Biala (Hasidic dynasty)
The Biala dynasty is part of the Prshiskhe dynasty whose first rebbe was Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok (the Holy Jew) of Peshischa (today Przysucha, Poland), a disciple of Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak of Lublin (the Seer of Lublin). The Seer was a disciple of Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk, who was a disciple of Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezeritch (the Maggid of Mezritch), the leading disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism.
Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua was six years old when his father, the Rebbe of Siedlce, died as a young man. The Hasidim, bereft of their rebbe, mostly became followers of their late rebbe's brother, the Mezritsher Rebbe. It was he who educated his young nephew Yechiel Yehoshua in the ways of Torah and Hasidus. In 1924 the surviving Shedlitser Hasidim accepted Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua as their rebbe. In time his name spread over Poland and the numbers of his Hasidim grew.
With the outbreak of World War II, the Germans overran Poland. Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua managed to escape to the Russian-controlled zone, from which he was exiled to Siberia. Jews who survived the Siberian work camps testified that the Rebbe was the one who kept their spirit alive. In 1947 he immigrated to Mandatory Palestine and settled in Tel Aviv. He was in the forefront of activity to maintain adherence to traditional Judaism amongst the masses. He was one of the founders of the Chinuch Atzmai educational network, and he served on the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah. He died on the 21st of Shvat 1982 and was buried in the Polish admorim section on the Mount of Olives.
Grand Rabbi Yerachmiel Tzvi Yehudah Rabinowicz was known as the Biala-Peshischa Rebbe (1923–2003). Born in 1923, he was the first-born son of the previous Biala Rebbe, known as the Chelkas Yehoshua. He became Rebbe after his father died in 1982 and opened his yeshiva in the Har Nof section of Jerusalem. He was succeeded by his sons.
Following the death of Yerachmiel Tzvi, one of his sons, Rabbi Moshe Rabinowicz, became Biala-Prshiskhe Rav of Har Nof. His eldest son, Rabbi Elimelech Rabinowicz, became the Biala Prshiskhe Rebbe of Haifa. One of his sons is Rabbi Simchah Ben Zion Isaac Rabinowicz, the author of Piskei Tshuvos, a popular commentary on the Jewish legal classic Mishneh Brurah.
Rabbi David Matisyahu Rabinowicz was Biala-Bnei Brak Rebbe. He authored Lehavas Dovid. He was well known for his warm prayers and his self-sacrifice for serving God. He travelled around the world to spread Hassidic teachings. He was commissioned by his father to open yeshivot around the Holy Land. His father called him "nekudas libi", the "focus of my heart". He died in 1997.
Rabbi Dovid Matisyahu of Biala-Bnei Brak had two daughters from his first wife, the daughter of Rabbi Shedrowitzsky, who died at a young age, and five sons from his second wife, the daughter of Rabbi Berkowitz, who survives him and presently resides in Bnei Brak. One of his sons-in-law and four of his sons succeeded him as Rebbe.
Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowicz, son of Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua Rabinowicz, was the Biala Rebbe of the Ramat Aharon section of Bnei Brak, Israel. He died in 2010 and was succeeded by his son, Rabbi Tzvi Rabinowicz, the present Biala Rebbe of Ramat Aharon.
Ben-Zion Rabinowicz of Biala was born in Poland on January 30, 1935. He is the youngest son of Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua of Biala. During the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, his father who was not yet the Rebbe, was caught whilst trying to escape to his brother in London and was sent to Siberia by the Russians. Ben-zion and his sister escaped with many other children across Europe eastwards into Russia and then down into Iran (Persia). They were eventually brought to the Holy Land by Zionists, who were saving Jewish children from starvation and disease in Iran, and bringing them to the Holy Land. The Ponevezher Rov — Rabbi Yosef Kahaneman — heard that there were some special children in this group from Poland, descended from famous Rebbes. He removed the young Rebbe-to-be and his sister from the care of the secular Zionists. After the war their father made it to Palestine and was reunited with his children. Rabbi Ben Zion married Rebetzin Beila Brocho Babad, daughter of Rabbi Avrohom Moshe Babad, ABD Sunderland. He learned in the Ponevezh yeshiva in Bnei Brak, and in the Gateshead Talmudical College in England.
He became Rabbi of Lugano, Switzerland, in 1980. He became Rebbe in 1981 upon the death of his father due to the results of the internal elections in the Biala community. His first wife died in 1995, and in 1998 the Rebbe remarried the widow Rebbetzin Steinwurtzel, the mother-in-law of the present Karlin-Stolin Rebbe. In addition to his position as the Rabbi of Lugano, the Rebbe spends much time in Jerusalem and Safed, where he has synagogues.
In Safed the Rebbe began a congregation in the old Kosover Synagogue. He does a lot of work helping to teach unaffiliated Jews learn about their Jewish heritage.
The Rebbe Shlita is the author of an extensive body of Torah literature, including both Hasidic discourses and Talmudic commentaries, of which over thirty volumes have been published in Hebrew. These include the Rebbe's own works, Mevaser Tov, as well as compete seforim and maamarim that appear in the numerous works of published literature from the entire house of Biala. Techias HaMeisim is the third book by the Rebbe to have been translated into English, alongside The Merit of the Righteous Women and The Reward of the Righteous Women.
Grand Rabbi Wolf Kornreich of Shidlovtze is the son-in-law of Grand Rabbi David Mattisyahu Rabinowitz of Biala. He was very close with Grand Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua Rabinowitz of Biala. He has a growing following in Jerusalem. He found the lost tomb of Grand Rabbi Nathan David Rabinowitz of Shidlovtze and commissioned the building of a new ohel which now marks the grave.
After the death of his father, Rabbi Dovid Matisyohu, Rabbi Yaakov Menachem Rabinovich took upon himself the responsibility of guiding the followers of his late father. As he was a prominent Talmid Chochom [Torah scholar] and experienced counselor, even while his father was alive, he became the successor Biala rebbe. Already active in outreach programs for others in the USA who lack understanding and knowledge of their Jewish roots and traditions, he has already made a name for himself in many Jewish communities in the US where his yearly visits are attended by hundreds who seek his blessing, counsel and advice.
Grand Rabbi Avraham Yerachmiel Rabinowicz is another son of Grand Rabbi Dovid Matisyohu. The Rebbe runs a yeshiva where students come to learn at all hours of the day and night. Through the yeshiva, he supports over 100 families with food, Jewish education, emotional support, guidance, and counseling. The yeshiva also serves as a full service synagogue with daily prayers, Shabbat and holiday services. The Rebbe has been often called “the miracle worker” because of his gift of successful spiritual advice, blessings, and the high level of prayer he provides for everybody who comes to see him. He recently opened a synagogue in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan.
Grand Rabbi Aaron Shlomo Chaim Eleazar Rabinowicz, the Bialer Rebbe of America, was born in Bnei Brak. He is the son-in-law of the Dezher Rebbe of Boro Park. His chasidic court is located in the Boro Park section of Brooklyn, NY. He was appointed by his father to be the Biala Rebbe in America after his father's death. He also has two synagogues in Israel, in Beitar Illit and in Jerusalem, and he spends much time there, as well as a synagogue in North Miami Beach, Florida. He has published a biography of his father and grandfather in Yiddish entitled Der Heyliger Rebbi fun Biala: Tiferes Avos. He has also re-published several books from the Biala dynasty: Sefer Divrei Binah and Yishrei Lev by the first Bialer Rebbe, with indexes and, recently, an English-Hebrew edition of Sefer Seder HaYom by his grandfather, the Chelkas Yehoshua, which was translated by Rabbi Joseph Kolakowski.
- Toldos Adam (by Rebbe Yehoshua of Ostrova, the father-in-law of the first Biala Rebbe)
- Divrei Binah (by the first Biala Rebbe)
- Aron Eidus (by Rebbe Shraga Yoir of Białobrzegi, the brother of the Divrei Binah)
- Zichron Mishlei (by Rebbe Meir Shlomo of Mezritch, the son of the Divrei Binah)
- Yeshuas Avraham (by Rebbe Avrohom Yehoshua Heshl of Lublin, the son of the Divrei Binah)
- Chelkas Yehoshua and Seder HaYom (by Rebbe Yechiel Yehoshua)
- Lehavas David' (by Rebbe Dovid Matisyahu of Biala-Bnei Brak)
- Mevaser Tov (by Rebbe Ben-Zion of Biala)—parts of which have been translated into English
A translation of Seder HaYom into English has been published by the Biala Rebbe of America. The version of the prayer-book used by Biala Hasidim is called Siddur Chelkas Yehoshua.