Sunday, April 30, 2006

Here's my dilemna

HaRav Moshe Shmuel Shapira was niftar yesterday.

When it comes to the old guard of the Yeshivishe world my love for history puts me in a bind. I'm not of the opinion that a Misnaged Can't be a Yerei Shomayim because he dislikes or disrespects Chassidim, maybe some are, but not me. Someone who spends his life spreading Torah and Yirat Shomayim is OK by me although he willingly lacks Pnimimyus HaTorah, as long as he "behaves".

My problem begins with those who make their life's work to oppose good work being done by others just because they're Chassidim. A recent article quoted here in the "Rusty Nail" quoted the Vabolniker Tzadik as saying that Chabad was the most serious problem of his day, and therefore he stood up against them although it was not the popular thing to do. Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbonim, who put aside their own opinions and were Mekabel "Daas Torah" (sic) from him although they knew that the current situation does not feel right, you cannot just alienate and deem "Apikorsim" a whole group of Yidden because you think, in your boorish opinion, that you found a problem with what their leader said.

Reb Moshe Shmuel, a scion of the newly discovered Litvishe Yichus, ( a grandson of Reb Chaim Volozhiner ) is, to me, part of that problematic group, and for that I have trouble forgiving, but who am I? I appreciate his devotion to Torah, but I cannot overlook his part in the polarization of Klal Yisroel. Therefore I do not fell the loss that we suffered.

Yehi Zichro Boruch.

איצטער איז ער אפ'ן עולם האמת און ער זעהט דעם אמת

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Yiddishism is alive!

(unpacking the Strashun Library, New York 1947)

No, not amongst the Workmen's circle and the Forverts, but amongst the Charedim.

It seems like many of our Yungeleit are "cashing" in on their total lack of knowledge of the English language, and total immersion in the silliness of newspapers like "Der Yid" and "Di Blat", to become well-versed in Yiddish literature of old.

On any given day, in any of the many libraries to be found in New York City, you can find Yungeleit with the שמונה בגדים with their noses in all sorts of books that are, to say the least, far from the Torah train of thought. The fact that authors of Seforim are to be found in YIVO, JTS and YU libraries is to understood, but this is different. We speak here of Yungeleit who, due to their lack of skills, and the inability for various reasons to attend college even after getting married, are unable to find a decent job that doesn't involve shlepping boxes or working a register in a grocery store. They spend their days in these libraries reading Yiddishism's greatest works, most of which make laughing stocks of Torah study and practice of Yiddishkeit. A recent example of this was in the The Unchosen, where the main subject of the book tries to integrate into the old Yiddishisten of the Workmens' circle in Manhattan.

Of course Yeshivos could not imagine this ever to be a problem, but it has become a significant one, because it causes these Yungeleit to completely lose faith in Torah and Mitzvos,yet it does not allow for them to actually do something with their newfound knowledge. (In Yeshivos only English was a problem, Yiddish was holy and only Yiddish was allowed to be spoken.) That in itself is not a problem of course, since we do not wish, chas vesholom, that they do live as is suggested in these books. What we do wish is that these people living lies at least have an outlet to discuss their doubts, and to discuss what they've learned, that way they can be assured that they're not the only ones with questions in Emunah.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

:סוטה ט

"מי גדול ממשה שלא נתעסק בו אלא המקום, שנאמר ויקבר אותו בגיא, לא על משה בלבד אמרו אלא
על כל הצדיקים, שנאמר והלך לפניך צדקך כבוד ה' יאספך"

Remember this post?, I guess the Rebbe Rashab considered the Baal Shem Tov one of those Tzaddikim.

.............א מזל אז מ'לערנט סוטה אין ספירה

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Not the same anymore

27 years ago, when the previous Satmar Rov passed away, every Chassidic Jew in New York, and then some, made the trip to Monroe to attend the Levaya. He was the רבן של כל יוצאי אונגארן and was shown that "final respect". Since that time Satmar has grown ten-fold and yet the attendance at the Levaya wasn't half as much, proving once again that what? I'm not quite sure what it proves, but keeping a name doesn't guarantee you that people will see you as successor.

After the passing of RYT most Hungarian Jews realized אז זיי קענען מאכען שבת פאר זיך and no longer need to be subjects of Satmar, so they all basically distanced themselves, paying respects at Simchas and such, but not toeing the line. Satmar has become a shadow of what it once was, not in numbers, but in prestige. Without gloating too much over the infighting that should tear them apart, I think that it's safe to say that our brothers in Williamsburg need to take up sports or something, maybe that would let them take out their frustrations on a baseball and not on their fellow Jews......

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Ponovizher Rov

It doesn't seem like the same wedding, but it sure is the man. Besides, the Rebbe would never turn his back on his shver like that.

Photos by MysticalPaths

Monday, April 24, 2006

ש"ב דער סיגעט-סאטמאר רבי'ן ז"ל

Son of the Atzei Chaim, and nephew of the Satmar Rov. He was Rov in Zenta, Yugoslavia prior to WW2, and in the Sigheter Shul in Boro Park until the passing of his uncle.

I take no responsibility for the accuracies or inaccuracies in Wikipedia.

From the local KJ paper

I had the pleasure of spending Hoshana Rabboh 5747 (or was it 5748?) in Satmarer Beis Medrish on Rodney Street.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

אוי איז דאס א סנדק

David BG as Sandek at a Bris in the '50s in Israel. The Mohel is Rabbi Yakov Yosef Raskin, father of Leibel and yblch"t Dovid.

(photo courtesy of Shturem)

From "baalbatish"

אמאליגע ראשי ישיבות


(and after.)

You may ask why I make a big deal of something that seemingly means very little, namely outward appearance, especially in light of the fact that the Rebbe, as well, wore modern clothes. The truth is that it does mean little, but why then did they all rush to adapt the "Brisker" look recently, with every self-respecting Rosh Yeshivah growing beards and Peyos like Nachshon ben Aminodov?

A trio for the ages

l-r, the Rebbe, the Ponovizher Rov, Rashag (brother-in-law of the Rebbe) at a wedding in New York in the '40s.

Is it a coincidence that nobody is talking to anybody?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

ועמך כולם צדיקים

These days everybody seems to be a Tzaddik, at least on the outside. Every second Yungerman in BP wears long white socks on Shabbos and YT, with a "Rezhvoolke" to boot. When you look at the holy figure on a cold winter's day, with his hands in his sleeves, he looks like a regular Tzaddik. Far be it from me to intrude on another guy's holy intentions, but wholesale Tzidkoos like this seems a bit of a stretch. The Rebbe, upon accepting the leadership of Chabad, was asked to wear a Shtreimel he answered that a Shtreimel was a Malbush for Rebbes only, and he wasn't one.

As far as a Malbush saving you from Aveyres, I think modern technology has just about debunked that myth.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Massacre in Kfar Tapuach

For Mimonah, I guess.

not for the faint of heart.

Is it just me?

Needing to work Chol HaMoed is a real downer, and is bad enough on its own, but for me this CHM, nothing was as difficult as davening locally in a "minyan factory". This shul happens to have attracted all types recently, owing to it's constant Minyonim and bright new Minyan rooms, and I guess that's what makes me so uncomfortable. The fact that it's Chol haMoed only adds to the lack of comfort.

Whether it's Yeshivishe guys with 4 day beards having a "reyd", or Veise zokken shnooks with farkvetshte faces, davening in such a Minyan doesn't easy for the Tzig. Add to that the fact that I'm not vey sociable to begin with and there's a recipe for disaster.

What is it about me that I have a time accepting every Yid for who he is? Is it the fact that they don't?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Protecting your own

I realized that we in Lubavitch have lots to learn from our Lithuanian friends, namely how to minimize your losses and keep the public perception of you at very high levels.

In the Yeshivishe-Litvishe world today there are basically 2 groups, Yeshivishe and "Modern". What I mean is that although both groups attend the same elementary schools, the same Mesivtos and Yeshivos, daven in the same shuls, and live in the same neighborhoods the more modern are not part of the Yeshivishe world, unless they become a full-fledged "Yeshivishe guys" and girls. This does wonders for the percentage of Bnei Torah that lead "Torahdige lives", making the Yeshivishe system seem almost fail-proof.

In short, to protect their name and reputation, they discard a large percentage of their Talmidim. Of course their money is still green and good come Yeshiva dinners and functions, after all, Yeshivos can't survive on Kolel Yungeleit and Melamdim alone, right? We in Lubavitch should maybe learn from them, that way we too can wave our "stats" around and say "look at us". Or Maybe not.

A Guten Moed.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Mendel Shemtov O"H

He passed away on the Yohrtzeit of his namesake, the Tzemach Tzedek, N"E. He was a child of the Russian underground Yeshivah days who never forgot his allegiance to Yiddishkeit and Chassidus. His ("untimely") passing in these joyous days comes as a shock to all us.

Monday, April 10, 2006

!ניטא ווען צו שרייבען

I try and find time, but it just never works out!

I have some half-finished posts that I hope to finish before Pesach, so bear with me, please.

Friday, April 7, 2006

אם הבנים שמחה

a Tshureh from his einikel's Wedding

Fascinating new revelations about the connection that he had to The Rebbe and Chassidus. Scroll down to page 53.

The Rebbe told his son at the time the Sefer went to print, that although his father may have changed his views regarding Yishuv Eretz Yisroel and being Mekarev irreligious Jews, "איר זאלט מפרסם אז די טאטע איז געווען אן ערליכער איד און ווייט פון ציונות", Powerful words indeed.

His son Reb Chaim Menachem was Niskarev to Chassidus Chabad through HaRav Zalman Schneerson of Paris.

His Einikel married the daughter of HaRav Yekusiel Farkas, a story by itself.

Photos from

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Those Gaboyim again

(Rabbi YY Twerski of Milwaukee)

A reader writes:

Just to clarify some things that were written (to make sure that history does not become revised:

1) R' YY Twerski lived in Bobov with his father-in-law for about one year during which time he had several run-ins with the Gaboim of the Bobover Rebbe zt"l. This (thru the fine efforts of these same Gaboim) led to his estrangement from his father-in-law.(Nothing to do with anything "secular", Strictly political and cultural.

2) About a year after his wedding R' YY Twerski and the Bobover Rebbe had a "parting of the ways" and R' YY Twerski moved to Cracow where he bacame a Melamed and Tutor.

3) Approxoimately 3-4 years later (having no means of making a living in Cracow for his wife and (by now) two sons, he explored leaving Cracow to either Israel or America.

4) His Uncle, the Monistricer Rebbe, who by then had settled in New York, procured the necessary papers for R' YY Twerski to emigrate to America.5. Arriving in America in 1926 he spent some time looking for a Rabbinic position. About 11 months later he was offered the position in the "Rusishe Shul" in Milwaukee (Which had a fairly large Russian Jewish population at that time).There was nothing "secular" about his moving to either America or to Milwaukee.

Thank you.

(Rabbi BZ Halberstam of Bobov hy"d)

I thank the anonymous reader for this valuable piece of relatively unknown information. I do question his conception that it had "nothing to do with secular". I suspect that the Gaboyim maybe were passing stories on to his father in law that he was "reading books" etc. That may have lead to the estrangement, especially in light of the fact that Reb BZ Bobover fought so valiantly against the secular movements of his time.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

There goes the neighborhood

It's Bein HaZmanim and people are bored, I understand that, but this isn't Meah Shearim, you can't burn garbage and fight with the cops like that. Policepeople have long term memories, they remember when you give you a hard time for a long time.

Read all about the Chilul Hashem

Is it Lag BaOmer yet?

It's nice being called a "mob", no?

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

זיידי, מיר בענקען זיך נאך דיר

נאך דיין אהבת התורה
נאך דיין הידור במצוות
נאך דיין אמת'ער כיבוד תלמידי חכמים
נאך דיין אמונת צדיקים
נאך דיין התמדה און שקידה
נאך דיין אהבה צו דיינע אייניקלעך
דו פעלסט אונז אויס מער ווי אייביג

My Zeide lost his wife and 4 children in 1944, and started all over again in the DP camps. Upon his arrival in America he worked hard, very hard, and even after being robbed blind by a business partner never complained. Today some of those jobs he worked at might not sound so "respectable", especially for a Talmid Chochom, but that wasn't a problem for my Zeide. He may have worked to provide for his family, but his mind was always in a Sefer. He would arise before dawn to learn and give Shuirim, and was back at the Gemoroh upon returning home. Upon retirement he spent his time in the Bais Medrish.

Zeide was a Talmid of the VaYaged Yaakov of Pupa for a short time, and then, for the most part, a Talmid of Reb Zev Gintzler of Solgotarjan and F'Gyarmat, Hungary. A point about his dedication to his Talmidim, and in turn their love for him, is made by the fact that when RZG was offered the Rabbinic post of F'Gyarmat ALL OF HIS TALMIDIM WENT ALONG WITH HIM TO THE NEW TOWN! The Yeshiva was restarted in his new place of residence.

Unlike other Yidden his age and of his background whose children/grandchildren chose to "join" Lubavitch, he would tell people he would meet wih me that "דאס איז מיין אייניקל, ער איז א ליובאוויטשער חסיד", "די ליובאוויטשער רבי איז געוואלדיג גרויס" , That, in a way gave me the Chizuk I needed during turbulent times.

While bedridden the last few weeks of his life, his lips did not cease to murmur words of Torah and Tefilloh, and he passed on B'Misas Neshikoh on Erev Shabbos Kodesh, 6 Nissan 5754. יהי זכרו ברוך

Sunday, April 2, 2006

In Beit Shemesh


Begets This

The masses in Beit Shemesh had their dirty work done for them by local Gerrer Chassidim, whose Rebbe was defamed on the local walls.

Don't mess with Ger!

Has he won?

The idiot who spammed this blog seems to have scared everybody away, I'm not quite sure why. Is it the fact that he was Machshil all of you with Nivul Peh? So that's why even after I shut him down nary a comment (or almost nary) in 5 days?

Are we to give in to human debris like him?

If that's the will of the people I count on then so be it, but is it?

Let me know, otherwise he wins, and we don't want that.