Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Reader Provides A Piece In The Puzzle

A past commenter, Eli Dishon, e-mailed me a link to an eBay auction of the sefer Har Hashem, printed in 1791(5551) in Polonoye. This sefer contained an interesting notation about the son-in-law of the Degel Machaneh Ephraim that made me reconsider the timeline I put together on the Degel's life.

The title page states that the sefer was brought to the printing house by Rabbi Dovid son of Rabbi Yehoshua Heschel HaLevi Horowitz - son-in-law of the Rabbi of Sudilkov [the Degel], who presently resides in Medzhebuz.

I knew that the Degel moved to Sudilkov in 1780, and moved back to Medzhebuz before he passed away in 1800, but I had not considered that he left Sudilkov this early.

Although others have suggested that he only lived in Medzhebuz the last two or three years of his life, the notation in this sefer proves otherwise. Exactly when the Degel left Sudilkov has yet to be determined.

Timeline of the Life of the Degel Machaneh Ephraim

1748 / 5508 - Born in Medzhebuz
1752 / 5513 - Called "Ilui Gadol B'tachlis Halimud" at age 5 years-old by the Besht
1753 / 5513 - His brother Baruch is born
1760 / 5520 - The Baal Shem Tov passes away; the Degel is 12 year-old
1772 / 5532 - His father, Rabbi Yechiel Ashkenazi passes away
1780 / 5540 - Moves to Sudilkov at the age of 32
1782 / 5542 - Gives drash for Shabbos HaGadol in Sudilkov [noted Parshas Tzav]
1785 / 5545 - Gives bar mitzvah brocha to Rebbe Nachman of Breslov [1 Nisan]
1788 / 5548 - Leaves Sudilkov and settles in Medzhebuz
1791 / 5551 - The Degel resides in Medzhebuz
1800 / 5560 - Passes away in Medzhebuz at the age of 52 [17 Iyar]
1801 / 5561 - His sister Feiga passes away [19 Adar]
1810 / 5570 - His son Yaakov Yechiel prints Degel Machaneh Ephraim in Koretz
1811 / 5572 - His brother Baruch passes away [18 Kislev]

Title page of Har Hashem - Polonoye 1791

Notation from about Rabbi Yehoshua Heschel HaLevi Horowitz


In an e-mail interchange, Dan Rabinowitz of Seforim wrote,

"There is some indication that it may have been printed in 1797 based upon a statement at the end of the book. However, that itself is questionable. As the date given at the end is Friday, 29 of Adar I 1797. That date is, however, impossible. First, 1797 was not a leap year. Second, the 29th never falls on a Friday. Consequently, some say there is an extra VAV in the dating (they use gematria for the date) and place it at 1791."


At March 17, 2006 at 2:32:00 AM EST, Blogger Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

Free translation:

You can add that he participated in Reb Nachman's Bris on 4 Nissan 5572

Generally speaking, who says this is the correct "timeline"?

The year 5551 may have been entered in the sefer to throw off the censors

Besides, the "Ohev Yisroel" of Apta was also Rabbi there for a short time, yet he's known as the Apter Rov

At March 17, 2006 at 6:26:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Hirshel: Thanks for the translation. I appreciate your help as always.

Ani_Maamin: Thank you for your comment.

1) What is the source of that information about the Degel attending Rebbe Nachman's bris?

2) This time was assembled by myself from reliable sources. If there are errors, please let me know.

3) Perhaps, but why would they need to "throw of the censors by giving an incorrect date"?

4) You are correct about the Apter Rov, but what point are you trying to make?

At March 17, 2006 at 8:45:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would they need to "throw of the censors by giving an incorrect date"?

If you print something illigel you can have the ploice come after you but if perhaps with a the help of "something sliped in to the judges hand" the judge will dismiss the case saying this safar was printed a long time ago.

At March 17, 2006 at 8:52:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

continued from previous post...
same as with Degel Berditchev 1808-1840

re the apter rov
I remember hearing that he promised the people of apt that he will be called The Apter rov

At March 17, 2006 at 9:03:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Eli Dishon: I found your comment about the publication date to be interesting. I guess it would be hard to prove. I will check into it more.

At March 17, 2006 at 10:16:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the year 1791-5551 was a leap year but i think that 29 adar 1 was a shobos

At March 28, 2006 at 2:40:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I found your blog by googling. I apologize for intruding on the discussion here, but I would like to ask for some information, if you can help me.

I am a descendant of Rebbe Raphael of Bershad, and I am doing genealogical research on his ancestry and descendants. I have learned that he was a member of the 2nd generation of Chasidism and a student of R'Pinchas of Koretz; he did not have a dynasty. I also found, on the web, some photos of his grave in Tarashcha. The tombstone inscription says that he is the son of Yakov Yakili (or possibly Yaakov Yechiel), and I am wondering if this might be the same person who is a son of the Degel of Sudilkov--or perhaps an earlier relative with the same name. Can you give me any information on R'Yaakov Yechiel Ashkenazi's line of descent? Am I on the right track?

Thank you!

At March 28, 2006 at 2:48:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thank you for your comment!

R'Yaakov Yechiel was the son of the Degel Machaneh Ephraim (Rebbe Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sudilkov) who in turn was the son of R' Yechiel Askenazi - of whom it is said that he possibly came from Germany,

At March 28, 2006 at 4:03:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have any info on R'Yaakov Yechiel's descendants?

Do you think a connection with Rebbe Raphael of Bershad is possible? Or am I way off base?

Also, can you refer me to any biographical works (in English) that might include something on Rebbe Raphael?

If you would like to see the photos of the tombstone inscription, they're on the web at (see, in particular, the last two images in the second row and the first image in the third row).

Thanks again! I really appreciate your help!

At March 28, 2006 at 7:30:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Unfortunately I do not have any information on the descendants of R' Yaakov Yechiel. I am not entirely sure if there is a connection here.

The Encyclopedia of Hasidim by Rabinowicz has some information on R' Raphael of Bershad (page 399)

It says his yahrzeit is 15 Teves 1825. It also says that many of his discourses can be found in the sefer Midrash Pinchas. Finally, it says that his son-in-law was Rabbi Jacob Wertman.

I hope this helps. Unfortunately, I don't know anything more about him.

At March 28, 2006 at 7:37:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very helpful! Thanks for taking the time to check. I'm so glad I stumbled on your site.

Best wishes!

At May 11, 2006 at 6:05:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Today I added the 1788 notation after finding a reference in Degel Machaneh Ephraim, Parshas Bo (page 90 of the new printing) that said that the Degel was "po b'kahal kadosh Medzhezbuz".

It is also mentioned in the Alfasi that the Degel left for Medzhebuz in 1788.

At November 23, 2006 at 2:16:00 PM EST, Blogger MJR said...

Several questions, as I am currently researching The Degel's family.

A. Who was the son in law of the Degel?
R' Dovid or his father R' Yehoshua Heschel?
From what I have read in the past it is R' Dovid.

B. Can anyone identify which Horowitz's these are?
There was one famous Yehoshua Heschel Horowitz living in the times of the Degel, he was the brother of the Ropschitzer Rav R' NZ.
The thing is they weren't Leviim, used their mother's (daughter of R' Itzikl Hamburger) maiden name.

This R. Yehoshua Heschel was the Rav firsr in Yaniv then in Baligrod. It seems his descendents were the Rabbonim in Baligrod until WWII.

One of the Rabbonim was named R' Moshe Chaim Efraim, and he is listed as "Neched HaDegel" though none one seems to know how he actually is one.

I wonder if this R' Dovid, son in law of the Degel is indeed connected to Baligrod....

I have searched and called, the experts don't seem to have a clue.


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