Rav Nasan Maimon-Yartzheit of Rabbi Avraham Sternhartz-03September2015

Rabbi Avraham Sternhartz 1862 – 1955

Debbie Shapiro Publish date: 12/25/2007 http://www.breslev.co.il/articles/breslev/baal_shem_tov_and_students/rabbi_avraham_sternhartz_1862_1955.aspx?id=2253&language=english

…he would begin by quoting the text, divert to complementary material for an hour or two, and then continue from the exact word where he had left off…

The twentieth of Elul is the yehrtzeit of Rabbi Avraham Sternhartz, (1862-1955), the outstanding Breslov elder of his generation. Among his disciples were many of the major Breslov leaders of the past three decades.
Rabbi Sternhartz was a great-grandson of Rebbe Natan, Rebbe Nachman’s foremost disciple, and a grandson of the Tcheriner Rav – Reb Nachman Goldstein. He was born in the town of Breslov in 1862.
Rabbi Sternhartz’s parents passed away when he was a young child. He was raised by his grandfather, Rabbi Nachman Goldstein, the Tcheriner Rav. Rabbi Sternhartz was a child prodigy with a phenomenal memory and a tremendous desire to grow in his Divine service. After morning prayers, he would seclude himself in the attic to study Rebbe Nachman’s Likutey Moharan. He refused to interrupt his studies until he knew the lesson of the day by heart!
Rabbi Sternhartz married at age sixteen, after completing the entire Talmud twice. At age nineteen, he was appointed Rav in the city of Kremenchug, in the Ukraine. At age of twenty-two, he was appointed the prayer leader for the annual Breslover Rosh HaShanah kibutz, a post which he held for seventy years, first in Uman and later, in Eretz Yisrael.
Rabbi Sternhartz moved to Israel in 1936, and made his home in Jerusalem’s Old City. He was universally accepted as the Breslov elder of his generation. In 1940, when travel to Uman became impossible, he established the Breslov kibutz at the gravesite of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Meiron.
Exiled from the Old City during the War of Independence, Rabbi Sternhartz, together with many other Breslover Chassidim, was resettled in the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem. Among his disciples are a number of the major Breslover leaders of the past few decades, including: Rabbi Moshe Burstein, Rabbi Nachman Burstein, Rabbi Michel Dorfman, Rabbi Shmuel Horowitz, Rabbi Gedaliah Aharon Koenig, Rabbi Tzvi Aryeh Lippel, Rabbi Tzvi Aryeh Rosenfeld, Rabbi Shmuel Shapiro, may their memories be for a blessing, and Rabbi Yaakov Meir Shechter shlita.
Rabbi Sternhartz dictated stories about early Breslov history to Rabbi Gedaliah Kenig. These stories were later compiled into the book, Tovot Zichronot.
It was said of Rav Avraham that he was a “living” Likutey Moharan. Not only did he know the book Likutey Moharan by heart, but it was possible to see that his every action was based on Rebbe Nachman’s teachings. When teaching Likutey Moharan, he would begin by quoting the text, divert to complementary material for an hour or two, and then continue from the exact word where he had left off – without ever looking into the written text! He was able to do this until he passed away at age ninety-three and a half.
The following two stories were heard from Rabbi Gedalia Fleer:
Rabbi Sternhartz had a weekly study session in Likutey Moharan with Rabbi Moshe Burstein’s son-in-law. One week, at the end of the session, Rabbi Sternhartz said, “Next week you’ll be able to read it on your own.” Rabbi Moshe Burstein’s son-in-law interpreted this to mean that his learning had advanced to such a stage that he would be able to add his own input, and not just listen to Rabbi Sternhartz’s interpretations.
The following week, when Rabbi Moshe Burstein’s son-in-law showed up to learn with Rabbi Sternhartz, he was informed that the rabbi had passed away less than fifteen minutes ago!
* * *
Rabbi Sternhartz wrote in his will that since he had never been to a doctor his entire life, he does not want to begin now that he is dead, and requested that he be buried without a death certificate. Rabbi Kook succeeded in arranging this for him.
May his memory be for a blessing.

 

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