By Hershel Rosenbluh for Anash.org
The following was written by the chossid and mekubal Reb Yeshayahu Halevi Horowitz of Winnipeg-Tzfas to the chossid Reb Sender Yudasin, a rov in Tel Aviv and author of the seforim “Tomchei Tmimim and Halekav V’halibuv. The letter was heretofore unknown and was discovered by recently being auctioned off for sale on Ebay.
Reb Yeshaya HaLevi Horowitz was born in Tzfas in 5643/1883, the 11th generation ben-achar-ben of the Shaloh HaKadosh. He was descended from Reb Sholom Shachna, father of the Tzemach Tzedek, through his second wife, Riva, daughter of Reb Aron Hagadol of Karlin. (Reb Sholom Shachna had married her after the passing of Rebbetzin Devorah Leah, daughter of the Alter Rebbe.) He was a great gaon in nigleh and nistar, having studied under the great geonim of his time, including the Ridvaz. He traveled to Canada after WW1, where he served as Rov in Winnipeg for over three decades.
Beginning in 5704/1944 he began corresponding with the Rebbe on a wide range of Torah topics and issues. After Yud Shvat 5710 he was among those who beseeched the Rebbe that he accept the nesius of chassidei Chabad. This can be seen in a letter from the Rebbe to Reb Yeshaya dated 26 Adar 5710, where the Rebbe writes “Nivhalti = I was frightened to read that which you ask of me (to accept the nesius) something that was not given to me and something which is not in me at all. Specifically, since these are matters of dinei nefashos = matters of life and death.
In 5713/1953 Rav Horowitz had moved back to Eretz Yisrael from Winnipeg and lived with family. He continued his correspondence with the Rebbe received several brochos from the Rebbe for long life. He passed away on 22 Teves 5738/1978 at the age of about 95 and was buried in his hometown, Tzfas.
On 24 Teves 5715/1955, he wrote a letter to Rav Yudasin reminding him of the letter he had received from the Rebbe, mentioned above. He writes that “she’er besori” = my relative the Rebbe, in his great humility, didn’t want to accept the nesius. Rav Yudasin had told some chassidim about the letter. When Rav Horowitz visited the Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim in Lod – “to fulfill the request of the Rebbe” – he told them about the letter and he was asked to send the letter to the yeshiva so that they may see it. The secretary of the Yeshiva, Rav Aron Yakov Diskin, who was a brother-in-law of Reb Shaye Matlin (The Rebbe’s sofer) – who was a cousin to Rav Yeshaya Horowitz – had taken full responsibility that they would photocopy the letter and send it back. But to no avail!
Rav Horowitz continues: Weeks have gone by and no word about my letter. At first, I thought that maybe Rav Diskin was still not recovered from his fall. I have written letters and have threatened that despite my ill health that I would come down to the yeshiva and get it back. But it seems like he couldn’t carry out his “threat.” So he begs of Rav Yudasin to speak to the people there and get the letter, which is so dear to him, back to him. ” I will not be mevater on = forego this letter. So precious was it to him.