The Sadigur Chassidic Court
House of Royalty: The Chassidic Court of Sadigur From the grand tree of Ruzhin, founded by the ‘Sabba Kadisha’ Rebbe Yisrael of Ruzhin, many smaller Chassidic courts branched out. The central court was Sadigur, which continued in the path of Reb Yisrael – serving Hashem with royalty and glory
On the 3rd of Cheshvan 5611 (1851) the great light was extinguished and the holy Rebbe Yisrael of Ruzhin was called to his rightful place on high. After his passing his sons branched out and founded various prominent and famous Chassidic courts of their own: Reb Menachem Nachum Friedman zt’l set up his court in Shtefenesht, Reb David Moshe Friedman zt’l established the Chassidic court of Tchortkov, Reb Mordechai Shraga Feivush Friedman zt’l set up his court in Huseitin and Reb Shalom Yosef Friedman zt’l founded Chassidus Sadigur, and thereby filled the position of his saintly father in the city of Sadigura. The ‘reign’ of Rebbe Shalom Yosef at the helm of his court did not last long; ten short months after his father passed away, he too passed on.
Rabbi Avraham Yaakov the Second
Rabbi Avraham Yaakov the Second
After Reb Shalom Yosef’s untimely passing, another son of the Sabba Kadisha took his place – Reb Avraham Yaakov Friedman zt’l. He was the son-in-law of the great Rebbe Aharon of Karlin, and thousands of Chassidim thronged to him to bask in the radiance of his wisdom and holiness. He led his court with a firm hand for thirty glorious years, until his passing on the 11th of Elul, 5643 (1883).
Shortly thereafter, his oldest son Reb Yitzchak (the ‘Pachad Yitzchak’), founded Chassidus Boyan, and his own position was filled by his youngest son Reb Yisrael – named after his grandfather the ‘Ruzhiner’. Reb Yisrael the second was also known by the name ‘Or Yisrael’, after the manuscript that he authored. Reb Yisrael led the court of Sadigur for twenty-four years, until he passed on to the World of Truth on the 13th of Tishrei, 5667 (1906).
He was succeeded by several of his sons. Initially, Reb Aharon (the ‘Kedushas Aharon’) served as Admor of Sadigur, but he did not live long and passed away six short years after his father, on the 19th of Tishrei 5673 (1912).
Whilst Rav Aharon was still alive, another of Rebbe Yisrael’s sons began to lead the Chassidim together with him – Reb Avraham Yaakov Friedman (the second), of Sadigur. Reb Avraham Yaakov was born to Reb Yisrael from his second wife, on the 8th of Av, and his bris was held on the 15th of Av. He was the most beloved of all the sons, and Reb Yisrael invested much effort in his education. Whilst still a young boy, he would learn for long hours – from dawn until the small hours of night, and at the mere age of eleven he was betrothed to the daughter of Rebbe Yitzchak Meir of Kopshitz, another Chassidic court whose roots lay deeply entrenched in the house of Ruzhin.
|The Sadigura Shul|
Reb Avraham Yaakov was only twenty-three years of age when his elderly father passed away. In spite of his relative youth, many Chassidim crowned him as their Rebbe. During the First World War, Reb Avraham Yaakov fled the war together with his brother the Admor Rav Shlomo Chaim Friedman of Sadigura, and his nephew Reb Mordechai Shalom Yosef. They escaped to Vienna, where Rav Shlomo gave up his position as Admor and began to actively work on behalf of the Jews in Europe. He continued working assiduously for the Klal even after the Holocaust when he moved to Eretz Yisrael, until his passing on the 26th of Av 5736 (1976). Rav Shlomo Chaim Friedman was interred in the ‘Nachlas Yitzchak’ cemetery in Givatayim.
Reb Avraham Yaakov continued to lead the court in Sadigura even after the First World War, from the city of Vienna. The move of the Sadigur court to Vienna brought an end to the thriving Jewish community in the city of Sadigura, which before WWI numbered over five thousand Jews. After the Second World War, no Jews remained at all, save a few lone survivors.
Rabbi Mordechai Shalom Yosef of Sadigura-Peshmishal
With the Nazi rise to power in Germany and the annexation of Austria to Germany in the historic ‘Anschluss’, terror ran amok in the streets of Vienna. The accursed Nazis, may their names be blotted out forever, dragged the saintly Reb Avraham Yaakov together with a number of other Rabbanim into the streets, and forced them to sweep the cobblestones in front of crowds of gleeful onlookers. His followers realized how fast the situation was deteriorating in Europe, and they hurried to obtain a visa for their Rebbe to enable him to escape to Eretz Yisrael. So it was that Reb Avraham Yaakov arrived in Eretz Yisrael during those turbulent years, and settled in Tel Aviv. It is told that at the time the Rebbe was sweeping the streets of Vienna under the murderous gaze of the Nazis, he vowed that were he ever to merit standing on the sacred soil of Eretz Yisrael, he would clean the streets of the holy Land. Indeed, on his arrival in Eretz Yisrael Rav Avraham Yaakov began to implement his promise by sweeping a section of the street in front of his home, but when he discerned that his Chassidim were observing him, he stopped because it went against the Derech of Ruzhin – that of royalty and dignity.
Reb Avraham Yaakov was very active in public matters concerning the community at large, and was one of the heads of Agudas Yisrael. For a while he even stood at the helm of the Moetzes Gedolei haTorah of Agudas Yisrael. He passed away on the 5th of Teves 5721 (1961) leaving behind no surviving sons; his words of Torah are his memorial and they were assembled together by the Admor Rav Yitzchak Meir of Kopshnitz, into the Sefer ‘Avir Yaakov’.
After Reb Aharon’s passing, his son Reb Mordechai Shalom Yosef Friedman of Sadigur was appointed as Rebbe of Sadigur, at the side of his uncles Reb Avraham Yaakov and Reb Shlomo. During the First World War Reb Shalom Yosef fled to Vienna with his uncles, as mentioned, and in the year 5693 (1933) he moved to the city Pshemishl where he founded the Yeshiva ‘Meshivas Nefesh’. Pshemishl became a large center of Sadigur Chassidus, as many Chassidim mover there to be near their Rebbe. In the year 5699 (1939) Reb Shalom Yosef emigrated to Eretz Yisrael and joined his relatives in Tel Aviv. He was also a member of the Moetzes Gedolei haTorah of Agudas Yisrael, and was renowned as a tremendous Torah giant. His words of Torah were compiled in the Sefer ‘Knesses Mordechai’. Reb Shalom Yosef passed away on the 29th of Nissan 5739 (1979), and was interred near the other Admorim of Sadigur, in the ‘Nachlas Yitzchak’ cemetery in Givatayim.
Today, the current Rebbe of Chassidus Sadigur is Reb Avraham Yaakov Friedman (the third), and he relocated the court from Pinkas St. in Tel Aviv to the city of Bnei Brak, where he built a magnificent Beis haMedrash. His works are compiled in the Sefer ‘Ikvei Abirim’. The Chassidim of Sadigur are now dispersed throughout the world, and institutions of Sadigur can be found in numerous cities such as Yerushalayim, Ashdod, Modiin Illit, Beitar and Elad. Abroad, communities of Sadigur Chassidim are to be found in London, England; Antwerp in Belgium; and as far away as New York.