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What is the story behind this picture being known as the image of the great Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan(Chafetz Chaim)? Is it him in fact? Where does it come from?


The only true picture (that I am aware of) shows him sitting down, at a distance and is rather unclear:


This website mentions that the first image could be that of his Shamas or wagon driver. It describes the above photo (the second picture) as follows: "The above picture was taken in Radin and the Chofetz Chaim is seen speaking to his oldest son, Rabbi Leib Poupko who eventually became Rav in Radin and President of the Mizrachi in Poland. He passed away in 1939. The CC’s last Rebbetzin, also who was an adopted daughter, is standing behind him. There’s also a young woman in the picture standing next to the Chofetz Chaim. Rav Chaim Wolkin, the Mashgiach in Ateres, is seen posing (in a walking pose, which was apparently a popular thing in those days) in the street between the photographer and the house".

Are there any other photos of the Chofetz Chaim to which we can compare the first picture for authentication?

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closed as off-topic by Isaac Moses, Double AA Jul 27 at 14:57

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The Living Torah Museum has another photo which they claim is the clearest one ever discovered: – Dave Aug 25 '13 at 16:28
Also see this discussion:… – Dave Aug 25 '13 at 16:31
@Dave that doesn't even look like a picture at all to me. Looks more like a drawing. – Shraga Aug 25 '13 at 19:25
I once asked a very alter Yid this question and I think he said it looks like him but it's not exact. – Hacham Gabriel Aug 25 '13 at 22:06
New evidence:… – Isaac Moses Feb 24 at 14:28

2 Answers 2

up vote 16 down vote accepted

Yes, the painting is based on a popular picture of the Chofetz Chaim, which can be seen in The Schwadron Collection of the National Library of Israel (Jerusalem). The archive lists the picture as following:

A photo portrait of Rabbi Israel Meir Cohen ("Chafetz Chaim"): printed silver, black and white, 7X12 cm. Portfolio also includes a copy of this portrait, which contains on the back a summarized biography of the subject, written by Dr. Abraham Schwadron in Yiddish.

It is undated but clearly identified by the archive as the Chofetz Chaim. Here is that picture:

enter image description here

Although it is undated, we know it was circulated in his lifetime. The collection also includes clippings from Polish newspapers and other sources that reprint the picture, and label his name with shlita (may he live for many good days amen). For example:

enter image description here

The collection also contains another picture of the Chofetz Chaim from a newspaper, which alleges that he is 90 in the picture (notice the cane, also seen in the sitting picture you included):

enter image description here

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who was "Dr. Abraham Schwadron"? – barlop Feb 17 at 21:38
He was a prominent Zionist writer of the early 20th century, known as Avraham Sharon in Israel, who established an amazing collection at the National Library. – Aryeh Feb 17 at 21:45
This picture mentioned doesn't add up; from the video and the picture of the Chofetz Chaim in front of his house, he doesn't look at all like he does in this picture which is allegedly a photo of him. Maybe it's a picture of another butcher... IDK, B'Emet. – Anonymous Jul 5 at 22:53

This video that has been making the rounds on Jewish sites recently has a short scene of the Chafetz Chaim.

Here are some screen caps:

Chofetz Chaim video Chofetz Chaim video Chofetz Chaim video Chofetz Chaim video

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The Chofetz Chaim appears at 0:56, – Yehuda Feb 25 at 13:09
@Danny Nice work my technologically advanced friend. Thank you. – user6591 Feb 25 at 17:08

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