Rabbi Shlomo Hakohen of Radomsk

Chassidic leader

Born: 1801 Włoszczowa, Poland
Died: 1866 (5626),Radomsk, Poland, 1866

Shlomo Hakohen's father, Rabbi Dov Tzvi Hakohen, the rabbi of Wlosziva sent his son to study under Rabbi Aharon of Kutno and Rabbi Avraham of Pietrkow, the author of the responsa Brit Avraham. As a chasid Shlomoh Hakohen became a follower of Rabbi Meir of Apta, Rabbi Fishele of Strykow, and Rabbi Yehoshua of Pshedburz. In 1843 he was chosen as Rebbe of Radomsk, which developed under his dynamic leadership into a major center of Chassidut.

With his moving sermons and lifting niggunim, he attracted thousands of ardent followers. Although he loved the simple people who asked his advice about their mundane problems, his heart was drawn to the scholarly chasidim who delved into the complexities of profound chassidic thought. His work, Tiferet Shlomo is a two-volume compilation of his commentaries on the Torah and the festivals. Many of his insights are based on kabbalistic themes, and he often finds ingenious allusions to Torah values in the numerical values and letter combination of certain words. Through his work the Radomsker Rebbe reveals himself as a humble man of great piety, and an eminent Torah scholar and Kabbalist.

He is fondly remembered for his soul-stirring melodies with which he roused his chasidim to intense fervor as he conducted the services of shabbat and Yomtov. His memory lives on in the hearts of thousands of Radomsker chasidim the world over. The last Rebbe of the Radomsker chasidim of Poland was murdered together with his son-in-law in the Warsaw ghetto.

An introduction to Tiferet Shlomo by Rabbi Shlomo Hakohen :

"For the sake of the union of the Holy One, blessed be He, with His Shechinah...I am beginning to write for myself words of fear of Heaven and reproofs of musar according to the order of the parshiot of the Torah. May it be the will before the Creator, blessed be He, that we merit to learn and to teach; to observe and to act with fear and love. May we merit to see the consolation of Zion, of Yerushalayim, and of Israel. May His glory fill the earth speedily and in our day. Amen."

Repentance   (from Tiferet Shlomo)

[After revealing himself, Joseph said to his brothers:]  "And now, don't be sad of feel guilty because you sold me, for God has sent me ahead of you to save lives." (Genesis 45:5)

And now, don't be sad of feel guilty because you sold me - Implicit in the word ve'ata, "and now" is the idea of repentance. What is the connection between "now" and repentance? A baal teshuvah, returnee to Torah observance, turns over a new leaf. He says to himself, "Teshuvah has wiped my slate clean. From now  on, my new life begins. The past is forgiven; only the present, the 'now,' matters."

When Joseph said, "And now don't be sad," he meant to say to his brothers, "You should repent of the injustice you have committed against me by selling me into slavery. But let that not be a source of sadness. Teshuvah must not be done in a grieving frame of mind. Remember, teshuvah is a Torah command, and every mitzvah  must be performed joyfully, as it is written, "Serve God with gladness" (Psalm 100:2). Therefore, ve'ata-"and now, when you repent, don't be sad"-don't dwell on the failing of the past. Look at the present, the ve'ata, and be joyful. 

May the merit of the tzaddik Rabbi Shlomo Hakohen of Radomsk  protect us all, Amen.

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