Boston Av Beis Din Still Overawed by Rabbi Greenglass

Rabbi Yosef Polak of Boston, a noted rov, writer, and lecturer, was in third grade when he first learned under the legendary Montreal mashpia, Reb Volf Greenglass. Seven decades later, he is still in awe of this great, yet personable, chassidishe Yid.

By reporter

In recent months, shluchim and anash in the Boston area have been gathering each month for a special farbrengen at different locations.

The initiative was taken on by R’ Shmuel Bollen of Natick, MA who took it upon himself to find a host, design a flyer, encourage attendance, and send the Rebbe a duch with the participants’ names. Some of the recent hosts, include Rabbi Dr. Binyomin Abrams, Rabbi Moshe Bleich in Wellesley Weston, and Rabbi Mendy Krinsky in Needham.

This month, the farbrengen was held at Chabad of Watertown, MA, under Rabbi Dovid and Shternie Zaltzman and featured the Av Beis Din of Boston, Rabbi Yosef Polak. It was dedicated by the Shluchim l’iluy nishmas Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky a”h.

Rabbi Polak, a rov, and noted lecturer and writer, survived the Nazi invasion to his hometown in the Netherlands and then the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. He wrote his experiences in a memoir called After the Holocaust the Bells Still Ring which won the 2015 National Jewish Book Award and is an acclaimed work studied in universities with the likes of author and survivor Elie Wiesel.

Seeking to stimulate Rabbi Polak, Rabbi Zaltzman shared with him recent articles from about Rabbi Greenglass, which inspired him to share many memories from their years together in Montreal.

For close to an hour, Rabbi Polak shared many unique memories of Rabbi Greenglass and his colleagues from that time.

In a conversation with, Rabbi Bollen shared “What impressed me the most was that Rabbi Polak was speaking about the deep impact being around such a Chossid had on him, decades after his experiences with Rabbi Greenglass in Montreal.

“He feels the deep impact of what he absorbed in his formative years and he feels it every day. It wasn’t some far off memory he needed to recall, it was a fresh real-life influence that he was reliving and affected him in a real way every day, helping him serve Hashem with Simcha every day.

“This really shows on the power of Chassidus Chabad and shows the impact it has on a Yid’s life. Ashreinu that we have Chassidus and are mekushar to the Rebbe because these are things that inject true life into our Avodas Hashem

“This Shabbos in PIrkei Avos we learned that Torah is great because it gives life to those who practice it, in a way that we are able to impact others- it goes through us and flows out and affects others.”

AUDIO (sound improves 1 minute in):


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  1. Rabbi Greenglass was my uncle. I spent many summers in his house. And remember him sitting and learning till 3-4 in the morning, practically every night. He had in his possession the frierdikeh Rebbes typewriter. He also played the violin amazingly well. In later years, whenever he would see me, when he visited N Yhe always greeted me with such a warm sincere smile, emanating the feeling that he was truly happy to see me. He was a true chasidishe and a genuine person

  2. How can I get the complete video of him talking about Rabbi Greenglass? I don’t mind paying it

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