RABBI ELIYAHU DOVID RABINOWITZ-TEOMIM (1845-1905)
Rabbi Eliyahu Dovid Rabinowitz-Teomim (1845-1905), also known as the ADERET, was a great Lithuanian rabbi who served as the leader of the Jewish community of Ponevez, and later as the Rosh Yeshiva of Mir. Rabbi Eliyahu Dovid Rabinowitz-Teomim later left Lithuania and settled in Jerusalem. He joined Rabbi Shmuel Salant in leading the Ashkenazi community there. He also authored scores of brilliant Torah works.
Rabbi Rabinowitz-Teomim was born in 1843 in the town of Pikeln. At the age of five his mother passed away. His father Rabbi Benjamin Rabinowitz, was left alone to raise him and a brother, Tzvi Yehuda. Rabbi Eliyahu Dovid studied throughout his youth under the tutelage of his father and was soon regarded as a child prodigy. By the age of fifteen he was already an accomplished Talmudic scholar. In 1875 he was invited to serve the rabbinate of the town of Ponevez. After twenty years in Ponevez he was appointed the Rosh Yeshiva of Mir, where he served from 1893-1899.
Rabbi Rabinowitz-Teomim had seven children. His daughter Batsheva married Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook in 1886. Unfortunately, she passed away a few years later, whereupon Rabbi Rabinowitz Teomim encouraged Rabbi Kook to marry his niece (the daughter of his brother Tzvi Yehudah). Years later Rabbi Rabinowitz Teomim was instrumental in encouraging Rabbi Kook to immigrate to Israel and become the Chief Rabbi of Jaffa.
In 1899 Rabbi Rabinowitz-Teomim immigrated to Jerusalem. Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinski of Vilna had met Rabbi Rabinowitz-Teomim and strongly advocated that Rabbi Shmuel Salant, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, appoint Rabbi Rabinowitz-Teomim as his assistant with an eye to take over as Chief Rabbi once Rabbi salant felt unable to discharge his duties due to his advanced age. In 1901 his appointed went into force. For five years they worked tirelessly together for the benefit of the Jewish settlement and the Rabbi Meir Baal Haneis charity fund. Unfortunately, Rabbi Eliyahu Dovid Rabinowitz-Teomim unexpectedly predeceased Rabbi Salant, passing away in 1905 on the 3rd of Adar, 5665 at the early age of sixty.
The Salant Archives of Rabbi Meir Baal Haneis contain much correspondence regarding Rabbi Eliyahu Dovid Rabinowitz-Teomim and his tremendous role in the Rabbi Meir Baal Haneis Salant charity fund on behalf of the community. May his memory be a blessing.