Living Legacy: Rav Shlomo Yehoshua Dovid of Radzimin
The 15th of Shevat marks the yohrtzeit of the Radziminer Rebbe, author of Likutei Re’em. He was the son of Rav Yaakov Aryeh of Radzimin, one of the greatest Admorim in Poland—a prize talmid of the Admorim of Koznitz and Peshischa, and a Rebbe to thousands of chassidim. He led the chassidim for twenty-six years, into a ripe old age.
Rav Shlomo Yehoshua Dovid inherited the Torah and the kedusha of his father, and in time, he would become a leader in Polish Jewry in his own right.
Following the passing of his father, he assumed the leadership of the thousands of chassidim in the city of Radzimin. Under his leadership, a number of Radziminer shtieblach were established all around Poland, and he was also the Nosi of Kupas Rabi Meir Ba’al Haness Kollel Polin.
However, their leadership styles diverged.
While Rav Yaakov Aryeh was known to be exceptionally soft, and filled with compassion, Rav Shlomo Yehoshua Dovid led the chassidim with a firm hand, in the Kotzker style.
His pursuit of truth did not allow him to flatter, or give excessive honor to anyone. He fulfilled the dictum of lo soguru mipnei ish… and did not show any special honor to wealthy people. He was once asked that the Gemoro tells us that Rebbi and Rabi Akiva gave honor to wealthy people, and why doesn’t he do the same.
He answered sharply: “I have no issue with giving them honor as a wealthy person, but often, wealthy people expect honor for being a talmid chochom or a tzaddik. This, I will not do.”
In addition to his leadership of the chassidim, the Rebbe cared deeply for all the matters in the town for the people therein.
The Radziminer Rebbe was niftar on Tu Bishvat of the year 1902, and is interred in Radzimin.
He left behind his son, Rav Aaron Menachem Mendel, author of Tzemach Menachem, who assumed his place as Radziminer Rebbe, and his son-in-law, Rav Tzvi Hirsch Morgenstern