashrus and might have mixed together milk foods with meat. The Rebbe straight away made sure to put that person's portion in a separate pot where he could keep an eye on it at all times.

The authorities kept a close watch on the beis hamedrash and its activities. A constant lookout was necessary to see if any of the Iron Guard were in the vicinity since they were eager to get their hands on Reb Yitzchok. It was only chasdei Hashem (Hashem's kindness) that they never caught him. Each time they came to get him, Reb Yitzchok managed to flee their clutches.

In 5703 (1943) Reb Yitzchok's father-in-law, Reb Mendel Bohusher, was niftar (died) and Reb Yitzchok was crowned by his chassidim as his successor. Reb Yitzchok traveled to Bohush to daven (pray) at the kever (gravesite), asking Hashem to help him be worthy to be a Rebbe. He then returned to Bucharest to carry on his life-saving work. The beis hamedrash was open twenty four hours a day, as a shul where one davened and learned, and also as a dining room and a dormitory.

With the war's end Romania became a Communist country occupied by the Russians. They didn't take kindly to the spread of Yiddishkeit and it became necessary to leave as quickly as possible. However, many of the refugees lacked the papers needed to obtain an exit visa. Once again it was the Rebbe who looked after them and helped them to leave.

The Rebbe himself, however, was in no hurry to leave. As long as there were Yidden who needed his help he was not going to run away. His beis hamedrash carried on functioning as normal - learning and davening. At that time it was enough just to hear the engine of a motor-bike like those used by the secret police to strike fear into every heart, but the Rebbe ignored all the warnings he was given to close his shul.

Among the people who frequented the shul were agents of the government who spied on the Rebbe's every move. Finally in 5711 (1951) when the Rebbe was given a tip-off that his life was in danger, he left with his wife and daughter for Eretz Yisroel, arriving there on Pesach Sheini. He settled in Tel Aviv together with the other rebbes of the Ruzhiner dynasty. After eleven years of being in constant danger, the Rebbe was finally able to live without worry or fear of being shot or arrested.

If the Rebbe had hoped to be able to live in peace and quiet, it was not to be so. No sooner had word got around that the Rebbe had arrived in Eretz Yisroel, than he was besieged from all sides with calls for help and support by many of the new Romanian immigrants. They remembered that in Bucharest the Bohusher Rebbe was a person from whom one could receive free hot food and financial help. It never occurred to them that in Eretz Yisroel perhaps the Rebbe himself was no better off than they and in absolutely no position to help them. The Rebbe did not disappoint his supplicants. He set up a fund and started to borrow money in order to pay for various tzedoko activities.

Among the people from whom he borrowed was one who decided to become rich at the Rebbe's expense. The Rebbe had borrowed five hundred dollars fromhim, which was a considerable sum of money at the time. When the time came for the Rebbe to repay the money the man appeared with the note in his hand, but instead of five hundred dollars it said that the Rebbe owed him five thousand dollars! The man had simply added an extra zero.

When the Rebbe's family saw what he had done they wanted to throw him out. The Rebbe, however, refused to listen to the them. He was not even willing to take the man to a din Torah. "I will honor my signature and the man will receive the full money," the Rebbe exclaimed. The Rebbe did not have anywhere near the amount of money required to pay back the bill and he had to go around collecting until finally it was paid. A day or two later the man had a heart attack and died. When word got to the Rebbe that people were saying that he had died because the Rebbe had a hakpadah (grudge) on him, he exclaimed, "Chas vesholom! I never had even a slight hakpadah on him. He was punished by Heaven for his sins."

The Rebbe's financial position, which had never been good, was now desperate. Still, the people came with cries for help and the Rebbe gave all he had, even giving them from his own food until he himself did not have anything to eat. The Ruzhiner Rebbes in Tel Aviv appealed to the Rebbe to stop his activities but the Rebbe refused, saying that he was not able to do so. He simply could not turn away another Yid.

Not only the simple and the ignorant came to the Rebbe's house. Ruzhiner chassidim throughout Eretz Yisroel would come to be in the Rebbe's company and to ask his advice and receive his berocho (blessing). Many stories are told of people who were ill or had another problem and through the Rebbe's intervention had a miraculous salvation. Almost everybody who was close to the Rebbe can tell of some personal experience he had with the Rebbe. His endless strength to help other Yidden was derived from his great ahavas Yisroel (love for his fellow Jew).

Once, on Yom Kippur morning, a young non-frum Yid (non religious) entered the Rebbe's beis hamedrash. From his lips and the corners of his mouth it was evident that he had just finished breakfast. The mispallelim (congregants) wanted to throw the man out and started to rebuke him for daring to come into shul on Yom Kippur with traces of food still on him. Hearing the commotion, the Rebbe rushed out of his room and told the mispallelim to leave the young man alone. The Rebbe took out a tissue and wiped the man's mouth and told him, "My dear son, you are still Hashem's child and you are welcome to stay." In due course the young man became a baal teshuva (newly religious) and one of the Rebbe's close chassidim.

As the years went on, more and more chassidim frequented the Rebbe's house. The Rebbe once remarked that all his life he never tried to attract chassidim. Everybody was welcome to come to his tish (lit. table; Chassidic gathering) but they had to remember that they were not Bohusher chassidim. He would remind each and every one of them: you are a Boyaner chossid and you are a Sadigerer chossid and you are a Belzer chossid and you are a Gerrer chossid and so on. He would refer to them as his friends and not as his chassidim.

In his later years the steady flow increased into a flood. When the Rebbe was in his mid seventies he went to America and spent a Shabbos in New York. Hearing that the Rebbe was in New York, the Bobover Rebbe shlita commanded his chassidim to go to the Rebbe's tish as a sign of gratitude to the Rebbe for having saved their Rebbe's life during the war. The Bobover chassidim expected to hear divrei Torah from the Rebbe during the course of the tish. Much to their surprise, the Rebbe didn't say any Torah. Instead he read from the sefer (book) Ma'ayonoh shel Torah (The Wellsprings of Torah). He wanted to give them the impression that he was a simple, unlearned man.

When the Rebbe arrived back in Eretz Yisroel a kabolas ponim (honorable welcome) was arranged in his honor. During the kabolas ponim the Rebbe sat, deep in thought. It was evident that something was bothering him. Suddenly the Rebbe started to speak, "I heard people saying that never before has a Ruzhiner einekel (grandchild) received as much kovod (honor) as I received now when I was in America." The Rebbe became quiet, again engrossed in his thoughts. "My zeide (grandfather) Reb Dovid, who was a great tzaddik, was niftar as a young man and never received the kovod due to him. My father was also niftar as a young man and never received the kovod due to him. It seems that I have been given the kovod on their behalf." The Rebbe mused further, "But even so, why was I singled out to receive it on their behalf, why me?" The Rebbe stayed sitting in his chair for a long time, quite oblivious to all around him.

When the Rebbe gave a berocho (blessing), he would often say that it was not him giving the berocho, he was simply the mouthpiece for his zeide. When the Rebbe would read a kvittel (written petition for a blessing etc.), his whole being was put into the piece of paper in front of him. His ruach hakodesh was evident from his answers. A kallah (bride to be) and her mother came to the Rebbe for a berocho. The gabbai (attendant), in his haste, wrote next to the mother's name that she was about to get married. The Rebbe took one look at the kvittel, and said, She is already married. She isn't a kallah.

Although Tel Aviv had been a city bustling with frum Yidden, over the years they slowly left until a time came that just keeping the minyan (quorom for prayer services) going was getting difficult. The Rebbe however was not the slightest bit interested to move. It didn't bother him that hardly anyone was left to hear his divrei Torah and avoda. The Rebbe would daven (pray) in a separate room during davening, and not together with the congregation in the beis hamedrash. A few times a year the Rebbe would come out of his room, and it was on these occasions that the beis hamedrash was full of chassidim who had come to see and hear.

Chanukah licht (lighting the Chanukah menorah, which was done in public) was a sight that cannot be forgotten by anyone who saw it. The Rebbe would sing Veyehi No'am seven times with great dveikus (rapture). It didn't make a difference whether there were a few hundred people watching or just a minyan. He davened to Hashem and not to impress the onlookers. The Sefiras Haomer (counting of the Omer) was another occasion which can never be forgotten. Each day had its own kavonos (intentions) on which the Rebbe would concentrate. One could see that the Rebbe counted the days to Shavuos.

One year on Shavuos night the chazan (cantor) was ready and waiting to hear a signal from the Rebbe to begin ma'ariv (evening service). Twenty minutes went by, forty minutes, and still no signal from the Rebbe's room. After an hour the gabbai opened the door of the Rebbe's room to see if it was possible to start. The Rebbe was pacing up and down in his room in great dveikus. It took a few minutes until he noticed the gabbai standing there. "I'm not yet ready for kabolas HaTorah (the recieving fo the Torah)," the Rebbe explained. "I still need a few more minutes." Ten minutes later the signal came. The Rebbe was ready to daven ma'ariv.

As the Rebbe approached his mid-eighties, the chassidim begged him to leave Tel Aviv and come to live in Bnei Brak. His surprising reply was that he would have to go to the kever of his zeide, the first Bohusher Rebbe, to ask him what to do. The Rebbe traveled to Romania and the answer came back that he would indeed move to Bnei Brak. A building was bought in 5732 (1972) on Rechov Chagai, but it took until 1987 for the Rebbe to agree to move.

The Rebbe promised that Hashem would answer the tefillos (prayers) of those who davened in his new beis hamedrash. When the first Bohusher Rebbe founded his beis hamedrash in Bohush he said that he had brought the kedushas Eretz Yisroel (holiness of the Land of Israel) to Bohush and therefore anyonwho davened there would be answered. That kedusha (holiness) which the Rebbe's zeide had brought to Bohush, the Rebbe brought back with him when he came to Eretz Yisroel. Until then the Rebbe did not have a suitable building to house the kedusha. Now that he had found suitable premises, the promise of his zeide would carry on in the new building as well. With these sentiments, the Rebbe dedicated his new shul.

The Rebbe had the ability to see things that other people were not able to see. A yungerman (young scholar) who had been contemplating for some time whether or not to carry out a business transaction that was not quite honest, finally decided to do the deal. On the day that he was to sign the deal he went to daven in the Rebbe's beis hamedrash. After davening the Rebbe called over this yungerman and told him that he wanted to inspect his hands to see if they were clean. After a minute of looking he told the yungerman, "No, you haven't got clean hands." Needless to say, the yungerman did not carry out the deal.

One year when the Rebbe was in Arosa in the Swiss Alps, he suddenly exclaimed in the middle of sholosh seudos (3rd Shabbos meal) that he could see that a terrible tragedy was going to happen in Eretz Yisroel. The next day, news arrived that four bochurim (Yeshiva students, teenagers) had drowned in an accident.

During the recent war with Iraq, the Rebbe refused to go into the specially sealed rooms. Every time the siren went off, he commanded the gabbai to open the windows. He comforted the people around him by telling them they didn't have to worry. Each time he said where the Scuds would land. The first time the alarm went off he told his gabboim, "Don't worry, it will land in a field." The second time he told them, "Now we need help from Heaven." That time it fell in Tel Aviv.

The Rebbe had been a very close friend of the Skulener Rebbe zt'l. One morning the Rebbe woke up very upset, and said that he saw that the Skulener Rebbe was going to be niftar. A few hours later, news came that he had, indeed, passed away.

In the new premises there was never a quiet moment; queues of people were waiting constantly to see the Rebbe. His whole life the Rebbe fled from being famous and now he was upset that suddenly he was pursued from all sides. He said that it was a punishment from Heaven.

Although the Rebbe had always been known for his long and deep divrei Torah during a tish, in Bnei Brak the Rebbe only read Torah from a sefer. Many times he would really say his own Torah but would pretend that it was written in the sefer. When he traveled abroad he made sure to warn his chassidim not to dare hang up signs about his arrival. He looked upon himself as just another ordinary person.

When the Gerrer Rebbe the Lev Simcha zt'l became ill, the Rebbe, who was very close to him, went to visit him. After he left he told his gabboim, "The Gerrer Rebbe is suffering more than he should. I accept part of his illness on myself." A few weeks later the Rebbe became seriously ill and until the end of his life he was not able to walk and was confined to a wheelchair. This however did not deter the Rebbe from traveling abroad. His chassidim were waiting to see him and he could not let them down.

The Rebbe's actions could not always be understood and no one knew the real reasons for everything he did. In Iyar 5749 (1989), the Rebbe told his gabboim that he was extremely ill and must fly to London for treatment. The gabboim straight away summoned a big professor from Tel Aviv who examined the Rebbe, but he could not find anything of immediate concern. He saw no reason for the Rebbe to go to London. The Rebbe insisted on going and in London the doctor discovered that he was in need of intensive medical treatment. They told the Rebbe that it would be at least two months before he would be able to fly back to Eretz Yisroel. The Rebbe however had no intention of being away for so long and after two weeks returned home. The problem cleared up by itself.

Being confined to a wheelchair did not stop the Rebbe from going to Arosa in the Swiss Alps either. The journey was very difficult for him, but he would not give up on the idea of going. He would remark that there was a lot to be rectified in the holiday resorts and it was his duty to see to it. When asked about the beauty of the Alps, he would answer, "At [the kever of] Reb Shimon in Meron it is more beautiful." The Rebbe did not go there to enjoy the views, he went for spiritual reasons.

Even the goyim would comment on his heavenly appearance. This is how one secular newspaper described the Rebbe: "The most beautiful sight in Arosa is when the Rebbe of Bohush travels along the main road of the town in a wagon drawn by two horses, surrounded on all sides by his faithful chassidim. This Jew - so weak and fragile - sits in the wagon, looks into a sefer (book) and learns. It is as if Arosa with its sightseers, with its red wagons, with its music, does not exist for him. None of his surroundings interest him, no sound gets to him. He is far, far removed from the non-Jewish atmosphere in the area...".

Since the Rebbe fled from Spikov in 5680 (1920), he had not been able to go even once to his parents' kevorim (burial site). In 1984, when Mr. Brezhnev was still the leader of Russia, the Rebbe commented that when Brezhnev would die the situation in Russia would become easier and soon after he would be able to travel to Russia. The Rebbe's words proved prophetic and after Brezhnev died the Iron Curtain began to lift, and in Tishrei 5751 (1991) the Rebbe left on a journey of ten days to Russia.

The Rebbe's daughter wanted to accompany her father on the trip, but at first her employer refused to let her take off. A few days before the Rebbe was scheduled to leave, they said she could go. The problem was that she needed a visa for Russia, which normally takes a few weeks to secure. She went to her father and told him what happened. He replied that she could go along with him, and, at their planned stopover in Bucharest, she could get a visa to continue on to Russia. She protested that they would only be in Bucharest a few hours and if it took a few weeks for an Israeli citizen to get a visa for Russia in Israel, it could certainly not be arranged during such a short stopover in Bucharest. All the more so since they would be in Bucharest on a Sunday! The Rebbe laughed and answered, "Du bist meketanei emunah!" (You have little faith!)

His daughter followed her father's instructions and, during the stopover of a few hours in Bucharest, she took a cab from the airport to the Russian Embassy. The building was completely closed, as was expected. She stood in front of the locked gates, wondering what to do, when a big black limousine pulled up. The passenger asked her what she was doing there on a Sunday, and she told him her story. The passenger then identified himself as the Russian ambassador, and said that he never visited the embassy on Sunday, but he had forgotten something that he needed for his wife's birthday party. Without further ado he promptly wrote her a visa, and she was able to continue with the Rebbe's entourage to Russia, as promised.

The Rebbe always weighed his actions to make sure that they were befitting for a Ruzhiner einekel (grandchild). He would constantly speak of his zeides and their many deeds, and would worry if they would approve of his actions. On one occasion he was heard to say that when Moshiach comes his father would also be here and his grandfather and his great grandfather, and he didn't know how he would be able to stand near them. He would be embarrassed to look them in the face.

It was with those thoughts in mind that the Rebbe approached his father's kever (gravesite) for the first time in seventy five years. As he arrived, the Rebbe became so emotional that he was unable to speak. He touched the matzeiva (gravestone) and said out loud as if speaking to his father, "I have kept what you have instructed me. My whole life I have gone in the way of Ruzhin."

After Spikov the Rebbe travelled to Bohush. As he left the shul in Bohush he went up to the arhakodesh (holy ark), and stood there for a long time deep in thought. The chassidim didn't know it, but the Rebbe was already starting to prepare himself to leave this world.

Two years before the Rebbe's petirah (death) he became much weaker. This however did not stop him in the slightest from carrying on his full schedule of Torah and tefillah (prayer). Even though it was very difficult for him to read due to his poor eyesight, he still spent most of the day engrossed in his seforim (books). He would sit hunched over the gemara (Talmud), and with the aid of a strong magnifying glass, he was able to carry on learning. Although he never complained about his illness, his poor eyesight upset him greatly, for he was not able to learn as well as in previous years.

Many times he became so weak that just talking was a big effort. As if by a miracle he would regain his strength on Shabbos. The Rebbe would make kiddush and say divrei Torah. After Shabbos was over he would say Havdalah and straight afterwards would lose all his strength, until he was again unable to talk. Even the doctor who came to see the Rebbe every Sunday morning would not ask how the Rebbe had been feeling on Shabbos. He knew that Shabbos was not indicative. He always asked how the Rebbe had been feeling on Friday.

In his last years not only Ruzhiner chassidim came to ask for the Rebbe's berocho, but many others as well. Sometimes the Rebbe would tell them to go and ask their own rebbes. He was extremely makpid (stringent) about the kovod of other rebbes. It once happened that another rebbe came to visit with his gabbai. This gabbai asked the Rebbe for a berocho in front of his own rebbe. The Bohusher Rebbe could not understand how this gabbai could dare to ask for a berocho right in front of his own Rebbe and sternly rebuked him, saying, "Hasogas gevul". (an infringement of territory)
The Rebbe visiting the Machonovka Rebbe zt"l
The Rebbe especially liked small children and would shake hands with every child who wished to do so. The Rebbe also inquired constantly about the welfare of older children and bochurim. A few years before his petirah the Rebbe founded a flourishing yeshiva. The Rebbe said that the bochurim would replace the chassidim who had lived in the Rebbe's court in Bohush.

The Bohusher Rebbe zt"l in his last years
As the Rebbe's last year approached, he began to deliver broad hints of his coming petirah. On Rosh Hashanah 5752 (1992), the Rebbe spoke about the petirah of tzaddikim. He related a story of two tzaddikim who were niftar within a few weeks of each other. On the twenty sixth of Iyar, the Rebbe's birthday, he mentioned that a person has to prepare himself for his last day. He said that one doesn't have to be frightened, one should just be prepared. When the Gerrer Rebbe was niftar in Tammuz, the Rebbe travelled to Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) to be menachem ovel (to pay respects to and comfort the family). Afterwards he went to the Kosel (Western Wall) where he spent a long time. Afterwards he asked to make a seuda (festive meal). The Rebbe explained that he wanted to make a seuda before parting from Yerushalayim. At the time no one understood the Rebbe's real kavanah (intention), but retrospectively it was realized that that was his last time in Yerushalayim.
A few weeks later the Rebbe announced his intention of going to Arosa for the summer. The gabboim were aghast. The Rebbe was so weak that any trip was quite out of the question. But the Rebbe was very firm. He absolutely had to go, he explained. He must rectify certain things there. The gabboims' pleas were to no avail and on the thirteenth of Av the Rebbe left to Arosa.

The Rebbe refused to say goodbye to his family and chassidim, and when they asked him when he intended to come back he refused to answer. Normally the Rebbe would take along a lot of seforim with him. This time however, the Rebbe told his gabbai not to pack them, he would not need them.

The Rebbe arrived in Arosa on Wednesday, the thirteenth of Av. After ma'ariv there was a kabolas panim in his honor at which the Rebbe spoke. Little did those present know that it was to be the last time they would hear the Rebbe speak. The Rebbe said a dvar Torah on the subject which had been his life's theme: even a yid who strays from the correct path is still one of Hashem's children and is very precious to Him. After the kabolas panim was over the Rebbe phoned Eretz Yisroel to say that he had arrived safely. During the telephone call the Rebbe told his son-in-law that he had been moser nefesh (self-sacrificing) for Klall Yisroel and he said that through his mesiras nefesh, Klall Yisroel should have a yeshuah (salvation).

The Rebbe then went to sleep for the night. At five o'clock the Rebbe woke up and asked the gabbai the time. The gabbai told the Rebbe that it was only five a.m. and the Rebbe still had two hours to sleep. "I have only one hour," answered the Rebbe. At six o' clock the Rebbe asked for a drink of water and, after calmly making a shehakol, peacefully passed away. The same night the Rebbe was laid to rest in the beis olam (cemetery) Nachlas Yitzchok in Tel Aviv.

The Bohusher Rebbe,
Reb Yaakov Mendel Friedman shlita
The Rebbe often used to say that as long as the tzaddik is alive, one looks at the tzaddik. After the tzaddik is not here anymore one looks at his middos (character traits). Typical of many is the following story: Among the throngs of people who used to frequent the Rebbe's house was a person who did not have any family. He totally neglected his appearance, and his clothes were dirty and gave off a foul odor. People avoided sitting next to him. During the levaya (funeral) he was quite hysterical. Every time he had come to see the Rebbe, the Rebbe had embraced and kissed him. The only person in the world who cared for him had died! Zechuso yogein oleinu.
The Rebbe is succeeded by his grandson Rabbi Yaakov Mendel Friedman shlita.

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