Friday, November 5, 2021

Contrary to popular belief, Ger is NOT paying me not to write about Reb Shaul...

 















They seem to be paying the whole Charedi media in Israel to ignore his visit, and some of the English-language media in the USA, but they lost my number. Oh, well. Forgotten for now amidst the HISTORIC visit, for now, is that day of reckoning that's surely coming for the frum media once RSA returns to Eretz Yisroel and things go back to "normal." We all know that the free press in the free world doesn't necessarily lie. But lying by omission; that's a whole different matter! 

Let's see what Shabbos brings to the corner of 18th Avenue and 52nd Street in Boro Park. If the last few days were telling, it's gonna be like nothing anybody's ever seen. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Is this possibly an unknown picture of Reb Yisroel, the Stoliner Rebbe?














This gem was recently sent to me by a guy who noticed this picture on page 172 in the recently-published "Marienbad" by Dovid Leitner of Manchester, England. The picture has no caption. The Leitners are famous for the hotel that they ran in Marienbad, Czechoslovakia. Many of the now-famous pictures of the Rabbonim and Tzaddikim of yesteryear were taken in Marienbad and many of them feature members of the Leitner famly in them. Reb Dovid was kind enough to mention me in the foreword to the book. (See below.) 

Hirshel Tzig of America. Has a nice ring to it. 

I owe Reb Dovid a review of the book on the blog here after he was kind enough to send me a complimentary copy, and I hope to deliver that sometime in the not-too-distant future. Until then, buy his book here.  

Back to the picture:

The gentleman on the right seems to be Reb Yisroel, the Rebbe of Stolin, also known as either the Yenuka, or the Frankfurter, as he's known among Stoliner Chassidim. He passed away on Rosh Hashonoh 5682,1921, in Frankfurt, Germany and was interred there. As is the custom still today among the Rebbes of Stolin, photography was shunned and avoided. That would likely explain why he was turning away from the camera and the man on his left may be moving into position to hide him from the camera. The photographer was also likely a non-Jew, which would maybe preclude the Frankfurter from either covering his face or even lashing out at him, as was customary, say among the Gerrer entourages of that time. Among Chassidei Karlin-Stolin it is known that he visited Marienbad. The photo was likely taken after WWI, when once again Jews came to vacation there, and close to his passing in 1921.

"Official picture" of the Stoliner Rebbe"

Compare the new picture with the official one and see for yourselves. I think this may be a major find! One that gladdens the heart of Stoliner Chassidim as well as Jewish history lovers of all kinds and backgrounds. Lost in all of this is the fact that the gentleman 2nd from left also remains unidentified... Some say maybe it's a Komarna personality, since they were mechutonim, but nothing more specific.






















ציון הרה"ק ר' ישראל זצ"ל בפפד"מ

see 3rd paragraph

 

Thursday, October 21, 2021

So what was the editorial board meeting at the מחנה חרדי like?






















Did the Ruv בכבודו ובעצמו tell the esteemed editors at the מחנה חרדי to commemorate the Rosh Yeshiva's 20th yohrtzeit? Or did the very enlightened souls on the board come up with this gem? Is this in response to a bit of a Chabad uprising in Belz? I hear there was a wife and her mother that complained recently about their husband/eidem.

What does the average Belzer mind think of such a cover and article? I guess they confused him with Menachem Mozes; that's how much they know and care about him, even his name they confused. You might say that this is in line with the general confusion that reigns in the frum world today, people cannot help but look elsewhere. Another Satmarish Yiddish publication had Joey Rosenfeld on their cover this week. Chacham Pinto was a big draw in Boro Park a few short weeks ago every self-respecting Chassidishe Rebbe has been to see him in his Manhattan pad. 

The Israeli publications seem to have remembered him just enough to stick it to the מחבלים and then forget about him again. Maybe until 30 years.

As far as these round number commemorations in the Yeshivishe world go: Just this Sunday was Reb Nota Hirsh Finkel's 10th yohrtzeit and there was a shtikkel festival in the עולם הישיבות. Whatsapp. At the Mirrer Yeshiva. Reb Chaim came. ס'האט געטומעלט. Understandable, I suppose. Especially with the whole medical history and all. That teaches a young yeshivishe kid that background only matters so much and Torah is more important than easy living and a new SUV in the driveway.

But this boggles the mind.

Monday, July 12, 2021

נפטר הסופר שמואל ארגמן ז"ל

It never gets old. No matter how much time has passed, you learn about how the Rebbe had connections to and influenced people all across the Jewish spectrum, even if they officially belonged to the other side.

For decades, young Israeli frum readers enjoyed Shmuel Argaman's (Rot) books and magazine serials that gave readers a sense of adventure in a kosher setting. Nothing objectionable ever made it through the pages. Argaman also made sure to put Torah'dige concepts and messages in the books, so that his young readers would be left with a positive message as well, once done reading. Despite being a Ponovizher talmid and Bnei Brak resident, Rot made sure to send the Lubavitcher Rebbe a copy of the book הצוללת הפליגה בחצות, pictured below. He passed away today at the age of 77.

Based on the Rebbe's response it would seem that the Rebbe read the book cover to cover. Not that was out of the ordinary, being the ראש בני ישראל includes children and adolescents as well. But the Rebbe went on to write a quite lengthy letter to Mr. Rot telling him to make the messages more obvious to the reader, so that when he/she puts down the book he takes that message along. Any mechanech worth his weight would tell you that this is important, the Rebbe adds.

אשרינו שזכינו



 

צילום: אתר כיכר השבת





 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

וואס פארשטייען מיר בכלל צו אזעלכע אידן ווי ר' פיניע?



































דער אמת איז אז ווען ס'קומט צו אידן ווי ר' פיניע איז נישטא קיין ווערטער. וואס מ'וועט נאר וועלן אויף אים זאגען וועט ניט זיין גענוג. דערפאר איז נישט דא דאס פלאץ אויף די באקלאגן זיין פטירה. און חוץ פון דעם וואלט ער דאס בכלל נישט צוגעלאזט. ס'טייטש! ביי חסידים מאכט מען נישט קיינע הספדים. אבער אידן בעטען צו הערן עפעס וואס.

ר' פנחס ב"ר יהושע ע"ה איז געווען א איד וועלכע איז אויפגעוואקסן אין די שווערסטע צייטן אין רוסלאנד און דערנאך אין די ווייטע אוזבעקיסטאן ביז נאך די מלחמה. שפעטער איז ער געווען א תלמיד ביי ר' ניסן נעמענאוו אין פאקינג און אין פראנקרייך. זיין פרוי - תבלחט"א - איז  אן אייניקל פון די וויליאמסבורגער בוטשער ר' פתחי' לאם. ר' פיניע איז כל ימיו געזעצן און געלערענט און געדאווענט כל ימיו. געווען א משפיע אין מאנטרעאל און אין קראון הייטס. תמיד מיט א שמייכל. געוויזן אז מ'קען זיין א ברענעדיגער איד און שמייכלן צו יענעם און אזוי מחנך זיין דורות.

לא החזיק טובה לעצמו. נישט קיין ברייטע הוט און נישט קיין שיפע טאשן. וד"ל. געווען א ירא שמים בתכלית, מורא געהאט - מיט אן אמת!- טאן עפעס וואס דער אייבערשטער וויל נישט. נאר צו זעהן ווי ער האט זיך אפגעגעבן מיט זיין אלטען טאטען - הרה"ח ר' יהושע ע"ה - שוין נאך די שבעים איז געווען א לעבעדיגער מוסר ספר. ר' יהושע איז אוועק צו די 103 יאר אין תשס"ח. אין אנדערע קרייזן וואלט מען פון אים און זיינע הנהגות און הקפדות און דקדוק על קלה כבחמורה געמאכט נישט ווייניגער ווי די "גרויסע" ראשי ישיבות וואס זענען לעצטענס אוועק. ער איז איבער א יאר צייט געלעגן אין שפיטאל ר"ל און אין "ריהעב," אבער וואס האט אים באזארגט און געבאדערט ליגענדיג אין בעט באהאפטן צו אלערליי מאשינען איז געווען טאמער וועט ער פארפאסן הערן קידוש אום שבת, וכדומה. 


נישט צוליב נקמה חלילה, אבער דער יונגער דור דארף פארט וויסן וואס מ'האט געטוהן מיט אזא צדיק ווי ר' פיניע. ווען מ'האט אים אזוי ברוטאליש געשניטן די דיקנא קדישא - און נאר צוליב ביי אים איז דאס געווען אזוי חשוב און הייליג. אפילו די וואס ווילן פארטיידיגן - אדער לכה"פ "קענען פארשטיין" (כלשונם) - די מעשה נבלה וואס מ'האט געטוהן מיט ר' מענדל וועכטער, פארלירן די צונג ווען ס'קומט צו די מעשה נבלה וואס די נידערטרעכטיגע פארשוינען האט געטוהן מיט ר' פיניע, וואס סה"כ האט געלערענט חסידות מיט א בחור אין א נייטראלער לאקאציע, נישט קיין סאטמארישע ישיבה. אבער רוצחים פארטיידיגן רציחה, אזוי איז די מנהג העולם. 

די וואס ווייסן זאגען אז ר' פיניע האט געהאט מסירות נפש אויף צו לערנען א פרק תניא, כאטש וואס די רוצחים האבען אים געווארענט אז מ'גייט אים צומזיק'ן. זעהט אויס אז ער האט אונטערגעשעצט די שנאה פון די רוצחים צו חסידישע אידן און צו כל מה שריח חב"ד וחסידות נודף ממנו. א איד מיט בארד און פאות המכונה "חסיד" זאל טוהן אזאנס? ווער קען דען דאס גלייבן? אוודאי נישט א איד וואס לעבט מיט אהבת ישראל. מאנכע זאגן אז איינער פון די רוצחים איז אים געקומען איבערבעטן ווען ער איז לעצטענס געשטאנען פאר א שווערע פראצעס.. הייסן הייסט עס אז ר' פיניע האט אים גע'עצה'ט פארן אויפ'ן ציון פון ליובאוויטשער רבי'ן און דארט בעטען מחילה...

פיניע האט איבערגעלאזט א דור פון קינדער, אייניקלעך וכו' און תלמידים וואס וועלן אים קיינמאל נישט פארגעסן.

 דינסטאג - ביי די ענדע פון די שבעה האט מען שוין געשטעלט די מצבה...קורונא אין ליובאוויטש האט געריסן שטיקער, דאס בעסטע און די שענסטע. נאך איידער מ'האט געוואוסט וואס און ווען איז שוין אין קראון הייטס געווען א מאסן אנשטעקעניש. ר' פיניע האט למעשה געקעמפט איבער א יאר מיט אלע סארט קאמפליקאציעס און צום סוף איז געווען נצחו אראלים וכו'. אויף אזוי ווייט און אזוי לאנג הא ער שוין געפעלט אין 770 אז מ'האט שוין כאילו פארגעסן פון אים. אוודאי נאר כאילו, ווייל פיניע וועט מען קיינמאל נישט פארגעסן. זאל דער פון אויבן טרייסטן זיין אלמנה תחי' און זיין חשוב'ע משפחה, און זאל מען זוכה זיין צו והקיצו ורננו שוכני עפר, והוא בתוכם. 


Friday, July 2, 2021

אמאליגע סעלישער אידן

Years ago we spoke about the Jew from Sevlus (Selish) that I met while at the resting place of my grandparents. That was 10 years ago, what you might call the heady days of this blog. Stories like that one was what put us apart from other blogs, if I may say so myself. He had no issue talking - with a heavy heart - about the dark days in the Soviet Union, the forced chillul shabbos and yomtov, etc.. These were yidden that no past experience with the Russians, since their cities and towns were in either Czechoslovakia or Hungary or Romania before the war. For them, dealing with the new regime was a new צרה.  

Since then, the 3-4 times year that I visit my zeides and bubbes, what happens is that I notice that the little חלקה in New Jersey has filled almost to the point of beyond recognition. The matzeivos you would see from the narrow roads in the cemetery are now hidden from view and you need to make new landmarks for yourself. So goes it with Jews of the old country; they're almost all gone. This week, while visiting, I noticed that another member of the Selisher yid's family has been added. I wonder if corona took him too. In my advanced age I cannot recall if our old friend ever told me his first name, so I cannot say for sure which of the brothers he was. I thought he was Nachman only because that kever was there the last few years. Now I see a new addition to the family plot...

But it's safe to assume that, unfortunately, he too has found his peace in New Jersey.




Thursday, July 1, 2021

שני תדפיסים מספר "המזכיר" שז"ע יצא לאור

One of the many things we missed while on hiatus was the passing of the mazkir Reb Leibel Groner, a"h on Leil Bedikas Chometz. Of the many deaths the Lubavitcher community in Crown Heights experienced during the pandemic Rabbi Groner may have been the biggest klop, despite his advanced age. But more on that later, bl"n. A year later an extensive biography was published. 

Here's two sneak peeks.

המזכיר תדפיס by Hirshel Tzig on Scribd

Some Pages From Hamazkir by Hirshel Tzig on Scribd

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

?אפאר חב"ד פאמיליעס... ביני לבינך מה הם

 






















Just when you think you've seen it all, and that people realize that it's 2021 and you don't publish anything that is on your mind, even if these pleasant thoughts do cross your mind - You get slapped with a dose of reality.

This opinion piece was published today but was already leaked to whatsapp late last night. The writer is lamenting the fact that by the time you'll read this it'll be day 6 of the Surfside Tragedy, yet there's no sense of urgency. This after all the tragedies and deaths we've seen since Covid arrived on the scene, in addition to Miron and Karlin. At first, we thought that it was only a few Chabad families that perished, so yes, it's a "bitter story" but not something earth-shattering. No reason to not go about your daily routine. But by now, when it's become clear that some 36 Jews are among the missing... Now we can begin to react. 

The irony in all of this is the subliminal "לימוד זכות" happening between the lines. The writer finds no fault in the fact that it's taken frum people several days to react to the tragedy, yet at the same time sees no issue with writing that about Jews of Chabad persuasion.

Friends in frum media tell me that it's not the first "אקסישע" thing published here, but people obviously don't care enough or don't bother to read it. The proof is in the ad pudding, ads galore in this rag. I'll give them the BOTD and say that most people only read these and similar circulars for the ads and classifieds and could care less what the opinion pieces say. They have Kol Mevaser for hard-hitting news and opinion!

Kol Berama has yet to issue a clarification... Not that I asked for one.

Monday, June 28, 2021

בעלזער חסידים פארקויפן לאקשן צו די צייטונגן

 



So this clipping from 1960 or so announces to the Jewish world that young Berel Rokeach, known today as the Belzer Ruv, was to marry the daughter the of the Klausenberger Rov. After a six year engagement and when he turns 18. We all know this never happened, nor was such a shidduch ever sealed. So what happened? The יודעי דבר say that this was some kind of ploy to get young Berel to shape up. It's not easy being a young orphan. His father the Bilgorajer Rov passed away when he was barely 2 years old. Being that young orphan who everybody whispers about that he'll be the leader of Belz when he becomes of age doesn't make things any easier. So they decided that one way to get him to shape up was to tell him that a suitable shidduch is being found for him, but he'll need to undergo a farher, etc., and that means that no more fun and games, time to hit the seforim.















So the elders of Belz sat down and made a list of which gutte yidden had eligible daughters. They came upon the Klausenberger Rov. The good thing was that he had no bad blood with Belz, like some others did. Bobov comes to mind as one Rebbe who had.

Here's where it gets a little murky.

It seems like they pressured the Klausenberger Rov enough for him to agree to such a shidduch in principle. We all know that the Klausenberger didn't want or need yichus, he had plenty of that on his own. What he wanted from a prospective match for his daughters was bletter gemoroh, and as long as you were Jewish it didn't matter where you came from. I guess to a point. Many  - or all? - of his eidemer are from simple stock, but they passed the farhers. There was even a Lubavitcher bochur who had dreams of becoming his eidem... But that's for another time. So maybe the Klausenberger agreed to the shidduch after being pressured by a group of crusty Galitzyaners like himself provided that Berele would pass the farher just like anybody else. In the end, the Belzer Ruv married the daughter of the then Vizhnitzer Rosh Yeshiva and the rest is history. Reb Moshe'le Hager had already made a shidduch with the Skverrer Rebbe and today his sons-in-law are the leaders of the largest chassidisen in the world. Looking back, it would be hard to see that shidduch ever succeeding. וד"ל.

A search on Twitter shows you that PY Mund's Genealogy says that the two had a falling out early on in the Rebbistive, which began before he got married, and which may or may not have affected his chances at the shidduch.


People tell me they miss the blog...















This warms my heart. I almost started again pretty seriously when you-know-what came around at Purim of 5780, but I got busy with other things. Let's see if we can crank this old thing up again and keep it going. There's so much to talk about!




Thursday, September 17, 2020

תקיעות ביים רבי'ן - Guest Post












The Rebbe's face is white on the bimah, in a sea of thousands in white and black. 770 is silent. It is so quiet that a paper cup falling from a table could be heard among the gathered seven thousand chasidim.

My brother Moishy pushes me closer so I have a clear view above the hats of Israelis standing on the bench in front of us. We are standing together on three milk boxes which we chained to the bench before yom tov.

There is a white light in the wordless room. The souls united creates a vacuum. All faces are glued to the Rebbe.

מן המיצר קראתי קה, the Rebbe's plaintive voice beseeching, in a low voice; a beckoning from son to father, from the vacuum to the light.

ענני במרחב קה, the Rebbe's voice is crying through the words, though all we hear are the words.

טוב טעם ודעת למדני, כי במצותיך האמניתי

The Rebbe's voice fills the room, but not a loud voice; koil demomoh dakoh, a still small voice. Others write about the exact intonation, or the exact way in which the Rebbe moved the handkerchiefs, but what I remember is the still holy voice and a room filed with the bright light of creation.

We were learning the maimorim about the world being recreated through the Shofar and now it was happening.

The sound of the shofar from the Rebbe was unlike any sound I ever heard. The pitch was low, each moment a cry from the universal soul. The sound was so low, you cannot imagine the silence required of the gathered 7000. But you could hear the still low wail of the Rebbe's shofar in every corner of 770.

 And all of us can hear it today, as I hear it now as I write these words.

Yet words will never capture it.

To have seen and beheld.

ונזכה...