Grand Rav Yaakov Yitzchok Rabinovitz of Peshischa
A disciple and successor of the “Choizeh of Lublin” OB”M.
The Choizeh of Lublin was a disciple of our great Rebbe, Reb Elimelech of Lizensk, – author of the “Noam Elimelech”
Author of the Noam Elimelech was a disciple of the holy Dov Ber of Mezritch, – known as the “Maggid of Mezritch”.
The “Maggid of Mezritch” was a direct disciple of the “Light of Seven Days” as the holy Baal Shem Tov OB”M was known.
The “Yehudi Hakadosh” (The holy Jew) was considered “the golden sheaf” and a prodigy amongst the tzaddikim. One of the greatest disciples and direct successor of the Choizeh of Lublin (OB”M). Any attempt to convey his greatness or his spiritual wealth would be futile. His presence in Judaic leadership burst forth with stormy thunder, shaking the very foundation of Polish Jewry in his time, and when he left the storm was still raging… a torch was kindled in Peshischa, lighting the path for millions of followers. This flame was never to be dimmed.
On the 19th day of Tishrei. Third day of chol Hamoad Succos in the year 5574. The Holy Jew ascended to heaven. He was laid to rest in the town of Peshischa.
As the light of our Rebbe began to shine, it attracted many pious, G-d fearing Jews. His synagogue became a meeting place for all those seeking to come close to G-d. It was the place which yielded honest worshippers and pure devout men. Holy giants shed their glamorous cloaks to follow him. Eventually the entire Polish community and its surroundings, including its towns, neighbors and fellow Jewish citizens joined under one glorious crown jewel. He was like a holy flame of greatness and splendor.
Many holy giants followed him drinking thirstily from his Torah fountain. They heeded his fiery Torah speeches beseeching, and enticing them to love and serve G-d. The holy Jewish nation who is likened to sheep, would come flocking to him in herds, downing his holy and pure teachings, showing them the way on the path of light.
Since the time of his own Rebbe, the holy Choizeh, this phenomenon of having absolute influence on his followers, had no match. The entire region would bow in deference to him. It was from there that he laid the cornerstone to the many holy courts whose fountains gushed ceaselessly. To this day their tradition is engraved forever to last.
Describing the greatness and importance of the “holy Jew”: the Chidushai Harim of Gur (OB”M) described him as the golden sheaf amongst all tzaddikim. Just like Rabbi Akiva was a genius amongst our sages, so too the “Holy Jew” was the genius amongst the tzaddikim. (Meir Einie Hagolah, letter Ein) He also said that merely talking about the “Holy Jew” has the virtue of bringing on the fear of G-d. (letter ein, gimmel).
How did he get to be called “The Holy Jew”? The tzaddikim of his generation claimed, that the main reason was because he was never ever angry! And because he never once overlooked the need for charity. He practiced the entire Torah with absolute selflessness. He was a real Jew. A Holy Jew. He defied anything that smelled of idolatry or its components.
Even more so. He was called the “Jew” because each day he elevated himself to the standard of a Jew. Just like when a non-Jew becomes a Jew, he scaled that difference every single day. The sefer ‘Birchas Tov” (Vayachi ) writes that the great and holy “Yid Hakadosh – the Holy Jew” would renew his worship in G-d every single day, to the extent of leaving the prior day’s service on the standard of a non-Jew’s worship versus a Jew’s. Thus, he elevated and intensified his service to G-d daily.
When news of his sudden decease reached the place where his followers gathered, the very foundations trembled. A terrifying silence wrapped the entire community. Disputes, complaints and petty squabbles were immediately ceased. A heavy mourning enveloped his chassidim. Suddenly, his magnificent character was revealed to all. Suddenly, behind the varying opinions and methods of opinion a ferocious giant, a Torah knight, a pure holy being upon whom the Holy Spirit always rested. The existence of a rare commodity in recent generations emerged. This was a super-giant whose short life was immersed in a bottomless sea of pain and agony. Yet, he stood up to his pain and reached heights which hardly a human being had scaled. He was a chasid who practiced chassidus with every muscle, every fiber. He had full control of his emotions. This man became the example of what real worshipping of G-d should be. An everlasting bond joined him with G-d, he wouldn’t move a muscle without intense meditation. Alas his life was cut short at its prime. He was only at the starting point.
Rebbi Yerachmiel OB”M was born in the year of 5544 to parents of great personage. His father was the holy Rebbe, Reb Yaakov Yitzchak, known as “the Holy Yid – Jew” of Peshischa. His mother was the righteous pious Mrs. Breindel OB”M. Reb Yerachmiel was taught by his holy father who was also his beloved Rebbe. His father in turn put great effort in educating him in his own unique way from a very young age. He taught him how to serve G-d in the way of the Torah and of chassidus, without concession. He showed him how to contribute his entire being for the sake of Hashem and His Torah
The holy Rebbe returned his soul on the eighth day in the month of Iyur in the year 5596. He was laid to rest at the side of his great father in the town of Peshischa.
Reb Yerachmiel was but a mere child when his father entrusted him with exalted assignments, involving correction of souls. His father regarded him with high respect.
There is an accepted version relating that after his father “The holy Yid” passed away, one of his followers wanted to appoint Reb Yerachmiel as the succeeding Rebbe by giving him “pidyon”. Reb Yerachmiel actually picked up a spade and threatened him with it saying: “I am warning you to run away, for our sages have taught us “when one threatens to kill you, rise first and kill him”. Taking on the leadership is a sure death to me!” That’s how humble and modest this holy man was. He was an expert at mending clocks and he used it to make a living. It was only after several years that he agreed to accept the mantle and become a leader and Rebbe.
Once he was exposed thousands would flock to him for help and guidance. Indeed, he became famous for the miracles he performed.
His obsession with clocks was a mystery. He would mend the clocks deep in thought clearly on a higher plane. On one occasion his friend and in-law the holy Rav Reb Emanual of Pashdborz OB”M came to visit him. Reb Yerachmiel would not talk to him or even take notice of him until he finished tending to the clocks. During prayer he would often finger a watch and fiddle with its hands.
A short while preceding the passing of “The Holy Yid”, a son was born to Reb Yerachmiel. The “Yid” served as Sandek and instructed the child to be named Nusen Dovid. As he did so he hinted: here you have a prophet and a king. He was inferring to Nasan the prophet and King David. This prophecy was realized in the years to come.
At midnight on the eve of Shabbos kodesh, Parshas Lech Lecha the seventh in the month of Cheshvan —– the Rebbe holy soul ascended to heaven. He was laid to rest in the town of Shidlowza.
The crowds streaming to the Rebbe, the holy Reb Nusen Dovid of Shidlowza OB”M considered him a prophet and accepted his ruling in every issue. Likewise, he was a true king, as the Gemara states: “who are the kings? The Rabbis!” He was king to thousands of Jews who felt their souls connected to the Rebbe’s soul, entwined with fear and love. The Holy Rebbe tried to disguise his holiness but his effort was to no avail, he was famous throughout the world for his holiness. Other Tzaddikim of his generation, such as the “Chidushai Harim”, “The Tiferes Shlomo” of Radomsk, “the DIvrei Chaim” of Tzanz, revered him. He in turn bowed in deference, travelling to tzaddikim such as the “Saba Kadisha”, – Reb Yechezkel of Kuzmir, The holy Reb Moshe of Lelov, the holy Reb Yisrael of Ruzhin, Reb Meir of Premishlan and more. They all recognized his true value.
The Rebbe was very close to his father, who not only taught him Torah in his young years, but also impressed on him the trait of humbleness. His humbleness and simplicity which was second nature to him did not succeed in hiding his greatness. Even as a young teenager he was known as a holy man. Naturally for him, he built a thick wall around him. It wasn’t easy to breach this fortress. When he was 20 years of age his holy father, Reb Yerachmiel passed away. His father’s followers accepted him as their leader immediately. However, Reb Nusen Dovid vehemently refused to accept “pidyon” (money accompanied by a note with a personal request- kvittel). He used the words of our Sages: “anyone who benefits using Torah is causing his life to be taken from him” as proof of his conduct. As the pidyon is in merit of the Torah he learns and part of his worship to G-d, he refused to take advantage of his position. However, his righteous wife, the Rebbetzin, disagreed with him. The financial situation at home became critical so much so that the desperate Rebbetzin went to the gravesite of her husband’s grandfather “the holy Yid” and cried her eyes out. That night The Rebbe dreamt of his grandfather the “Holy Yid” who expounded the verse of our Sages to mean that: “anyone whose life enjoyment stems from his Torah learning – has a right to “take his life from it” i.e. take advantage of the Torah learning to make a living. From that day on the Rebbe accepted pidyons, and his blessings were famous for being realized and bringing salvation to Jews in trouble.
Chasidim would relate mysterious tales regarding the correction of lost souls which the Rebbe was involved. A wonderful scene would often occur. As the rebbe would stick his head out of the window, hundreds of doves would come flying to him. Many doves would hang around his house waiting for the window to be opened. It is a well known fact that a dove resembles “Knesset Yisrael”. Thus, the Chassidim concluded that his activities with the doves must be related to matters with the souls from the spiritual realm.
The Rebbe had an interesting explanation on the words mentioned in Shir Hashirim – the Song of Songs: “my dove in the cracks of the rocks” – Even the greatest of Jewish sinners, there is still a virtuous spark, For they are still Jews, and are resembled to an innocent dove caught in a deep crack in the rocks – which indicates the Yetzer Hara, and their morality is hidden deep within them waiting to sacrifice their souls for the sake of their Judaism. At one time, on Rosh Hashana prior to blowing the shofar a dove entered the synagogue and stood at the altar. The congregants tried to chase it away, but the Rebbe prevented them from doing so. He instructed them to bring a cup of water which he placed on his shtreimel. The dove drank the water and flew on her way. After the Rebbe passed on all doves disappeared at once. Now there was no doubt that the Rebbe was the reason they flocked to his place.
Biale boasted a wide branched dynasty in the congress Poland era. To this day many of the descendants of the “Holy Yid” continue the tradition to serve as faithful shepherds to their followers. Biale was a steadfast cornerstone for all those leaders. Beginning with Peshischa, Shidlowza, Porisow and continuing on to Bialbzik, Kinsk and Biale. These towering giants radiated warmth below whilst they themselves soared the heavens. As this stark old tree spread its many branches, Biale pyramided into a dynasty of its own. Reb Yaakov Yitzchak of Biale, author of the Divrei Binah, headed this dynasty. Indeed, as a direct descended of the royal dynasty of King David his leadership comprised of many royal etiquettes. Combined with a rare breed of purity, he contributed his entire physical being to the cause of carrying the nation’s burden.
On The 23rd in the month of Adar in the year 5665, the Rebbe’s holy soul departed and ascended to heaven. He was laid to rest in Warsaw, beside his holy father-in-law the Rebbe of Ostrowza OB”M
Wonderous tales are related about the Rebbe’s childhood. They give us a mere glimpse of the lofty soul he inhabited and the high standards he reached in the presence of his spiritual mysterious father, the holy Reb Nusen Dovid of Shidlowza OB”M. Reb Nusen Dovid would often visit other tzaddikim of his generation. At first he would travel to Reb Yechezkel of Kuzmir, taking his children along for the visit. Reb Yechezkel of Kuzmir pointed to the little Yaakov Yitzchak calling him “Rebbe!” After the holy Reb Yechezkel passed on Reb Nusen Dovid accepted the holy Divrei Chaim of Zanz as his Rebbe. Once again little Yaakov Yitzchak joined his father for the visit. The holy Divrei Chaim sat him in a chair and honored him greatly. He also praised him immensely.
At first the Rebbe, filled the vacancy his father-in law left in Ostrowa, However after a short period he relocated to Biale. According to his chassidim this came as the result of a dream he had. In his dream he saw 500 people escorting the coffin of a big scholar. The Rebbe asked who the deceased was and was answered that it was that of the holy Rebbe Reb Dov Berish of Biale, OB”M. (father of the Strikov dynasty). He decided that this dream was a heavenly sign that he must relocate to Biale. He also tried to make Reb Berish’s house his own home but was unsuccessful.
The Rebbe himself decided on his own resting place after his demise. His desire was to be laid to rest beside his exalted father-in law. Therefore, a short while before his passing he moved to Warsaw. Prior to this incident he called all of his descendants to bid farewell before he leaves on what was to be his last journey.
He instructed them with the following will: “immediately upon returning my soul to its Maker, Even before the burial. I command you to set out without delay to the following three locations, and inform them that I have left this world and they should come and meet me. The three places were: 1. Warsaw at the gravesite of his father-in-law (Baal Toldos Adam of Ostrowa) OB”M. 2. Shidlowza, at the gravesite of his father, 3. Peshischa.
For 58 years the earth basked in his glory. In Hebrew the word chen means charm. The numerical value of chen is 58. The earth was charmed by his presence. On the 14th day in the month of Teves, the sun rose with a brilliance and in the year 5665 on the 23rd day in the month of Adar the sun set after shining for 58 years. Many were led by his light, many drank his holy Torah water with thirst. And many repented in his merit. He left us his teachings etched forever in the sefarim, “Divrei Binah” and “Yishrei Lev”. They can be found in every study hall.
The holy Reb Yerachmiel Zvi OB”M of Shedlitz was born in the year 5638 to his holy father Reb Yitzchak Yaakov author of the “Divrei Binah” of Biale, and his mother the righteous Rebbetzin Mrs Rochel Leviah. She was the only daughter of the holy Reb Yehoshua of Ostrowa author of the “Toldos Adam” OB”M.
The holy Rebbe’s lofty soul ascended to heaven on the 7th day, in the month of Mar Cheshvan, in the year 5666. He was laid to rest in the cemetery of his town – Shedlitz.
The Rebbe was gifted with the talent of drawing. From as young as the age of seven he would draw beautiful drawings. Only one exquisite drawing remains. it has “Shevisi Hashem Lenegdi Somid” displayed prominently in the middle, surrounded by images and names based on kabbalah. (this work of art survived the holocaust and somehow made its way to England. A wealthy man bought it and sent it to our Rebbe the “Chelkas Yehoshua” so that he can see it during prayer.)
He was accustomed to write and copy the Torah his father would recite at the holy “tishim”.
As a young man he would lead the congregation in prayer in his father’s synagogue. At one time he was unwell and his mother was afraid that praying aloud would further harm his health. She begged her husband to forbid him to pray at the altar. However, her husband was noncommitting, and said: “know that the entire heavenly realm is waiting to hear the prayer of our Yerachmiel Tzvi.
He married the Rebbetzin Chava, daughter of the holy Reb Leibish of Ozorow.
After his father passed away, he refused to continue the leadership. His reason being that he was unwilling to have audiences with women. His father-in-law the holy Rebbe of Ozorow, sent him a message with the following words of gemara: “men have to live, and women don’t have to live?” meaning that women also need a Rebbe to advise them. Just before Shavuos in the year 5665 the Rebbe accepted the yoke of leadership. Less than six months passed before he too passed away.
A fraction of the greatness of this tzaddik is revealed in the following story: a Chassid once came to visit him placing his kvittel and pidyon on the table. The kvittel contained the name of a certain sick man. The Rebbe read the kvittel but returned the pidyon. After several days the sick man died.
A couple of weeks later this chassid comes to him once again with a kvittel containing the name of a seriously sick man. The Rebbe read the kvittel and once again returned the pidyon. However, this time the chassid was ready as he had seen the outcome of the previous incident. He begged and insisted that the Rebbe accept the pidyon. Eventually the Rebbe said “take an egg peel and cook it well, then grind it finely and mix in a glass of water. Let the sick man drink it and he will be healed. And so, it was.
The holy Rebbe,
Reb Yechiel Yehoshua of Biale OB”M was born in the year of 5660. His home was the court of his grandfather, author of the “Divrei Binah” of Biale, and his father the holy Reb Yerachmiel Tzvi Shedlitz. An orphan at six, he was raised by his grandfather, author of the “Birchas Tov” of Ozorow. As a young man he was especially noted for his modesty and abstinence. At the young age of 24 he was appointed as head of the community. Eventually he became famous as one of the greatest tzaddikim of his generation.
In the year 5742 on the 21st day in the month of Shevat he returned his holy soul to his Maker. He was laid to rest in the partition secluded for the Rabbis of Polish origin on the Mount of Olivesin in Jerusalem.
Amongst the young saplings to embed themselves in the Holy Land, are the Biale institutions. A shining bright remnant of the holy Rebbe, Reb Yechiel Yehoshua of Biale OB”M. He too was but a surviving remnant after the great destruction.
The holy Reb Yechiel Yehoshua of Biale was amongst the establishers of the kingdom of Torah and chassidus. Even before he emigrated, after the Imrei Emes of Gur appointed him as Rebbe, he led his community from the year 5684 for over 50 years. He was famed for his holiness and purity. When he was exiled to Siberia, he would not give up on immersing himself in a kosher mikvah. The great tzaddikim of his generation, such as the holy Chazon Ish, the holy Reb Ahron of Belz, The Tchibiner Rav, were all in awe of his greatness and described him as “his feet on the ground whilst his head is in the heavens.” He was especially noted for his special way he prayed. The way he would stand in prayer from daybreak to afternoon was simply superhuman. He would pour his heart and soul into his prayers. Beseeching, calling with passion to his Creator until it seemed he would pass out. His voice was strong, mixed with a sweetness as he prayed like a son entreating his Father. The Imrei Emes of Gur often expressed himself likening him to a “pillar of fire”. He was involved in all campaigns concerning Yiddishkeit and was a devoted shepherd to his sheep. He was pure holiness abstaining from anything associated to materialism. All his endeavors were only to honor G-d.
His love for Zion.
His love for the Holy Land was deep and strong. He actually inherited this love directly from his holy grandfather and sons. They had all purchased property in Jerusalem and Hebron. Their devotion to the inhabitants of the Holy Land was astonishing, frequently dispatching money abroad for this cause. In the year 5695 with the encouragement of the Imrei Emes he began to prepare himself to emigrate to Israel. However, hardships and setbacks prevented him from fulfilling his dream.
During the holocaust, by the grace of G-d, he escaped and was eventually exiled to Siberia. There he was tortured and suffered greatly yet never yielded to eat unkosher or desecrate the Shabbos. From there he made his way to ascend to the Holy Land. Just before the ship set sail to Israel he descended and immersed himself in the ocean waters. As the ship anchored in Eretz Yisrael, he once again immersed himself and thus he greeted the Holy Land with purity and holiness. He then proceeded to recite Nishmas with great emotion thanking Hashem for the privilege of arriving to the holy land.
In Israel he settled in Tel Aviv, drawing many lonely survivors, sole survivors of their families and towns. In the year of 5716 he relocated to Jerusalem. This move came as a result of an incident that occurred that year. In the midst of Chol Hamoed Succos he instructed his son to invite all of his chassidim to Tel Aviv for Simchas Torah. Only a small group remained in the Yeshivas Chai Olom. The night of the chag a fire broke out burning three sifrei torahs. He took this as a heavenly sign to settle in Jerusalem.
His passion for Jerusalem.
His love for Jerusalem was famous. In a letter he wrote to his chassidim he noted with great enthusiasm: “you are aware of the great energy and fortunes my ancestors invested in Jerusalem in order to help its inhabitants survive. Their eyes and heart were always directed towards Jerusalem and I am sure all their prayers passed through this Holy city. Now, after many years a minyan (quorum) under the name of Biale was established and I have no doubt that this brought them great satisfaction in their heavenly resting place”.
At an address he held at the inauguration ceremony of his home in Jerusalem he exclaimed with ecstasy “when Jews assemble in the Holy City, in synagogues and study halls to strengthen themselves in their service to G-d and study His Torah, an ancient oath made by G-d (so to speak) is awakened. G-d swears that He will not come to the heavenly Jerusalem until He has passed through the lower
Jerusalem. Jews! Wake up! Strengthen your belief and Torah in Jerusalem! The Melech Hamashiach’s footsteps are within hearing distance…”
A memento in remembrance:
The Rebbe yearned desperately to establish a memento for his ancestors in the Holy Land. Many times, he would express with great humility that he is not worthy to be the sole survivor of his entire illustrious dynasty. He felt that he must establish a keepsake on a piece of land and publish his ancestor’s torah. In the year 5724 he established the Biale yeshiva “Ohr Kedoshim”. In a letter he hinted at these thoughts, he wrote: by the grace of the Almighty I was saved. A last remnant of my family’s holy dynasty. I feel it is my duty to commemorate, here in the Holy Land, the holy names and memory of all the Rebbes and chassidim that stem from Biale, may G-d avenge their blood. Therefore, I have given their name and signature to the house I built.”
In another letter he wrote to his son, the present Biale Rebbe of Bnei Berak shlita. He writes with fervor: “is it honorable that my ancestors OB”M, a dynasty of at least 200 years should not have a memento in their name? I have decided that if G-d will grant me I will establish a yeshiva and you shall be the one to lead it.”
His spiritual legacy:
Over 50 years the Rebbe carried the yoke of leadership. His bright countenance served a beacon to his generation. Just like the original disciples of the holy Besht. Young men and boys clung to him imbibing his service of G-d and let the whiff of his Torah and fear of G-d spread its scent on them. His tishim, especially the ones he led on Shabbos, were always packed with crowds who came to bask in his presence, or to listen to his recital of kiddush which was famous throughout the entire city of Jerusalem. Thousands testified that hearing him say kiddush left them with feelings of remorse and repentance. He was completely selfless in his worship to G-d, ready to sacrifice himself for the glory of G-d. This was all accomplished in a humble and simple demeanor. Many were those who turned to him for advice. For those in trouble he found salvation and many who left the path were redirected by the Rebbe.
The holy Reb Dovid Matisyahu of Biale OB”M was born to his holy father Reb Yechiel Yehoshua who was then the Rebbe of Biale. They lived in the town Shedlitz in the city of Poland. When he was only 12 years old the second world war broke out. In 1939 the Nazis invaded Poland causing his father to flee, taking his children and family with him. They escaped to the Polish region which was under Soviet control according to the Ribentrop-Molotov agreement. The Soviets exiled them to Siberia where they spent all their war years until in 1942 they emigrated to Israel and established the vast empire of Biale institutions.
On Motzei Shabbos Breishis. On the 25th day in the month of Tishrei in the year 5758 he ascended to heaven. He was laid to rest in the partition of Rabbis of Polish origin on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
The perfect Rebbe
The following story describes the Rebbe’s yearning soul for spirituality from a very young age. His mother, the Biale Rebbetzin OB”M related as follows: when the Rebbe was a young boy, 6 years of age and living in Shedlitz, Poland, he fell out of a window! Several of his limbs were fractured and for a long time we weren’t sure he was going to make it. The child needed special care which was only available in Warsaw. Various surgeries were performed over the span of 6 months. During that time, he lived with his illustrious uncle, the holy Rebbe of Biale – Mezritch. This uncle who was famous as a holy man was also the Rebbe of the “Kedushas Chelkas Yehoshua of Biale.
One day whilst the tzaddik was immersed in torah study, a tune reached his ears. It was the little boy singing “sholom Aleichem” in a sweet fine voice with true Biale style. His uncle the tzaddik called out to him. “bist ah gutter rebbe” You’ll make a fine Rebbe. After this incident he began to draw the child close to him and expressed his great admiration for him.
His aptitude at leadership was also apparent early on. As stated above the Rebbe escaped from Shedlitz to Lithuania and from there he was exiled to freezing Siberia. Following liberation, they were sent to Bucharia. The Rebbe was part of the children’s’ emigration group known as “the children of Tehran”. For a long while they were held up at the border of Iran. There they were camped in tents. During this period and later on, during the strenuous journey the hours and days passed listless and dull. They had no books or other means of amusement or distraction. The Rebbe gathered the children together every day and recited chapters of tehillim (psalms) by heart each day. He would encourage them, whether in groups or individually speaking to them from the depth of his humble and pure heart. He would remind them that although they are sole survivors, with no parents or family and are on an arduous journey, still they must not forget from whence they stem. Several times a day he would have them cry out the verse of “shema Yisrael” which expresses our belief in the One and Only G-d. The cries of those pure, tortured orphans and survivors who so yearned to be close to G-d with true Jewish faith must surely have pierced the heavens.
After he arrived in Israel with his father still detained in Russia, he was accepted in the “Batei Avot” dormitory of the famous Ponovezh Yeshiva, then just budding. The Rebbe stood out amongst his peers with his Chassidic dress and manner. We cannot fathom the atmosphere that reigned in those days, however, the Rebbe was the only boy in yeshiva who would not touch his beard (in order to cut). At one point a group of Ponovezh yeshiva boys, the Rebbe amongst them, were tested by the Chazon Ish. The Chazon Ish was astounded by his answer and exclaimed “that is a rational explanation!” When the Rebbe left the room the Chazon Ish said “that boy has a charm and the fear of G-d rests on him.
A sensitive outpouring soul.
The Rebbe not only excelled in his torah study but was also discerned for his immense elated and fiery prayer. The chassid Reb Zalmen Yankelevitch relates. During a certain period, the Chassidim had their own minyan in Ponovezh. From time to time the Ponovezher Rav would join the minyan seeking to encourage its participants. One time, it was Rosh chodesh and the Rebbe was leading the minyan in prayer. He prayed, as always with immense fervor. Suddenly the Rav entered. Once they finished reciting the Hallel they honored the Rosh Yeshiva with an Aliyah. With the entire crowd looking on the Rav broke out in tears. R’ Zalman Yankelevitch who was very close to the Ponovezher Rav inquired as to why he is crying. The Rav exclaimed emotionally. “When I hear Dovid Saying Hallel with such fervor how can I not cry? It is so filled with passion and emotion!”
Building and establishing the Biale institutions in the Holy Land.
At a young age the Rebbe was noted for his expertise in education. After the holocaust with only a small group of surviving chassidim, his father requested him to help reconstruct the shambled community. They started at first in Tel Aviv and continued on in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak. At 30 years old his father appointed and instructed him to bear responsibility for the construction of the yeshiva. This was of course “Yeshivas Ohr Kedoshim – Biale”. In order to raise the required amount of money he would drag his feet across rivers and oceans. The Rebbe purchased a plot of land, and in the year 5724 they had the inauguration ceremony. The ceremony was graced by the presence of the Rav of Ponovezh and the “CHelkas Yehoshua.” His devotion continued laying layer after layer until finally in the year of 5727 the yeshiva opened its doors. The building was made up of seven floors and still required a lot of work. From now the Rebbe had double duty. On one hand he had to invest in educating and instructing his young charges and on the other the entire financial burden rested on his shoulders.
His relationship with tzaddikim in his generation.
These endeavors earned him great affection amongst the other tzaddikim. His own father, author of the “Chelkas Yehoshua” of Biale often called him “Mein pintel hartz” meaning the pittance of my heart. He would appoint him to lead the mussaf prayer on Rosh Hashana and Kol Nidrei on Yom Kippur.
All of his ventures were accompanied by great excitement and fervor, his behavior very much resembled his father’s. Simply put, a package deal of heart and soul. So many were inspired by his fear of G-d, and the way he led his tisch. His thundering kiddush and shalom aleichem was famous. The rebbe’s face would shine like a flaming torch, resembling a heavenly angel shining with a special Shabbos light. This scene repeated itself every week on Shabbos kodesh. It made no difference if the crowd was large or small. Whether it was winter or summer his conduct remained. At seudas shlishis his manner changed but was still extremely inspiring. He once admitted that he never experienced a seudas shlishis without being invoked to repentance.
As he approached the end of his life, he began dropping many hints regarding his upcoming departure.
He always held reunions with his Chassidim, at three different occasions during the year. Chassidim from all over the country would join him at these reunions. The first was held in the Old City in Jerusalem during the month of Av. The second was in Meron during the month of Elul and the third occasion was on Rosh Hashana just before the tekiyas. The year he departed the Rebbe used the opportunity of all three occasions to dedicate his words of torah to the topic of the death of tzaddikim.
The night of Simchas Torah, three days before his passing. As is the custom in Biale the rebbe entered his succah for a joyous farewell ceremony. The rebbe danced with great enthusiasm and passion keeping close to the succah walls, as the chassidim watched him closely. After he recited the prayer one says on leaving the succah, the Rebbe sat down at the table and motioned for the singing to stop. This was way out of character and the Chassidim’s heart missed a beat. The topic of the Rebbe’s speech was also a cause for anxiety. The Rebbe had never held a speech at the farewell ceremony of the succah before, and now the Rebbe was talking about the departure of Moshe Rabbeinu O”H.
On Hoshana Rabba the Rebbe felt very weak and surprisingly said: My entire life I devoted to my father and his cause without let. Now my father has come down from heaven to help me complete the “shaking” service. (Of the lulav and hoshanas). The Rebbe would never use speech like that, definitely not in public. He said these words with tears and cried when he concluded with the words: it is my desire that the shaking service be exactly like that of my ancestors. And may the practice of my holy ancestors never be ceased.!” Later the Chassidim decided that this was the will he intended to leave them with.
Chassidim became wary and whispered amongst themselves wondering about the Rebbe’s strange words and conduct. But as they watched him later that evening, as he led the prayer and service with his usual vigor dancing and singing like a young man, they calmed down.
Two days later, on “Shabbos Breishis” the Rebbe attended the teffilah and even led the prayer of birchas hachodesh. However, he was too weak to come out to the congregation during seudas shlishis. On Motzei Shabbos the Rebbetzin entered his room and found him immersed in his grandfather’s sefer the “Divrei Binah”. He turned to her and said: “My grandfather, the Divrei Binah, passed away at a young age!” the Rebbetzin in turn answered him: “the Rebbe has nothing to worry about, your holy father had a long life until the age of 80 years and your mother lived until 90!” the Rebbe did not answer and continued to study from the sefer. Several minutes later he suffered a fatal heart attack. His holy soul departed for another world.
After the previous Rebbe’s decease, the Chassidim fulfill his will; as he said: it is my desire that the way of practice of my ancestors never be ceased”!
His son and successor was immediately appointed to fill his vacancy and that is no other than the Rebbe of Biale- Bnei Berak shlita. For as long as the previous rebbe lived, father and son were never apart. The Rebbe’s fine character, welcoming everyone with warmth and a smile, draw thousands to seek his advice and blessing. They find his wisdom a firm staff to lean on. Thus, heavy duty queries and doubts are laid to rest after the Rebbe resolves them. Under his leadership he established many Biale institutions. For widows and orphans, kollels and the Biale yeshiva. The Rebbe is the spiritual director as well as manager. He invests vastly in education and continues the beautiful chain of serving G-d in the glory of his ancestors.