Dedication by the Translator from Yiddish to English
These articles were translated by Clarice Gostinsky Horelick as a small act to honor the Jews in Gombin who lost their lives in the Holocaust - including those in her family:
Grandfather Shloime Frenkiel;
Aunt Balchia Frenkiel, wife of Mendel, and their two children including
Aunt and Uncle Cirl Frenkiel Sanicki and Hersh Sanicki and their son, Cousin Numik;
Aunt and Uncle Laitsche Frenkiel Burstyn and Yossek Burstyn.
The Yizkor Book of Gombin: Jack
Zicklin"Gombin the Life and Destruction of a Jewish Town in
Second Part: Between the Two World Wars
Gombin and its Rabbis
by Michael Rozenblum
translated by Clarice Gostinsky Horelick
edited by Ada Holtzman
cities and shtetls in
Abraham Abele Gombiner, the author
of the famous interpretation of Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, was
known as "Magen Abraham", the Shield of Abraham. His original name
was Ner Israel, the candle of
The "Magen Abraham" always wrote his name: Abraham Abele son of the holy man, R' Chaim from Gombin. About his father R' Chaim we know very little. We do know however from the chronicles of his time that he died by Kiddush Hashem, for the Sanctification of the Holy Name, at the hands of Chmielnicki's Cossacks. His great son, Abraham Abele was then 9 years old (sic).
The "Magen Abraham" was born in Gombin in the year 1635 and died in Kalisz in 1683 (we write about him separately).
The later rabbis, a hundred years after the "Magen Abraham" were R' Alexander Yehuda Leib the author of the book "Midrash Ktuba", on the tractate "Ktubut", the set of "Ktubut" in big format, like a Sh"s (the six orders of the Mishna or Talmud) Gemara ("completion", the second and supplementary part of the Talmud, providing a commentary on the first part i.e. the Mishna), 300 large pages of interpretation and elaboration of the Bible written by Rashi script.
but not for very long, the rabbi in Gombin was R' Israel Jehoszua Troonk,
the very well known Gaon who was wooed from Gombin by the Jewish
community in Kutno, who went under the name R' Jehoszele Kutner. He was
the author of the rabbinical books, as Yeshuot
After R' Jehoszele Kutner, there served as rabbi for a long time, R' Simchale Gombiner, so they called him. He is the author of the book, "Ramzei Ash", (the hints of the fire), a commentary of "Tanna (an authority quoted in the Mishna) Eliyahu". He was a Kocker and a Gerer Hassid.
After the R'
Simcha Gombiner there was for a long time R' Natan Neta Natanowicz.
He was known as a highly learned man and a Gerer Hassid. His
grandchildren, the brothers Mazur, (children of his son Rabbi Meir
Mazur, the rabbi of Nieszawa) became known as the Brothers Mazur who
were wealthy and famous ("Gvirim") in Warsaw. One of the brothers, Elijahu
Mazur at the end of the 30s, before the war, was head of the Jewish
After the R'
Natan Natanowicz served as a rabbi the famous R' Yehuda Leib Zlotnik, who was
The writer of these words remembers when he was a little boy, during the first years when the Rabbi Y. L. Zlotnik came to Gombin. The Hassidim were not at all pleased; in fact they worked hard he should not be elected; and when the Rabbi Zlotnik was elected with a large majority of votes, the Hassidim appealed to Gostynin (the jurisdiction to which Gombin belonged) with the complaint that the vote was not "kosher". And the authorities' representative Naczalnik ordered new elections with stricter supervision from the government. In the second election the Rabbi won with an even larger majority. There passed a short time and the Rabbi received recognition also from the Hassidim. They saw his dedication to the Jewish community in general, and particularly to the Jewish community of Gombin.
time when Rabbi Y. L. Zlotnik left
Scholars and Hassidim in Gombin
Gombin was not as Hassidic as its neighboring towns of Zychlin, or Gostynin, where lived the Rabbi and Tsadik, the virtuous R' Yechiel Meir Lipszyc of blessed memory, known as the Gostyniner Tsadik. His influence was great also in Gombin. To him came not only Hassidim to hear Torah and Hassidism, but also ordinary people, even "Mitnagdim" opposers of the Hassidism and the Hassidim. And the Gostyniner Tsadik attended to all who had requests and those who were ill, advised them to say Tehilim, (The Psalms) and prayers in public and in private. The Gostyniner Tsadik was very popular in Gombin. Sholem Asch in his great work, "Jews of Tehilim", the praying Jews, described the Gostyniner Tsadik R' Yechiel Meir. Sholem Asch himself was from the neighboring shtetl of Kutno. Sholem Asch in his famous book, "Dos Shtetl", described Gombiner personalities like R' Jecheskel Gombiner, R' Shlomo Nagid, and others.
Though there were few Chassidim in Gombin, there were however famous scholars and Bney Torah, learners of Torah, in the shtetl. Already a hundred years ago there was in Gombin the famous, "the little R' Abraham". He was known in the Hassidic world in Kock and Gora Kalwaria ("Ger"). The well known Nagid in that time R' Fajwel Orbach was the father-in-law of R' Menachem Landau, brother of whom in Gombin they called R' Mendel Rabbi. R' Mendil Rabbi was the son of Rabbi Wolf Strikower. R' Wolf was the son of the Ciechanower Gaon and Tsadik R' Abraham Landau.
R' Fajwel Orbach was in his time the "Gvir" wealthy philanthof the in Kock and in Gora Kalwaria ("Gur")..
The Hassidim in Gombin, about 40 to 50 years ago, did not always have their own Hassidim shtibel, (small hassidic house of prayer). On shabbes, the Sabbath, they prayed in the town¹s Beth Hamidrash, Torah school, after the prayers of the rich people, around ten in the morning. However, the Hassidim came into the Beth Hamidrash very early and studied while the rich people prayed. Frequently this brought out disagreements. The rich ones said that the Hassidim with their vocal studies disturbed their praying. When the arguments became stronger, the Hassidim rented a shtibel for themselves alone.
From the various Hassidim, the Gerer Hassidim from Gora Kalwaria were the brightest scholars. After the Gerer Hassidim were the Alexanderer, Radzyminer, and others. Among the scholars and also the accredited teachers were: the town rabbi, R' Natan Neta z"l, R' Benjamin the teacher of religious subject, the great Gemarah scholar R' Jerachmiel Goldszmid, and his son R' Zalmen, R' Bunim Menasze Lubinski, R' Henich Rozenblum, R' Gedalia Noach, R' Lajbl Sztolcman, R' Herszl - the son-in-law of R' Yossel Chaiek>. Of the respected wealthy Hassidim distinguished in town as learners of Torah and important merchants were represented by R' Chaim Luksenberg, R' I. Sikorka, R' Yossel Luksenberg, R' Lajzer Wigdorowicz and his son Jakob Wigdorowicz, R' Yossel Chaiek, his brother R' Mosze Mendel Chaiek, R' Lejzer Mosze Tiber, R' Jecheskel Rozenblum, R' Yossef Menche and his son Mosze Menche, R' Mendel Temerson, and son Abba, R' Abraham Elia Sochaczewski, R' Haim Josef Ejli, R' Israel Shochet (ritual slaughterer), R' Lajbisz Chazan (cantor) and a Shochet, R' Josef Dawid Klapman shochet who left and became shochet in Switzerland, R' Mordchai Jarlicht, Jakob Grinboim, R' Mendil Szczewinski, and others.
There should be mentioned here Ezriel Yehudah Etinger the son of Moreh Horaa, the old teacher of religious subjects, M. Etinger. He was a Mitnaged, the opponent of the Hassidim. Even as an opponent he was a Ben Torah, a respected scholar of Torah, and maskil an educated person who practiced his religion.
of these words was born in Gombin and lived there in early childhood. He left
Gombin and moved to
Last Updated December 4th, 2006