The Mitele Ruv z”l was quite young when he became Rebbe; he was 31. Many of the Chasidim of the Ershter Ruv z”l were much older and eventually left. Some of them became Rebbes and Rabbonim throughout Galicia. However, it didn’t take long for great lions in Torah and Avodah to be attracted to Belz, to the Mitele Ruv, including the Shineve Ruv z”l, the Arugas Habosem z”l, and many more, as we will elaborate in the future iy”H.
The Mitele Ruv greatly expanded the institution of Yoshvim. He supported the learners’ financial needs and founded “The Chevra”, a kitchen to feed the learners and Chasidim who came to Belz. He appointed two Talmidei Chachamim to lead the Yungerleit to greater heights in Torah and Avodah.
The Mitele Ruv continued his father’s Avodah of focusing on Limmud Hatorah. He constantly repeated how Torah learning with Hasmadah, strong effort, and with a Bren is the greatest way to get closer to Hashem.
The Mitele Ruv himself was a great Masmid and Talmud Chacham and never ceased to be Mechazek learning among the Chasidim.
A special new development in Belz happened at the time of the Mitele Ruv z”l, that is, the many Hungarian Chasidim who started flocking to Belz.
Geographically, travel became much easier after the establishment of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in year 1867 – תרכ”ז. This empire had a significant impact on Chasidic life in many ways, positively and negatively. We will return to this in the coming posts.
Austria and Hungary united, and they occupied many surrounding lands, including the region of Galicia. This enabled travel between Galicia and Hungary. See map above.
The Belzer Rebbes had a special appreciation for Hungarian Yidden. They were full of Yiras Shamayim and Emunah Pshutah.
Many of the Hungarian Chasidim wore the regular Hungarian clothes and not Chasidish Levush. When the Arugas Habosem first came to Belz he was the Rav in Kleinvardein and wore a “cylinder hat”, the Rabbinic hat in Hungary. The Mitele Ruv said about him, “his cylinder sprays sparks of fire!” When Rav Moshe Stern, a leading Rav in Hungary, came to the Mitele Ruv, the Mitele Ruv said, “Under this טשייף hat (a small black hat) hovers Yiras Shamayim!”