R. Yokhanan Mirsky
(the last Rabbi of Zabludow)

by, Michael Lifshitz

Translation by Daphna Brafman Coordinated by Tilford Bartman

Born in Stoivitz (Minsk region) to very respected parents. His father R.* Meyer filled a very important role in the world of commerce. His mother Rachel, who was known as a humble woman, gave him a good education and brought him the best teachers. He studied general and religious studies as one. At the age of 14 he studied in the Yeshivah of Mir with the old Gaon R. Chaim Leib; when he was 16 he was accepted to the Slobodka Yeshivah named after R. Yitzhak Elkhanan. From the Slobodka Yeshivah he later went back to the Mir Yeshivah where the head of Yeshivah was the great Gaon R. Eliahu Baruch of Tchekhnovtsa. He went on with studies in the new Yeshivah of Maltz at the great Gaon R. Zalman Sander kahana, father of the Rabbi of Kovno. He was married in the town of Nowoswintsanka with the daughter of the local Rabbi the Gaon Reb. Tzvi Zeev Ratsker. There he he mastered in studies and was authorized by the greatest Gaonim, like Reb. Yitsaleh Ponivezher, Reb. Eliahu Telzer, Reb. Raphael Volozhiner, Reb. Baruch Tchekhnovtser, and the Gaon Rabbi Reb. Chaim Ozer from Vilnius.

He was an activist who cared about the public. Since he knew the language of the State, he was accepted by all residents. He established many welfare institutions and also a people's bank.

In 1912 he left his in-laws' home and became the Rabbi of the town of Badky, famous for its previous Rabbis and Gaonim. There he was also involved with public affairs, invested much efforts in the education of Jewish children in the national and religious spirit and during the First World War, in the years 1914-1918, he defended the honour and property of the Jews who were harrassed under the German occupation. The German administration treated him with respect and this fact helped him in saving many Jews in the entire area.

He always stood at the head of every public activity. As a member of the distribution committee of the joint in the Bilsk region he did everything to make sure that the Badky residents will lack nothing; they didn't have enough words to thank him.

In 1923 the Polish government had put very heavy taxes on the Jews of Poland, so heavy that their existence was in danger. Rabbi Yokhanan Mirsky went to Warsaw with a group of officials from the Bilsk region, and with the assistance of some Jewish representatives approached the government and was able to ease the burden of taxes.

Due to his innitiative a branch of the merchant association was organized in the town and it greatly helped Jews with the taxing problem that caused much danger to their existence.

Thirteen years he served as the Rabbi of Budky and he was known to be a wise student and a public activist. Upon the death of the Gaon Rabbi Akiva Subotnik of blessed memory, the Zabludow community invited him to sit on the Rabbi's bench. Rabbi Misky immediately began taking care of public affairs and problems; innitiated the establishing of Talmud Torah and took care of the needs of the individual and the public.


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