Thursday, July 10, 2014

Rabbi Eliyahu Rusoff of the Bronx and his beating on the subway

Rabbi Eliyahu Rusoff was Rabbi was in the Bronx for many years, and authored several interesting works, mostly Responsa. c1952 the Rabbi was riding on the subway and two gentiles seated facing him were poking fun at his sidelocks and beard and as they got up to leave the train, one of them took the Mishnah volume he was holding and hit him on the head with the book, hitting him so hard that he fell down. They escaped, and the Rabbi spent the next years in pain, with headaches and loss of memory.
The author printed this story that occurred to him on the title page of every book he published after this event, stating that you can not rely on anything written in the book for practical purposes as his memory is now failing and the doctors do not want to attempt to heal him as he is aged 78...

Rabbi Rusoff had an interesting style in his writing, when he would be quoting or be responding to what has been written in another book, he often quoted the entire portion word for word, often several columns long. At times, it is hard to tell where the quote ends and his comments on it begin.

Some things of note from his books:
in כסא אליהו
דף יב: discusses gentiles who kept all their utensils kosher, and then converted, can their utensils be used?
כג: is וצוונו said at the circumcision of a Convert?
ל: Is Euthanasia permitted?
לג: Would the purchase of a buyer, who was sent seforim without his request, be considered legitimate or must we suspect that he purchased it out of embarrassment (pressure)? Ref. to Minchas Eliyahu [pg. 35a]
מ: sitting shivah when one knows death of a relative is imminent.

On the title page of his Yad Eliyahu, he writes that this book was written in a response to Ba'ale Batim who complained of authors who request their help to publish works of no use to them, this work was intended and can be understood even by the layman.

One of the sponsors of the book Minchat Eliyahu is Manfred R. Lehman

hat-tip: Ovadya Hoffman
Photo hat-tip: YD Miller


  1. Thought you might be interested in this very sad story in a trolley car, 1920.

  2. Rabbi Russoff A"H was my Zeyda. If anyone has any information about his life both in Russia and /or America please let me know. Thank you. Geri Mandel,