Illuminated Beth Bookmark by Jean-Jacques LEVI

Rabbi Beinish the Kohen

Rabbi Beinish (son of Efraim Fishel Hakohen a scholar and descendant of Rabbi Naftali KATZ, the Rabbi of Lublin and Maharal's grandson) was a rich lumber merchant and also owned a beer brewery. He was a scholar and a pupil of Rabbi Akiva Eiger of Poznan. Rabbi Beinish had a son: the righteous Rabbi Moshe Nechemiah KOHN Av Bais Din of the holy congregation of Warta.

Below is the biography of Rabbi Moshe Nechemia KOHN translated from Polish and first appeared in Stary Cmentarz Zydowski w Lodzi (The Old Cemetery of Lodz) published in 1938. The translation was arranged by Michael Chen in Israel. This excerpt Mordechai Schlanger obtained from Shirley Flaum from Jewishgen. It is from a rare book that tells about prominent individuals buried in the old Lodz cemetery which was destroyed. (Slightly rearranged for this website.)

As a young man. Moshe Nechemia was a known prodigy. When he grew up, he married Yetta Miriam, the daughter of a rich merchant from Gombin, Katriel ORBACH. He lived with his in-laws and dedicated his time to learning. Young Nechemia was an admirer of the Tzadik of Lublin, Jakob Itzhak, and after the death of the latter, he became an admirer of Rabi Bumem of Pshischa. Moshe Nechemia KOHN belonged to the Rabbi's most ardent followers and to his entourage. Not once, it fell into his hands to conduct the prayers at Bunems.

Sometime later, Moshe Nechemia moved back to Warta, where his father had bought him a house. He started, independently, trading grain but soon he lost a major part of his assets, and started to look for a position as Rabbi in Warta, which eventually, he got.

In the meantime, Rabbi Bunem of Pshischa passed away in the month of Elul 1827. A division occurred among his followers . Part of them followed Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Tomashow, who later moved to Kotzk and started the chain of Kotzk Tzadikim. A smaller part, Moshe Nechemia among them, remained loyal to Abram Moshe, Rabbi Bunem's son. A short time later, on Hannuka 1828, Abram Moshe died and his followers gathered around his most prominent pupil, Rabbi Itzhak of Warek.

Nechemia became the Rabbi's confidant. Rabbi Itzhak even appointed Moshe Nechemia with the the most responsible task of teaching adviser/assistant of his 2 sons, Menachem Mendel and Jakob David. Thus Nechemia greatly influenced the future of the young scholars, who were destined for greatness.

Rabbi Jakob David later became the Rabbi of Mszczonow and Rabbi Menachem Mendel replaced his late father as the spiritual leader of the community of Warek. He treated his ex-teacher , Moshe Nechemia KOHN, with great respect.

On his frequent travels from Warta to Warek, Nechemia usually stayed at an hotel owned by Laizer BERGER, a well known rich merchant. They became very close friends and warmly respected each other. Eventually, Laizer BERGER's 2 daughters married 2 of Nechemia's sons.

Leizer's 2 sons-in-law, LEVI Yitzhak and Aharon Eliyahu, settled in Lodz. A struggle broke up between the Chassidim of Warki and the Chassidim of Kotzk. The consequences of it affected the Rabbi of Warta, who was already serving 13 years in his position and got a weekly salary of 18 Zloti, excluding other fringe benefits, as was the custom in other communities. The Chassidim of Kotzk decided to get rid of Rabbi Moshe Nechemia, who was a close friend of the Tzadik of Warki. Itzhak of Warki tried to act as a go between and he sent 2 respectable people to calm down the spirits, but the intervention failed. Nechemia's opponents insisted upon a Rabbinical court, which should consider the "alleged" mistakes, according to the Halacha, made by Moshe Nechemia as a Dayan.

Rabbi Moshe Nechemia, who felt insulted by it, did not appear before the court. He was condemned in his absence, and was dismissed from his position. He was forced to reapply for a position as Rabbi.

Moshe Nechemia KOHN, aged 56 at that time, accepted the verdict with silent submission, but continued living his town of birth. In spite of his advanced age, Moshe Nechemia went frequently to Warki and once, on Shavuoth ,on his way back from Warki, he stopped in Lodz to visit his 2 sons. He got pneumenia and died several days later.

Being a very modest man, he asked, prior to his death, that the inscription on his headstone will bear no titles or praises, only: Here was interred a Rabbi, pious and known, who lived with joy of life all his life.

Moshe Nechemia had five sons and two daughters whose many descendants live in Lodz.

Rabbi Moshe Nechemiah passed on with a good name in the year 5613 (1853) on the 16th day of Sivan in the city of Lodz. Rabbi Moshe Nechemiah and his wife Yetta Miriam had 5 sons who were well known Chasidim. They also had 2 daughters.

This Yichus Letter was arranged by Rabbi Yoel FRYD in the year 5691 (1931) in the city of Lodz, and Translated by Mordechai (Marvin) Schlanger (2001)

Daniel E. LOEB, eMail:
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