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Menachem Shlomo Bornsztain

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Menachem Shlomo Bornsztain
Sochatchover-Radomsker Rebbe
Term 1965-1969
Full name Menachem Shlomo Bornsztain (Bornstein)
Born 11 October 1934
Died 10 August 1969
Buried Har HaMenuchot, Jerusalem
Dynasty Sochatchov
Predecessor Chanoch Henoch Bornsztain
Successor Shmuel Bornsztain (II)
Father Chanoch Henoch Bornsztain
Mother Freidel
Issue Shmuel Bornsztain (II)
Avraham Nosson Bornsztain

Rabbi Menachem Shlomo Bornsztain (11 October 1934–10 August 1969), also spelled Borenstein, Bornstein, or Bernstein, was the fifth Rebbe of the Sochatchov Hasidic dynasty. He acceded to the position of Rebbe following the death of his father, Rabbi Chanoch Henoch Bornsztain, the fourth Rebbe of Sochatchov. He was officially known as the Sochatchover-Radomsker Rebbe, having also accepted the leadership of the Radomsk Hasidic dynasty upon the request of its surviving Hasidim, whose leaders had been murdered in the Holocaust. He served as Rebbe for only four years; he was killed in a traffic accident at the age of 34.

Early life

Bornsztain's father, Rabbi Chanoch Henoch, was the son of the Shem MiShmuel and the grandson of the Avnei Nezer, founder of the Sochatchover dynasty. His mother, Freidel, was a daughter of Rabbi Noson Nochum of Krimelov and a granddaughter of the Knesses Yechezkel of Radomsk. At his brit milah, which was delayed until his sixth week of life due to illness, he was named Menachem Shlomo after his paternal great-grandfather, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, and his maternal ancestor, Rabbi Shlomo Chanoch Hakohen Rabinovitch, the Tiferes Shlomo of Radomsk.[1]

As a young child, Bornsztain was noted for his clever mind and ability to express himself. He attended a private Talmud Torah in Jerusalem and became a student at the Knesses Chizkiyahu yeshiva in Zikhron Ya'akov in 1950, where he showed great diligence in his Torah learning. The rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Noah Shimonowitz, arranged chavrusos for him with the yeshiva's top students, as well as with the rosh yeshiva himself, to develop young Bornsztain's abilities. Two years later, when Rabbi Elyah Lopian entered the yeshiva as Mashgiach Ruchani, Bornsztain developed a very close relationship with this Mussar giant.[1]


Bornsztain married the daughter of Rabbi Daniel Movshowitz, one of the rabbis of Tel Aviv. Thereafter, his father, the Sochatchover Rebbe, who lived in Jerusalem, dispatched him to Tel Aviv in order to oversee the Sochatchover shtiebel there. Bornsztain moved to Tel Aviv and learned in Kollel Beis Yehudah, led by Rabbi Michel Feinstein, the son-in-law of the Brisker Rav. In 1960, he was officially appointed Rav of the Sochatchover shteibel on Rashi Street in Tel Aviv.[1]

As Rav of the Sochatchover shtiebel, Bornsztain established times for Torah shiurim, most of which he delivered himself, drawing large crowds from throughout the neighborhood. He also worked to convince secular families to send their children to yeshivas. He was known to spend countless hours dispensing solace and advice to people who came to him with their troubles.

When the Rav of Tel Aviv's Yad Eliyahu neighborhood died suddenly during Hanukkah 1963, a new leader was sought to lead and unite the various factions in the neighborhood. Although he was only 30 years old, Bornsztain was unanimously selected for the post after delivering a brilliant speech in the local synagogue. He was inducted on 6 January 1965 in a festive ceremony. His father, Rabbi Chanoch Henoch, was unable to attend due to poor health.[1]

As Rav of the Yad Eliyahu neighborhood, Bornsztain supervised the renovation of old shuls, the expansion of Torah shiurim, and the establishment of tzedakah and chesed organizations. At the same time, Bornsztain was chosen to lead the Radomsker Kollel Kesser Torah in Bnei Brak, founded by his late uncle, Rabbi Dovid Moshe Rabinowitz. He assumed this position on 3 May 1965, commuting daily between Tel Aviv and Bnei Brak.[1]

Becoming Rebbe

With the sudden death of his father, Rabbi Chanoch Henoch, on 23 September 1965, Rabbi Menachem Shlomo was asked by the Sochatchover Hasidim to become their Rebbe. Although he initially refused, he eventually agreed to be crowned as the fifth Rebbe of the dynasty. As a descendant of the Radomsker dynasty, Bornsztain was also asked by the Radomsker Hasidim who had survived the Holocaust to become their Rebbe as well. After consulting with gedolei Torah, Bornsztain officially became known as the Sochatchover-Radomsker Rebbe.[1]

His first move as Rebbe was to establish a yeshiva where he himself gave shiurim. He gave himself over completely to his Hasidim, his students, and the community at large.

On 10 August 1969 (26 Av 5729), Bornsztain was traveling home by taxi from a visit to an elderly Hasid hospitalized at Tel HaShomer. An army vehicle crashed into his car head-on, throwing Bornsztain from the cab. Twenty-four hours later, he died of his injuries. He left behind his Rebbetzin and children, all under the age of bar mitzvah.[1]

A few years after his death, his Hasidim crowned his eldest son, Shmuel, as the sixth Sochatchover Rebbe. They also appointed another son, Avraham Nosson Bornsztain, as Radomsker Rebbe.

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 (1934-1969)
  6. Shmuel Bornsztain (II) (b. 1961)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Growise, Yisroel Alter. "The Sochatchover Rebbe, Harav Menachem Shlomo Bornstein, zt"l, 40 Years Since His Tragic Passing". Hamodia Features section, 27 August 2009, pp. C4-5.


  • Rossoff, Dovid (1999). Where Heaven Touches Earth: Jewish life in Jerusalem from medieval times to the present. Jerusalem: Guardian Press. ISBN 0-87306-879-3

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