Major Hasidic courts, 1815–1929. (Based on a map prepared for the exhibition "Time of the Hasidism." by Elżbieta Długosz, The Historical Museum of Kraków—Old Synagogue)

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Kuzmir-Modzits Hasidic Dynasty

Line of rabbinic leaders that emphasized the centrality of music and melody. Its founder, Yeḥezkel ben Tsevi Hirsh Taub (1772–1856), was born in Płońsk. He was a disciple of Ya‘akov Yitsḥak Horowitz (the Seer of Lublin), and Simḥah Bunem of Pshiskhe (Przysucha), and became a rebbe in Kuzmir (Kazimierz) in 1827. Taub grew famous for his musical talents and composed many Hasidic melodies. His teachings are collected in Neḥmad mi-zahav (1909).

Taub’s eldest son, David Tsevi of Neustadt (d. 1882), was an important disciple of Menaḥem Mendel of Kotsk (Kock; 1787–1859), and became a tsadik after Menaḥem Mendel’s death in 1859. Another son, Shemu’el Eliyahu of Zwoleń (d. 1888) shared his father’s musical talents but rarely utilized them. Shemu’el was succeeded by his son, Mosheh Aharon Taub (1837–1918), who moved from Zwoleń to Nowy Dwór, near Warsaw. His son Ḥayim Yeraḥmi’el Taub (1874–1942) perished in Treblinka.

Yisra’el (1849–1921), another son of Shemu’el Eliyahu, moved to Modzits (Modzhits), where he founded his own Hasidic dynasty. He, too, was an acclaimed composer of Hasidic melodies. Two of his most famous contributions are Ezkerah Elohim ve-ehemayah and Mizmor le-todah (also known as “A Tune for the Homeless”), written in the wake of the distress caused by World War I. His teachings, along with those of his father, were collected in Divre Yisra’el (1904). His son Sha’ul Yedidyah Eli‘ezer (1887–1947) managed to escape the Nazi onslaught and made his way to America via Japan. He eventually settled in Tel Aviv, reestablishing the Modzits dynasty and continuing its musical traditions.

Suggested Reading

Me‘ir Shim’on Geshuri, Neginah ve-ḥasidut be-vet Kuzmir u-venoteha (Jerusalem, 1952); Velvel Pasternak, “Hasidic Music and Modzitz: A Short Overview,” Journal of Synagogue Music 18.2 (1988): 9–15.