Living Legacy: The Ershte Bobover Ruv

Living Legacy: The Ershte Bobover Ruv

Yehuda Alter 

Rosh Chodesh Tammuz marks the yohrtzeit of Haga’on HaKadosh Rav Shloime Halberstam of Bobov, a grandson of the Divrei Chaim of Sanz, and the founder of the Bobover chassidus. 

The Rebbe was born to his father, Rav Meir Nosson Halberstam, a son of the Divrei Chaim, in the year 1847 in the town of Sanz, Galicia. His illustrious father infused the young boy with burning spirit of Torah and chassidus. 

Sadly, he only merited to raise him until the child was eight years of age. Rav Meir Nussen left this world in 1855 at a young age after a short illness. His devastated father, the Divrei Chaim of Sanz, proclaimed at the time: “My only consolation is in the fact that he left over such an illustrious son who will be a light to the world.” 

The Divrei Chaim took the young Shloime into his home, raising him as his own, and invested all his energies into him in Torah and Kedushah. It was clear for all to see that the young Shloime was growing and thriving in Torah and avodah far beyond his years. He didn’t budge from the side of his zeide, standing at the ready to carry out his wishes. 

From his early youth, Rav Shloime stood out for his hasmodoh and his erudition in learning. The majority of his learning was absorbed at the feet of his holy grandfather. He also learned together with his cousin, Rav Moshe Halberstam of Bardiyov. Together, they published their grandfather’s sefer Sheilos Uteshuvos Divrei Chaim.

At around the age of 17, he married Rebbetzin Rivka Henya, the daughter of Rav Yehoshua Rosenfeld of Kaminka. In the following year, the Rebbe journeyed together with his grandfather to the town of Bukovsk, where he was soon accepted as the rov and ABD of the town. 

In 1880, he became the rov of the city of Ushpitzin with its large Jewish community. Here he did much for the people of the city, spiritually and materially. He influenced the young and the old, and encouraged them in the ways of Torah and yiras Shomayim. He instituted regular shiurim in Torah and chassidus for the simple folk… until Ushpitzin became known as one of the most prominent shtetlach in all of Galicia. 

In 1884, he accepted the position as the rov of Vishnitza, and immediately established his yeshiva there. The yeshiva—known as Yeshiva Etz Chaim— gained a reputation throughout Galicia, and countless bachurim streamed to learn in the yeshiva from all over. It became known in all of Galicia that the leaders of the next generation were mostly talmidim of the Ga’on of Vishnitza. 

In addition to his greatness in learning, he also inherited the middah of chessed from his grandfather, the Divrei Chaim. Whenever he heard of a person who was ill, he would make his way to them and assist them in every way possible, with utter mesirus nefesh. 

Due to health issues and as per the guidance of his doctor, the Rebbe moved to the town of Bobov (Bobowa). With this began a whole new era in his life. Countless chassidim streamed to Bobov from throughout Galicia—especially for shabbosim and yomim tovim. 

Many stories are told of the Rebbe’s piety and holiness, and his incredible acts of kindness for Yidden everywhere. 

The Rebbe was niftar on Rosh Chodesh Tammuz of the year 1905. His son and successor was Rebbe Benzion Halberstam, known as the Kedushas Tzion of Bobov. 

In 1974, his grandson, who carried his name, the Divrei Shloime of Bobov, traveled to Poland to place a renovated matzeiva on his tzion, as seen in the photos below.

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