Jehiel Meir (Lifschits) of Gostynin

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JEHIEL MEIR (Lifschits) OF GOSTYNIN (1816–1888), rabbi and ḥasidic ẓaddik, known as the "Good Jew of Gostynin." Jehiel Meir was a pupil of Menahem Mendel of *Kotsk and Jacob Aryeh Gutterman of *Radzymin. After unsuccessfully engaging in trade, on the advice of Menahem Mendel of Kotsk in 1878 he became rabbi of Gostynin. His reputation for goodness and holiness was such that even in his youth he was called "one of the 36 ẓaddikim." The hyper-critical Kotsk Ḥasidim honored him for his unsophisticated simplicity. His modest way of life gained him the love of the simple folk. He took no rewards (pidyonot) and gave his own money to charity. Jehiel Meir devoted much of his teaching to the Psalms and advised repeating them as the most potent form of prayer, becoming known as the "Psalm Jew" (Yid. Der Tilim Yid). After the death of Jacob Aryeh of Radzymin he became ḥasidic leader in Gostynin. His teachings were collected in Merom ha-Rim (1892) and Mei ha-Yam (n.d.). His son israel moses succeeded him in Proskurov. The personality of Jehiel Meir and his way of life left a deep impression. Shalom *Asch's historical novel Salvation is based upon his life.


J.H. Goldshlag, Merom ha-Rim (1892, repr. 1965); A.I. Bromberg, Mi-Gedolei ha-Ḥasidut, 11 (1956).

[Zvi Meir Rabinowitz]