The Biala (or Byala, Biale) Hasidic dynasty originated from Poland. The Rebbes of Biala are descended from Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Rabinowicz, known as the Yid Hakodosh ("The Holy Jew").
The Biala dynasty is part of the Prshiskhe dynasty whose first rebbe was Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok (the Holy Jew) of Prshiskhe, 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 Dovber of Mezeritch (the Maggid of Mezritch), the leading disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism.
- Grand Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok of Prshiskhe, the "Holy Jew" (1766-1813), disciple of Rebbe Dovid of Lelów and the Seer of Lublin.
- Grand Rabbi Yerachmiel Tzvi Rabinowicz of Prshiskhe (d. 1831), son of the Holy Jew.
- Grand Rabbi Noson Dovid Rabinowicz of Shidlovtza (d. 7 Marcheshvan 1865), son of Rebbe Yerachmiel Tsvi
- Grand Rabbi Yitzchok Yaakov Rabinowicz of Biala the author of Divrei Binah (d. 1905), youngest son of Rebbe Noson Dovid, son-in-law of Rebbe Yehoshua of Ostrova, author of Toldos Odom.
- Grand Rabbi Noson Dovid Rabinowicz of Parczew (1866-1930), son of the Divrei Binah
- Grand Rabbi Meir Shlomo Yehudo Rabinowicz of Mezritsh (1868-1942), son of the Divrei Binah
- Grand Rabbi Avrohom Yehoshua Heshl Rabinowicz of Chelm and Lublin (1875-1932), author of Yeshuos Avrohom, son of the Divrei Binah
- Grand Rabbi Yerachmiel Tzvi Rabinowicz of Biala-Shedlitz (1878- 7 Marcheshvan 1906), son of the Divrei Binah
- Grand Rabbi Nosson Dovid Rabinowicz (1899-1947) Biala Rebbe of London, son of Rabbi Yerachmiel
- Rabbi Dr. Tzvi (Harry) Rabinowicz, (did not become Rebbe, although authored several books in English on Hasidism) son of Rabbi Nosson Dovid
- Grand Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua Rabinowicz Biala Rebbe of Jerusalem (1900-1981), author of Chelkas Yehoshua and Seder HaYom.
- Grand Rabbi Yerachmiel Tzvi Yehudah Rabinowicz (1923-2003) Biala-Prshiskhe Rebbe of Har Nof, Jerusalem, eldest son of Rebbe Yechiel Yehoshua.
- Grand Rabbi Elimelech Rabinowicz, Biala Prshiskhe Rebbe of Haifa, son of Rabbi Yerachmiel Tzvi
- Rabbi Simchah Ben Zion Yitzchok Rabinowicz, of Ramat Shlomo, author of Piskei Tshuvos, son of Rabbi Yerachmiel Tzvi
- Grand Rabbi Baruch Leib Rabinowitz Prshiskhe Rebbe of London, son of Rabbi Yerachmiel Tzvi
- Grand Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Menachem Mendel Rabinowicz, Biala-Prshiskhe Rebbe of Bnei Brak, son of Rabbi Yerachmiel Tzvi
- Grand Rabbi Pinchas Rabinowicz, Prshiskhe Rebbe of Sanhedria section of Jerusalem, son of Rabbi Yerachmiel Tzvi
- Grand Rabbi Rabinowicz, Prshiskhe Rebbe of Bnei Brak
- Rabbi M. Rabinowicz, Biala-Prshiskhe Rav of Har Nof, son of Rabbi Yerachmiel Tzvi
- Grand Rabbi Dovid Matisyahu (Reb "Duv'tche") Rabinowicz (1928-1997), author of Lehavas Dovid, Biala Rebbe of Bnei Brak, son of Rebbe Yechiel Yehoshua.
- Grand Rabbi Wolf Kornreich, Shidlovtza Rebbe of Jerusalem, son-in-law of Rabbi Dovid Matisyahu
- Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowicz, Biala Rav of Bnei Brak, son of Rabbi Dovid Matisyahu
- Grand Rabbi Yaakov Menachem Rabinowicz, Present Biala Rebbe of Bnei Brak, son of Rabbi Dovid Matisyahu
- Grand Rabbi Avrohom Rabinowicz, the Biala-Ostrover Rebbe in Jerusalem, son of Rabbi Dovid Matisyahu
- Grand Rabbi Yermiah Rabinowicz, Biala-Lentshner Rebbe of Beit Shemesh son of Rabbi Dovid Matisyahu
- Grand Rabbi Aharon Shlomo Chaim Eleazar Rabinowicz, Biala Rebbe of America, in the Boro Park section of Brooklyn, NY, son of Rabbi Dovid Matisyahu
- Grand Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Rabinowicz, the present Biala Rebbe of Ramat Aharon, son of Rebbe Yechiel Yehoshua.
- Grand Rabbi Betzalel Simchah Menachem Ben-Zion Rabinowicz, author of Mevaser Tov, the present Biala Rebbe of Jerusalem and Lugano, Switzerland; and the Rabbi of Lugano, Switzerland, son of Rebbe Yechiel Yehoshua.
Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua Rabinowicz, the Chelkas Yehoshua
Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua was but 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 was able to emigrate 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.
The next generation
Rabbi Yerachmiel Tzvi Yehudah Rabinowicz of Biala-Peshischa
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 M. 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 Dovid Matisyahu Rabinowicz of Biala
Rabbi David Matisyahu Rabinowicz was Biala Rebbe in Bnei Brak, Israel. 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 yeshivos around the Holy Land. His father called him "nekudas libi", the "focus of my heart". He died in 1997.
Rabbi Dovid Matisyahu of Biala 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.
- His oldest daughter (Rebbetzin Devorah) married Rabbi Yehudah Zev Wolf Kornreich, presently the Shidlovtza Rebbe of Jerusalem.
- His second daughter (Rebbetzin Chavah) married Rabbi Yaakov Hager, son of the Seret Viznitz Rebbe of Haifa.
- Rabbi David Matisyahu's oldest son, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowicz, Biala Rav of Bnei Brak.
- His second son is Rabbi Yaakov Menachem Rabinowicz, the Biala Rebbe of Bnei Brak. (He is the son-in-law of the late Kretshnifer Rebbe of Jerusalem.)
- His third son is Rabbi Avraham Rabinowicz, the Biala-Ostrover Rebbe of Jerusalem.
- His fourth son is Rabbi Yermiah Rabinowicz, the Biala-Lentshne Rebbe of Beth Shemesh.
- His fifth son is Rabbi Aaron Shlomo Chaim Eleazar Rabinowicz, the Biala Rebbe of America.
Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowicz of Biala-Ramat Aharon
Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowicz, is the son of Rabbi Yechiel Yehoshua Rabinowicz of Biala. He is the Biala Rebbe of the Ramat Aharon section of Bnei Brak, Israel.
Rabbi Ben Zion Rabinowicz of Biala-Lugano
Rabbi Ben-Zion Rabinowicz of Biala was born in Poland on January 30th 1935 - 26th Shevat 5695. 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. The young 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 Kolel in England.
He became Rabbi of Lugano, Switzerland, in 1980. He became Rebbe in 1981 upon the passing of his father, as did his brothers. 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, Switzerland, the Rebbe also spends much time in Jerusalem and Safed in Israel, 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.
Successors of Rebbe Dovid Matisyohu
Rabbi Yehudah Wolf Kornreich - the Shidlovtzer Rebbe of Jerusalem
Grand Rabbi Wolf Kornreich of Shidlovtza 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 Shidlovtza and commissioned the building of a new ohel which now marks the grave.
Rabbi Yaakov Menachem Rabinowicz, current Biala Rebbe of Bnei Brak
After the passing of his father, Rabbi Dovid Matisyohu, Rabbi Yaakov Menachem Rabinovich was prevailed upon by his father's students and adherents to take 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, the Biala Chasidim promoted him as the most worthy to continue onward the legacy of his father and grandfather. 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.
Rabbi Avraham Rabinowicz - Ostrova-Bialer Rebbe
Rabbi Avraham Yerachmiel Rabinowicz, a son of Grand Rabbi Dovid Matisyohu, began serving as a rebbe on 18 October 1998 (7 Marcheshvan 5759), adopting the title Ostrova-Bialer Rebbe, an allusion to his forebears. He has a synagogue in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Aaron Rabinowitz - Biala Rebbe of America
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 of 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 passing.
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
The Bialer Rebbe of America has a website.
Main books of Biala Hasidism
The main books of the Biala Hasidus are:
- 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-Lugano)—parts of which have been translated into English
A translation of Seder HaYom into English has recently been published by the Biala Rebbe of America. The version of the prayer-book used by Biala Hasidim is called Siddur Chelkas Yehoshua.