Major Hasidic courts, 1815–1929. (Based on a map prepared for the exhibition "Time of the Hasidism." by Elżbieta Długosz, The Historical Museum of Kraków—Old Synagogue)

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Lelov Hasidic Dynasty

Line of important second-tier rabbinic leaders originating in Central Poland. Its folksy progenitor, David Biderman of Lelov (Pol., Lelów; 1746–1814), was a highly effective recruiter of scions of prestigious rabbinic families. David himself came from a humble background and was famous for his compassion for transgressors and his love for children and animals. A disciple of Elimelekh of Lizhensk (Leżajsk) and then of Ya‘akov Yitsḥak Horowitz (the “Seer of Lublin”), he remained the latter’s devotee even after obtaining his own following.

Chart: Selective Genealogy of the Lelov Hasidic Dynasty

Biderman organized pilgrimages and introduced future prominent rebbes and leaders to the Lublin court; among these were Ya‘akov Yitsḥak (the “Holy Jew”) of Pshiskhe (Przysucha), Simḥah Bunem of Pshiskhe, Yitsḥak of Vurke (Warka), and the physician Ḥayim David Bernard. In the dispute among the disciples of Ya‘akov Yitsḥak Horowitz, David supported Ya‘akov Yitsḥak of Pshiskhe.

Biderman was helped in his recruitment efforts by his son Neḥemyah, whose son Ya‘akov of Apt (Opatów; 1806–1858) won renown as a miracle worker. David’s eldest son and successor Mosheh (1777–1851) married Rivkah Raḥel, daughter of Ya‘akov Yitsḥak of Pshiskhe; emigrated to the Land of Israel; and died shortly thereafter. He was succeeded both by his son El‘azar Menaḥem Mendel (1827–1883) of Jerusalem, and by his grandson David Yosef (1827–1897) in Lelov.

Only the Israeli branch of the Lelov dynasty survived the Holocaust. El‘azar’s son, David Tsevi Shelomoh (1843–1918), traveled as a young man to Russia several times, and was attracted to Karlin Hasidism. In line with the customs of the Karlin dynasty, he refused to accept the role of rebbe. The Lelov branch in Israel serves as a unique example of a “Polish” Hasidism that became a “Lithuanian” Hasidism (Karlin).

Suggested Reading

Zvi Meir Rabinowitz, Ben Pshisḥah le-Lublin: Ishim ve-shitot be-ḥasidut Polin (Jerusalem, 1997), pp. 456–460; Moshe Yair Weinstock, Sefer Tif’eret bet David (Jerusalem, 1968).