The Story Behind The Dynasty
When a Chassid learns about the Rebbes yichus, he too becomes a part of it
The Biala dynasty comes from Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowitz, the Holy Jew of Peshischa, who was a disciple of the Seer of Lublin. The Seer was a disciple of Rabbi Elimelech of Lizensk, who was a disciple of the Preacher of Mezritch, who was a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism.
1. Grand Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowitz, the “Holy Jew” of Peshischa (1766-1813), disciple of the Chozeh of Lublin.
2. Grand Rabbi Yerachmiel Rabinowitz of Peshischa (d. 1831), son of the Holy Jew.
3. Grand Rabbi Nathan David Rabinowitz of Shidlovtza (d. 1865), son of Rebbe Yerachmiel
4. Grand Rabbi Yitzchok Yaakov Rabinowitz of Biala the author of Divrei Binah (d. 1905), youngest son of Rebbe Nathan David, son-in-law of Rebbe Yehoshua of Ostrovoh, author of Toldos Adam.
5. Grand Rabbi Yerachmiel Tzvi Rabinowitz of Biala-Shedlitz, son of the Divrei Binah.
6. Grand Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua Rabinowitz Biala Rebbe of Jerusalem (1900-1981), author of Chelkas Yehoshua and Seder HaYom.
7. Grand Rabbi David Matisyahu Rabinowitz (1928-1997), author of Lehavas Dovid, Biala Rebbe of Bnei Brak, son of Rebbe Yechiel Yehoshua.
8. Grand Rabbi Aharon Shlomo Chaim Eleazar Rabinowitz , Biala Rebbe of America, in the Boro Park section of Brooklyn, NY, son of Rabbi David Matisyahu
“Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos .Aenean non turpis vitae ligula tristique sagitt isras varius erat pulvinar eros pretium”
|GRAND RABBI DAVID MATTISYAHU RABINOWITZ, ZT”L
|BIALA REBBE OF BNEI BRAK
Grand Rabbi David Mattisyahu Rabinowitz was born in Shedlitz, Poland on the eve of Hanukkah, 5689, (December 7, 1928). He was named David after his great-grandfather, Rabbi Nathan David of Shidlovtza, and Mattisyahu after the hero of the Hanukkah story, since his bris was on the seventh day of Hannukkah. Already as a small child, he would wake up early to learn Torah and to pray with a fiery love of God, a way of prayer that he would follow his entire life.
During the difficult years of the war, his father was exiled to Russia. Young David Mattisyahu, together with two of his brothers and his sister, escaped to Tehran, Iran (Persia). The children came to the Holy Land with the transport known as Yaldei Tehran (the Children of Tehran). When Rabbi Yoseph Kahaneman, the Ponevezher Rav, heard that the children of the Biala Rebbe had come to Eretz Yisrael, he made special effort to make sure that these children were taken to live a Torah life.
Rabbi David Mattisyahu learned in Yeshivah in Ponevezh, with a devotion to learning Torah constantly, and was reknowned in Yeshivah for his warm prayers, and was often picked to lead special prayer services on holidays, especially the Hallel service. The entire Yeshivah was inspired by his fiery devotion to prayer. His father, Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua, the Biala Rebbe, arrived in the Holy Land in 1947, and was reunited with his children. Rabbi David Mattisyahu got married then, and received his Rabbinical ordination from Grand Rabbi Yoseph Tzvi Kalish of Skernevitz, the Chief Rabbi of Bnei Brak, a scion of the Vorki dynasty.
Upon arriving in the Holy Land, the Biala Rebbe, Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua, appointed his son, Rabbi David Mattisyahu, to help him rebuild the institutions of the Biala Dynasty after the Holocaust. In 1950, he began to build Biala yeshivos around the Holy Land. Rabbi David Mattisyahu was constantly at the right hand of his father, and was sent to America by his father to raise money for Biala insitutions. Before his passing, Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua called his son, Rabbi David Mattisyahu, ” nekudas libi” – “the focus of my heart”, and was appointed to be his father’s successor.
Grand Rabbi David Mattisyahu set up his Hassidic court in Bnei Brak, where he spread Torah and Chassidus with a passionate fire. All who saw his passion in prayer were deeply inspired. He would spend one Sabbath every year, during the three weeks, in the Old City of Jerusalem, near the Western Wall. He would also visit America every year to spread the fire of Biala Chassidus and awe of heaven. He authored a commentary on the Torah called Lehavas David.
While visiting America he began to build a Biala synagogue in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, NY, and told his son, Rabbi Aaron Shlomo, to be his successor there in the synagogue in America. Rabbi David Mattisyahu did not live to see the completion of the Borough Park synagogue.
His devotion to the holiday services were famous, particularly the taking of the Lulav and Esrog, as well as the Hakafos on Simchas Torah. He passed away on 25 Tishrei, 5758, (October 26, 1997), after Simchas Torah. He was survived by his wife, two daughters, and five sons. Four sons and one son-in-law became Rebbes. Rabbi Aaron Shlomo became the Biala Rebbe in America.
May the memory of Grand Rabbi David Mattisyahu ben Yechiel Yehoshua Rabinowitz of Biala be a blessing for the entire Jewish people. Zechuso Yagein Aleinu V’Al Kol Yisrael, Amen.
Grand Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua Rabinowitz , zt”l, was born in Shedlitz, Poland in 5660 (1900) to Grand Rabbi Yerachmiel Tzvi of Biala-Shedlitz, zt”l, the son of Grand Rabbi Yitzchak Yaakov Rabinowitz, author of Divrei Binah, the first Biala Rebbe, zt”l. The Divrei Binah was the son of Grand Rabbi Nathan David Rabinowitz of Shidlovtza, zt”l, the son of Grand Rabbi Yerachmiel Tzvi Rabinowitz of Peshischa, son of Grand Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowitz of Peshischa, known as the Yid HaKadosh, the Holy Jew of Peshischa, zt”l. The Divrei Binah was the son-in-law of Grand Rabbi Yehoshua of Ostroveh, zt”l, author of Toldos Adam, son of Grand Rabbi Shlomo Leib of Lentchna, zt”l, a disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch, zt”l. He was the grandfather of the present Rebbe, shlit”a.
At six years old, Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua was sent by his father to learn from his maternal grandfather, Grand Rabbi Aryeh Leib of Urzhov, zt”l, author of Birkas Tov. He was soon recognized as a child prodigy by many of the great Rabbis of Poland. His father passed away at a young age and Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua was raised by his uncle, Grand Rabbi Meir Shlomo Rabinowitz of Mezritch, zt”l. In 5684 (1924), Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua was coronated as the Biala Rebbe by the followers of his late father in Shedlitz. In 5695 (1935), the Rebbe made an attempt to move to the Holy Land, but was unable to at the time. It was during that year that the Rebbe completed the entire Talmud for the fourth time.
When the Nazis came to Shedlitz during the Holocaust, the Rebbe was imprisoned together with the other residents of Shedlitz. When they brought him to work he miraculously managed to escape and hid in a bakery for several days. Together with his family, the Rebbe escaped to Russia, after a failed attempt to escape to London to be with his brother, and was spared from the horrors of the Holocaust. However, the Communists exiled the Rebbe to Siberia where he was tortured for many years, and forced to be a rope maker. There, in Siberia, the true greatness of the Rebbe was revealed. He did not give up even the slightest iota of his customs. He even broke the ice of rivers for daily mikvah immersion.
He was once almost killed by a Russian guard who mistook the Rebbe for an animal in the river, but he was miraculously saved. Despite the suffering he faced there, the Rebbe managed to clandestinely organize a congregation from the Jews there for communal prayer and Torah study. In the late hours of the Sabbath nights, the Rebbe even lead Hassidic tishen for the Jews captive in Siberia, in the hours after returning from the forced labor imposed upon them. Once, on Rosh Hashanah, the Rebbe was standing in devoted prayer, leading the congregation, when the Russians entered. The entire congregation fled in fear, but the Rebbe was unaware of their entrance amidst his intense prayerful ecstasy, and was severely beaten by the guards. During the entire time the Rebbe was in Siberia, the Communists tried to break his mighty spirit. Once, the Communists confiscated all of his Holy Books, to prevent him from learning Torah. The Rebbe was overcome with a desire to learn the holy book Noam Elimelech by the Rebbe R. Elimelech of Lizensk, zt”l. One erev shabbos, the Rebbe could not bare any longer to be parted from the sefer, and snuck into the guard house where his books were being held. The Rebbe searched through the books and managed to take the Noam Elimelech without anyone seeing him.
The Rebbe spent five years in Siberia, and then returned to Poland, to find his entire life from before the world in ruins. The Rebbe went from Poland to France for a short time. In 5707 (1947), the Rebbe came to the Holy Land, where he was worthy to rebuild the illustrious dynasty of Biala, a remnant of the dynasty of the Holy Jew of Peshischa. The Rebbe settled in Tel Aviv and was well received by the Holocaust survivors from Poland who also settled there. Many young people came to learn from the ways of this holy tzaddik. All who saw the Rebbe were in awe of his righteousness. He would spend most of the day crowned with his tallis and tefillin. He was renowned for his intense prayers, which would take many hours. He was most famous for his carefulness and concentration in the recitation of Krias Shma. He would often tell those who came to be blessed by him to be extra careful in reciting Shma. He would go to great lengths to perform mitzvos, including many which are not sought after by the masses. He would go out of his way to perform the mitzvah of kissui hadam, covering the blood of poultry after kosher slaughter.
In 5715 (1955), the Rebbe moved to the Holy City of Jerusalem, where he spent the rest of his life. The great rabbinical leaders of the generation were amazed by the way the Biala Rebbe served God. Grand Rabbi Yisrael Alter of Gerr, zt”l, the author of Beis Yisrael, lived next door to the Biala Rebbe. The Gerrer Rebbe would open his window on the night of the Sabbath to hear the Biala Rebbe recite Kiddush. The Gaon Rabbi Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik, zt”l, the famed Brisker Rav, would stop when he passed by the Biala Rebbe’s synagogue in the morning, to hear the Rebbe recite Krias Shma.
The Rebbe authored many Hasidic books, including Kedushas Chelkas Yehoshua and Seder HaYom.
In his final years the Rebbe fell very ill. In the midst of the weakness and pain of his illness, the Rebbe amazingly strengthened his efforts in avodas Hashem. Many great Rabbis would come to visit the Rebbe in his illness and were amazed. He suffered from a stroke in 5736 (1976), and yet made even more effort to perform mitzvos despite the pain he suffered, including great self-sacrifice for the mitzvos of netillas yadayim and lighting neros Chanukah, despite the great difficulty they involved due to his condition.
On the 21st of Shevat, 5742 (1982), the Rebbe returned his soul to his Maker. The Rebbe was buried on Har HaZeisim (the Mountain of Olives) in Jerusalem. He was succeeded by his son, Grand Rabbi David Mattisyahu Rabinowitz , zt”l, the previous Biala Rebbe of Bnei Brak. He had three other sons, who also became Rebbes, Rabbi Yerachmiel Tzvi Rabinowitz, zt”l, was the Biala-Peshischa Rebbe in the Har Nof section of Jerusalem, Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowitz is the Biala Rebbe in the Ramat Aharon section of Bnei Brak, and Rabbi Ben Zion Rabinowitz is the Rabbi of Lugano, Switzerland.
May the memory of Grand Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua ben Yerachmiel Tzvi Rabinowitz of Biala be a blessing for the entire Jewish people. Zechuso Yagein Aleinu V’Al Kol Yisrael, Amen.
(Source: HaLahmi, Meir Toldoth HaChassiduth Be’Eretz Yisrael Volume 2, Bameh Publishing, Jerusalem 1995)