Rabbi Israel HaKohen Kahanovitch

Story: In the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion there was a superb scholar that has been
quite unknown beyond his com­mu­nity and those that met him. Rabbi
Israel Isaac Kahanovitch, whose Hilula fell on 11 Tam­muz (1945), was the
Chief Rabbi of all of West­ern Canada and the West­ern United States from
1905–1945.

Rabbi Yisroel Kahanovitch
Rabbi Yis­roel Kahanovitch

 

Rabbi Kahanovitch attended the musar yeshivas of Slo­bodka
and Novar­dok, and was ordained as a Rav by the Aruch HaShulchan, who
was the fore­most Posek in his gen­er­a­tion in Europe. While Rav of
Win­nipeg his halachic rul­ings reached from Toronto to Los Ange­les. In
fact, both cities requested his per­ma­nent sta­tion, but he would not leave his
posi­tion of head of Win­nipeg Jewry, as well as his two spe­cific
con­gre­ga­tions, Beth Jacob and Ashke­nazi. Every Shab­bos he would speak
fiery drashas about sup­port­ing the return to Eretz HaKodesh, for he had
seen the dam­age in war torn Europe, from which he fled. In addi­tion, he
sent mil­lions of dol­lars to Eretz Yis­roel to help sup­port the Jew­ish set­tlers.
When Rav Kook, Chief Rabbi of Eretz HaKodesh passed away, Rabbi
Kahanovitch was asked to become his suc­ces­sor, but again he refused
because of his ded­i­ca­tion to his com­mu­nity. In addi­tion to cor­re­spon­dence
with Rav Kook, the Rebbe and Pre­vi­ous Chabad Rebbe wrote to Rabbi
Kahanovitch for sup­port on issues fac­ing the Jew­ish Peo­ple (see index to
Igros Kodesh). Until his last days he would spend his spare moments
help­ing orphans, wid­ows, and refugees, and still find time to review the
Gemorah and Shulchan Aruch, of which he was com­pletely flu­ent.
The author of this work hopes that this small biog­ra­phy can give honor to
his great-grandfather, whose inspi­ra­tion dri­ves him every day. In addi­tion
he hopes the merit of Rabbi Israel Isaac will pro­tect his descen­dants and
Klal Yis­roel .

This biog­ra­phy was writ­ten by  Rabbi Israel’s grand­son, Rabbi Yona­son Kahanovitch he can be con­tacted at kahanovitch@yahoo.ca.

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