Chasidim from Aleksandrow
[Yiddish, Aleksander hasidim] - In the years
1866 to 1870, the town of Aleksandrow Lodzki was the center for Chasidim
from Gora Kalwaria. Henoch Henich Kohen Levin was rabbi there
(1798-1870), some of whose students became prominent tzaddikim,
including Yaakov Yitzhak Ha-Levi Horovitz of Lublin and Menachem Mendel
Morgenstern of Kock. After the death of his friend and teacher, Yitzhak
Meir Rothenberg Alter, Henoch Henich Cohen Levin became leader of the
Chasidim from Gora Kalwaria. He introduced many innovations, such as
accepting requests made by women. The founder of what could actually be
called the Aleksandrow dynasty was the son of a tzaddik from Grojec,
Yechiel Danziger (?-1894), the pupil of the tzaddik Israel Yitzhak
Kalish of Warka.
-His son, Yerachmiel Israel Yitzhak Danziger
(1853-1910), however, was even more famous, and had a large group of
followers. He was the author of Yismach Israel (Hebrew, Be Joyful,
Israel, 1911), which he wrote together with his brother, Shmuel Tsvi (d.
1923), who later succeeded him. The teachings of the tzaddikim who
followed stressed ethics, mysticism and ecstatic religious forms,
putting less emphasis on studying the Talmud. The followers of the
tzaddikim from Aleksandrow were primarily merchants and artisans,
especially from Lodz, where there were approximately 35 houses of
prayer. After Shmuel Tsvi's death, the dynasty was continued by his
brother, Betsalel Yair (1856-1934) and Shmuel Tsvi's son - Yitzhak
Menachem Mendel Danziger (1880-1943), whose accomplishments included the
expansion of religious schools in Lodz and in Aleksandrow. Unlike many
Chasidic leaders of that period, he was not interested in politics.
During the Second World War, he was in the Warsaw ghetto. Refusing to
leave for Palestine, he died along with his family in Treblinka. The
Chasidic community from Aleksandrow exists in Israel to this day.