Living Legacy: Rav Velvele of Zboriz

Living Legacy: Rav Velvele of Zboriz

Yehuda Alter 

The 3rd of Nissan marks the yohrtzeit of Rebbe Binyomin Zeev, the son of Rav Yechiel Michel the maggid of Zlochev, the author of Razin d’Oraisah. 

He was born around the year 1770 to his father, the Zlochiver Maggid who hailed from generations of tzaddikim, and to his mother, Rebbetzin Miriam. He grew up alongside his four holy and illustrious brothers, about whom his father remarked that “my five sons are rooted in the five chumashim of the Torah, and my third son, Binyomin Zeev is k’neged sefer Vayikro, which deals with the kodashim. Binyomin Zeev is kodesh kodoshim!” 

Rav Binyomin Zeev was indeed renowned for his holiness and his piety. He was a great ga’on in Torah and was known for the yeshu’os that he effected for his fellow Yidden. The Bnei Yisoschor of Dinov remarked about the tzaddik that “In order to have the temimus (simplicity) of Rav Velvele, one must have the wisdom of Shlomo Hamelech.” He loved every Yid with a burning love, and would treat even resho’im with great love. 

Rav Velvele was known to be entirely removed from This World, and was immersed in Torah and avodas Hashem with great diligence and cleaving to Hashem. 

Until his bar mitzvah, he was the same as all the other children around him. But his father understood that he possessed a great neshomoh, and he asked the sofer who wrote young Velvele’s tefillin to bring him the parshiyos before he places them into the batim. When the sofer arrived, the Zlochiver Maggid began to cry, filling the batim with tears, and only then allowed the sofer to place the parshiyos inside—and immediately following his bar mitzvah, the child became unrecognizable in his kedusha and hasmodoh. 

He journeyed to the tzaddikim of his generation who accorded him great honor. Among them were the Chozeh of Lublin and Rebbe Mendele of Rimanov. 

Following his marriage, and he continued sitting and learning and being immersed in avodas Hashem, until one day, his father-in-law declared that the time has come for him to go out into the business world. He gave him 25 ruble and sent him out into the marketplace. There, he found a man selling seforim, and he spied a sefer that he really wanted to acquire. He asked the man how much it cost, and the man said, “how much do you have?” He sold the sefer to him for 25 ruble—far above its worth—and that’s when Rav Velvele’s father-in-law understood that he was not meant to be engaging in matters of This World. 

With the passing of his father, the Zlochiver Maggid, in the year 1786, he began to lead chassidim in the town of Zbariz. Thousands of Yidden came to be with the great tzaddik, including many famous tzaddikim of that time. 

At the time of his passing in 1822, he left behind two holy seforim and a number of illustrious children. The Rebbe is interred in the town of Zbariz. 

Zechuso yogein aleinu. 

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