The Shidduch Between the Dynasties of Belz and Apta – the Inside Story

Rav Yehoshua, the second Belzer Rebbe zy”a, succeeded his father, the Sar Shalom zy”a. When the time came for the young Rav Yehoshua to marry, his father chose as his kallah Rebbetzin Rivka, daughter of Rav Shmuel Ashkenazi (descended from the Chacham Tzvi), who was the son-in-law of Rav Yitzchak Meir of Zhinkov, son of the Oheiv Yisroel of Apta.

The Sar Shalom went ahead with the shidduch despite the fact that no one from the family had seen the kallah. Incredulous, the chassan’s mother Rebbetzin Malka asked her husband, the Rebbe, “Is it possible to make a shidduch without seeing the kallah?!”

“In Heaven, there is a chamber called Maros Hatzovos [mirrors of the righteous women], where the names of all the righteous Jewish girls are listed,” the Rebbe replied. “I saw there that she is indeed righteous and worthy of our son,” (Admorei Belz, part II, page 16).

In honor of the wedding, the kallah’s grandfather, the Rebbe of Zhinkov, sent an invitation filled with effusive praises for the chassan and his illustrious father. The original invitation, signed by the Zhinkover, is on exhibit in the beautiful, new catalogue published by the prestigious Genazym auction house.

A quick perusal of the catalogue shows an impressive list of autographed seforim and handwritten documents by Chassidic greats including:

  • signatures of the Tiferes Shlomo and his son, the Chesed L’Avraham of Radomsk zt”l;
  • letters written by the Rebbes of Ziditchov and Ropshitz zy”a;
  • a lengthy teshuvah by the Avnei Nezer;
  • an approbation of the Darkei Teshuva and penned by his son, the Minchas Elazar.

All told, the new catalogue features some 200 historic items including rare classic Jewish seforim in outstanding condition, many of them first editions, as well as correspondence and documents from more recent tzaddikim, such as the Rebbes of Shotz, Pshevorsk, Ribnitz, Skulen, and Tosh. Of special note: a letter from the Divrei Yoel of Satmar zy”a to the Imrei Emes of Ger zy”a about establishing an orphanage for Holocaust surviviors; a hand-written approbation by the Rebbe of Bilgoray zy”a on behalf of his brother the Belzer Rebbe zy”a and more.