Kalonymous Kalman Shapira
as the Piaseczner Rebbe, Rabbi Shapira was one of the central figures of
Polish Jewry before and during the second World War. A descendant of some of
the greatest Polish Hasidic masters, he sought to re-ignite the Hasidic
fervor of the early masters and thereby combat the increased secularization
of the time. In his first work, Hovat HaTalmidim (Translated into English as
the Students Responsibility, Aronson,
1991), while minimizing the role of rote learning and discipline, Rabbi
Shapira seeks to imbue the student with a sense of his spiritual potential.
In a sequel volume, Hachsharat HeAvrechim (The Young Mens Preparation)
published posthumously, he pursues the goal of higher levels of spirituality
employing meditative technique.
Rabbi Shapira did not survive the war. He experienced its horrors, enduring an escalating series of tragedies and sufferings. Miraculously, a record of his continued faith during the worst of times has survived. A volume Aish Kodesh (Holy Fire) of the sermon he delivered in the Warsaw ghetto was found after the war.
The above graphic includes photographs that were provided by VERAfilm archives.