Living Legacy: Rav Shloime Chanoch Hakohen Rabinovitch of Radmosk, zt”l, Hy”d
By: Yehuda Alter
The 18th of Av marks the 80th yohrtzeit of Rebbe Shloime Chanoch, the last Rebbe of the Radomsker dynasty and the head of the Kesser Torah-Radomsk network of yeshivos, who was brutally murdered by the Nazis, ym”sh, on this date in 1942.
He was the fourth generation of the legendary Radomsker dynasty, and was born to his father, Rav Yechezkel, known as the Knesses Yechezkel, a son of Rebbe Avrohom Yisaschar, who was a son of the Tiferes Shloime, the founder of the dynasty.
He was raised in the holy court, and was known from an early age as having a phenomenal mind and memory. He soon amassed knowledge in vast portions of Shas and Poskim, and was known as a great lamdan.
He married his cousin, the daughter of his uncle, Rav Moshe Elimelech Rabinovitch.
IN 1911, his father, the Knesses Yechezkel passed away, and Rav Shloime Chanoch assumed his place at the young age of 29.
He soon set to work establishing a network of yeshivos—36 yeshivos throughout Poland. More than four thousand bachurim learned in the yeshivos with great diligence, and the majority of them would be wiped out in the Holocaust.
The Rebbe himself covered most of the costs of operating this vast network, and the Kesser Torah yeshivos in the shtetelach and cities of Poland were a legendary institution.
Simultaneously, two seforim of his Torah were compiled: Shivchei Kohen and Birchas Shloime.
With the outbreak of WWII, the Rebbe found himself in Lodz, and was granted an exit visa through which he could save himself. But he refused, saying, “I want to be with all the Yidden.”
From there he went with his family to Warsaw, staying at the home of a wealthy chossid. In the Warsaw Ghetto, he continued with his life as usual—learning and davening extensively, and conducting tischen. The Germans did not take this kindly, and on Shabbos, 18 Av, they entered his home, instructing him to go to the street. He refused, saying, I will not die in the streets. They shot at him, and he returned his holy soul to its Maker.
The following anecdote is told about Rav Moshe Mordechai of Lelov, zt”l, in connection with the Radomsker Rebbe. During the Holocaust years, the Lelover Rebbe would seclude himself for days and weeks, at the kosel and in Meron, beseeching Hashem to end the terrible calamities. One day, upon leaving Meron, he said that he saw the visage of Rav Shloime Chanoch, shining like an angel. He asked him why this was, and he responded that this was because he gave his neshamah al kiddush Hashem. This is how the news spread in Eretz Yisroel that the Radomsker Rebbe had been killed by the Nazis, ym”sh.
The Rebbe merited to be brought to kever Yisroel in Warsaw, where a large mazteivah remains to this day—a testament to his living legacy.