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Morozov, Rabbi Menachem Mendel

A Sheloshim Legacy Memorial will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, at the Anna and Max Zalcman Torah Learning Center, in memory of Rebetzin Esther Friedman’s father Reb Mendel Morozov.

 

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Morozov, the eldest living Chabad Chassid in the world and patriarch of a large esteemed Chassidic family with descendants around the world, passed away on Wednesday, 1 Shevat 5778, Jan. 17, 2018.

He was 101, just a month short of his 102nd birthday.

Born in 1916, in the village of Lubavitch, to his esteemed father Reb Chonye Morozov — confidante and secretary to both Rabbi Sholom Ber, the fifth Chabad Rebbe, and his son Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok, the sixth Chabad Rebbe, Reb Mendel lived in Russia through the murderous Stalin years and the tumultuous years of World War II.

Always sharp, even as a young boy, he played an active role in saving his father from the Soviet secret police agency NKVD, who had come to arrest his father for his efforts on behalf of the Rebbe.

Later, as a teen and then as a young man, he saw his father arrested again, the last time in 1938, never to return.

Reb Mendel and his family lived in the same house as the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe in Rostov, where as a young child he experienced personal encounters and had a special relationship with the Rebbe. Later he lived with his family on the same floor of the Rebbe in Leningrad.

After the war, he escaped Russia with forged Polish passports on the famous “train transports,” and spent time in both France and Ireland before coming to America in the early 1950s so he could be with the Rebbe.

When Oholei Torah Educational Institute in Crown Heights was founded, Reb Mendel joined its governing body, and dedicated the next six decades to the growth of the yeshiva; educating and being the spiritual guide to thousands of young men in the yeshiva.

Thousands of Chassidim around the world retain fond memories of Reb Mendel leading Chassidic gatherings in his inimitable style throughout the wee hours of the morning — his stories, his niggunim melodies and his witty Torah thoughts.

His father had been asked by the previous Rebbe to record the Alter Rebbe’s 10 nigunim in musical notes, rescuing these tunes for posterity, and Reb Mendel never tired of teaching and singing them.

Reb Mendel taught another nigun, a stately march, so often that people already call the niggun by his name. Singer Avraham Fried recorded it on his Chabad nigunim album.

Absolutely devoted to the Rebbe, Reb Mendel brought up his children likewise.

Reb Mendel had a repertoire of authentic Chassidic stories, which he faithfully transmitted to hundreds, vividly relating the lives and events of Chassidim and Rebbeim from times past, and encouraging his listeners to live every day according to the standards of Chassidus.

He passed away in New York and leaves behind hundreds of descendants including great-great-grandchildren and thousands of students.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Rosa Morozov and children Rabbi Zalman Morozov, Montreal, Canada; Rabbi Hirshel Morozov, Brooklyn, New York; Mrs. Rachel Goldberg, Brooklyn; Rebetzin Sterna Lesches, Monsey, New York; Rebetzin Esther Friedman, Overland Park, Kansas; Mrs. Leah Goldman, Brooklyn; and Rebetzin Henya Milecki, Sydney, Australia.