Jaakow Jizchak Horowitz

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Jaakow Jizchak Horowitz (* 1745 in Józefów ; † August 9, 1815 in Lublin ; Hebrew : יעקב יצחק הורוביץ , Polish : Jakub Izaak Horowicz ), later also the "seer" or "sage of Lublin" (Choseh, החוזה ןןלוב honored as a tzaddik , was a Polish Rebbe who contributed significantly to the development of Hasidism . He worked in Congress Poland and Galicia , especially in Lublin. His grave in the Lublin Jewish cemetery became a place of pilgrimage for believers from all over the world.

life and work

Jaakow Jizchak was a student of Samuel Horowitz from Nikolsburg , of Dow Bär von Mesritsch and Levi Jizchak von Berditschew . His most important teacher was Elimelech von Lyschansk , against whom he finally revolted - while he was still alive he began to lead his own group of Hasidim. He first worked in Łańcut and Rozwadów , then moved to Czechów, a suburb of Lublin, and finally to Lublin itself in the 1790s. He was famous as a tzaddik and faith healer and played a major role in the spread of Hasidism in Congress Poland and Galicia. He did not establish a dynasty of his own, but most of the Polish and Galician tzaddikim in the first half of the 19th century were his students. His followers came from different social classes, and Yitzchak Meir Alter , the founder of the Ger movement, described him as “everyone's rabbi”. Many of his disciples testified to his ability to discern a person's intentions in his actions, foresee events, and reveal the origins of a human soul in its various reincarnations . He was therefore posthumously nicknamed "Seer of Lublin".

Yaakov Jizchak was attacked by the "Mitnagdim", the opponents of Hasidism, both in and outside Lublin. Another of his critics was Asriel Horowitz, the Lublin rabbi.

According to Hasidic tradition, the seer of Lublin saw Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, which aroused strong messianic expectations in Poland and Galicia, as a harbinger of the battle between Gog and Magog and intended to ally with other tzaddikim for redemption to advance.

Well-known writings by Jaakow Jizchak Horowitz are:

  • Divrei Emet
  • Zot Zikaron
  • Zikaron Zot
  • Zikaron Tov

"Practical" Hasidism

According to Elimelech of Lyshansk, Yaakov Yitzchak emphasized the "practical" work of the tzaddik and emphasized his duty to provide for the "life and livelihood" of his "children", namely the Hasidic community. From the conviction that spiritual wealth presupposes material abundance, he concluded that a person who wants to turn to God first needs help in order to be able to meet his material needs. The tzaddik should "have great abundance and a comfortable lifestyle so that people are free to worship". He also said that "when the body experiences pleasure, the soul also enjoys spiritual wealth" (in Or la-Shamajim , 1850). For Jaakow Jizchak and his teachings, the element of learning was of little importance. His focus was on the relationships between humans and fellow human beings, which were of particular importance to him in the secret world order. He saw humility as a metaphysical element and emphasized the virtue of "love for Israel", which was an important principle even in early Hasidism.

Towards the end of his life, Yaakov Yitzchak suffered from a severe crisis resulting from his management style. This led to a split among the Lublin Hasidim into a group that emphasized the efforts for spiritual perfection and constant devotion to God, and another group, for which the focus was on the efforts of the tzaddik to care for the mass of Hasidim. Although Yaakov Yitzchak felt the disappointment of his best students, he did not change his method. This led to a controversy with his most talented student, Yaakov Jizchak von Przysucha , who could not be satisfied with the “practical” character of Lublin Hasidism, which often degenerated into magical activities to improve material living conditions. From this controversy, the Kotzker Rebbe School developed in the following decades .


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