Yehoshua Rokeach

Yehoshua Rokeach

Rebbe Less

Yehoshua Rokeach

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Yehoshua Rokeach (1825 - February 3, 1894) was the second rebbe of the Belz Hasidic dynasty. He combined Torah scholarship with practical common sense to guide thousands of Hasidim and to fight the Haskalah ("Enlightenment") movement that was making inroads in Jewish communities in Poland during the nineteenth century. His pioneering activities included founding the Machzikei Hadas organization.

Family life

Yehoshua Rokeach was born in 1825. He married a granddaughter of the Apter Rov and had __ sons. His second son, Yissachar Dov Rokeach , succeeded him as rebbe.


Rokeach was at first unwilling to don the mantle of leadership after the death of his father, Rebbe Shalom Rokeach (the Sar Shalom), founder of the Belz dynasty. For two years before his death, the Sar Shalom had spent several hours each day talking with his youngest son and suggesting that he should be his successor. But after the Sar Shalom died in 1855, Yehoshua was unwilling to step ahead of his four older brothers to become rebbe. From 1855-1857, Belz Hasidut slowly crumbled without a central leader and many Hasidim defected to other rebbes. Finally, on Rosh Hashana 1857, Yehoshua decisively grasped the reigns of leadership by entering the central Belz synagogue for the prayer services and seating himself in the rebbe's chair by the eastern wall. He reigned as Rebbe from 1857 to 1894.

Under his leadership the yoshvim (learners) program of Belz expanded significantly. Belz...
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