Many religious Jews regard the period before the Second World War as the era of the saints or righteous ones, known in Hebrew as tzadikim. Many of these lived in Eastern Europe and were descendants of the Chassidic dynasties with their thousands of disciples. Every word uttered by these rabbis was received by their students as almost a direct communication from God. Stories of miracles done by these holy men were not only told to children, but were also regarded as parables for one’s own life.
One of the last survivors of this era was the Kaliver Rebbe, who died at the beginning of April at the age of 96 at his home in Jerusalem. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Taub was born in 1923 in Romanian Transylvania. He assumed leadership of his Chassidic group from his father. In 1944, he was deported to Auschwitz, where he was abused by Josef Mengele for the purpose of chemical experimentation. This was how he...
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