HaRav Kitroni, R' Yisrael Abba Citron, A.B.D. of Petach Tikvah

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R' Yisrael Abba Citron, A.B.D. Petach Tikvah

Nicknames: "Rabbi Yisrael Abba Citrin", "Rabbi Israel Aba Citron-Kidroni", "Rabbi Yisrael Abba Zitron [Kitroni]", "Israel Kitroni", "HaRav Kitroni"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Dvinsk
Death: Died in Petah Tiqwa, Israel
Immediate Family:

Son of Gershon Citron and Frieda Citron (Schlesinger)
Husband of Rachel Citron (Rosen)
Brother of Isaac Citron; Solomon שלמה Citron; Leah Citron-Brodny; Teive Citron and Jacob Citron

Managed by: Malka Mysels
Last Updated:

About HaRav Kitroni, R' Yisrael Abba Citron, A.B.D. of Petach Tikvah

Rabbi of Petach Tikvah

Rabbi Yisrael Abba Citron. was 24 years old, after having been ordained as a rabbi and marrying the daughter of the "Rogotchover" Rebbe, took an external matriculation exam and studied Russian and other languages.

It was said that he was an expert in eight languages. Rabbi Citron was supported in his efforts to obtain a general education by Rabbi Meir Simcha of Dvinsk (the author of "Or Samayach") but not by his own father-in-law, who was also a rabbi in Dvinsk.

Another issue where Rabbi Citron evidently disagreed with his father-in-law was Zionism. Others who had acted as he did were appointed as rabbis in Russia, but Rabbi Citron accepted an invitation by the inhabitants of Petach Tikvah, and in the year 5670 (1910) he was appointed as their rabbi.

In many ways, Petach Tikvah at the time was out of bounds for the Ottoman authorities of the Turkish government, since they did not officially recognize it as a town. The town leaders therefore maintained their own property and mortgage records, all in accordance with their rabbi's halachic rulings.

Even though the Torah laws were the preferred alternative for such issues, as in other matters, the rabbi felt that he had to be prepared for the future when Petach Tikvah would be recognized by the central government. Rabbi Citron therefore took on tasks that a rabbi abroad usually would not be familiar with, in addition to the laws related to the land (such as teruma, maaser, and so on), about which he was required to rule.

The rabbi continued to handle the Petach Tikvah land records well into the time of the British Mandate, until the year 5685 (1925). His unique status gave extra prestige to the court that he established in the town.

Rabbi Citron's influence was instrumental in the establishment of the Lomzha Yeshiva in Petach Tikvah, headed by Rabbi Yechezkel Michael Gordon. This may well have been the first yeshiva in the new settlements in Eretz Yisrael.

His efforts to set up another yeshiva in the area of Yavneh would bear fruit only fifty years later.

The conquest of the land by the British set the stage for enhanced political activity throughout the land. The national institutions were established in the year 5678 (1918). The Mizrachi movement was founded at the same time, and Rabbi Citron served as one of its leaders.

The Chief Rabbinate was also established as a general nationwide institution, as opposed to the previous situation, when every city and town independently controlled its own life, including religious matters.

It was clear that there was a difference of opinion between Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook, who saw the Chief Rabbinate as being involved in all aspects of public life, and Rabbi Citron, who felt that the Rabbinate should concentrate on its own special interests and otherwise cooperate with the other public institutions.

Some people feel that Rabbi Citron's idea was more practical, and that perhaps if it had been adopted a different relationship would have developed between the religious and secular establishments in the country.

Rabbi Citron died very young (at the age of 46), on the twelfth of Elul 5687 (1927). He had no children. His widow returned to Dvinsk in order to rescue the writings of her father, the Rogotchover Rebbe. But she could not rescue herself, and she was murdered in the Holocaust.

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Israel Citron was born in Dvinsk to Gershon, a descendant of Rabbi Raphael Susskind priest Hamburg. His uncle was a writer and Zionist activist Shmuel Leib Citron . As a child he moved with his parents to Kreizenberg . . . 

Later returned to the city and was a student of Rabbi Meir Simcha Hacohen and was student and son in law of Rabbi Yosef Rosen . . . Source

FAMILY

"Chidushei Harav Citron-Kidroni," edited by Rabbi Uri Redmen and published by the Ratzon Yehuda Kollel in Petach Tikvah.

BLOG

The Stamp of Rachel Citron, daughter of the Rogatchover Gaon

. . . I just came across what for me was a first, a stamp of a Rebbetzin in a book. The stamp is that of the famed Rachel Citron, the daughter of the Rogatchover. Note the English portion of the stamp, Rev. Mrs Rachel Citron. Much has been written about Rev. Mrs Citron, and her devotion to publishing her father's writings. Below is a photo of a book of her husband she published, Rabbi Yisrael Aba Citron's chiddushim. The introduction is signed by Rachel Citron, "in a pained and broken heart" בלב כואב ונשבר.

Her husband, Rabbi Yisrael Aba Citron's death, and childless, left her in a complicated halachik position regarding her halitzah. One of the deceased's two brothers was an apostate in Germany, the second was a communist, inaccessible in Soviet Russia.

You can read about the ensuing debate about how to get the halitzah done, in Marc B. Shapiro's Between the Yeshiva World and Modern Orthodoxy, pages 95-96. She never ended up remarrying, and was murdered in the Holocaust.

When the Rogatchover Gaon passed away in 1936, his daughter Rachel Citron left the safety of her home in Petach Tikva (Israel) to return to Dvinsk, Latvia for the purpose of assembling the Rogatchover's many unpublished manuscripts and make them available to future generations of Talmud students. She worked with Rabbi Yisroel Alter Safern-Fuchs (her father's devoted student and successor).

They published two volumes before the Nazi onslaught prevented further publication in Europe. With utter destruction approaching, they hurriedly photographed (into microphotos ) thousands of pages of the Rogatchover's Talmud and Rambam (containing the Rogatchover’s notes and comments on the sides of pages) and his correspondence files, and mailed them weekly in manila envelopes to Rav Alter's granduncle, R. Zvi Hirsch Safern, in New York from 1940-1941. They begged him to be sure to deliver everything to the rabbinic authorities for publication.

Shortly after the last envelope was mailed, the Nazis deported the Jews from Dvinsk to Breslau where they were all murdered on June 3rd 1942 and lie together in a mass grave. Rebbetzin Rachel Citron was a childless widow, and Rabbi Yisroel Alter Safern-Fuchs was only thirty years old and unmarried at the time they were murdered. They spent the last five years of their lives (1936-1941) working feverishly to publish the invaluable writings of the Rogatchover and his correspondences from rabbis in all continents. source

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Chidushei Harav Citron

"Chidushei Harav Citron"-- In the works is a book by Rabbi Uri Redman on the Life and Writing of Rabbi Citron, one of Petach Tikva’s first rabbis, who was a Religious Zionist and friend of Rav Kook.

-Ratzon Yehuda - ratzony@gmail.com - Rabbi Uri Redman

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About HaRav Kitroni, R' Yisrael Abba Citron, A.B.D. of Petach Tikvah (עברית)

ציטרון-קטרוני, הרב, 1881-1927. בעריכת אורי רדמן. רדמן, אורי. ; Y A Tsiṭron; Uri Redman

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HaRav Kitroni, R' Yisrael Abba Citron, A.B.D. of Petach Tikvah's Timeline

1881
1881
Dvinsk
1927
1927
Age 46
Petah Tiqwa, Israel
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