ROPSHITSER (of Ropczyce ), NAPHTALI ẒEVI (1760–1827), Ḥasidic Ẓaddik, and founder of Ḥasidic dynasties. A participant in the "holy company" whose mentor was *Elimelech of Lyzhansk, Naphtali Ẓevi was one of the main leaders of Ḥasidism in Galicia after the death of *Jacob Isaac ha-Ḥozeh (the Seer) of Lublin (1815); he is also considered as a pupil of Israel, the Maggid of *Kozienice and Menahem Mendel *Rymanower. Recollections of him were preserved only in folk-tales and stories which drew as much on imagination as truth. His admirers perceived esoteric and symbolic allusions in his every word and deed. According to Ḥasidic tradition, Naphtali Ẓevi feared that the rise of Napoleon would have bad effects for the Jews of Poland, such as military service, attendance at gentile schools, and the spread of unbelief, while his teacher Menahem Mendel held that Napoleon's victory would bring them deliverance.
His works are Ohel Naftali (1910), a collection of his talks and stories about him; Ayyalah Sheluḥah (1862), a commentary on Genesis and Exodus; and Zeta Kodesh (1868), sermons on the Pentateuch and for the festivals.
His son eliezer of dzieckowitz (Dzikow; d 1861), his disciple and successor, was a colleague of Issachar Baer *Radoshitser and Hirsch *Rymanower. In his last days he cut himself off from almost all contact with his Ḥasidim. Naphtali Ẓevi's other son, jacob of malitsch (d. 1839), officiated as a rabbi in Kolbuszowa and Malitsch and from 1827 became a Ẓaddik. By virtue of the miracles ascribed to him, he was known as the "Little Ba'al Shem Tov."
M. Buber, Tales of the Hasidim, 2 (19663), 193–7; idem, Gog u-Magog (1967); L.I. Newman, Hasidic Anthology (1963), index s.v. Ropshitzer; Dubnow, Ḥasidut, index; Horodetzky, Ḥasidut, index; A. Burstein, Ẓidkat Ḥakham (1966).
[Esther (Zweig) Liebes]