Kobrin, Moses ben Israel Polier of

views updated


KOBRIN, MOSES BEN ISRAEL POLIER OF (1784–1858), ḥasidic rabbi. He was a disciple of the ẓaddikimMordecai and Noah of *Lachowicze (Lyakhovichi); on the latter's death he became rabbi of the ḥasidic community in *Kobrin and its vicinity. Moses was particularly known for his virtues of truthfulness, humility, and the bearing of suffering with love. He did not insist on fasts and ascetic practices. His sayings were short and to the point, and he influenced and educated his congregation of Ḥasidim by proverbs and examples. He placed great importance on the personal link between the Ḥasid and the ẓaddik, who is "like a branch to a tree," but "the ẓaddik will be answerable for every single step that the hasid makes in his direction." He wrote his Ḥasidim letters of encouragement when they were in distress. He had adherents in Ereẓ Israel among the Ḥasidim of kolel Lyakhovichi. His sayings are collected in Amarot Tehorot (1910).

His successor in Kobrin was his grandson noah naphtali (d. 1889); his sayings and maxims entitled Ma'amarim Tehorim are published with the sayings of his grandfather in Amarot Tehorot (1910). Kobrin Ḥasidism declined in his day owing to competition from the growing adherence to *Slonim Ḥasidim. Noah Naphtali was succeeded by his sons david solomon (d. 1918), who remained ḥasidic rabbi in Kobrin, and aaron (d. 1907), who settled in the townlet Domachevo. The son of David Solomon, moses aaron, led the Ḥasidim of Kobrin until the Holocaust, in which he perished in 1942. David Solomon's son-in-law, baruch joseph zak (d. 1949), the last to hold the title of "Rabbi of Kobrin," led a group of Kobrin Ḥasidim who emigrated to the United States.


B. Schwarz and I.H. Biletzky (ed.), Sefer Kobrin (1951); W. Rabinowitsch, Lithuanian Ḥasidism (1970); M. Buber, Tales of the Hasidim, 2 (1966), 159–73.

[Wolf Zeev Rabinowitsch]