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Rabbi Moshe Nechemya Kahanov

R. Moshe Nechemya ben Meshullam Feivish Kahanov (1817-1887), the author of "Netivot Ha-Shalom", "Netivot Ha-Mishpat", "Shnat Ha-Sheva", "Eretz Chefetz" and other works, was born in Kostyukovichi, Belarus. At his young years R. Moshe was distinguished in Torah studies. At the age 15 he married a daughter of R. Elyahu, a wealthy resident of Petrovichi. Despite the good conditions of living in the house of his father-in-law, R. Moshe Nechemya fled to Vilna for studies at one of its yeshivas. After few years of studying he came back to Petrovichi (in 1838) and assumed teaching duties as local rabbi's assistant. After 10 years in Petrovichi R. Moshe Nechemya took position of rabbi in Chislavichi. He served there for 16 years. In this period he issued many important tikkunim which were strictly observed for generations. The yeshiva which he founded with the financial aid of local riches very soon was famous far beyond Chislavichi, and numerous students came there from all corners of the Russian empire. For many years R. Moshe Nechamya's heart was dedicated to Jerusalem, and in 1864 he directed his steps to the Holy Land. After the long travel which took half a year he arrived to Eretz Israel and settled in Jerusalem. In 1867 he was nominated head of the central rabbinical institution in the holy city - "Etz ha-Chaim" yeshiva in Jerusalem. Under his guidance the yeshiva flourished, and many new students found their way to its quarters. Because of good reputation of his knowledge and organizing abilities, very quickly he took one of the central places in the Ashkenazi community of Jerusalem. Beside the matters of yeshiva, R. Moshe Nechemya was very busy with practical communal and social issues of Jerusalem. He founded gmilut chasadim foundation which issued short-term loans without interest to the needy. His proposals on improvement of water supplying system in Jerusalem and agricultural development of Eretz Israel were published by "Yehuda Virushalaim" as an open letter addressed to Moshe Montefiori. When in 1882 a piece of land was purchased for foundation of a new settlement "Kehilat Yakov", R. Moshe Nechemiya was in charge of its financial activity. In 1876 he traveled abroad for medical treatment and on his way back he visited Chislavichi where his relatives were still living. He took with him to Eretz Israel with his grandson Shraga Feivel.


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