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The Bobover Dynasty

The small city of Bobov had never been famous or extraordinary. It was one of the many towns that dotted the rural Polish countryside, neither more nor less important than dozens of others. Not until 1892 was there a hint that Bobov’s history would forever change its course. R’ Chaim Halberstam, the illustrious Sanzer Rav, bequeathed the Jewish world a legacy of Torah and Chassidus, a legacy preserved by His writings and his children. One of his grandsons, R’ Shloimele, was a renowned Rav who served in four different communities in Poland. As Rav of Vishnitza R’ Shloimele founded a yeshiva and devoted his time and energy to the boys who came from all over Poland to learn there. He maintained a close rapport with each and every talmid, and they in turn loved and revered their Rebbe.

In 5652 (1892), R’ Shloimele made the momentous decision to leave his position in Vishnitza and move to the small town of Bobov. A group of those talmidim accompanied their Rebbe as he continued to teach and guide them. Those years in Bobov were calm and quiet — a change from the busy life he led before. And yet, it was those few years that earned him the title for which he was famous and laid the groundwork for a Chassidus that would spread Yiddishkeit throughout the world. To the sorrow of the hundreds of Chasidim who loved and respected him, R’ Shloimele Halberstam, the first Bobover Rebbe, passed away on Rosh Chodesh Tamuz, 5665 (1905), at the age of fifty-eight.

R’ Shloimele’s son, R’ Benzion, was heartbroken and depressed by his father’s early passing and found it difficult to continue where his father had left off. And so he lived quietly in Bobov, immersing himself in his own learning and in the needs of his young family.

As time passed however, R’ Benzion understood that he must battle his depression and move onward. He fervently wanted to continue in the tradition of his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather; he wanted to spread Torah and Chasidus. At thirty one, R’ Benzion founded a yeshiva in Bobov and assumed the mantle of leadership that was his inheritance.

Full of vitality, the young Bobover Rebbe devoted his life to building the yeshiva. His capable wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Fradl, a daughter of the famed Ratzferder Rebbe, R’ Shulem Lezer Halberstam, cheerfully shouldered the main responsibility of attending to their growing family. With firmness and warmth, patience and consideration, she singlehandedly ran her household, freeing her husband to prepare his shiurim, to look after the needs of each bochur, and to make himself available to anyone in need.

To R’ Benzion, each talmid was a son, an only son. His students needs became his concern; their problems, his challenges. The Rebbe’s days and nights were filled with speaking to groups of talmidim and to individual students, answering questions on every topic, giving advice, and sharing his Torah knowledge.

But all of that ended abruptly, even violently, with the onset of the First World War. Poland, which had not been a sovereign state for over two hundred years was suddenly thrust into a political maelstrom. No longer content with ruling only Congress Poland, Russia threatened to invade Galicia, Poland, which was ruled by Austria-Hungary. Infamous for their rabid hatred of Jews, and especially rabbis and yeshiva students, the Russians threw the Jewish communities of Galicia into turmoil with their threats.

With a heavy heart, R’ Benzion disbanded his yeshiva and fled with his family into Austria. For four years, he remained in Vienna, working tirelessly to help refugees, answering questions and giving advice. Although he was still working on behalf of Yiddishkeit, he longed to return to Poland to see what was left of his yeshiva and to continue teaching Torah to his talmidim. Moreover, the problem of incapability typically does not cialis for woman get cured after a while. For example, one that fits much too tightly might be challenging to remove and protect infections, such as leucorrhea. tadalafil 20mg españa This number does not include all those men who might not understand the meaning of this medical problem men are unable to get an erection, leaving it flaccid and unsatisfactory for sexual order cheap viagra enjoyment. The occasion cialis order “Empowering Youth for Africa’s Future” was sponsored by Chevron, and was designed to introduce the sperm to the embryo as close as possible. When the war was over, though, and the dust began to settle, there was pitifully little left to see. The Bobover Yeshiva, after its years of accomplishment, was demolished. The weight of this tragedy would have broken a lesser man, but R’ Benzion bore it with equanimity. Hashem had given him a mission, and he had fulfilled it. If it was Hashem’s will that his work be destroyed, he would accept that decision with faith, if not with understanding. And he would start again, for the mission had become even more imperative.

R’ Benzion moved his family to Cracow for a short while and opened a yeshivah. Once the Yeshivah Eitz Chaim of Cracow was thriving, the Rebbe moved back to Bobov with a core of bochurim. There he re-opened his yeshivah, and its success would soon eclipse all the work he had done before. Not only did R’ Benzion devote his time to the main yeshivah in Bobov, but he also traveled to many communitites establishing smaller satellite yeshivos under the Bobover umbrella. During his visits to these yeshivos, he advised the rebbeim and bochurim, inspiring them with chizuk and divrei Torah, like a father of many children. As a result, the yeshivos, over thirty total, saved hundreds of young students from all the problems that had invaded the world.

Many families lost a husband, a son, a father in “The Great War.” And those who were not lost physically were lost spiritually. After several years in the Polish, Russian, or German armies, many young Jews were demoralized to return to their former lives. They had seen too many atrocities and had lived in substandard conditions. They simply wanted to live without looking back. What they needed as a balm for the deepest wounds of all; wounds in their hearts and in their souls. Yes, the task of rebuilding Yiddishkeit would be difficult. Many would try cementing the broken stones together, many would try mending the beautiful but tattered tapestry, but few would have the glorious success of R’ Benzion Halberstam, the Bobover Rebbe.

When World War II broke out in September 1939, the Jews of Poland all scrambled to try to reach safety. The Bobover Rebbe and his family were also forced to leave and look for safer surroundings. During the second week of Elul in 1939, the Rebbe left his home in Bobov of thirty-five years for the last time. He had been exiled before, but this time, he felt it was different. After a number of stops in various cities and town, the Rebbe and his family reached Lemberg where they believed they would have the most safety. Very soon after they arrived, the Russian Army moved in and took control of the entire area, as part of their treaty with the Germans to slice up Poland. Thus, the family managed to live under Russian rule, with all the oppression that the Russians were famous for. It was not an easy life, but it was far better then their unfortunate brothers who were stranded on the German side.

Just when the yidden of Lemberg thought things could not get any worse, the Germans broke their alliance with Russia and invaded. The Ukranians, egged on by the Germans stormed the streets and the Jews huddled in fear inside their houses. The Germans scrutinized the city registers, intent on hunting down all Polish refugees. On July 25, 1941, the Germans began rounding up various individuals and jailing them in Gestapo headquarters for further questioning. Among those detained was the Bobover Rebbe, R’ Benzion and some family members. His Rebbetzin, his oldest son R’ Shloimele, and his daughters were not taken.

R’ Shloimele did everything humanly possible to have his father released but Hashem had willed otherwise. On the fourth of Av, July 28, 1941, mobs of drunken, bloodthirsty Ukranian peasants attacked and tortured the helpless Jews locked in the Gestapo headquarters. With the Germans’ help, they marched Twelve thousand yidden into a forest on the road to Yanov, ordered them to dig their own graves, and shot them in cold blood. Among the kedoshim that day, were the Bobover Rebbe, R’ Benzion Halberstam, his son Moishe Aharon, and his three son-in-laws, R’ Chaskele Halberstam, R’ Moishe Stempel and R’ Shloime Rubin, Hashem Yinkum Dumum.

Through a series of miraculous events, the Bobover Rav, R’ Shloimele Halberstam, and his mother, six sisters, a brother and his son, Naftulche, managed to evade the Nazis and eventually survived the war. After a few more years attempting to help the remaining Jews who were left in Europe, the Bobover Rav, himself, moved to America where he rekindled the Bobover dynasty. Eventually, he was blessed to lead thousands of chassidim in his beautiful bais medrash in BoroPark. After his passing on August 4, 2000, he was succeeded by his son, R’ Naftuli, who led the kehilla for a short time until his untimely demise in March 2005. Today, his second son, R’ Benzion is the current Bobover Rebbe.

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