Geula-Related Recent Links

Monday, July 11, 2011

Will the Real Hafetz Hayim Please Stand Up?

Is it

Picture A (from Eichlers),

Picture B (from


Picture C (from
Picture C is dubbed "The Clearest Picture of the Chofetz Chaim Ever Discovered"


At Mon Jul 11, 05:38:00 PM 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

my brother goes to the yeshiva of south fallsburg where the grandson or greatgrandson of the chafetz chaiim goes and he told him that all 3 pics are real also he never cut his peyos or beard the chafetz chaim told his chldren that none of his descendants should ever touch it

At Tue Jul 12, 01:01:00 AM 2011, Blogger Neshama said...

Someone once told my husband (in a Boro Park shul) that the picture mostly shown of the Chofetz Chaim is really the shul's Gabbai. We could never verify it.

At Tue Jul 12, 01:10:00 AM 2011, Anonymous Neshama said...

In comparing the photos, you can see the same walking stick (cane) in pic 2 and 3. Picture 2 was authenticated by the man sitting in front of him, either by himself, a family member, or another famous Rabbi visiting as an Agudah rep. The full picture actually shows his Rebbetzen in the doorway, of that which was her business at the time.

At Tue Jul 12, 01:14:00 AM 2011, Blogger Neshama said...

I don't believe it, in this photo, they blacked out her pic !!
Pretty soon women will disappear from the pages of history ... Shame. If I can find the REAL photo I'll forward it.

At Tue Jul 12, 01:18:00 PM 2011, Blogger yaak said...

I changed the source of Picture B because the old one wasn't working any longer. It now has the rebbetzin in the background.

At Wed Jul 13, 07:17:00 PM 2011, Anonymous Zalman Alpert said...

Within a year of his death , picture 1 in B&W was published a sa post card memorial to the Chofetz Chaim. So its stretchs the imagination to think that at a time when hundreds of people were alive who knew him , his disciples would publish a false picture.The late rav Yashar used this photo as the frontiepiece of his 2 volume Yiddish bio of the CC in the late 1930's and he explains that there are some who said the picture did not look like the CC , but rabbbi yosher clearly thinks it is.
Picture 2 is also authentic being a picture of the CC while he visited Warsaw , cut from the photo in back of the CC wa shis youngest son rabbi Dr. Aaron Kagan who lived right here in NY.
Picture 3 appears to me to be questionable

At Wed Jul 13, 07:20:00 PM 2011, Anonymous Zalman Alpert said...

Correction Picture 2 was taken in Radin and the Chofetz Chaim is seen spekaing to his ldest son rabbI leib Poupko who eventually became rav in radin and President of the mizrachi in Poland. he died in 1939. This is cropped from amore larger picture , which has been published and includes the chofetz Chaim's last rebbetzin.
Ther eis another photo of the CC in Warsaw. this (#2) is clearly also authentic.

At Thu Jul 14, 01:06:00 AM 2011, Blogger David said...

Pict. #2 was ordered by Rav Wolkin, who learned in Radin and was later a Rosh Yeshiva in Mir USA. In the entire picture, not the cropped version, Rav Wolkin is seen posing (in a walking pose, which was apparently a popular thing in those days) in the steet between the photographer and the house. There's also a young woman in the picture standing next to the Chofetz Chaim and his rebbetzin who was an adopted daughter. I've seen the original picture in the home of Rav Chaim Wolkin, his son, who's the Mashgiach in Ateres.
Definitly authentic.

At Thu Jul 14, 01:13:00 AM 2011, Blogger yaak said...

A quick google search finds me this as the uncropped Picture B.

At Thu Jul 14, 09:01:00 AM 2011, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Great photos. The uncropped photo is amazing, especially because it looks like people are actually lined up to speak or show kavod to the CC.

At Thu Jul 14, 09:24:00 AM 2011, Anonymous Zalman Alpert said...

In a 1940 bio in Yiddish of the CC by a disciple who became a Communist called "DER frumste Yid af di velt" , picture #1 is used as the cover picture.That is in 1940 By the way there are several other legit photos of the CC.
The late rav Shmuel Pliskin of Baltimore published another short Yiddish bio of the Cc in Warsaw in the late 1930's which I have in my own library and it has at least 3 more photos of the CC , which have since been published in other places. Again its doubtful that rav Pliskin would use non authentic pictures especially at a time when hindreds knew the CC personally.
By the way rav Yosher's bio of the Cc went through different incarnations ( a stand alone English version in 1937, 2 different Yiddish editions and a multi volume hebrew edition after the war and as far as I can recall this photo (#1) was always inlcuded as the CC.Yashar explains that some said it did not really capture thre true panim of the CC , and thta may be true but it still is the CC
Of course there are several wannabe "historians' who have cast doubt on the picture claiming that (#1) it was the butcher of Radin , but these people can not explain why it was used (without irur) at a time in the 1930's when the CC was seen by hundreds if not thousands of Jews and Bnai Torah. This is an interesting blog and I wish you good luck.

At Sun Mar 18, 03:45:00 PM 2012, Anonymous Arik said...

The Chafetz Chaim attempted making aliya at the age of 84, and there is a documented letter where he apologizes to the gvir who lent him money for the boat tickets, that he had to sell them in order to pay for treatment for his wife who suddenly became dangerously ill right before the trip(ironically, because she was about 40 years younger than he)and I heard that photo "A" was his passport photo.See details and the aforementioned letter in ספר אשל-נתן, קובץ מאמרים ליובלו של ר' נתן דסברג בהוצ' המשפחה, עמ' 115-110

At Mon Jun 10, 10:52:00 AM 2013, Anonymous a. s. adler said...


I knew Rabbi Yitschok Poupko, Z"TsL. and learend from him in his home /Shtiebl in Brooklyn. He was a ben Bayis of the Chafetz Chaim for ten years and the personal secretary of the Chafetz Chaim for the last three years of the Chafetz Chaim's life . He had no doubt that the famous picture that appears in so many places -- picture 1 -- was his teacher , the Chafetz Chaim. I also knew a grand-daughter of the Chafetz Chaim -- the younger daughter of his older son Aryeh Leib -- the son by his first wife. She said that she actually had the passport from which this picture was taken but that she gave it to a Jewish couple that was leaving the Soviet Union -- some time before 1978 -- and never heard from them again. I spoke with her about this in 1988 in Boston -- the year she was nifter at the age of ~79. She had been a biophysicist in Moscow and was a pioneer in electronmicroscopy. Her name was Shoshana Poupko-Rubenshtein . Nahum Rubenshtein was her husband. There is also a picture in the first edtion of the Encyclopedia Judaica in the article on Warsaw --of a confernce of Rabbis in Warsaw -- in 1917 . In the front and center is a seated figure with a white beard who looks much like the famous photo # 1 in this blog. None of the dozens of Rabbis in this photo are identified in the Encylopedia. Here is a link to that photo -- now on the web.,r:0,s:0,i:79&tx=147&ty=53
I also knew a student of Aryeh Leib -- the son of the Chafetz Chaim by his first wife -- who had a picture of the Chafetz Chaim from that time -- before 1938 -- and was confident that that was a picture of the Chofetz Chaim. I met this man -- Choni -- in Lakewood NJ, a few years ago and spoke with him in his home -- which was diagonally accross the back yard fence from R. Aaron Meyer Reese and Family.

A. S. Adler

At Mon Jun 10, 02:51:00 PM 2013, Blogger Neil Harris said...

Very interesting. For sure, the beard is similar.

At Tue Dec 08, 02:26:00 PM 2015, Blogger Dr. R. J. Blumenthal said...

Does anybody know how many times the CC was married? I'm asking because the picture of the Rebitzen may be the sister of my great-great grandmother, who was the wife of the Magid of Brisker, Rav Elyakim Getzel Levitan. The CC's wife would have been my great-great-great Aunt. TIA


Post a Comment

<< Home