Sholom Rokeach

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Sholom Rokeach
First Belzer Rebbe
Full name Sholom Rokeach
Born 1779
Died 10 September 1855
Yahrtzeit 27 Elul 5615 A.M.[1]
Dynasty Belz
Successor Yehoshua Rokeach
Father Eleazar Rokeach
Mother Rivka Henna Ramraz
Wife Malka
Children Elazar
3 other sons
2 daughters

Sholom Rokeach (1781[2] – 10 September 1855),[1] also known as the Sar Sholom (Hebrew: שר שלום‎‎, "Angel of Peace"[3]), was the first Belzer Rebbe.

To Belzer Hasidim, he is known as "Der Ershter Rov" (the first rabbi), but in the city of Belz itself he was called "Der Alter Rov" (the old rabbi) in deference to the Bach, who presided as rabbi of Belz in the sixteenth century.[4]


His father was Rabbi Eleazar Rokeach,[5] one of the sages of the Kloyz of Brody. The latter was the grandson of Rabbi Eleazar, author of Maaseh Rokeach,[2][6] rabbi of Brody until 1736, then Chief Rabbi of Amsterdam.[2]

His mother was Rebbetzin Rivka Henna Ramraz.[2]

After Rabbi Eleazar died at the age of 32, Rivka Henna lived in Brody with her five orphaned children. She sent her son Sholom, around 11 years old at the time, to be raised by her brother, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Ramraz, rabbi of Skohl, then in Galicia. Later on, he married Rabbi Yissachar Dov's daughter, Malka (1780 – 23 August 1853). They had five sons and two daughters.[2]

In the town of Skohl he was influenced by Rabbi Shlomo (Flam), the Rebbe of Skohl (also known as Reb Shlomo Lutzker), who was the personal writer and right-hand man of Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezeritch, the successor to the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism. Since his uncle (and father-in-law) was opposed to Hasidism, Rokeach would secretly be let down the window by his wife, to learn at Rabbi Shlomo Lutzker's beis midrash at night. He was also a disciple of the Seer of Lublin.[2]

He composed several songs, most of them still sung by the Belzer Hasidim, including one niggun (melody) to Tzur Mishelo sung during the Shalosh Seudot (third Shabbat meal).

Many of his teachings are preserved in an anthology entitled Midbar Kodesh.[7]

He reigned as Rebbe from 1817 (when he became rabbi in Belz[7]) until his death in 1855. In addition to leading his Hasidim, he defended the beleaguered Jews of his district to the governor. In a famous exchange, the governor of the district invited him to his office and said, "Do you know that I am the second Haman?" The Sar Sholom replied, "Luck was not on the side of the first one, either". The governor was so impressed by the Rebbe's firm stand that he promised to put an end to the Jewish persecution.[8]

He built a four-story synagogue in Belz which was inaugurated in 1843. It had a capacity of 5,000.[1]

Although it was uncommon in the early Hasidic movement for a son to succeed his father as Rebbe (typically the Rebbe or leader would be succeeded by a disciple), the Sar Shalom wished to be succeeded by the youngest of his five sons, Yehoshua.[9]

Rebbes of Belz[edit]

  1. Rabbi Sholom Rokeach (1781–1855)
  2. Rabbi Yehoshua Rokeach (1825–1894)
  3. Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach (1854–1926)
  4. Rabbi Aharon Rokeach (1877–1957)
  5. Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach (b. 1948)

Disciples of Rabbi Sholom[edit]

Disciples of Rabbi Sholom include: Rabbis Shlomo Kluger, Chaim Halberstam, Moshe Teitelbaum, Zadok HaKohen, Asher of Stolin, Shalom of Kaminka (he) , and Yehoshua of Lezsno (Lechno).[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Ami Living (87): 45. 12 September 2012.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Preschel Herzog, Pearl (12 September 2012). Ami Living (87): 39–44.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Isaiah 9:5.
  4. ^ Padwa, Rabbi Chanoch Dov. "Shmu'ot Belz", in Heichal Habesht 23, p. 115
  5. ^ Lapidus, Steve. "The Forgotten Hasidim: Rabbis and Rebbes in Prewar Canada". York University. p. 10. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "ספר מעשה רוקח". Amsterdam. 1740. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c Ami Living (87): 44. 12 September 2012.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Brayer, Rabbi Menachem (2003). The House of Rizhin: Chassidus and the Rizhiner dynasty. Mesorah Publications. p. 355. ISBN 1-57819-794-5. 
  9. ^ Padwa, Rabbi Akiva Osher. "Rabbi Yehoshua Rokeach, the 'Mittler' Belzer Rav, zt"l, in honor of his 118th yahrtzeit, 23 Shevat". Hamodia Magazine, February 16, 2012, pp. 5-6.