Despite the fact that tens of thousands of mourners crowded into the little town where the “Chofetz Chaim”, world renowned rabbi and author of a score of books on the ethics of the Jewish religion, died on Friday, at a reputed age of 105, the funeral yesterday, was of exemplary orderliness.
Perfect order was maintained by the Yeshiva bochrim, students in the theological seminary where the “Chofetz Chaim” taught for half a century, assisted by police detachments.
Representatives of the local and national authorities, hundreds of rabbis and delegates from Jewish communities all over Poland participated in the funeral of the “Chofetz Chaim,” whose real name was Rabbi Yisroel Meier Ha’Cohen.
Only those who had bathed ritually were allowed into the tiny room where the body of the dead rabbi lay.
The body, borne by students of the seminary, was carried to the local synagogue whose pulpit the “Chofetz Chaim” had once occupied for a short time. It was carried around and around the raised platform on which the Torah is read every Sabbath.
As the speakers eulogized the dead sage, spasmodic fits of weeping swept over the great crowd, especially when references were made to the tragic situation in which the German Jews found themselves. Contrary to general custom, no eulogies were pronounced at the open grave.
At the conclusion of the funeral ceremonies, the assembled rabbis proclaimed a day of mourning.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.