The Sar Shalom as Rav and Rebbe in Belz

The Sar Shalom became the Rav in Belz in year 1817 until his Petirah in 1855. The Sar Shalom was first appointed as a traditional Rav in the town; eventually Chasidim started coming and it became a Chasidish court.

As the Rav in the town of Belz, the Sar Shalom gave many Halachic rulings, some of which were recorded by other Poskim and students. He resided on Dinei Torah of the whole region.

The Sar Shalom put a major focus on the Mikvah of Belz that it should be the most perfect according to all poskim. He once said that the high-level Neshamos don’t want to come down to this world. They try to find a shortcoming in the Kashrus in the Mikva and argue through that not to come down to this world. “We need to make sure that they are coming down to this world!”, he said.

The Sar Shalom was punctilious about Tereifah in the lungs of an animal. Several Pesakim are known from him in the Seforim and his signature appears on a Kol Koreah (public proclamation) prohibiting butchers to be present at Shechitah and at checking the animal for Tereifos, so they shouldn’t put pressure on them.

At the beginning Rebbetzin Malka tried to restrict the Chasidim who started coming to give Kevittlach and to receive blessings. She held that it will disturb the Sar Shalom from his diligent Torah learning. One time a grandchild of the Sar Shalom became critically ill and the parents of the child came to the Sar Shalom crying for a Yeshua. He told them, “what should I do, the Rebbetzin doesn’t want me to bring down Yeshuos”. (a Tzaddik can bring more Yeshuas when there are more beseechers.)

The Rebbetzin heard and she ran into the room of the Sar Shalom saying, “if that’s what Hashem wants, I withdraw my rejection to Chasidim coming!”. The Sar Shalom took a towel and said to put it on the child. The Chasidim in town heard that the Sar Shalom finally agrees to take Kevittlach, in an instant they lined up with quickly written Kevittlach. The Sar Shalom started receiving them one by one. Later he went to visit the sick grandchild and the situation improved and she healed soon after. The grandchild used to pride herself that she made the Sar Shalom a Rebbe!

After Chasidim started gathering in Belz, there were at first two Minyanim. The main Minyan davened Nusach Ashkenaz, and a small one davened Nusach Ari. As the Rav of the town, the Sar Shalom used to start his davening in the main minyan and continued in the Chassidish Minyan which finished later.

Once on Simchas Torah, the Sar Shalom conducted Hakafos together with the Chassidish Minyan, with great Hislahavus and Bren. When the Baalei Batim of the main minyan heard, they rushed over to watch. After a while they too got caught up in the enthusiasm and started dancing along. The Baalei Batim became very invigorated by the Chassidim’s davening but they still wanted to daven in Nusach Ashkenaz. After Simchas Torah, they sat down together to figure out a possible solution; the Chassidim would lead the davening in the main shul, but some parts of the davening will remain Nusach Ashkenaz. Ever since, Belz davens Shemone Esrei and some other parts of davening in Nusach Ashkenaz.

It was a big Chiddush that Chasidim would daven Nusach Ashkenaz. The Nusach Ari was one of the main changes that the Chasidim and Misnagdim argued about. Even so, the Sar Shalom preferred that there be achdus and thus, one minyan. He wanted to be mekarev the Baalei Batim to a greater level in davening and Avodas Hashem.

The Sar Shalom ruled that his Chasidim should not have Shtiblach in their local towns but daven together in the main shul. He wanted the Chasidim to influence the Baalei Batim. Later in the times of the Mitele Ruv z”l, the Yiddishkeit situation deteriorated and he ruled that the Chasidim should establish independent Shtiblach.

זכותם יגן עלינו ועל כל ישראל