Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heschel (Admor of Apta), Admor of Apta (1748 - 1825) MP

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Nicknames: "יהושע השיל השל מזינקוב", "Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Apt", "Apta Rav", "Ohev Israel", "רבי אברהם יהושע העשיל"
Birthplace: Zmigrod, Poland
Death: Died in Mezhbizh, Ukraine
Occupation: Founder of the Apt-Mezhbizh-Zinkover Hasidic dynasty
Managed by: Malka Mysels
Last Updated:

About Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heschel (Admor of Apta), Admor of Apta

Avraham Yehoshua Heshel, Apter Rebbe / Rov - רבי אברהם יהושע העשיל ( Born: 1748, Nowy Żmigród - Died 5 Nisan 1825, Medzhybizh ) Main work אוהב ישראל Oheiv Yisrael

A scion of famous rabbinic families, on both his father's and his mother's side (his family can be traced back to Maharam Padua and Saul Wahl), Avraham Yehoshua Heshel showed great promise even at an early age.

Acquiring fame as a talmudic scholar, he studied under Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk and Rabbi Yechiel Michl of Zlotchov. Becoming one of the foremost spokesmen of the growing Chasidic movement in Poland, he began his career as Rabbi of Kolbasov.

In 1800 he accepted the post of Rabbi of Apt, or Opatów. Although he held many other rabbinic positions, to the chasidim he remained always the Apter Rov.

In 1808 he was chosen as Rabbi of Iaşi, Moldavia. In the wake of communal strife there he was forced to leave his post and settled in Mezhbizh, the home of the Baal Shem Tov and the cradle of Hasidism, where he devoted himself completely to the study and dissemination of Chasidism.

It was during this period in his life, in Mezhbizh, that he gained the veneration of thousands of followers, among whom were a number of the prominent rabbis of the age. His outstanding character trait was his strongly expressed love of the Jewish people, which earned him the title of Oheiv Yisrael, "Lover of Israel". Oheiv Yisrael became the title of the published collection of his thoughts arranged according to the weekly Torah portions. The work abounds with lofty kabbalistic insights and interpretations. It is one of the basic chasidic texts, and bespeaks the Apter Rov's passionate love of his fellow Jews. The Apter Rov is one of the most notable and beloved luminaries on the hasidic firmament.

On his deathbed, crying bitterly over the long exile, he said: "Before his demise Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev promised that upon entering the World-to-Come he would not rest or sit until Mashiach would come. But they diverted his attention by teaching him lofty and mystical concepts, until he forgot his pledge—but I assure you, I will not forget."

He was buried in Mezhbizh, near the Baal Shem Tov. An ornate stone ohel marks his grave in the old Jewish cemetery. According to one hasidic legend, angels subsequently carried his body and buried him in the Holy Land, and in the Jewish Cemetery in Tiberias there is a stone marking his supposed grave.

The Hasidic dynasty of Mezhbizh/Zinkov

References

Chapin, David A. and Weinstock, Ben, The Road from Letichev: The history and culture of a forgotten Jewish community in Eastern Europe, Volume 1. ISBN 0-595-00666-3 iUniverse, Lincoln, NE, 2000.

Kaplan, Aryeh (1991) Chasidic Masters: History, Biography, Thought. Moznaim Publishing Corporation.

Rabinowicz, Tzvi M. The Encyclopedia of Hasidism: ISBN 1-56821-123-6 Jason Aronson, Inc., 1996.

Finkel, Avraham Y. The Great Chasidic Masters: ISBN 1-56821-939-3 Jason Aronson, Inc., 1992.

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http://wapedia.mobi/en/Apta_%28Hasidic_dynasty%29

Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apt was the founder of the Apt-Mezhbizh-Zinkover Hasidic dynasty. In honor of the dynasty's founder, his descendants adopted the family name Heshel.

The males in this family took wives several different times from the family of the Ryzhiner Rebbe.

   * R. Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apt (1748-1825)
       * R. Yitschak Meir of Zinkov (1776-1854)
       * R. Yosef Moshe of Mezhbizh
           * R. Meshulam Zusia of Zinkov (1813-1865)
               * R. Chaim Menachem of Zinkov (1837-1894)
                   * R. Pinchas of Zinkov (1872-1916)
                       * R. Abraham Joshua Heshel of Zinkov
                   * R. Moses of Zinkov (1879-1923)
                       * R. Chaim Menachem of Zinkov-Bnei Brak
               * R. Abraham Joshua Heshel of Mezhbizh (1832-1880)
                   * R. Israel Shalom Joseph of Mezhbizh (1853-1911)
                       * R. Yitshak Meir of Mezhbizh-Haifa (1904-1985)
                       * R. Abraham Joshua Heshel of Mezhbizh-Tarnopol (1892-1943)
                   * R. Yitshak Meir of Kopyczynce (1862-1936)
                       * R. Abraham Joshua Heshel of Kopyczynce (1888-1967). His daughter Chava was married to Shneur Zalman Gurary, a chassid of the last two Lubavitcher Rebbes [1] .
                           * R. Moshe Mordechai Heshel of Kopyczynce (1914-1975) Died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage.
                               * R. Avraham Y. Heschel, the youngest son of R. Moshe Mordechai Heshel ZT"L. In 1999, together with the assistance of his mother and older brother R. Isaac M. Heschel, they founded Chasdei Moshe-Kopyczynitz an outreach organization in Brooklyn, N.Y. dedicated in memory of the late Grand Rabbi and the continuity of the Kopyczynitzers. A division of that organization was inaugurated in the fall of 2000, the Brandler Institute of Chasidic Thought, a think tank devoted to bringing a greater understanding of Chasidic culture to the secular society.
                           * R. Meshulam Zusia Heschel, the youngest son of R. Abraham Joshua Heschel
                               * Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Flitenstein, grandson of Reb Abraham Joshua Heshel is currently the Kapishnitzer Rebbe in Jerusalem. He is the founder and director of the Ohev Yisrael Institutions, the world famous Machon Sifsei Tzaddikim for publishing of manuscripts and chassidic writings. He has a large following in both Israel and around the world.
                   * R. Meshulam Zusia of Mezhbizh (1871-1920)
                   * R. Moses Mordecai of Mezhbizh (1873-1917)
                       * Prof. R. Abraham Joshua Heschel (January 11, 1907, Warsaw, Poland - December 23, 1972), Professor of Jewish Ethics and Mysticism at Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS), the main seminary of Conservative Judaism. He was an important author, civil rights activist, and leader in the Conservative movement.
                           * Prof. Susannah Heschel (1952- ), Professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth and an important modern Jewish scholar.

2. References

  1. the Kapishnitzer Rebbe - Chabad Talk - Jewish Forum
   * Chapin, David A. and Weinstock, Ben, The Road from Letichev: The history and culture of a forgotten Jewish community in Eastern Europe, Volume 1 ISBN 0-595-00666-3 iUniverse, Lincoln, NE, 2000.
   * Kaplan, Aryeh (1991) Chasidic Masters: History, Biography, Thought Moznaim Publishing Corporation.
   * Rabinowicz, Tzvi M. The Encyclopedia of Hasidism: ISBN 1-56821-123-6 Jason Aronson, Inc., 1996.

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http://wiki.geni.com/index.php/Jewish_Dynasties -------------------- Yahrtzeit: Nisan-5

A scion of famous rabbinic families, on both his father's and his mother's side (his family can be traced back to Maharam Padua and Saul Wahl), Avraham Yehoshua Heshel showed great promise even at an early age. Acquiring fame as a talmudic scholar, he studied under Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk and Rabbi Yechiel Michl of Zlotchov. Becoming one of the foremost spokesmen of the growing Chasidic movement in Poland, he began his career as Rabbi of Kolbasov. In 1800 he accepted the post of Rabbi of Apt, or Opatów. Although he held many other rabbinic positions, to the chasidim he remained always the Apter Rov. In 1808 he was chosen as Rabbi of Iaşi, Moldavia. In the wake of communal strife there he was forced to leave his post and settled in Mezhbizh, the home of the Baal Shem Tov and the cradle of Hasidism, where he devoted himself completely to the study and dissemination of Chasidism.

It was during this period in his life, in Mezhbizh, that he gained the veneration of thousands of followers, among whom were a number of the prominent rabbis of the age. His outstanding character trait was his strongly expressed love of the Jewish people, which earned him the title of Oheiv Yisrael, "Lover of Israel". Oheiv Yisrael became the title of the published collection of his thoughts arranged according to the weekly Torah portions. The work abounds with lofty kabbalistic insights and interpretations. It is one of the basic chasidic texts, and bespeaks the Apter Rov's passionate love of his fellow Jews. The Apter Rov is one of the most notable and beloved luminaries on the hasidic firmament.

On his deathbed, crying bitterly over the long exile, he said: "Before his demise Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev promised that upon entering the World-to-Come he would not rest or sit until Mashiach would come. But they diverted his attention by teaching him lofty and mystical concepts, until he forgot his pledge—but I assure you, I will not forget."

He was buried in Mezhbizh, near the Baal Shem Tov. An ornate stone ohel marks his grave in the old Jewish cemetery. According to one hasidic legend, angels subsequently carried his body and buried him in the Holy Land, and in the Jewish Cemetery in Tiberias there is a stone marking his supposed grave.

Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apt was the founder of the Mezhbizh/Zinkover rabbinic dynasty. In honor of the dynasty's founder, his descendants adopted the family name Heshel.

(link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apter_Rov)

The "Holy Jew" left three children behind. The oldest was R. Yerachmiel of Peshishcha, the second was R. Asher of Farisav and the third was R. Nechemiahle of Bechev.

With the Holy Jew's passing away, his student, R. Bunim of Peshishcha, took over the guidance of his students, who consisted not only of simple followers but also of the great leaders of the generation. At first, R. Yerachmiel himself counted himself one of R. Bunim's followers. But later, when R. Bunim introduced his sharp approach to intellectual Hasidism, R. Yerachmiel had a dispute with him and told him clearly, "This is not what my father had in mind." (Similarly, the Be'er Moshe–the son of the Maggid of Kashenitz–told R. Bunim that his path could at most help two people out of a hundred.) And at that time, R. Yerachmiel became a rebbe and leader in his own right. Nevertheless, [he later spoke up in defense of R. Bunim.] In 18??, the celebrated, great wedding in Ostilya took place, which was attended by over a hundred tzaddikim of the time, the eldest among them being the Apter rav (author of Oheiv Yisrael). A few great tzaddikim who opposed R. Bunim asked that the entire gathering of tzaddikim excommunicate him and forbid intermarrying with his followers, unless he would retreat from his path. But R. Yerachmiel defended R. Bunim and testified before the Apter rav, "R. Bunim was the core of my father's heart." And the situation was calmed.

R. Yerachmiel's two younger brothers, R. Asher and R. Nechemiahle, were his followers. But after some time had passed, a well-known Hasid, R. Yechiel of Warsaw, who used to travel regularly to Rizhin, came to visit R. Yerachmiel. The two younger brothers grew close with R. Yechiel and nachgefarsht [?] by him, and asked him about the Rizhiner's path. R. Asher, the older of the two, asked R. Yechiel to meet them outside Peshischa. There, R. Asher told him, "My holy brother, R. Yerachmiel is [preparing for] prayer. He can even sense our thoughts, not to mention our words, and he would grow very upset to learn that we are looking for another rebbe."

After speaking with R. Yechiel, the two brothers decided that they would travel to Rizhin. Conditions of the time made the journey from Peshischa in Great Poland to Rizhin in deep Volhin a long one. On the way, because they were so strapped for funds, one Friday they had to bring their bags into a beis medrash and set them down behind the great oven (as poor travelers used to do when they came late and couldn't get a place to stay [for Shabbos].) R. Asher and R. Nechemiahle prayed [out of sight of the other congregants] behind the stove. Because of their great piety and intense devotions, their afternoon prayer lasted so long that in the meantime the entire congregation recited the Sabbath eve prayers and the evening prayers, and went home. No one saw them, and so they received no Sabbath invitation.

(link: http://www.shemayisrael.co.il/parsha/review/archives/tazmetz62.htm)

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