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Vizhnitz

VIZHNITZ

VIZHNITZ , ḥasidic dynasty, founded by menahem mendel ben Ḥayyim hager (1830–1884). After the death of his father, the ẓaddik of Kosov (1854), Menahem Mendel began to lead the community of Vizhnitz (Vizhnitsa) where he also served as av bet din. He became famous as a miracle worker and a distributor of amulets. He headed *Kolel Vizhnitz and Maramuresh, a fund for the poor in Ereẓ Israel. He also attempted to settle the dispute between R. Ḥayyim *Halberstam of Zanz (Sandz) and the sons of R. Israel of *Ruzhin. His book Ẓemaḥ Ẓaddik (1885) was written in the spirit of ḥasidic Kabbalah.

His oldest son baruch (1845–1893) served as a ḥasidic rabbi in Vizhnitz for eight years, and gathered around him many Ḥasidim. A collection of his writings was published as Imrei Barukh (1912). Seven of his nine sons and three of his sons-in-law were ḥasidic rabbis, a fact which contributed to divisions among the Ḥasidim and gave rise to controversy. He was succeeded by his son israel (1860–1938). R. Israel was very popular and had thousands of ḥasidic followers. He founded a big yeshivah called Bet Israel and moved to Grosswardein (Hung. Nagyvarad) which became a center of Ḥasidism in Hungary. His publications include Ahavat Yisrael (1943) and Or Yisrael (1938). Other sons of R. Baruch with many followers included Ḥayyim of itinia (1864–1935) and phinehas of borsa (d. 1941). The successors of the Vizhnitz dynasty in Bene-Berak, Israel, the sons of R. Israel, include: Ḥayyim (1881–1979); whose teachings are in Kunteres ha-Likkutim (1949); eliezer (1889–1946), author of Dammesek Eliezer (1949); and baruch, of Siret-Vizhnitz (1895–1972). The Ẓaddikim of Vizhnitz were active in spreading Torah learning; in Israel they established yeshivot and housing for their Ḥasidim.

bibliography:

H. Cahana, Even Shetiyyah (1930); Y.H. Schwartz, Evel Yisrael (1936); M.A.H. Horowitz, Zikhron Yisrael (1937); I. Alfasi, Tiferet she-be-Malkhut (1961).

[Avraham Rubinstein]

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