B"H. Beis Moshiach Magazine is powered by:




“Abir SheBeAbirim
Rabbi Yehuda Kalman Marlow, a’h, Mara D’Asra and member of the Crown Heights Beis Din * 10 Adar I 5692 (1932) - 20 Sivan 5760.



“In the past, it was necessary to make sure that in addition to a rav there would also be a mashpia. This was because a rav would teach nigleh d’Torah along with practical halacha, and a mashpia would teach pnimiyus ha’Torah with its practical application. However, regarding rabbanei Lubavitch, they have both advantages. Thus, they are one unified whole.” (Sicha Motzaei Shabbos Truma 5748).

This description was fully realized in Rabbi Yehuda Kalman Marlow, who was an expert in halacha as well as a Chassid permeated by pnimiyus ha’Torah and pnimiyusdike Chassidic ways.


Rabbi Yehuda Kalman Marlow was born on 10 Adar Rishon 5692 (1932) in Frankfurt, Germany. His father was R’ Avrohom Yehoshua Malinovsky, who greatly admired Torah scholars. His mother, Rochel, descended from a well-known chain of rabbis, first among them the great gaon R’ Heschel, av beis din of the Cracow community. In his work Sheim HaGedolim, the Chida wrote about him that “there are many rabbis and gaonim among his descendants, the holy ones that are in the land of life. Among the living rabbis and gaonim of the generation, his grandchildren and relatives, may their names be eternal, so may it be G-d’s will.”

After the rise of the Nazi party, life in Germany became intolerable, and in 5699 the Malinovsky family emigrated to the United States and settled in Newark, New Jersey, where they shortened their name to Marlow. R’ Avrohom refused work opportunities that involved chilul Shabbos, and preferred demeaning and difficult work as long as he could remain shomer Shabbos. Six-year-old Yehuda Kalman endured great hardship, as there were times that he simply went hungry. This experience, however, educated him to stand up for his principles under the most trying circumstances.

Despite the difficult financial situation, R’ Avrohom Yehoshua sent his young son to learn in Torah Vodaas, where he was first introduced to Chabad Chassidus through Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber Gordon (may he have a refua shleima). Rabbi Gordon was a young Lubavitcher who had emigrated to the U.S. a few years before, and began disseminating Chassidus in Jewish schools.

Although R’ Avrohom Yehoshua was not a Chassid, he loved the Chassidic lifestyle, and when the Rebbe Rayatz came to the U.S. he went with the Chassidim to the Rebbe’s farbrengen. Over the years, R’ Avrohom Yehoshua participated in the Rebbe Rayatz’s farbrengens on a number of occasions, and even had yechidus twice with the Rebbe. Sometimes he took his son along so that he could breathe the Chassidic atmosphere in the Rebbe’s court. Since young bachurim were not allowed to participate in the farbrengens, young Rabbi Marlow had to hide. When he became bar mitzva, his father asked for a yechidus for him, but the Rebbe was not well at the time and very few people were granted an audience.

On Shabbos, Yud Shvat 5710, Rabbi Marlow was in Newark, where he heard of the passing of the Rebbe Rayatz. He rushed to Beis Chayeinu and took part in the large funeral that took place the next day. By this time he had already transferred to Yeshivas Tomchei Tmimim in New York, and from time to time he would go to Crown Heights and participate in the Rebbe MH”M’s farbrengens.

On one occasion, Rabbi Marlow related that he had been at the Yud-Beis Tammuz 5713 farbrengen, at the end of which the Rebbe distributed mashke, telling each participant matters that pertained to the future. When Rabbi Marlow passed before the Rebbe, the Rebbe spoke to him for a longer time concerning the future. Rabbi Marlow didn’t hear everything the Rebbe said because of the noise in the beis midrash, but what he did make out was, “nehenin mimenu eitza v’sushiya” (they benefit from him, receiving advice and counsel).


One year on his birthday, Rabbi Marlow had a yechidus with the Rebbe in which he was asked what masechta he was learning. After answering that he was learning Maseches Gittin, the Rebbe asked how he learned it. Rabbi Marlow said he learned the Gemara with Rashi, Tosafos, and commentaries. The Rebbe asked him, “And what about the poskim?” From then on, Rabbi Marlow put special emphasis on learning the practical halachic applications of whatever masechta was being learned in yeshiva.

At that time, Rabbi Marlow learned in Yeshivas Tomchei Tmimim in 770. He was known for his tremendous diligence, and his teachers predicted greatness for him. He received his smicha from the roshei yeshivas Tomchei Tmimim at a young age.

Rabbi Nachman Shapiro related an episode that he heard from Rabbi Leibel Groner. One night the Rebbe asked Rabbi Groner why the lights in the beis midrash were burning late at night. Rabbi Groner told the Rebbe that Rabbi Marlow was still sitting there learning sifrei poskim. The Rebbe asked him to shut all the lights except for the one directly above Rabbi Marlow. Due to his great absorption in his studies, Rabbi Marlow didn’t even notice Rabbi Groner enter the beis midrash and shut off the lights.

At the meal of Acharon Shel Pesach 5718, the Rebbe called Rabbi Marlow by his first name, asked him whether he had drunk the four cups of wine, and poured for him from the bottle of wine on his table. This kiruv (show of affection) expressed the special relationship between master and student, a student who didn’t leave his studies for even a moment.  


In 5719, Rabbi Marlow married Chaya Reicher. His wife’s mother had been murdered by the Nazis in a concentration camp, and his wife had been miraculously saved and had emigrated to America. She was welcomed with open arms by the Becker family, who adopted her as their daughter. The Rebbe was their mesader kiddushin.

At the time, Rabbi Marlow worked as a teacher in the Lubavitcher Yeshiva. After teaching in the morning, he would go to a shul where he sat and learned assiduously. He would return home late at night.

Rabbi Marlow had a special program of study on Shabbos. After davening he would put two tallis bags full of s’farim down on the table and would study them in a certain order, generally until 11:00 p.m. Only then would he return home for the Shabbos meal. His son, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Marlow, remembers that his mother would serve him the Shabbos meal before he went to Maariv so that he would be able to go to sleep right after Kiddush, which took place late at night.

On Shabbos Mevarchim Rabbi Marlow wouldn’t go to sleep at all. After the meal, he would nap in his chair for about two hours and get up and wash his hands. Then he would say Birchos HaShachar and begin reciting Tehillim. He would typically finish the entire book twice every Shabbos Mevarchim.

Each year, Rabbi Marlow would complete a number of mesechtos b’iyun, and on Erev Pesach, since he was a firstborn, he would make a siyum on a masechta and still he would fast. Fasting on such a busy day didn’t stop him from remaining in shul after Maariv for his regular shiurim. A few hours after the last person left the shul, the Rav would go home to break his fast and make the seider.

The Rav’s son-in-law, Rabbi Yosef Ben-Tzion Schechter, remembers the seider night as a very special experience. “The Rav would sit and read the Hagada in an especially intense way, enunciating each word exactly the way we say ‘Hashem hu ha’Elokim’ in T’fillas Ne’ila.”  


Although the Rav tried to hide his erudition, he couldn’t conceal his tremendous diligence from all those who saw him in shul. They always saw him sitting in his corner, delving deeply into his s’farim. Some people began approaching him with their halachic queries, and discovered that the Rav was fluent in all of the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch by heart, word for word. More and more people asked him questions and he became an unofficial rav.

The Rav in Crown Heights at the time was Rabbi Zalman Shimon Dvorkin, a’h, who spoke mostly in Yiddish and wasn’t that comfortable in English. Baalei teshuva who joined the community couldn’t communicate with Rabbi Dvorkin and preferred asking Rabbi Marlow their questions. Rabbi Marlow, however, did not want to “pasken in the presence of his teacher” and would, therefore, not answer directly; he would open the Shulchan Aruch to the section that addressed the topic and learn it with them until they understood what to do.

Rabbi Marlow acquired his incredible proficiency in Shulchan Aruch through his intensive studies. Before every Yom Tov he reviewed all the pertinent halachos in depth, and he had a special program of study for the halachos that apply all year round.

When Rabbi Marlow would lie down for a brief rest before Pesach, he would ask his son to sit near his bed with a Shulchan Aruch and test him on the index at the back. His son would say a certain topic and the Rav would respond with the simanim that dealt with the topic. This was Rabbi Marlow’s rest on Erev Pesach.

Aside from his incredible mastery of Shulchan Aruch and other halachic works, the Rav knew the entire Torah by heart with Rashi’s commentary and Targum Unkelus. “He knew Targum Unkelus like we know Ashrei,” testifies his son-in-law Rabbi Schechter. He was also an exacting baal korei, fluent in the taamei ha’mikra. His son relates that in the last weeks of his life, when there was a minyan in his house, the Rav, confined to bed and unable to look inside a Chumash, would nonetheless correct the baal korei, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Garelik, on even minor errors.

Presumably the Rav was knowledgeable in sifrei Kabbala, too. R’ Yosef Brook, who worked alongside Rabbi Marlow for the last fourteen years, once heard a rav who was involved in building mikvaos say that for years he wondered why round mikvaos weren’t built. He had asked dozens of rabbanim and nobody had an answer for him. When he asked Rabbi Marlow, the Rav answered him on the spot that it was based on Kabbala, and referred him to a Kabbalistic source giving the reason.

The Rav’s memory was truly awesome; whatever he learned or heard he remembered. In later years, after he was elected rav, he began officiating as mesader kiddushin. After writing the tenaim and the k’suba with all the details of the cosigners and the witnesses, etc., he would give the k’suba to the chassan and read it through again in order to ensure there were no mistakes. Some people noticed that the copy the Rav held was blank, without the names of the chassan, kalla, witnesses, etc., and although he had only heard the names one time, the Rav read from the blank copy as though he were reading from the k’suba itself.  


When the Rebbe MH”M ate the Yom Tov meals on the second floor of 770 with the ziknei ha’Chassidim, young men would ask the Rashag (the Rebbe’s brother-in-law) interesting questions so that he could bring them up at the meal, and the Rebbe would answer them.

On Succos 5730, Rabbi Marlow asked the Rashag why the Chabad custom is not to sleep in the succa, although al pi din there is an obligation to do so. He also asked why Chabad Chassidim are extremely stringent about not eating or drinking outside the succa, even under circumstances when al pi din they could be lenient.

The Rashag asked the Rebbe, and at the farbrengen on the second day of Yom Tov, the Rebbe referred to the question and explained the Chabad custom at length. After finishing the explanation, the Rebbe smiled and said that since “all who delve into the laws of sleeping are as if they are actually sleeping,” they should sing a happy niggun. The Rebbe strongly encouraged the singing, and the large crowd danced in place with vigor.

Then, one of the piles of benches making up bleachers collapsed, crushing Rabbi Marlow’s leg. Despite the terrible pain, the Rav didn’t say a word so as not to disturb the farbrengen. The organizing committee rushed over and began moving people aside. The Rav was at this point lying on the ground, and when they tried moving him, they noticed his leg crushed under the fallen benches. The singing had stopped and the Rebbe looked grave as he kept looking at that spot.

After great effort, they managed to get the Rav out. Then they brought him to the hospital for emergency treatment. The Rav’s leg was in a cast for six months, and some have said that the Rebbe showed concern about every stage of the treatment. At that difficult time, one could see how particular the Rav was about taking a daily mikva. As soon as he was able to, while still in his cast, the Rav went to the mikva and immersed, keeping his leg out of the water.

Rabbi Aharon Chitrik, who had been standing near the Rav when the benches fell, relates that on Motzaei Simchas Torah of that year, two of the Rav’s friends went to visit him in the hospital and brought him on crutches to the Rebbe’s farbrengen. The Rebbe was in the middle of a sicha as they entered, and the Rav stood off to the side so as not to attract attention. When the sicha was finished, the Rebbe looked in his direction and motioned for them to bring him up to the bima and give him l’chaim.

After the break between sichos, the Rebbe said that this was the time to finish the topic they had begun on Succos about the Chabad custom of not sleeping in the succa. After that sicha, the Rav said that he realized that the Rebbe knew exactly who had asked the question, and he felt that this was the Rebbe’s way of saying welcome.

On Succos, the Rav acted stringently and did not go to sleep. Even this year, weak from his terrible illness, he did not get into bed from the beginning of Yom Tov until Motzaei Simchas Torah. He danced at night at the Simchas Beis HaShoeiva, and at most, would nap in his office while sitting in his chair.  


On Motzaei Shabbos, 17 Adar 5745, Rabbi Dvorkin, Rav of Crown Heights, passed away. Less than a year later, elections were held in which the residents of Crown Heights selected three rabbanim: Rabbi Marlow, Rabbi Avrohom Osdoba, and Rabbi Yosef Heller. Rabbi Marlow was elected with a stunning majority of over 800 votes out of 1,000 possible votes! It was only natural that Rabbi Marlow be selected as mara d’asra of the community after serving as a member of the beis din rabbanei Lubavitch, headed by Rabbi Dvorkin, for years.

The Rebbe was personally involved in the election process. When certain askanim tried to interfere with the elections, the Rebbe uncharacteristically stated (sicha Shabbos Mattos-Massei 5746), “When I saw the situation, I had no choice but to put everything else aside to ensure that everything about the elections for rabbanim be according to the Shulchan Aruch.”

The Rebbe made another interesting comment in the sicha of Shabbos Mishpatim 5747: “Crown Heights is one of the few communities in which the rabbanim were elected by the entire tzibur. All men of the community were called upon to personally participate in the elections, and most responded and came to a holy location, a beis knesses and beis midrash, particularly the beis knesses and beis midrash of the Rebbe, my father-in-law, nasi doreinu, where they themselves elected the rabbanim, a fact which gives the rabbanim the greatest possible authority.”

In that sicha, the Rebbe recited the statement of our Sages and applied it to the rabbanim of the community: “Yerubaal in his generation was like Moshe in his generation...Yiftach in his generation was like Shmuel in his generation...when a leader is appointed over the tzibur he is like the mightiest of the mighty [abir she’be’abirim]...you may only go to the judge of your times!”

The Rebbe continued, “It makes no difference whether this fact pleases them or not. It is the same as the fact that they weren’t consulted about the giving of the Ten Commandments, the 613 mitzvos of the Torah, and everything a scholar will innovate in the future, long before he and his father were born, as well as those who educated him to conduct himself in this way. The reality is that these rabbanim were elected by the majority of the community, and they will continue to serve in this rabbanus until the coming of the righteous redeemer!”

Another sicha that dealt with the special position of Chabad rabbanim was said on Motzaei Shabbos Truma 5748 after the conclusion of shiva for Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, a’h. After that famous sicha, the rabbanim of the community, led by Rabbi Marlow, went to the Rebbe’s home. Rabbi Marlow spoke along the same lines as the Rebbe’s sicha, saying we are in the week of Parshas V’Ata Tetzaveh, and we all know who the “V’Ata” [and you] is. So the Rebbe will surely have length of days and good years. The Rebbe listened to Rabbi Marlow and then said with a smile, “but it should be without the ‘kasis la’maor’ [crushing].”

On Erev Pesach 5747, the first Erev Pesach after being elected rav of the community, the telephone at Rabbi Marlow’s house rang at the time of bedikas chametz. Rabbi Chadakov, the Rebbe’s secretary, was on the line, and he told Rabbi Marlow that the Rebbe asked that he come to 770. Rabbi Osdoba and Rabbi Heller were there, as well. Rabbi Chadakov told them in the Rebbe’s name that during the year between Rabbi Dvorkin’s passing and the elections, the Rebbe had sold his chametz to Rabbi Yisroel Yitzchok Piekarsky. Since you cannot sell chametz to three rabbanim, this year the Rebbe would sell his chametz to Rabbi Piekarsky again. However, since they were the rabbanim of the community, the Rebbe asked that each of them be given a hundred-dollar bill. From that time on, every Erev Pesach, the rabbanim received a hundred-dollar bill from the Rebbe.

In Cheshvan 5750, the Rebbe wrote: “Obviously I am satisfied with the Vaad HaRabbanim shlita of the community. May they have length of days and years over their kingdom.”

Rabbi Yitzchok Gansburg remembers that at one of the farbrengens, the Rebbe shouted about the fact that people don’t cry out “ad masai enough. Rabbi Gansburg was disturbed by what the Rebbe said, and he asked the Rebbe, “What does the Rebbe want of us? We are screaming, crying, and pleading!”

The Rebbe responded, “Crying? It’s forbidden to cry on Shabbos.” After pointing in Rabbi Marlow’s direction, the Rebbe said, “There is a rav here who will declare that it is forbidden to cry on Shabbos. Rabbi Marlow was standing very close to Rabbi Gansburg and he quietly said that it was forbidden to cry on Shabbos, but the Rebbe wasn’t satisfied. He asked the Rav to stand in his place and loudly announce that it was forbidden to cry on Shabbos. Only after the Rav did so did the Rebbe begin a happy niggun, and the farbrengen continued.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman Lipsker of Philadelphia relates that back in 5737, the Rebbe had already told Rabbi Marlow to become a rav mora horaa. This is how it came about:

That year, the N’shei Chabad produced a cookbook and Rabbi Marlow was the one responsible for the halachic aspects of the book. After the book was printed, Rabbi Marlow gave the Rebbe a copy of it at a farbrengen. Rabbi Lipsker, who was standing nearby, heard the Rebbe say, “Enough already being nechba el ha’keilim (i.e. humble). The time has come for you to be a mora horaa to the public!”

Rabbi Yitzchok Hendel, av beis din and rav of the Chabad community in Montreal, said that he once heard the Rebbe refer to Rabbi Marlow as an ish halacha.

(Click to Continue.)




Rabbi Marlow had a special chayus in all inyanei Moshiach and Geula, especially on the topic of Moshiach’s identity. The Rav used every opportunity to encourage activities of this nature and he participated, as well.

In 5747, after the farbrengen on Shabbos Parshas VaYigash when everybody cried out “ad masai,” there was a special his’orerus for inyanei Geula. Twenty-five rabbanim, led by Rabbi Marlow, gathered to write a psak din establishing al pi Torah that Hashem must bring the Geula immediately. The next day when the Rebbe distributed dollars, Rabbi Marlow handed the Rebbe the psak din (see last week’s cover of Beis Moshiach). The Rebbe responded:

“May Hashem fulfill your hearts’ desire for good in all the matters you wrote here. As the Rambam writes [in reference to the Era of Moshiach], ‘Amen, may it be His will, and it should all be in our time mamash,’ especially since we are thirty days before Yud Shvat. May we hear good news, and may these days be transformed into joy and gladness and good festivals.”

Also, in the summer of 5751, when the rabbanim were writing piskei dinim that the time for the Geula had arrived and that the Rebbe is Melech HaMoshiach, Rabbi Marlow was in the forefront of these activities.

In the period after Gimmel Tammuz, Rabbi Marlow joined the activists who continued to spread the besuras ha’Geula. Among other things, Rabbi Marlow was the official rav of this publication and a member of the hanhala ruchnis of the Chabad World Center to Greet Moshiach.

The Rav had come for his first visit to the Holy Land in 5755, but since it was so close to Pesach, he had to return home that same night. He gave a notable speech at the huge kinus on Beis Nissan that year in Yad Eliyahu in Tel Aviv. The Rav’s speech was all of three minutes, but more was unnecessary. The following words speak for themselves: “All the rabbanim and those gathered here, gathered here this evening in order to strengthen the belief in Moshiach and the fact that Moshiach is here with us. I am privileged to represent the Crown Heights community — ‘Kan tziva Hashem es ha’bracha’ — which is here in spirit, and participates along with all those gathered in “a land which has G-d’s eyes upon it from the beginning of the year until the end of the year,” and to represent all those who proclaim and shout ‘ad masai.’

“It is important to note that today, ten months have passed (from Gimmel Tammuz to Gimmel Nissan) and we find ourselves in a situation which even further emphasizes the cry of ‘ad masai.’ The main thing is to conclude on a positive note: Today marks seven years since the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach informed us about ‘Yechi.’ I represent, as I said, the Crown Heights community, who make this proclamation here in Eretz Yisroel: ‘Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach l’olam va’ed.’”

Apparently the deep impression made by the kinus was felt even by the Rav himself, for after he became sick, he asked to see the video of that kinus.

Rabbi Marlow’s final public appearance was at the kinus ha’yovel, which was organized by the Chabad World Center to Greet Moshiach on Erev Yud Shvat this year. The Rav spoke about the importance of the pure faith of children: “Unfortunately, today’s children never saw the Rebbe, yet they are still growing up as real mekusharim and maaminim b’emuna shleima [true believers]. As far as we are concerned, we actually saw the Rebbe. But from where do the children get these kochos? The answer must be that these are very high neshamos with very special kochos. Otherwise there is no explanation.”




The Rebbe MH”M officiating at the wedding of Rabbi Yehuda Kalman Marlow - 4 Adar 5719

Rabbi Marlow with his class in the Lubavitcher Yeshiva




When Rabbi Marlow would lie down for a brief rest before Pesach, he would ask his son to sit near his bed with a Shulchan Aruch and test him on the index at the back.


Home | Contents | Archives | Contact Us | Subscriptions | Submissions | Interactive | Chat | Advertise

©Copyright. No content may be reprinted without permission.