Dovid Bornsztain
Third Sochatchover Rebbe
Term 1926-1942
Full name Dovid Bornsztain
Main work Chasdei Dovid
Born 1876
Nasielsk, Poland
Died 5 December 1942
Warsaw Ghetto
Buried Warsaw
Dynasty Sochatchov
Predecessor Shmuel Bornsztain (I) (Bornsztajn)
Successor Chanoch Henoch Bornsztain (Bernstein)
Father Shmuel Bornsztain
Mother Yuta Leah, daughter of Eliezer Lipman of Radomsk
Wife Esther Weingut

Rabbi Dovid Bornsztain (1876 – 1943), also spelled Borenstein or Bernstein, was the third Rebbe of the Sochatchov Hasidic dynasty. He succeeded his father, Rabbi Shmuel Bornsztain (I), as Rebbe upon the latter's death in 1926.

Early life

Dovid was born in Nasielsk, Poland, the eldest son of Rabbi Shmuel Bornsztain and Yuta Leah. At the time, his grandfather, Rabbi Avrohom Bornsztain, later known as the Avnei Nezer, was serving as Rav of Nasielsk. In 1883, when the Avnei Nezer moved to the city of Sochatchov to serve as that city's Rav, his son Rabbi Shmuel and his family accompanied him and lived in a separate house in the same town.

Rabbi Dovid had a younger brother, Chanoch Henoch, and at least one sister.[1]

He was taught privately by Rabbi Yitzchak Shlomo Lieberman of Ozorkow, but his primary teacher during his childhood was his grandfather, the Avnei Nezer. From him he learned both the revealed and hidden Torah, along with the Avnei Nezer's unique methodology for understanding the commentary of the Jewish sages, which formed the Hasidut of Sochatchov.

In 1891, Dovid was engaged to Rachel, the daughter of Rabbi Chaim Yisrael Morgenstern, the Pilover Rebbe. Rachel died that same year, before the wedding took place. Two years later, Dovid married Estern Weingut, the daughter of a prominent Sochatchover Hasid, Rabbi Mottel Weingut of Wola Zadybska.

Entering the rabbanut

Around 1908, Rabbi Dovid accepted the rabbinate of Vishgorod. His grandfather, the Avnei Nezer, accompanied him to the city to attend his coronation as Rav of the city. During his time in Vishgorod, Rabbi Dovid established a yeshiva in the city patterned after the learning style of Sochatchover Hasidut.

With the outbreak of World War I, Rabbi Dovid was forced to move to Lodz, where he lived in the home of Rabbi Dovid Proshinowsky. At war's end, he decided not to return to Vishgorod, but accepted the rabbanite of Tomashov. Upon his father's death in January 1926, Rabbi Dovid was appointed third Sochatchover Rebbe by his father's Hasidim. This appointment occurred during the funeral itself on 24 Tevet 5686 (1926).

As Rebbe

Incarceration and death

During World War II, Rabbi Dovid was incarcerated in the Warsaw Ghetto. He died of heart failure on 5 December 1943 (8 Kislev 5703). He was the last person to be buried in the Genesha Street cemetery in Warsaw, and 500 Jews attended his funeral. The day after the funeral, the Nazis closed off the cemetery.

Rabbi Dovid's children were all killed in the Holocaust. The mantle of leadership of the Sochatchover Hasidim passed to his brother, Rabbi Chanoch Henoch, who had established a beth midrash in Bayit Vegan, Israel.[2]

Rebbes of Sochatchov

  1. Avrohom Bornsztain, the Avnei Nezer (1838-1910)
  2. Shmuel Bornsztain (I), the Shem Mishmuel (1856-1926)
  3. Dovid Bornsztain (1876-1942)
  4. Chanoch Henoch Bornsztain (d. 1965)
  5. Menachem Shlomo Bornsztain (d. 1969)
  6. Shmuel Bornsztain (II) (b. 1961)


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