The Life and Times of the Bilgoray’er Ruv Z”L, the father of the Rebbe Shlit”a

Although the Bilgoray’er Ruv was not a Rebbe in Belz, today he is regarded as one since through him Belz preserved and rebuilt after WWII.

Rav Mordechai Rokeach was the sixth child of the Friedige Ruv (the third Belzer Rebbe – Reb Yissochar Dov). The Friedige Ruv had two children with the first Rebbetzin, who was niftar at a young age, and seven children with the second Rebbetzin.

In the year 5680 (1920) Rav Mordechai accepted the offer to be the Rav in the town of Bilgoray in Poland, henceforth he was known as “The Bilgoray’er Ruv”.

When the Bilgoray’er Ruv was young, his father learned a lot with him and they were very close. The Friedige Ruv learned with the Bilgoray’er Ruv three hours every night. Every night at the end of their learning session, the Friedige Ruv asked th Bilgoray’er Ruv a question in learning, he would think about it during the night and come back in the morning with an answer. In this way the Bilgoray’er Ruv was fully immersed in Torah learning.

The Friedige Ruv gave over to the Bilgoray’er Ruv the teachings of Belz Chassidus and much learning. The Friedige Ruv instructed the Bilgoray’er Ruv to keep on writing whatever he learned. He also instructed him that whenever he remembered a Belz teaching he should tell it to people. The Bilgoray’er Ruv followed those instructions diligently. Sometimes even when he was in a room alone and he remembered a Torah of Belz, he would repeat it  aloud to himself.

The Bilgoray’er Ruv was an extremely talented person. He was familiar in every Torah subject and was able to discuss a given subject for many hours straight. He was a gifted orator and captivated audiences.

Before the Friedige Ruv was niftar, the second Rebbetzin, Chaya Devorah, wanted that the leadership in Belz should be split in two. She wanted her son the Bilgoray’er Ruv should become the Rav in Belz and Reb Aharon, the oldest son of the Friedige Ruv, should become the Rebbe and do the work of the Chasidishe Tzadikim. Many Chasidim also supported this idea.

From the fact that the Friedige Ruv gave over so much to the Bilgoray’er Ruv it seemed that the Friedige Ruv laid the grounds for this approach and would want it to happen. But when it was brought to the Friedige Ruv he was very against the idea, and strictly instructed that it should not be pursued at all, and so it came to be. Reb Aharon became the Rav and the Rebbe and led the Chassidus for many years till the year 5717 (1957).

During the war, the Ruv Z”L, Reb Aharon met up with the Bilgoray’er Ruv and they escaped fromthe Nazi inferno together, finally arriving together to Eretz Yisroel in 5704 (1944).

Both the Ruv Z”L and the Bilgoray’er Ruv lost all their children in the Holocaust and remarried in Eretz Yisroel. The Bilgoray’er Ruv had one child, the current Rebbe Shlit”a.

As Hashgachah wanted it, the Belz lineage, traditions, and holy teachings were preserved by the Bilgoray’er Ruv. What the Friedige Ruv gave him over later came to be preserved and rebuilt by the current Rebbe.

Every year thousands of Chasidim make their way to the Tzion of the Bilgoray’er Ruv and pour out their hearts at his Kever on כ”ה חשון, which became a holy day for Belzer Chasidim worldwide.