Bobov (Hasidic dynasty)

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Bobov, (or Bobover Hasidism) (חסידות באבוב) is a Hasidic community within Haredi Judaism originating in Bobowa, Galicia, in Southern Poland, and now headquartered in the neighborhood of Borough Park in Brooklyn, New York.[1] Bobov has branches in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn; Monsey, New York; Lakewood, New Jersey; Montreal; Toronto; Antwerp; and London. In Israel, Bobov has large branches in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Ashdod, Elad, the settlement of Betar Illit, and an enclave Kiryas Bobov in Bat Yam.

Outline of Bobov's Hasidic rabbinical lineage[edit]

Grand Rabbi
Yisroel ben Eliezer
Baal Shem Tov
founder of Hasidism
Grand Rabbi
Dov Ber
the Maggid of Mezritch
Grand Rabbi
Elimelech of Lizhensk
author of Noam Elimelech
Grand Rabbi
Naftali Tzvi Horowitz of Ropshitz
author of Zera Kodesh
Grand Rabbi
Chaim Halberstam of Sanz

author of Divrei Chaim
Myer Noson Halberstam

3. Grand Rabbi
Shlomo Halberstam

Third Bobover Rebbe
author of Kerem Shlomo
Naftali Tzvi Halberstam

Fourth Bobover Rebbe
Female Halberstam
1. Grand Rabbi
Shlomo Halberstam

First Bobover Rebbe
author of Ateres Shlomo
eldest grandson of the Divrei Chaim
2. Grand Rabbi
Ben Zion Halberstam

Second Bobover Rebbe
author of Kedushas Tzion
Ben Zion Aryeh Leibish Halberstam

(b. 1955)
Fifth (Current) Bobover Rebbe
Mordechai Dovid Unger

(b. 1954)
Current Bobov-45 Rebbe
Rabbi Yosef Unger
Ruv of Beth Midrash Apirion Shel Shlome
Female Halberstam
Female Halberstam
Female Rubin
Rabbi Chaim Yaakov Tauber
Bobov Dayan
Rabbi Yehoshua Rubin (b. 1952)
Bobov-45 Ruv
Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Rabinovich
present Ruv Bobov-45 Monsey
Female Halberstam
Female Rubin
Teacher → Student
Grand Rabbi
Yonasan Binyamin Goldberger
Rav of Bikofsk & present Rosh Hakolel of Bobov
Rabbi Meyer Yosef Eichenstein
Father → Son
Female Halberstam
Husband ↔ Wife
Rabbi Ben Zion Blum
Bobover Dayan of London
Female Halberstam
Rabbi Yaakov Yisroel Meisles
Bobover Ruv of Kiryath Bobov in Bat Yam
Female Halberstam
Rabbi Boruch Avraham Horowitz
present Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta Eitz Chaim of Bobov
Rabbi Baruch Dovid Halberstam
Sorvosher Ruv
Rabbi Chaim Yehoshua Halberstam
Grand Rabbi
Yaakov Yosef Halberstam
Ruv of Beis Chaim Yehoshua
Grand Rabbi Chaim Yehoshua Halberstam
Rebbe of Satmar in Monsey
Grand Rabbi Yechiel Halberstam
Pokshivnitzer Rebbe of Monsey, NY
Grand Rabbi Yechezkel Dovid Halberstam
Pokshivnitzer Rebbe
Grand Rabbi Chaim Halberstam
Pokshivnitzer Rebbe of Flatbush
Grand Rabbi Ben Zion Avraham Halberstam
Pokshivnitzer Rav of Flatbush
Grand Rabbi Shloime Halberstam
Pokshivnitzer Rebbe of Lakewood, New Jersey


First Rebbe of Bobov[edit]

Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam the first Bobover Rebbe

Bobov originated with Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam who was the grandson of Grand Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz, in the Galician village of Bobowa.

While most of the early yeshivos ("Talmudical academies") originated in Lithuania, the 19th century saw the opening of similar institutions in Poland. The first yeshiva in Poland was established by the first Bobover Rebbe in 1881 in Vishnitsa where he was rabbi then; and it later moved with him to Bobov.

Second rebbe of Bobov[edit]

His work was continued by his son, Grand Rabbi Ben Zion Halberstam, author of Kedushas Tzion. The Bobov Yeshiva was originally situated only in the town of Bobov itself. However, under his guidance, the Chasidus grew in numbers, with Hasidic youth flocking to Bobov. Subsequently, as many as sixty branches of the Yeshiva under the name "Eitz Chaim" were established throughout Galicia.

During World War II, the Bobov Hasidic movement was destroyed, the Second Rebbe himself perishing in the Holocaust, together with thousands of his followers.

Third Rebbe of Bobov[edit]

Barely 300 chasidim survived, and the Rebbe's son Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam took it upon himself to rebuild Bobov. He first settled in the West Side of Manhattan, later moving to Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. The Yeshiva was located on the west side of Brooklyn Avenue at 184 Brooklyn Avenue between Park Place and Prospect Place; it later moved to Borough Park. Rabbi Shlomo was known as a very wise man and a Gaon in Midos (giant in good manners/attributes). He was noted for his steadfastness in not taking sides in disputes. This brought him great popularity and respect.

Over the more than fifty years that Rabbi Shlomo was Rebbe of Bobov, he founded and built a vast network of synagogues, Hasidic schools for boys and girls, high schools (mesivtas), and post-high school houses of learning. Besides schools, a summer camp for boys was founded in 1957 in the Catskills' Ferndale, New York, and a girls camp, "Camp Gila", was founded a couple years later. These institutions span the globe. At the time of his death in August 2000, he was mourned by more followers than his father had in pre-war Poland. His Hebrew date of death was the first of Av, the same as that of Aaron, the Biblical High Priest (Numbers 33:38), which was noted by many for their similar characteristics of "loving peace" (Oheiv Sholom Veroidef Sholom - Loved peace and pursued peace) (Pirkei Ovos 1:12).

Fourth Rebbe of Bobov[edit]

With Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam's death, his son Rabbi Naftali Naftali Zvi Halberstam succeeded him. Rabbi Naftali Zvi died on March 23, 2005 (12 days in Adar II, 5765), at age seventy-four, leaving a wife, two daughters, and two sons-in-law, one Yehoshua Rubin and the other Mordechai Dovid Unger.

Fifth Rebbe of Bobov[edit]

After Grand Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Halberstam of Bobov died in 2005, a dispute arose[2] among Bobover Hasidim as to who should succeed the dynasty leadership; the majority preferred Grand Rabbi Ben Zion Aryeh Leibish Halberstam, while some preferred Rabbi Mordechai Dovid Unger, the son in law of the late Rebbe. For seven years, while a prolonged arbitration proceeding at a Beth Din was going on, both groups claimed the rightful Bobov leadership. After seven years of deliberation, Beth Din ruled among other decisions regarding assets, that the Grand Rabbi Ben Zion Aryeh Leibish Halberstam, brother of the previous Rebbe, can lay claim as the Bobover Rebbe. However, the ruling allowed Rabbi Mordechai Dovid Unger to call himself a Rabbi of a different name; not Bobov. [3], so his disciples chose Bobov-45.

Important Bobover literature[edit]

In addition to those books revered by all Hasidim, the Bobover Hasidim particularly treasure Kedushas Tzion by the second Bobover Rebbe (published by the third Bobover Rebbe), Likutei Kerem Shlomo and Divrei Shlomo by the third Bobover Rebbe, and "Imrei Koidesh" weekly booklets of the Torah thoughts of the present Bobover Rebbe.