Baal Shem Tov family tree

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The following charts illustrate the family of Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidic Judaism.

The first chart shows the Baal Shem Tov's close family: his closest relatives, by blood and by marriage. This is meant to clarify the various family relations mentioned in the Baal Shem Tov's biography.

The second chart shows his descendants to the fourth generation.

The Baal Shem Tov did not found a Hasidic dynasty proper, as his immediate successor was his student, Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezeritch, and not any of his descendants. Even so, the descendants of the Baal Shem Tov were revered.[1]

Eventually, some of them founded their own courts and dynasties. Notably, his grandson R. Baruch of Mezhbuzh established his Hasidic court stressing that he was the sole heir of the Baal Shem Tov, a controversial issue in his time, which eventually distanced him from many of his colleagues, including R. Shneur Zalman of Liadi and R. Yaakov Yitzchak of Lublin.[2]

Other descendants became allied by marriage to other powerful Hasidic dynasties (e.g. Chernobyl, Karlin-Stolin), producing many dynasties, including some of the dynasties still active today (e.g. Skver, Vizhnitz). Thus the family of the Baal Shem Tov can be considered a sort of Hasidic dynasty in its own right, and is often treated as such in reference works on Hasidic dynasties[3] where it is sometimes referred to as the Mezhbuzh dynasty. (This term is sometimes used specifically for the dynasty of R. Baruch of Mezhbuzh, see Mezhbizh (Hasidic dynasty), or for an unrelated dynasty from Mezhbuzh: see Apta (Hasidic dynasty).)

R. is an abbreviation for the honorific "Rabbi". It does not necessarily indicate that the subject was a Rabbi. A rebbe is the spiritual leader of a Hasidic group or community.

Close family of the Baal Shem Tov[edit]

R. Efrayim
R. Yisrael
Baal Shem Tov
R. Gershon
of Kitov
R. Yechiel
R. Tsvi

Descendants of the Baal Shem Tov[edit]

  • R. Yisrael Baal Shem Tov (18 Elul 5458 [25 August 1698] or c. 1690/1695 – 6 Sivan 5520 [21 May 1760])[4]
    For more biographical details, see Baal Shem Tov
    Married (i) ? (died without issue), (ii) Chana[5]
    • R. Tsvi Hirsh of Pinsk (? – 7 Tevet 5540 [16 December 1779])
      Married (i) ? (mother of R. Aharon, R. Dov Ber and Sheina Rachel), (ii) Beila (mother of R. Yisrael and Sara Reizel), daughter of R. Shmuel Chosid (i.e. the Pious) of Pinsk.
      Tsvi Hirsh lived in Mezhibuzh during his father's lifetime, and some time after, until his first wife's death. According to some traditions, he succeeded his father as the leader of united Hasidic Judaism before stepping down in favor of R. Dov Ber of Mezeritch. Upon marrying Beila, he moved to Pinsk, where he was a rebbe to a small following.[6]
    • Odl (? – c. 1772 or c. 1787)[24]
      Married R. Yechiel of Medzhybizh, son of R. Baruch.[25]
      • R. Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sudilkov (c. 1748 – 17 Iyar 5560 [12 May 1800]). Rebbe of Sudilkov and Mezhibuzh.[24]
        see Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sudilkov
      • R. Baruch of Mezhibuzh (c. 1753 – 18 Kislev 5572 [4 December 1811]). Rebbe of Tultshin and Mezhibuzh.
        see Boruch of Medzhybizh
        Married (i) ? (daughter of R. Tovia Katskes of Ostroh), (ii) Sima Chusha, daughter of R. Aharon of Titiov, his cousin (see above). All his children are from his first marriage.[26]
      • Feiga (? – before c. 1802)
        Married R. Simcha (c. 1763 – before c. 1802), son of R. Nachman, rebbe of Horodenka, a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov.[24]
        • R. Nachman of Breslov (1772–1810). Rebbe of Breslov.
          see Nachman of Breslov
          Married (i) Sosia (mother of his children), (ii) ?, daughter of R. Yehezkel Trachtenberg of Brody.[27]
        • R. Yisrael der Toyter (or Hebrew: מת Met) i.e. "The Dead"
          Married a granddaughter of R. Moshe of Kitov, an early disciple of the Baal Shem Tov.[27]
        • R. Yechiel Tsvi (? – c. 1812)[27]
        • Perl
          Married R. Pinhas Meir
          They went to Safed.[27]


  1. ^ Even Yisraʼel, p.111, note 4.
  2. ^ Alfasi, Yitschak, Ha-Ḥozeh mi-Lublin, pp. 14–15, 73–75.
  3. ^ See Shem u-sheʼerit, ha-Ḥasidut and Even Yisraʼel, which treat it as such.
  4. ^ Date of birth: The first date has become accepted by the Chabad movement, but it is based on a document from the dubious Kherson Genizah (he). The latter dates are based on other traditions. Even Yisraʼel, p. 62. Date of death: Most traditions. Some have 7 Sivan, or both (with some claiming uncertainty from the onset), but a contemporary source—recently published from manuscript—also has 6 Sivan. ibid., p. 70, "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (1)".
  5. ^ Per Shivhe ha-Baʻal Shem Tov. Sources that rely on the Kherson Genizah name her Rachel Lea. Even Yisraʼel, p. 60.
  6. ^ Even Yisraʼel, pp. 45–46, 48, 58–59, "Keter Shem Tov (1)", "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (1)". Note that while the assignment Tsvi Hirsh's daughters to their respective mothers is sourced, the assignment of his sons is an educated guess by Even Yisraʼel.
  7. ^ Even Yisraʼel, pp. 89, 101–102, 104, "Keter Shem Tov (1)", "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (1)". The date of death is per family tradition, cited by Even Yisraʼel, p. 108. Other versions have 5 Tevet (ibid.), the year is given as c. 1808/1818, since the last living mention of R. Aharon is in 5568 [1808] and the first dead mention in 5578 [1818]. In any case, the commonly cited 5589 [1829] is erroneous (ibid.).
  8. ^ Even Yisraʼel, pp. 110, 116, "Keter Shem Tov (1)", "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (2)".
  9. ^ Even Yisraʼel, pp. 110, 113–114, "Keter Shem Tov (1)", "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (2)". His name was not Naftali Tsvi, as written in some sources, but Tsvi (Hirsh) alone, "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (9)".
  10. ^ Even Yisraʼel, p. 114, "Keter Shem Tov (1)", "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (2)". Note that there is some confusion whether he was R. Aharon's son or grandson. "Keter Shem Tov (1)".
  11. ^ "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (9)".
  12. ^ "Keter Shem Tov (1)", "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (2)". There is only a single original mention of him. Possibly an error, cf. Even Yisraʼel, p. 85.
  13. ^ Even Yisraʼel, pp. 58, 80–82, "Keter Shem Tov (1)", "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (1)".
  14. ^ Even Yisraʼel, p. 81, has him as a grandson of R. Dov Ber of Ulanov, but Shem u-sheʼerit, "Keter Shem Tov (1)", and "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (2)", all have him as son of R. Dov Ber. See "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (7)" for a clarification of the issue.
  15. ^ Even Yisraʼel, pp. 80–82, "Keter Shem Tov (1)", "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (2)".
  16. ^ "Keter Shem Tov (1)", "Keter Shem Tov (3)"; some differ, see note in "Keter Shem Tov (1)"
  17. ^ Even Yisraʼel, pp. 49, 58, 83, "Keter Shem Tov (1)", "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (1)".
  18. ^ Even Yisraʼel, pp. 84–85, "Keter Shem Tov (1)", "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (2)", The Bostoner Rebbetzin Remembers, Appendix.
  19. ^ Even Yisraʼel, pp. 58, 83, "Keter Shem Tov (1)", "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (1)", and "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (2)". In other versions (cited in Shem u-sheʼerit), the epithet "the Silent" is given to a different R. Yisrael: a son of Sima, daughter of R. Dov Ber of Ulanov (see above).
  20. ^ Even Yisraʼel, pp. 59, 85, "Keter Shem Tov (1)", "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (1)". Even Yisraʼel has 5499 [1839], following Shem u-sheʼerit, but the Galilee earthquake was in 1837.
  21. ^ Even Yisraʼel, p. 85, "Keter Shem Tov (1)", "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (2)".
  22. ^ "Keter Shem Tov (1)", p. 172, "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (2)", and "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (3)".
  23. ^ "Keter Shem Tov (1)", "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (2)".
  24. ^ a b c "Keter Shem Tov (1)", "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (1)".
  25. ^ Sometimes called R. Yechiel Mikhl of Tulchyn, with the epithet dos Daytshel ("the German") or its Hebrew equivalent Ashkenazi. All the additions are erroneous. "Vayityaldu" #85.
  26. ^ Even Yisraʼel, p. 111, "Keter Shem Tov (1)", "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh (1)".
  27. ^ a b c d "Keter Shem Tov (1)".


  • Alfasi, Yitsḥaḳ (1995–1998). החסידות מדור לדור ha-Ḥasidut mi-dor le-dor [Hasidism from generation to generation] (in Hebrew). Jerusalem: Mekhon Daʻat Yosef  – via Otzar HaHochma (subscription required). p. 47–53. LCCN 95828260. 
  • Brim, M. S., "כתר שם טוב" "Keter Shem Tov" (a family tree of the descendants of the Baal Shem Tov to the fifth generation, in two parts), in היכל הבעש"ט Heichal Habesht 23, pp. 164–182, and 24, pp. 157–272. Extended to the sixth and seventh generations in Heichal Habesht 26, 29–30. ISSN 1545-8423
  • Grosman, Leṿi (1943). שם ושארית Shem u-sheʹerit (in Hebrew). Tel Aviv: Betsal'el. pp. 58–60. OCLC 36052853. 
  • Hager, Rabbi Yosef Yeruḥam Fishl (2000). אבן ישראל Even Yisraʼel (in Hebrew). Jerusalem: Maʻyan ha-Ḥasidut  – via Otzar HaHochma (subscription required). LCCN 2001321344. 
  • Horowitz, Raichel (1996). The Bostoner Rebbetzin remembers. Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications. ISBN 978-0-89906-592-2. 
  • Rabinowicz, Tzvi M. (1996). The Encyclopedia of Hasidism. Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson. ISBN 978-1-56821-123-7. 
  • Vekshtein, N. A., "נהר יוצא ממעזיבוז" "Nahar Yotzei mi-Mezhibuzh", (a ten-part series on the descendants of the Baal Shem Tov, based on the above-mentioned Shem u-sheʼerit, ha-Hasidut mi-dor le-dor, "Keter Shem Tov" and Even Yisraʼel, with comments and additions), in "Vayityaldu" #30–38 and #41.
  • Vekshtein, N. A., "ויתילדו" "Vayityaldu" (a genealogical column in the Hebrew edition of Hamodia) #85 (can be accessed online at Yuchasin - Vayityaldu 85 ( link))