Masses Rejoice at Historic Belzer Wedding

Hagaon Harav Ovadiah Yosef, shlita, dancing with the Belzer Rebbe, shlita, at the wedding.(Anshi Beck, Shuki Lerer/JDN)
Hagaon Harav Ovadiah Yosef, shlita, dancing with the Belzer Rebbe, shlita, at the wedding.(Anshi Beck, Shuki Lerer/JDN)

At press time, late Tuesday night Israeli time, tens of thousands of Belzer Chassidim were taking part in the historic wedding of the eldest grandson of the Belzer Rebbe, shlita, held in Kiryas Belz, Yerushalayim.

This momentous wedding has been awaited by Belzer Chassidim for nearly two decades, ever since the wedding of the chassan’s father, Harav Aharon Mordechai Rokeach, the only child of the Belzer Rebbe. Speaking to Belzer Chassidim yesterday in Yerushalayim, ahead of the wedding, one could hear and feel their emotion. “Zeh hayom asah Hashem nagilah venismechah bo,” said Reb Yaakov from Boro Park — one of the thousands of Chassidim who came from overseas for the wedding. “Tonight’s wedding is a fulfillment of ‘Netzach Yisrael lo yeshaker.’

At the Kabbalas Panim. L-R: the Slonimer Rebbe, shlita; Harav Elchanan Halpern, shlita, Radomishl Rav, and Rav in Golders Green, London, great-grandfather of the chassan; the chassan; the Belzer Rebbe, shlita; the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Harav Yisrael Hager, shlita; the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Harav Menachem Mendel Hager, shlita; Harav Aharon Mordechai Rokeach, father of the chassan, shlita; Harav Menachem Erenster, shlita, Rosh Yeshivah, Vizhnitz.(Anshi Beck, Shuki Lerer/JDN)
At the Kabbalas Panim. L-R: the Slonimer Rebbe, shlita; Harav Elchanan Halpern, shlita, Radomishl Rav, and Rav in Golders Green, London, great-grandfather of the chassan; the chassan; the Belzer Rebbe, shlita; the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Harav Yisrael Hager, shlita; the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Harav Menachem Mendel Hager, shlita; Harav Aharon Mordechai Rokeach, father of the chassan, shlita; Harav Menachem Erenster, shlita, Rosh Yeshivah, Vizhnitz.(Anshi Beck, Shuki Lerer/JDN)

“As is known, over 70 years ago, in the darkest of times, the Belzer Rebbe, zy”a, and his brother, the Bilgoray Rav, zy”a, fled to Budapest which began their escape from the Nazi inferno. Later, the Rebbe and his brother arrived in Eretz Yisrael, alone; they had both lost their entire families. They both remarried after the War, but only the Bilgoray Rav had a child — the Rebbe, shlita. But that simchah was short-lived; Reb Mordechai [the Bilgoray Rav] was suddenly niftar a year after his son’s birth, at the age of 47. Reb Aharon took his brother’s son under his wing to prepare him to become the future Rebbe of the Belzer dynasty. When the Rebbe was niftar, his nephew was only nine years old. “In 5725/1965, at the age of 17, the Rebbe married the daughter of the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, zy”a, and thus resumed the leadership of Belz. But then, for over 10 years, the Rebbe and his wife had no children. B’chasdei Shamayim, at long last, their only son — tonight’s mechutan — Harav Aharon Mordechai was born. “And now we are, baruch Hashem, at the next stage: the wedding of the Rebbe’s first grandson!” ended Reb Yaakov.

A partial view of the crowd at the chuppah. (Anshi Beck, Shuki Lerer/JDN)
A partial view of the crowd at the chuppah. (Anshi Beck, Shuki Lerer/JDN)

The chassan, Harav Shalom Rokeach, is named for the founder of the Belzer dynasty, the Sar Shalom. His maternal grandfather is the Makava Rebbe of Kiryat Atta, shlita, who in turn is the son-in-law of Harav Elchanan Halpern, shlita, Radomishla Rav in Golders Green, London. The kallah is the daughter of Harav Yechiel Meir Paneth of Bnei Brak, a scion of the Dezher dynasty, the son-in-law of the late Gorlitzer Rebbe, zt”l, of Bnei Brak. Tens of thousands of Belzer Chassidim converged on Yerushalayim from all over the world to be part of this unique simchah. Thousands came from overseas: America, Europe and even Australia. The chuppah was held on a huge stage, built in Kikar Belz, with the nearby streets all closed to traffic. The grandfather of the chassan, the Belzer Rebbe, was honored with siddur kiddushin. Harav Menachem Erenster, shlita, Rosh Yeshivah, Vizhnitz, uncle of the chassan, was honored with reading the kesubah. The first two brachos were given to the Makaver Rebbe, grandfather of the chassan, while the other brachos were given to the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Harav Yisrael Hager, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Harav Menachem Mendel Hager, the Slonimer Rebbe and to the Chernobyler Rebbe of Bnei Brak. Harav Elchanan Halpern, great-grandfather of the chassan, was honored with the brachah achrita. After the chuppah, the throngs of people made their way to the gigantic tent erected specially for the wedding, near the central Belzer beis medrash. Entry was by ticket only. Seats were given to older Chassidim, while the bachurim and avreichim stood on the mammoth bleachers. The seudah for the ladies was held in the Jerusalem Convention Centre. The highlight of the night was the entry of the grandfather, the Belzer Rebbe, to the hall, slightly after 10 p.m. Many Rebbes, Rabbanim and Roshei Yeshivos participated in the wedding, which was to carry on till the early hours of Wednesday morning, to be concluded with the mitzvah tantz. The boundless joy and gratitude to Hashem by the Belzer Chassidim finally came to fruition, with heartfelt tefillos on all their lips, that this be only the beginning of many more simchos to come.