Lachowicze (Lyakhovichi), Mordecai ben Noah of

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LACHOWICZE (Lyakhovichi ), MORDECAI BEN NOAH OF (1742–1810), ḥasidic ẓaddik. Mordecai was a disciple of Solomon b. Meir ha-Levi of *Karlin (with whom he went into exile from Lithuania because of persecutions by the Mitnaggedim) and for a short time of *Baruch b. Jehiel of Medzibezh. In 1793 he returned to Lithuania and established a dynasty of ẓaddikim in Lachowicze, which became one of the important centers of Ḥasidism in northeastern Lithuania on the border of Belorussia. His activities to spread Ḥasidism aroused opposition from the Mitnaggedim who started to persecute him. Through their influence he was imprisoned in 1798; the day of his liberation – the fifth day of Ḥanukkah – was celebrated as a holiday among his Ḥasidim. Mordecai was among the main collectors of funds for the Ḥasidim of Ereẓ Israel. In the dispute between *Shneur Zalman of Lyady and *Abraham b. Alexander Katz of Kalisk, he supported the latter. He attached great importance to the role of the ẓaddik in helping his Hasidim in material as well as spiritual matters.

Mordecai's connections by marriage with the ẓaddik Asher of *Stolin led to the establishment of the *Koidanov dynasty of ẓaddikim. Mordecai's successor, his son, Noah (1774–1832), was known for his fatherly attitude toward ordinary people. In 1821 he made an appeal for the benefit of the Ḥasidim of Ereẓ Israel. Torat Avot (1961) contains the teachings and sayings attributed by the Ḥasidim to Mordecai and Noah on the Torah and festivals. After Noah's death some of his Ḥasidim chose his son-in-law mordecai (ii) as successor, while others chose his brother's son solomon Ḥayyim of Koidanov. This split and the rise of the Koidanov and *Kobrin Ḥasidism at that time led to the weakening of Lachowicze Ḥasidism and under Mordecai ii Lachowicze Ḥasidism was to a certain extent led by the ẓaddik Aaron (ii) of *Karlin. During the time of the successor of Mordecai ii, Aaron (d. 1881), Lachowicze Ḥasidism regained its independence, but, in particular during the time of his son, noah (ii; d. 1920), it was again weakened through the spread of the Haskalah. Noah (ii) strongly opposed the Zionist movement and supported the Lachowicze *kolel in EreḤ Israel. His son, johanan, perished with many of his Ḥasidim during the Holocaust. Some of the teachings of the Lachowicze dynasty appear in Divrei Shalom (1882), by Shalom (Perlow) of Koidanov.


W.Z. Rabinowitsch, Lithuanian Ḥasidism (1970), index; M. Buber, Tales of the Hasidim, 2 (19663), 153–8.

[Wolf Zeev Rabinowitsch]