Thursday, June 9, 2005
(The Eitz Chaim Yeshiva in Volozhin)
When discussing the closing of Eitz Chaim in Volozhin a quote is brought in the name of the Chofetz Chaim. As is known to many, the Netziv did not buckle to the pressure of the Czarist regime and would not implement the teaching of secular studies in the Yeshivah. The Chofetz Chaim was said to have claimed that "had Volozhin implemented secular studies, the Torah would have been forgotten".
Much has been said here and in other forums about the so-called "superiority" that Lubavitch claims when discussing other groups, how they're the only "true" Chassidus, and how they try to "chap arein" Neshomos. It is true that it has become part and parcel of the upbringing of a Lubavither Bochur to try and bring others into the fold, whether they're currently religious or not. The superiority factor is what gets me peeved.
How does this differ from what the average "Lithuanian" Bochur is taught, namely, that The true way is his, and that a Chasidishe Bochur wastes his life away by eating Kugel at the Tish of his favorite Rebbe? How does it differ from the fact that the CC opined that although there were thousands of Bochurim in Poland, Hungary, and in non-Misnagdic Yeshivos with hundreds destined to become the leaders of the next generation, there would be no continuity of Torah?
What about the fact that in most Litvishe circles the derech of Pilpul in Peylishe Yeshivos was considered not toiling in Torah, and basically Bittul Torah? Yes, I can understand that he worried about the effect that the new decrees would have on other Yeshivos in Czarist Russia, but what about the others not in the Russian sphere of influence? Did he think it would spread to other countries? Otherwise, why make such claims?
Oh, and don't get me started on the beginning of Chassidus, what was thought of Chasidim at THAT time.