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Monday, February 23, 2015

Rare Footage Of Chofetz Chaim At First Knessia Gedolah

Rare footage posted online Sunday appears to show one of European Jewry's greatest Torah scholars, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan - more popularly known as the Chafetz Chaim - attending the First World Congress of the World Agudath Israel in Vienna.

The 10-day Congress took place in 1923, making the video nearly 100 years old.

An elderly Chafetz Chaim can be seen arriving at roughly 57 seconds in, alongside other leading Ashkenazic rabbis and community heads of his generation.

The Chafetz Chaim was perhaps the most important codifier of contemporary halakha (Jewish law) in the Ashkenazic world, and his magnum opus - the Mishne Berura - is still used today by many as a basis for halakhic rulings.

"Chafetz Chaim" was in fact the name of another of his more famous works, a masterpiece of Jewish ethics concerning the Torah's laws of speech that is widely read throughout the Jewish world.

(World Congress of Agudas Jisroel, new organization of Orthodox Jews, in session. Footage of delegates arriving before Congress Building (the old circus building) in Zirkue Strasse. Group shot with Chief Rabbi Chaim Sechor (Roumania) in center. Group with Rabbi Lee Preschner, member of the business committee of the association. Group with Rabbi Ehrmann (Frankfort, Germany) in conversation. Dr. Jacob Rosenheim (Frankfort) leader of the new movement. Dr. Leo Jung (New York). Sally Guggenheim. Chief Rabbi Spitzer (Czechoslovakia). Delegate from Palestine. Chief Rabbi Lowenstein (Zurich, Switzerland). Dr. Kirschbaum (Warsaw, Poland), deputy in the Sejm (Polish Parliament). Chief Rabbi Permutier (Warsaw), Sejm deputy. The famous 90 year old Rabbi Jisreol Meier Hakohen (Radin), also called "Chofez Chaim" after his great work (info seems to be incorrect, Ed.). Identifications of delegates may be incorrect.)

הכנסייה הראשונה יועדה להתקיים בחודש אלול תרע"ד (1914), אך מספר שבועות לפני התאריך המיועד פרצה מלחמת העולם הראשונה.

המועד: ג'-י' באלול תרפ"ג (1923). המקום: וינה. בכנסייה השתתפו כ-900 צירים.

בין המשתתפים: החפץ חיים, האדמו"ר הרב אברהם מרדכי אלתר מגור, הרב חיים עוזר גרודז'ינסקי מווילנא, האדמו"ר הרב ישראל פרידמן מצ'ורטקוב, האדמו"ר רבי משה פרידמן מבויאן, האדמו"ר הרב יצחק זליג מורגנשטרן מסוקולוב, הרב מאיר דן פלוצקי בעל ה"כלי חמדה", הרב מאיר שפירא מלובלין, הרב משה מרדכי אפשטיין מסלבודקה, הרב מאיר אטלס משאוויל, הרב יוסף יהודה ליב בלוך מטלז, הרב יהודה לייב צירלסון מקישינב, הרב איסר זלמן מלצר מסלוצק.

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