The Gaon of Rogatchov, HaRav Yosef ben Fishel Rosen of Dvinsk

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Joseph "Ragatchover Gaon" Rosen, "The Rogatchover Iluy"

Hebrew: הגאון מרוגוצ'וב יוסף רוזין, "The Rogatchover Iluy"
Also Known As: "יוסף רוזין", "The Rogachever Iluy", "Yosef Rozin/Ragatchover Goen", "The Gaon of Rogatchov", "Tzofnath Paneach", "The Rogatchover Illuy", "HaRav Yosef ben Fishel Rosen of Dvinsk", "Rogatchover Gaon", "Rabbi Yosef Ruzin", "Rabbi Rozin", "Rabbi Rosin"
Birthdate: (78)
Birthplace: Rogatchov, Belarus
Death: March 05, 1936 (78)
Vienna, Austria
Place of Burial: Daugavpils, Daugavpils pilsēta, Daugavpils pilsēta, Latvia
Immediate Family:

Son of R' Ephraim Fischel Rosen and Sarah Rosen
Husband of Perla Rosen
Father of Rachel Citron (Rosen)
Brother of Mussia Raizel Demichovskiy and Sofia Shpitz

Occupation: Rabbi
Managed by: Malka Mysels
Last Updated:

About The Gaon of Rogatchov, HaRav Yosef ben Fishel Rosen of Dvinsk

R' Joseph Rosen יוסף רוזין, (Rogachev, 1858 – Vienna, 5 March 1936) was known as the Rogatchover Gaon, ("Genius of Rogachev"), and also often referred to by the title of his main work Tzofnath Paneach ("Decipherer of Secrets"). He was one of the most prominent talmudic scholars of the early 20th-century, known as a genius (gaon) because of his photographic memory and ability to connect sources from the Talmud to seemingly unrelated situations. He has been described as the foremost Talmudic genius of his time.

After an hour-long meeting with the amazing Gaon, our national poet, H.N. Bialik expressed his feelings thus:

From the brain of the Rogachover it would be possible to create two Einsteins; a dear man whose reality is unlike any other, who is an enormous spiritual asset to the nation.

If it were possible to scientifically utilize all of his brilliant knowledge, it would be possible to enrich our culture with dozens of valuable books. If it were possible to draw his Talmudic knowledge from the wellspring of his mind, it would be possible to create a comprehensive culture.”

Those impressive remarks came from the mouth of Bialik after a meeting of only one hour's time. The city of Dvinsk was fortunate indeed to have rabbis who were among the most brilliant of their generation. Source

Bio

He was born in Rogachev, now in Belarus, into a Hasidic family of Kapuster Hasidim, and was educated in the local cheder (Torah school for small children). His unusual capabilities were noticed at the age of thirteen, when he was sent to study in Slutzk along with Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik, five years his senior, under the Beis Halevi, Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik.

He subsequently studied under Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin (Maharil Diskin) in Shklov. He then assumed (in 1889) the rabbinate of the Hasidic community in Dvinsk for almost 50 years, where his non-Hasidic counterpart was Rabbi Meir Simcha of Dvinsk; they served in parallel until the late 1920s, and enjoyed excellent relations.

Among those who received semicha (Rabbinic ordination) from him were, the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Rabbi Mordecai Savitsky of Boston; Rabbi Zvi Olshwang (1873–1959?) of Chicago a brother-in-law of Rabbi Shimon Shkop; Rabbi Avrohom Elye Plotkin, the author of Birurei Halachot (a copy of the actual semicha is included in that work).

The Rogachover is remembered for his breadth of Torah knowledge and caustic wit. He did not suffer inadequacy lightly. He was similarly reputed to rarely quote any rabbinic authority post-Maimonides, and avoided recent rabbinic works of the Achronim in favour of the Rishonim (those preceding the late 15th century). His responses to queries of Jewish law are generally enigmatic and cryptic. He died in Vienna in 1936 following unsuccessful surgery.

Throughout his life, despite not being an official Lubavitcher Chassid, he maintained very close connections to Lubavitcher Chabad Chassidim and their Rebbeim, Rashab and Rayatz (after Rashab's death, he supported the decision to appoint the young Rayatz as the new Rebbe).


The Rogatchover is a famous figure in Chabad Lubavitch folklore; his name often comes up in stories told in yeshivas and during farbrengens—content ranging from self-sacrifice and dedication to Torah values despite the pressures of Russian government, to special sensitivity of spiritual dimension of the Torah (in Chassidus and Kabbalah), to his genius in the revealed Torah. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson once quoted the Rogachover, who said that the whole Judaism to him could be condensed into ten basic ideas, and were he to be smarter, it would be only one idea.

Works

His main work, a commentary on Maimonides, was published during his lifetime, as were five volumes of halachic responsa. The remainder of his surviving writings appeared in the United States and Israel many years after his death; all are titled Tzofnath Paneach "decipherer of secrets", (a title given to the Biblical Joseph by Pharaoh (Genesis 41:45)).

His manuscripts were smuggled out of Latvia in the form of micro photographs sent via mail to a cousin in the Bronx at the outbreak of the World War II by his successor, Rabbi Yisrael Alter Safern-Fuchs (1911–1942), who remained in Latvia to complete this task, and his daughter, who had come to Dvinsk from Eretz Yisroel to help preserve her father's manuscripts. Both died at the hands of the Nazis as a result. A portion of these manuscripts were edited and published by Rabbi Menachem M. Kasher of New York. Much of the material has yet to be published.

His works include responsa and novellae on Torah and Talmud. They are regarded as difficult and inaccessible, as he employs the philosophical terminology of Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed even in non-philosophical analyses. Rabbi Kasher, therefore, included Mefa'aneach Tzefunoth, an explanatory commentary, to facilitate understanding of the Rogatchover's influential work.

References

  • 1. Jump up 
^ http://www.kestenbaum.net/content.php?item=1431
  • 2. Jump up 
^ HaRogatchover by Y. Borochov, 2005 p.22
  • 3. Jump up 
^ HaRogatchover by Y. Borochov, 2005 p.77-79
  • External links[edit]
  • • Rabbi Y. Feitman, The Rogatchover Gaon (biography)
  • • Tzafnat Pane'ach Institute - organization striving to research and republish Rosen's works
  • Jewish Dynasties

From Wikipedia:

Joseph Rosen (Hebrew: יוסף רוזין, Yosef Rosin), known as the Rogatchover Gaon, ("Genius of Rogachev"), and also often referred to by the title of his main work Tzofnath Paneach ("Decipherer of Secrets"), (Rogachev, 1858 – Vienna, 5 March 1936), was a rabbi and one of the most prominent talmudic scholars of the early 20th-century, known as a genius (gaon) because of his photographic memory and ability to connect sources from the Talmud to seemingly unrelated situations.

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The Gaon of Rogatchov, HaRav Yosef ben Fishel Rosen of Dvinsk's Timeline

1858
1858
Belarus
1936
March 5, 1936
Age 78
Vienna, Austria
????
Warsaw, Warszawa, Masovian Voivodeship, Poland
????
Daugavpils, Daugavpils pilsēta, Daugavpils pilsēta, Latvia