In my recent trip to Jerusalem during the Passover, was at the Kotel when I saw a rabbi praying alone surrounded by a crowd of followers. One of them approached and asked me to take some pictures of his rabbi. When he finished praying, he ran fired with more than a dozen followers who would have way. It was difficult to get a good position to take pictures. I actually knocked down once. Upon arriving home, I discovered the history ofthis controversial rabbi.
Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Yeshia Milikowsky was born in the United States. He is the present Amshinover Rebbe in the Bayit Vegan, a neighborhood in southwest Jerusalem, Israel, with a mostly Haredi Jewish population. He is the grandson and successor of Rabbi Yerachmiel Yehudah Meir Kalish of Amshinov.
He prays for hours on end, meditating on every word, as a result of which he ends the Sabbath very late. Once an adam gadol, a very learned man, discussed the Halachic implications of the Rebbe’szmanim with the late Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach. Reb Shlomo Zalman referred to the Rebbe as a “Pillar of Fire” and advised his questioner that one who touches fire will be burnt. The Rebbe is also the mentor of the famous Hasidic preacher, R. Tzvi Maier Zilberberg who considers himself an Amshinov chassid. The renowned mekubal Rebbe Yitzchok “Itche” Myer Morgenstern, the rosh yeshiva ofYeshivas Toras Chochom considers the Amshinov Rebbe the “Tzadik HaDor.”
The Amshinover Rebbe is widely known within the Haredi world, and is regarded within Hassidic circles for his exceptional Ahavas Yisroel, love of every Jew; a good example is his warmth towards Shlomo Carlebach and his unconventional followers. The Rebbe has literally counseled thousands of newcomers to Judaism. The Amshinov Rebbe has been quoted as believing that Reb Shlomo was the “Pillar of Prayer.” In the present generation the Rebbe himself is considered a “pillar of tefillah” and davens for hours on end. Of note is the Rebbe’s guidance of the Sde Tzofim Yeshiva in Beitar for Baalei Teshuva.
The Rebbe is also known for his outstanding advice in medical matters. HaRav Meier Bransdorfer, z”l advised the Rebbeim of “A Time” to consult with the Amshinov Rebbe – “a eish gadol meod” regarding complicated medical shailas. His advice is sought after on very delicate matters worldwide.