Teitelbaum (1759 – 17 July 1841) (Hebrew: משה
טייטלבוים), also known as the Yismach Moshe, was the Rebbe
of Ujhely (Sátoraljaújhely) in Hungary. According to Leopold Löw,
he signed his name "Tamar", this being the equivalent of Teitelbaum,
which is the
Yiddish for "palm-tree" (compare German "Dattelbaum").
An adherent of the Polish
Hasidic Rebbe, the Chozeh of Lublin (as well
as of Rabbi
Sholom Rokeach of Belz), Rabbi
instrumental in bringing
Hasidic Judaism to Hungary. Though initially
opposed to Hassidism, after his son-in-law introduced him to the
Chozeh of Lublin, he soon became an adherent to Hassidism.
Teitelbaum first served as a rabbi in Przemyśl, and later in Ujhely,
where he was called in 1808. In Ujhely he founded a Hassidic
congregation which was independent of the Galician leaders. In 1822
Teitelbaum was suspected of having supplied amulets to certain Jewish
culprits who had been cast into prison for libel, in order to assist
them in escaping. When called upon to vindicate himself he declared
that the amulets in question served only as substitutes for the
mezuzah and that their only purpose was to protect their bearers
Teitelbaum enjoyed an enviable reputation, with
Moses Sofer paying him homage.
Teitelbaum authored three main works, Heishiv Moshe ("Moses
Responded", a collection of responsa), Tefillah Le-Mosheh, (a
commentary on Psalms), and Yismach Moshe ("
Moses Rejoiced", 1849; 2d
ed. 1898, containing homilies on the Torah), and he is commonly
referred to by the title of the latter. He originally wrote a
significant portion of his commentary on
Psalms on the backs of
personal notes handed to him by petitioners seeking his aid and
blessing. These notes were transmitted via a succession of prominent
hasidic rabbis, until finally being edited and published for the first
time in Kraków in 1880.
His descendants became leaders of the communities of
Sighet and Satmar
known as Satmar Hasidim, and his name 'Moshe' was the inspiration for
the 'Vayoel Moshe' series of books authored by his descendant, Rebbe
Yoel Teitelbaum of Satmar. He was said to have identified his three
prior gilgulim (incarnations in
Kabbalistic terminology), saying that
in his first gilgul he had been a sheep in Yaakov Avinu's flock, in
his second incarnation he lived in the time of Moses, and in his third
incarnation he lived during the time of the destruction of the First
Temple. Out of humility, he did not disclose the nature of the third
incarnation, but his followers asked another Rebbe[who?], who
identified it as the Biblical Prophet Jeremiah. Regarding the first
gilgul, he taught his followers the song, he said, that he recalled
Jacob would sing as he tended the sheep.
He was once learning the story of Korach in the
Torah with his young
grandson the Yetev Lev and the Yetev Lev made a comment showing that
he didn't think much of Korach, who rebelled against Moses. At that
point the Yismach Moshe admonished him saying that we have no
understanding of the greatness of Korach. In fact, added the Yismach
Moshe, he himself was a gilgul from that "Dor HaMidbar" (generation of
the desert) and had not been sure whom to follow, since this seemed to
be a valid argument between the two greatest men of the generation.
His grandson then asked him, "If so what did you do and how did you
save yourself?" The Yismach Moshe answered, "Not wanting to be part of
the machlokes (argument) I ran into my tent and closed the entrance
tightly. I refused to come out until it was all over."[citation
His followers would teach of his previous identification with
Jeremiah, and how this affected his present life. In his later days he
yearned so much for the coming of the
Jewish Messiah and the
rebuilding of the Temple, that he wore his
Shabbat clothing the entire
week, anticipating the Messiah's arrival. He died on July 17, 1841.
^ a b c One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates
text from a publication now in the public domain: Singer,
Isidore; Venetianer, Ludwig (1901–1906). "Teitelbaum, Moses". In
Singer, Isidore; et al. Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk &
Wagnalls Company. Retrieved Mar 10, 2016.
Jewish Encyclopedia bibliography:
Aaron Walden, Shem ha-Gedolim he-Ḥadash, p. 101;
Löw, Gesammelte Schriften, vol. II, 1890, p. 76, 84, 89, 91.
^ Ami Living. No. 87. Sep 12, 2012. p. 44. Missing or
empty title= (help)
^ Dezsö Schön (1997). Istenkeresök a Kárpátok alatt (God-seekers
under the Carpathians), 97. Budapest, Múlt és Jövö
^ 'Codex Judaica', M.Kantor p.259
^ Löw, p. 84-85.
^ Löw, p. 89.
^ Cited in introduction to Tefillah le-Moshe, Teitelbaum, Monroe, NY
^ Vayoel Moshe, Teitelbaum, Jerusalem,Israel 1961 ed. page 18
^ The Biblical Patriach
Jacob fathered the 12 Tribes of the Jewish
people. Kabbalah teaches that his flock of sheep comprised the future
root souls of Israel. The identification by Moshe
Teitelbaum of this
first incarnation, would accordingly be novel for his recollection of
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