Dec 24, 2014
R' Yehoshua Mondshine, 68, OBM

Rabbi Yehoshua Mondshine, who was both a fruitful and controversial Chassidic author and historian, passed away in Jerusalem.

By COLlive reporter

Rabbi Yehoshua Mondshine, one of the most prominent and controversial authors and historians in the Chassidic community in recent times, passed away on Wednesday, 2 Teves 5775.

He was 68 and suffered from a lengthy illness.

Born in Tel Aviv on 9 Shevat 5707, he studied in Yeshivas Hayishuv Hachadash before enrolling in the Central Tomchei Tmimim Yeshiva in the village of Kfar Chabad in central Israel.

The move was a result of an exchange of letters with the Rebbe which introduced him to the Chabad chassidus and only expanded over the years. He learned by the famed Mashpia Rabbi Shlomo Chaim Kesselman.

While in New York, spending the 'kevutza' year near the Rebbe at 770 Eastern Parkway, Mondshine befriended Rabbi Chaim Leiberman, secratary of the Frierdiker Rebbe and librarian at the Library of Agudas Chassidei Chabad.

Following his marriage to Rochel Braverman, daughter of Rabbi Dovid Braverman who headed the Kehot publishing group in Europe and the Kfar Chabad Council, the Rebbe asked Mondshine to run Chabad's official library.

That proposal, which included becoming a member of the publishing group of the teachings of Chabad Rebbes, never came into fruition. Instead, Mondshine took on a position as a librarian at the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem.

Having access to the world's largest collections of Hebraica and Judaica at the library, with a repository of rare manuscripts and books, helped Mondshine become one of the most fruitful authors on Chabad history and customs.

"Rabbi Mondshein was the greatest researcher of Chabad chassidism in the last generation," Rabbi Berel Levine, who ended up taking up the directorship position at the Chabad library, told

"He edited a huge number of books on the topics of Chabad history - based on original documents that were discovered with evidence to differentiate between authoritative traditions and legends," Levine commented on Wednesday.

Rabbi Mondshein was indeed called "Chabad's critic from within" by Israeli historian Tom Segev in reference to his myth-busting articles debunking familiar chassidic stories of wonders and miracles as pure fiction.

"He is a reserved man; every word he says seems first to be filtered through seven stages of investigation, none of them superfluous. But on the Internet he massacres the unfounded ultra-Orthodox tales with razor-sharp ridicule that combines extraordinary scholarship and secular slang," Segev wrote in Haaretz newspaper in 2008.

But Rabbi Levine says that his collaborator will be remembered for the bibliography of Chabad books, biographies of the greatest Chabad chassidim and rabbonim and the series of volumes and articles on Chabad customs.

His most celebrated works --from a repertoire of over 20 books-- is the 2 volume Otsar Minhagei Chabad, an extensive collection of customs, instructions and rulings instituted by Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbes and Chasidim, with contrasting customs from other Jewish communities.

"The Rebbe valued his books and articles in an exceptional way and often demanded from him to add more and more," Rabbi Levine adds.

He is survived by his second wife Devorah (nee Kwin-Althaus) and his children Rabbi Dovid Mondshine - - Moscow, Russia; Rabbi Levi Mondshine - Smolensk, Russia, R' Hillel Mondshine - Jerusalem, Mrs. Chaya Akselrod - Kiryat Malachi, Israel and Mrs. Dina Segal - France; and grandchildren.

The funeral will take place tonight in Jerusalem.

Baruch Dayan Haemes.

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Opinions and Comments
A true scholar~
He will be sorely missed.
(12/24/2014 10:57:37 AM)
A rare talent and a real scholar
Reb Yehoshua Zichrono Livrocho was a rare talent. One that you don't see often. A great scholar of unusual depth. A regreat loss to Klal Yisroel.
(12/24/2014 12:50:01 PM)
He was a great inspiration for many. I witnessed many times how he would Daven Baarichus.
(12/24/2014 2:29:37 PM)
Our deepest sympathies
To Mrs. Mondshine and the entire family, may you be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem, and may we soon be re-united through Moshiach!
(12/24/2014 4:17:40 PM)
more than being just a researcher and scholar he was an outstanding Chassid.
as a bochur in Kefar Chabad he was known as one of the greatest Ovdim in the Yeshiva, under the tutelage of R' Shlomo Chaim.
(12/24/2014 4:41:37 PM)
Yehoshua, you were such a special man.
You will be sorely missed
(12/24/2014 4:59:10 PM)
He was also a mekabel pnimi of r avrohom mayor
(12/24/2014 6:10:05 PM)
Michoel Butler
Reb Dovid
Hamakom Yanchem Eschem , May the perpetual continuance of chassidim of your family be a true reflection of your Father A'H 's Life as you are
(12/24/2014 9:44:39 PM)
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