Zvhil - Mezbuz Beis Medrash  זוועהיל - מעזבוז בית מדרש
Congregation Bnai Jacob Bnai Jacob Synagogue
מבצר התורה והחסידות שיסודו והנהגתו ע"י אדמו"רי בית זוועהיל  מעזבוז זי"ע ונושא את שמם הקדוש
15 School Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02108 (617) 227-8200



Zvhil - Mezbuz
Rebbes of Zvhil-Mezbuz
Services and Prayer
From The Rebbe

The Zvhil - Mezbuz Beis Medrash welcomes all Jews, from all segments of the community, regardless of affiliation or background. We observe our customs and traditions in a warm, open, joyous and non-judgmental environment which is the hallmark of our Chassidic heritage and allows us all to learn and grow together, regardless of our present level of education or observance.

The following is excerpted from a 1994 article in the Yated Ne'eman Newspaper (Jerusalem) by Y. Weiss:

The Zvhil - Mezbuz Beis Medrash

The Zvhil - Mezbuz Chassidic tradition goes back to the early 1700's and the founder of Chassidism, the holy Baal Shem Tov of Mezbuz himself, who was niftar (freed from this world) on Shovuos in 1760.

The first Mezbuz Rebbe was the Baal Shem Tov's grandson, R' Boruch of Mezbuz (niftar 1811), the only Chassidic leader of that time to be known simply as "The" Rebbe. Reb Boruch held court in the family home in Mezbuz, where his grandfather's close disciples and Chassidim continued to visit. The last Mezbuz Rebbe to reside in Mezbuz was his descendant, R' Mordechai of Mezbuz, the present Rebbe's great grandfather.

The first Zvhiller Rebbe was R' Moshe of Zvhil (niftar 1831). A descendant of King David, R' Moshe was the great grandson of R' Menachem Nochum of Tschernobl (the first Maggid of Tschernobl) and R' Aharon of Karlin. R' Moshe was the grandson of R' Mordechai of Tschernobl (the Maggid of Tschernobl) and R' Yitzchok of Drovitch, and the son of R' Yechiel Michel, the Zlotschover Maggid. The last Rebbe to reside in Zvhil was Grand Rabbi R' Yaakov Yisroel, the present Rebbe's grandfather, who was also the government-appointed Chief Rabbi of the Ukraine.

The Beginning of Zvhil - The Zlotschover Maggid

Even before the spreading of chassidus by the students of the Baal Shem Tov, a group known as the Chassidim of Provence had become well known in Europe. This group consisted of great scholars in Toras hanigleh and Toras hanistar (the revealed and the hidden Torah), who abstained from worldly vanities and lived the sparing lives of exalted men of world Jewry.

Among them was the saintly R' Yitzchok of Drovitch, called Reb Yitzchok "Hamochiach" (the rebuker) and known as one who aroused thousands of Jews to repent and strengthen themselves. He served as a dayan (Rabbinical Court Judge) in Brodt, and headed the famous group of ten lomdim (learned scholars) in the synagogue of R' Yozfa in Ostra. He died on the 7th of Nisan 5510 (1750), leaving behind his illustrious son, R' Yechiel Michel, The Maggid of Zlotschov.

Known for his saintly lifestyle and ability to inspire, R' Yechiel Michel was a renowned and scholarly speaker who always began his religious discourse with the words "I admonish not only you, but myself as well." He was also a talented and inspired baal menagen (composer or musician) who captured the heart of all who heard him sing.

He composed a niggun (wordless chant), known as the famous Zlotschover Niggun after an incident that took place at the deathbed of the Baal Shem Tov. As the family gathered around him for the final moments of his life in this world, the Baal Shem Tov asked the Zlotschover Maggid to sing his niggun. After hearing it the Baal Shem Tov promised that whenever that niggun is sung here in this world, he would listen and help from the World to Come, and then he died. The niggun is chanted to this day at solemn and joyous occasions of the Zvhiller family, as well as on the yomim noraim (High Holydays) and at sholosh seudos on Shabbos afternoon, in commemoration of the time at which the Zlotschover Maggid was niftar at sholosh seudos on Shabbos afternoon, the 25th of Ellul in 1786.

R' Moshe of Zvhil - The First Zvhiller Rebbe

The Zlotschover Maggid, had five sons (whom he referred to as "My chamisha chumshai Torah," my five Books of the Torah) who were replete with Torah and chassidus, each of whom became Rebbe in a different place. They were: R' Yosef of Yampola, R' Mordechai of Kremnitz, R' Yitzchok of Radvil, R' Binyomin of Zbariz and R' Moshe of Zvhil.

R' Moshe of Zvhil at first refused to serve as an Admor after his father's death, and opened a store. Although his unique conduct marked him as a tzaddik, he rebuffed the attempts of all who tried to draw close to him, and, as directed by his father, cleaved to his saintly Rav of Berditchev. In the end the Rav of Naski instructed him to preside in Zvhil, which was in the center of Vohlin. Like his saintly fathers, he spread Torah and kedusha (sanctity) in the surrounding settlements, and was considered one of the outstanding tzadikim of his time.

Zvhil - Mezbuz in Boston

The last Rebbe to reside in Zvhil was Grand Rabbi R' Yaakov Yisroel. Son of the last Mezbuz Rebbe, R' Mordechai, he was a direct descendant of the Baal Shem Tov and his grandson, R' Boruch of Mezbuz (the first Rebbe), and the chassidic dynasties of the Rebbes of Mezbuz, Tschernobl, Karlin, Rhizin, and Apte.

He arrived in Boston from Zvhil in the early 1900's, brought here by numerous of his Chassidim who had chosen to leave Zvhil and settle in the Boston area. The headstones of many of these pioneers are found in the two Zvhiller cemeteries, the first at Baker Street in the West Roxbury section of Boston, and the second, where the family cemetery and the Rebbe's Ohel (Tomb) are also found, in Everett, just north of Boston.

For a number of years the Rebbe travelled between his Chassidim in Boston and his wife, children and remaining Chassidim in Zvhil (near Kiev), where he still served as Chief Rabbi of the Ukraine. When a pogrom in Zvhil targeted the Rebbe's compound and killed the Rebbetzin along with many of the Jews of the area, the remaining Chassidim brought the Rebbe's family to Boston.

The late Zvhil - Mezbuz Rebbe was responsible for much of the present structure of the rabbinical organization in Boston. He was credited with inspiring all segments of Boston's Jewish Community to form a central Synagogue Council, Kashruth authority, and Beis Din, run under the auspices of the Orthodox rabbinate with the support of the entire Jewish community.

Like the initial wish of R' Moshe, the first Zvhiller Rebbe, none of the Rebbe's three sons accepted the title of Rebbe after his passing. Instead, a number of years later, they decided that the title and position should pass to the Rebbe's grandson who would be memalei mekomo (assuming his place), apparently in accordance with the Rebbe's own vision inscribed in a Chumash he gave to his young grandson before his death.

Nevertheless, each of the Rebbe's three sons (named for their ancestors, the Rebbes of Tschernobl and Mezbuz) contributed uniquely to the continuity of the family tradition, as Rabbis of congregations they were instrumental in founding and which carried their father's name (Adath Jacob, Kehillath Jacob, and Bnai Jacob), and as leaders of the Beis Din, Vaad Harabonim, Kashrus Commission, Lubavitz Yeshiva - New England Hebrew Academy, and many other charities and Gemilus Chesed organizations.


The Zvhil - Mezbuz Beis Medrash strives to live up to the family tradition and heritage of the name it carries. The present Mezbuz Rebbe (Grand Rabbi Y. A. Korff) combined his education in Torah and Chassidus with a broad secular education (including several Masters degrees, a law degree, and a Ph.D.). He serves as a Dayan on Boston's Badatz Beis Din, and has been the Chaplain of The City of Boston for over forty years since 1975.

The Rebbe is joined in his work by the Rebbetzin (daughter of the late Shomrei Emunim Rebbe of Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, and herself a descendant of the Baal Shem Tov and the Chassidic Dynasties of Zvhil, Zlotschov, and Tschernobl) who warmly welcomes all who come to pray or to seek the Rebbe's blessing and counsel.


Copyright 2007 Zvhil - Mezbuz Beis Medrash