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LÖB B. JOSEPH (REB LÖB SARAH'S):

Early Ḥasidic rabbi; died in Yaltushkov, Podolia, about 1797. His was the strangest and most mysterious character of the many miracle-working rabbis of the Ḥasidim of the latter part of the eighteenth century. He continually traveled from one Polish city to another, spending money lavishly, but never accepting anything from his adherents. Most of the wonderful stories which are still told about him connect him with kings and princes and with successful efforts to influence the authorities in behalf of Jews. This caused Gottlober to suspect that he was in the secret service of the Polish or the Austrian government, a view seemingly absurd, although a letter by R. Bär of Meseritz, stating that "R. Löb Sarah's of Rovno is to be assisted and implicitly believed, for he is rendering important services to Jews, and will himself orally explain things which can not be put down in writing" (Primishlauer's "Darke Yesharim," Jitomir, 1805), lends some slight support to the supposition. The story of an eye-witness that R. Löb Sarah's passed the guards unnoticed and enteredthe royal palace of Warsaw on the day of the coronation of Stanislaus Poniatowski (1764), and the account of his seven years' struggle with Emperor Joseph II., on whom he inflicted terrible sufferings, are characteristic examples of the miracles ascribed to him by the superstitious people. R. Azriel of Kozin (near Kremenetz), his pupil (according to Gottlober, his driver), was considered as his successor.

Bibliography:
  • Eleazar ha-Kohen, Ḳin'at Soferim, p. 75a, Lemberg, 1892;
  • Gottlober, in Ha-Boḳer Or, v. 386-388, vi. 1-2;
  • Seder ha-Dorot he-Ḥadash, pp. 43-49;
  • Walden, Shem ha-Gedolim he-Ḥadash, p. 81, Warsaw, 1882.
H. R. P. Wi.
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