Slonim (Hasidic dynasty)

Derelict synagogue in Slonim

Slonim is a Hasidic dynasty originating in the town of Slonim, which is now in Belarus. Today, there are two Slonimer Rebbes, both in Israel: one resides in Jerusalem and the other in Bnei Brak. Colloquially, the Jerusalem side is called the "White" (Veissa) side and the Bnei Brak side is called the "Black" (Shvartza) side, a reference to their political leanings, white meaning more liberal and black meaning more conservative in Haredi parlance. These names are also attributed to the fact that when Slonim Hasidim split into separate factions, the leader of one, Rabbi Sholom Noach Berezovsky, had a white beard and the leader of the other, Rabbi Avraham Weinberg, had a black beard.[1] The factions are distinguished by different Hebrew spellings, the Jerusalem group being known as סלונים and the Bnei Brak group being known as סלאנים. They are two distinct groups today and have many differences between them.

The first Rebbe of Slonim, Rabbi Avraham Weinberg (1804–1883), was the author of Yesod HaAvodah. In 1873 he sent a group of his grandchildren and other Hasidim to settle in Ottoman Palestine; they set up their community in Tiberias. Almost all of the Slonimer Hasidim in Europe perished at the hands of the Nazis in the Holocaust. The present-day Slonimer community was rebuilt from the Slonimer Hasidim who had settled in Israel.

Outline of Slonimer dynasty

Spiritual legacy

  • Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin, disciple of the Maggid and of Rabbi Aaron Hagodol of Karlin
  • Rabbi Mordechai of Lechovitch, disciple of Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin
  • Rabbi Noah of Lechovitch, son of Rabbi Mordechai
  • Rabbi Moshe of Kobrin (1784 - 1858), disciple of Rabbi Noah of Lechovitch

Lineage of Slonimer Rebbes

Grand Rabbi Mordechai Chaim of Slonim
  • Rabbi Shmuel Weinberg (1850-1916) of Slonim, author of Divrei Shmuel, also known as the "Foter", grandson of the Rabbi Avraham, author of Yesod HaAvodah.
  • Rabbi Yissachar Leib Weinberg of Slonim (1873 - 1928), son of the Rabbi Shmuel, author of Divrei Shmuel.
  • Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heshel Weinberg of Slonim-Tel Aviv, son of Rabbi Yissachar Leib.
  • Rabbi Noah Weinberg of Slonim and Tiberias, grandson of the author of Yesod HaAvodah, brother of the author of Divrei Shmuel, a menahel of Yeshiva Or-Torah of Tiberias.
  • Rabbi Matisyohu of Slonim, grandson of the author of Yesod HaAvodah.
  • Rabbi Avraham Weinberg of Slonim (1884 - 1 Iyar 1933),[3] author of Beis Avraham, son of Grand Rabbi Shmuel.
  • Rabbi Shlomo David Yehoshua Weinberg of Slonim-Baranovitch (1912 1943),[4] son of the Beis Avraham.
  • Rabbi Mordechai Chaim of Slonim-Tiberias, grandson of the Yesod HaAvodah's brother, disciple of the Beis Avraham, successor of Rabbi Shlomo David Yehoshua Weinberg.
  • Rabbi Avraham Weinberg of Tiberias and Jerusalem (Rosh Chodesh Tammuz 1889 - 12 Sivan 1981),[5] author of Birkas Avraham, son of Rabbi Noah, disciple and nephew of the Divrei Shmuel, successor of Rabbi Mordechai Chaim.
Grand Rabbi Shmuel Berezovski
  • Rabbi Sholom Noach Berezovsky, Slonimer Rebbe of Jerusalem, author of Nesivos Shalom, son-in-law of the Birkas Avraham. Worked diligently to reestablish war torn Slonimer Hasidus after WWII. Published many Slonimer Hasidic books from original manuscripts and lost documents.
  • Rabbi Shmuel Berezovski, author of Darchei Noam, present Slonimer Rebbe of Jerusalem, son of the Nesivos Shalom.
  • Rabbi Shmuel Weinberg, son of the Birkas Avraham.
  • Rabbi Avraham Weinberg, student of Birkas Avraham. A select group of the Birkas Avrahams followers were told by the Birkas Avraham to open a separate hassidic court. Rabbi Avraham Weinberg was chosen by this group to be their Rebbe. Present Slonimer Rebbe of Bnei Brak, son of Reb Michel Aron, great-grandson of Yesod HaAvodah. The Rebbe of Bnei Brak is the son-in-law of Rabbi Shmuel Weinberg, son of the Birkas Avraham.
  • Rabbi Moishe Menachem Zylber of Detroit, son-in-law of the author of Divrei Shmuel.

Main Hasidic works of Slonim

In addition to those works revered by all Hasidim, the Slonimer Hasidim particularly revere the following books: Yesod HaAvodah, Divrei Shmuel, Beis Avraham, Birkas Avraham, Nachal Aison. The Slonimer rebbes of Jerusalem have authored two tremendously popular Hasidic works, Nesivos Shalom, by the previous Slonimer Rebbe of Jerusalem, and Darchei Noam, by the present Slonimer Rebbe of Jerusalem. Nesivos Shalom is extremely popular even outside of Hasidic circles. The version of the siddur (prayer book) used by the Slonimer Hasidim in Jerusalem is called "Siddur Magen Avraham", and by the Slonimer Hasidim in Bnei Brak, "Siddur Oir Hayoshor" .

Controversy in Slonim school in Immanuel

Currently in Israel, there reside approximately 1,300 families that follow the Slonimer Rebbe from Jerusalem.[6] In 2010, a dispute arose in Immanuel, a Jewish settlement in the northern West Bank, over the integration of Ashkenazi Slonim girls in a school with Sephardi girls from non-religious families. Over 120,000 Torah-observant Jews, including Haredi and Dati Leumi Jews, rallied in Israel to keep the groups separate, with the fathers of 40 girls being jailed for their refusal to comply. The families insisted it was not a 'racial' issue, as 30% of those in the Hasidic track are Sephardic, and three fathers jailed were Sephardic, but rather that the "desire to remove their daughters from the influence of those less strict in their religious observance, watching TV at home, having access to the internet and a more lax dress code among the other track in the school have been cited."[7]

See also


  1. Ed. Berenbaum, Michael; Skolnik, Fred (2007). Encyclopaedia Judaica (2nd ed.). Detroit, MI: Keter Publishing House (Macmillan Reference). p. 677. ISBN 978-0-02-865928-2.
  2. Alfasi, Yitzchak (1986). Encyclopedia La'chassidut. Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook. p. 19.
  3. Alfasi, Yitzchak (1986). Encyclopedia La'chassidut. Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook. p. 21.
  4. Shdeour, E. "Harav Shlomo David Yehoshua Weinberg of Slonim-Baranovitch, Hy"d". Hamodia, 3 November 2011, p. C2
  5. Alfasi, Yitzchak (1986). Encyclopedia La'chassidut. Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook. p. 22.
  6. Some 300,000 ultra-Orthodox rally in Israel
  7. Jewish Mothers Fight Jail Over Segregation

External links

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