Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Ropshitzer Rov on The Chassidic body

A story is told about a non-Chossid who once met Reb Naftoli of Ropshitz in an roadside inn. "I'm glad I found you here", says the Jew. Reb Naftoli recognized this Jew as an "anti", and engaged him in conversation. "Why are you so happy to have met me?" he asked. The Jew answered that he had just seen one of the Ropshitzers Chassidim transgress a Torah commandment. "I believe that all your followers are like him, sinners", said the Misnaged. The Ropshitzer Rov answered him so:

A Rebbe and Chassidim are a קומה שלימה, a complete body. The Rebbe being the head, the מוח, the שכל, and the Chassidim being the limbs that receive their sustenance, their very life, from the Head, each one according to his ability and his level. Just like the body has an assortment of limbs, some clean, some uncovered, like the face, hands, and eyes, and some unclean, vile, and concealed, so too is it regarding Chassidim, there are all types, including vile ones. "We Chassidim look at the good ones, but you Misnagdim always manage to see the vile ones."

(Translated From "דער סאנזער צדיק")

I quote this story not to tell you that there are bad apples in every Chassidic group, but rather to stress the former, that the Rebbe is the Rosh who gives sustenance to those who are connected to him. We do not have the choice to disconnect from our Mekor Chayim. For some reason this concept is taboo in most Chassidic circles, mostly because they simply don't believe, (and heretical in Lithuanian circles), and Chabad seems to be from the few that teach it.

Marvin Schick remembers Reb Yisroel Perkowski ע"ה

Members of the Youth wing of the
Agudah Party at a special training farm

Ahh, the good ol' days in Boro Park

When you could walk the streets of Boro Park without a Shtreimel or beard, when you could daven Ashkenaz and be proud, when you could go home right after Maariv on Shemini Atzeres and didn't have to dance the night through.

"Before those darned Chassidim came and ruined it all, eh?!"

The 16th Ave Agudists, - where Rav Perkowski was Rov for decades, aside from being the Rosh Yeshivah in Bais HaTalmud of Bensonhurst, - now have more trouble. The "Moshe Sherer Legacy Agudah Shul" just opened up around the corner. A Multi-Million dollar complex that was built for the sole purpose of spending the money they made from selling the old shul. Also, those star-studded Shabbos HaGodol Droshos needed a venue. If the 16th Ave shul had trouble before and felt out of place in a very different Boro Park it'll only get worse now.

Truth be told, I too feel like a stranger in my native Boro Park, and I'm not half Marvin's age. It's gotten to the point where you can't walk the streets of Boro Park on Shabbos anymore if you're not super "Chassidish!" What will become of this once great neighborhood?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Praise the L-rd, we're saved now!

" Breaking News!!!

Ultra-Orthodox spiritual leader joins gay parade protest

The leader of the Lithuanian haredi Judaism, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, joined the protest against holding the gay pride parade in Jerusalem in November.

Sources in the haredi world estimated that in light of Rabbi Elyshaiv's move, most influential rabbis of Ultra-Orthodox public will join the protest as well."


See also Charedim threaten Pride Parade

Neo-Tzig is rethinking his belief system

This just in from the Neo-Tzig:

This Motzoei Shabbos I had the pleasure of spending time with friends (Hirshel Tzig & Faruq (yes, he lives) were in attendance). The Melave-Malka brought a collection of thoughts into focus. Tell me, am I sliding off the deep end? Here's some of what I'm talking about:

A number of years ago I believed:
1) Tzaddikim don't make mistakes.
2) Science and Torah can always be reconciled as long as they are understood properly.
3) Torah Yiddishkeit is basically black and white, with small areas of gray.
4) We're supposed to love every Jew deeply, and be able relate to them intimately.
5)Truth is a fundamental element of Yiddishkeit, (and especially of chassidus).

Today I lean towards the opinion that:
1) Tzaddikim are G-dly people, but unlike Him, they may err, and perhaps even err foolishly and often.
2) Scientific information we now have may not match the interpretation of Chazal. Time to get over it…
3) Yiddishkeit is all gray, with small black & white areas.
4) The common interpretation of Ahavas Yisroel is ridiculous, impossible and unhealthy. Let's redefine it to mean "respect and deal fairly with your fellow Jew."

It's all about "group think" today. Truth is irrelevant and despised – on a group level – and while many individuals may indeed seek it, they are discouraged and insulted if the dare expose that to others. Troublingly, it seems, however, that open-mindedness does generally lead to less frumkeit, while the more restrictive, regimented, and legislated Judaism being sold by the establishment does have a considerably higher rate of success (and if you don't believe me, just look at pre-war Hungarian Yiddishkeit vs. the Polish/Russian model!). Ugh.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hop on!

Today is Beitzah 2. That's Agudah lingo for today the Daf Yomi cycle starts learning Mesechta Beitzah. If you join Daf Yomi today you can accomplish one of two things:

1) You learn a Daf Gemoroh every day, a very worthy deed in it's own right.

2) Even more so, you justify the existence of the Agudath Israel of America, who has few other merits other than "pushing" Daf Yomi, as if all learners are "Agudisten".

I know,I know, they're helping at-risk teens supposedly now, and they help frum Jews wear Yarmulkes in the work place. They also make alot of otherwise unfulfilled rich guys feel as if they're contributing something to society and shaping the Frum world by donating big bucks to the AI.

Noble accomplishments indeed.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Artscroll censors hard at work

I was learning Ramban on Bereishis (imagine that!) and my Chavrusah went out and got the English Artscroll Ramban, which is very helpful. To our surprise, when we got to a piece where the Ramban mentions simple concepts in Kabbalah there is no translation! We both realized that this was no conincidence and turned back to the translator's preface.

[Let me preface this by saying that I don't believe this was requested by the Rabbinic Advisors or some other committee they may have there at A/S, but rather some do-gooder there decided this on his own and took his brainstorm to the A/S brass who ran with the idea. Then again, I'm very frequently proven wrong...]

(sample page)

I paraphrase here: Concepts that are rooted in Kabbalah are "beyond the scope of this elucidation." Because to understand Kabbalah properly one must be one of the initiated. Since it would be too beyond the scope of this project to provide sufficent background and context for mystical ideas, and we fear that his words will be misunderstood. In other words, we know what the Ramban says here, but you ignoramus, who needs this commentary translated, are not to be trusted with concepts that may be difficult to understand. The first example speaks of very basic concepts, of עשר ספירות, and that חכמה is the basis of those Sefiros etc. עיין שם Nothing that can be misconstrued really.

If this is the approach they take, and they do consider themselves the transmitters of Torah, and that Torah would be forgotten were it not for the Schottenstein Talmud, why then stop here? Why translate all those "strange" Agadatos, stories that are totally "inappropriate" in Today's society, won't they fall into unfriendly hands? The fact is they do, and Anti-Semitic groups use the Artscroll Shas daily to further their message of hate. Is there an anti-Kabbalah bias at the Great House of Artscroll?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Learning out loud on the train -----

----- In English. Personally I think it's rude and unnerving, even for me, imagine what the Goy thinks!

You have such an urge to learn out loud? Bite your tongue. Can't control yourself? Tough.

There are these 2 Russian BT's who learn out loud with 2 big Gemorohs in hand, they too annoy the living daylights out of me, but at least they learn in their native tongue. We'll leave their mannerism out of this discussion for now. But to learn in English, better yet in Yeshinglish? You've got to stop. It's embarrassing for the rest of the tribe.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Reb Avrohom Barnetzky ע"ה

With great sorrow we report the passing of Rabbi Avrohom Barnetsky, ob'm. In his youth, Reb Avrohom was a student of Tomchei Temimim of Otvotsk, and he served as a מלמד in Lubavitcher Yeshiva in Brooklyn for sixty years. He had been employed in the Yeshiva back when it was located on Bedford and Dean and then when it moved to Ocean Parkway. Hundreds took part in his Levaya that passed by the Yeshiva on Ocean Parkway.

Boruch Dayan Ho'Emes.


Students lovingly remember

[I always knew that there's a Chossid, a Melamed named Rabbi Barnetzky, but I never knew him, having never learned in Lubavitcher Yeshivah of Ocean Parkway. Reb Avrohom was the 1st (?) Bochur to travel to Tomchei Tmimim in Otwock, Poland from America. (I imagine it had something to do with Reb Yisroel Jacobson o"h, and his work amongst the Yeshivah Bochurim of his day.) From a few of his former students I heard that he was the epitome of devotion when it came to his students. Please, if you know more about him share it with the rest of us. - HT]

I guess the haters will now say that the fact that his kids ended up in Lakewood, and not Lubavitch, is a statement, and that he somehow renounced Lubavitch? Is that what we're supposed to believe?

Chabad in the News

I guess they can never win.

Here's a story of a "heartless" Rabbi who wouldn't allow the poor boy to have his Bar Mitzvah Aliyah in the shul.
The boy needed another Bris before he'd be allowed to have his Bar Mitzvah there

The Rebbe wanted no לימודי חול in Yeshivos, now that's being put to the test.
Quebec committee to look into chassidic schools

The FR on the BR

(The FR)

FR=Frierdige Rebbe, aka Rayatz, aka the 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe
BR=Brisker Rov, aka Reb Velevl, aka the Gri"z.

There's a letter written on 29 Teves 5710 (11 days before his Histalkus) to the Chossid Reb Bentze Shemtov in which he writes as follows:

בדבר התלמיד מר....... נהניתי מאד שבחר ללמוד איזה זמן אצל הרב הגאון האמיתי מוה"ר זאב שליט"א סאלאווייציק

תקותי חזקה אשר נועם הנהגתו ומדותיו הנעימות של הגר"ז ודעתו הכי רחבה להכיר מעלת הפלאת דרכי החסידות והחסידים באהבת ישרא-ל בכלל ואהבת בני תורה ובעלי מעלות טובות בפרט יגרש הריח לא טוב פון דעם אלטען התנגדות שימעל אשר הגר"ח ביערו במדה ידועה מקרב חניכיו ותלמידיו ההולכים באמת

(אגרות קודש אדמו"ר מהריי"צ חלק יו"ד אגרת ג'תרפ"ח)

(center: RBZ Shemtov)

In the world there's a saying that goes something like this: Of the 3 Soloveitchik Rabbonim L'Beis Brisk and their relationship to Chassidim it can be said that:

Reb Yoshe Ber the Beis HaLevi האט פיינט געהאט חסידים און נישט חסידות

ר' חיים האט פיינט געהאט חסידות און ניט חסידים

ר' וועלוול האט פיינט געהאט חסידים און חסידות

There's supposedly a "retort" from the Brisker Rov on that, I just can't remember it.

(The BR)

A friend of mine, an enlightened type, told me די רבי האט פשוט ניט געקענט דער בריסקער רב, and figured him, based on him being Reb Chaim's son, to be some sort of friend of Chassidim, hence the warm words. That's seems a bit hard to believe, being that the Rov was quite outspoken in his beliefs.

There IS a story that former Agudah MK Menachem Porush tells of a shlichus he had from the BR to the FR in 1948-1949. The Rov asked MP to see the Rebbe and ask him to use his influence with Zalman Shazar, who had become Education Minister, to allow the Old Yiddish-speaking Chadorim, which were in danger of being disallowed in the new State. The Rebbe was quite surprised accrording to MP, and repeated a few times "די בריסקער רב האט אייך געשיקט צו מיר?". The request was fulfilled, needless to say.

Maybe that influenced the Rebbe's opinion.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Zeide Poritz would be proud.......

(APPhoto/Mel Evans)

New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz sits in the Hughes Justice Center in Trenton, N.J., Monday, Oct. 23, 2006. On Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court is scheduled to release its decision in a case brought by seven gay couples who claim the state constitution entitles them to marry. The ruling is to come on Poritz's final day as chief justice."

What is it that compels (I'm sure very well-meaning) Jews to push through this legislation?! Do they really see this as some kind of social justice that they're bound by their distorted view to further? Is this what "progressive" Judaism has come down to?

Besides, she looks like she should be serving Blintzes in a restaurant on the Lower East Side, not deciding such important cases.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Separated at Birth?

The guy on the right is sitting outside his home in New Orleans last year after Hurricane Katrina.

IMHO he's the spit and image of HaRav Mordechai Ashkenazi, the Rov of Kfar Chabad, even the beards match! I mean no disrespect, really, I just could not resist.

I tried to bring good profile shots so as to match the New Orleans guy.

What do you think?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sunday, October 22, 2006

New Blogger version in Beta

Did anybody try it yet? Is it worth switching to?

While we're on the subject; Has anybody tried IE 7.0?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Does blogging bring out the worst?

Faruq is dead, he actually committed proverbial suicide. Do you know what killed him? his writing, that's what. Faruq realized that he'd gone even further than he ever planned.

Bloggers everywhere, those with a conscience anyway, tell me that they cannot believe what they've written. They look back and are stunned that such thoughts emanated from their keyboards. It's like there's an invisible being inside them that compels them to write this stuff against their own free will. I too am surprised at myself sometimes, and I do erase and edit much that I write, but I know my limits. Then again maybe if nobody knew me I too would succumb to that temptation.

I've been told that blogger DovBear is a Lubavitcher, and a Shliach to boot. I find that hard to believe. Impossible as a matter of fact. Now I've heard of people leading "double lives" before, of being אחד בפה ואחד בלב , but this is ridiculous! Why be a Lubavitcher and a Shliach when it goes against everything you believe in?! Lubavitch is the last place in the world where you're "forced" to remain and cannot voice your opinions, so pack up and leave!

I understand that people give misinformation in order to throw you off the scent, but all those stories, you need to be a pretty good liar to make those up. I'd be shocked to hear that it is the case, and even more so once I hear his name. Until then I refuse to believe it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Rabbi Freifeld and Lubavitch

?מי יודע

According to this article in Answers.com/Wikipedia about HaRav Hutner:

"His students included Rabbis: Yonasan David (his son-in-law) and Aharon Schechter, his successors as Rosh Yeshivas of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin; .......... Pinchas Stolper of the Orthodox Union and founder of NCSY who followed Rabbi Hutner's guidelines in setting up this youth outreach movement; Avrohom Davis, founder of the Metzudah religious books series; Shlomo Freifeld who set up the one of the first full-time yeshivas for Baal teshuva students in the world, and who personally maintained an open relationship with Lubavitch; ............................. Yaakov Perlow, the Novominsker Rebbe of Boro Park; ....................Noah Weinberg founder and head of the Baal teshuva outreach conglomerate called Aish Hatorah and his brother Yaakov Weinberg of Ner Israel Yeshiva in Baltimore; ....................

:וויל איך וויסען אזוי

Can anybody tell me if this piece is true; if Rabbi Freifeld did maintain a "Relationship" with Lubavitch, and what this relationship consisted of? Also, why was he the only one that did maintain that relationship and others like Weinberg from Aish are sworn rabid enemies of Lubavitch?

In the Sukkos English Mishpachah there's a lenghty article about RSF, but I read only parts of it, and I don't believe that connection is mentioned. What I do see from the article in Wikipedia is that Harav Hutner basically copied everything there was from Lubavitch, from the מאמרים to the Tishen to the outreach, with many of his Talmidim starting groundbreaking outreach Organizations, including the Metsudah Publications, NCSY, Aish and and She'or Yoshuv.

.........אבי ער האט געשריגען אז ליובאוויטש איז טרייף

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The best part of the Mets' loss?

That DovBear will maybe cry in his beer and shut up for a while.

Maybe if he'd have danced Hakofos on Shemini Atzeres things would've turned out differently.

A "Modern-Orthodox", Snag, Met Fan, Democrat. Can it get any worse?

St. Louis is such a nice Republican City.

Book Review - 'הרב מבריסק חלק ג (Part I)

The life and times of Rav Yitzchok Zev (Velvel) Soloveitchik of Brisk - Jerusalem. By Shimon Meller, Jerusalem 5766

(That's my ספרים שאפע if you're wondering. Yes, we do have Nigleh Seforim)

On Yom Kippur during Krias HaTeyreh and throughout Sukkos I perused the new book, הרב מבריסק" - חלק ג" and noted a few things.
The book, and subsequently it's predecessors Vols. 1 and 2, is juvenille. ( a review on the first volumes will follow PG) Note to the author: When you write a book about the life and times of a person please don't put every person and movement you disagree with into quotation marks, it makes your book look like an editorial from Der Yid and puts your objectivity into question.

The Rov's battle with Zionism, a worthy cause indeed, seemed to be become personal with him, and to this reader it seems like he was obsessed with their every move. words like "זיי מיינען" AND "זיי ווילען" were always on his lips, as if he was watching their every move and it had become some sort of contest. His reluctance to participate in הפגנות against the Government's decisions was based on the fact that his father Reb Chaim said that the ציונים זענען חשוד אף שפיכת דמים, which may have been the case, and therefore there was no need to be "Moser Nefesh". By the way: does this "Vort" refer to all Zionists? The Brisker Zionists? Any Zionist of any time? The question remains.

There are also parts of the book that are downright embarrassing to the entire family, including Reb Chaim and Reb Velvel. Meller, in the chapters entitled חנוך לנער, makes mention of the great effort that the BR made in the education of his children, and in the great success he had at it. It seems that corporal punishment was a major player in that process, with the Rov and Reb Chaim both using פעטש as a means of educating and punishing. Now, all this may be good and well, but do you really think that the family would like their father/grandfather to be known as a שלעגער?

I do believe that the author Shimmy Meller, - who strangely also wrote about the Chevroner Rosh Yeshiva Reb Simche Zissel Broyde - does the house of Soloveitchik a great disservice by publishing these books because he breaks the mystique that has engulfed Brisk for the last 60 years. He does however have some great pictures that some of the great Gedolim in Eretz Yisroel would rather he not have published, but that's beside the point....

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"Unchosen" Simchas Teyreh

The protagonist of the book, Yossi, joined us for Shemini Atzeres Hakofos. He seemed quite comfortable there with his Choop and Shtreimel, sort of a regular "cool BoroPark" guy.

We sat in the Sukkah and said Lechaim, and he had a very joyous conversation as well as Hakofos.

He had been to Israel for quite some time and I guess is now trying to readapt to Boro Park life, at least on Jewish Holidays.

He came back for more on Simchas Teyreh night.

He says that Ms. Winston Hakked him a Tcheynik with the silly picture of him on the Brooklyn Bridge carrying that big old garbage bag. He had his "regular clothes" in that bag.

I guess Lubavitch has something to offer for these souls after all.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"Hasides with Reb Chaim Sholem Daytsh Shlita"


A great public service brought to you by Noam Starik, א פרומער אידישיסט וועלכע וואוינט אין ירושלים

איך דיינק אייך זייער ר' נועם פאר די שיינער שמועס היינט, א שאד נאר אז איר האט זיך נישט באקענט מיט אונזער חבר ר' צמח ווען ער האט פארוויילט אין לאנד איבער יום טוב און געדאווענט אין די צמח צדק שול אין אלט-שטאט ירושלים

CT Links

"Moshe F." is repenting

Tough crowd in Monsey, they don't just forgive

Washington Post explores 770's

More waste of trees

Yiddish with George and Laura

From the Authors of Yiddish with Dick and Jane comes a new piece of trash that furthers the stereotype that all Jews are a bunch of promiscuous Commies who hate Goyim and basically anybody but their sorry Socialist selves. I wish these people wouldn't profane the Yiddish language with their garbage.

You'd think that living in America for over 100 years, and with the Czar no longer a threat, that these people would move on to improving themselves and focus on the threats to their existence, not George Bush.

I guess not.

(Thanks Amshinover)

Friday, October 13, 2006

א פריילאכן שמחת תורה

From COL

Just remember this:

Simchas Torah is for all Jews, not just Talmidei Chachomim ווייל אלע אידן האבען א שייכות מיט די תורה. So if you see a simple Yid dancing, don't ask him why.

from Chabadnik

Were Litvishe Yeshivos מבטל ליל הושע"ר?

No Tikkun

No Mishne Torah

No Tehillim

?וואס יע

It's not a Chassidishe Zach, so why not keep it?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Segulah for a man to find his Zivug

סגולה בדוקה למי שמעוכב שידוך, להסיר בהושע"ר את הטבעות מהלולב ולהחזיקם בכיס ימין של המכנסים עד סוף ההקפות בשמחת תורה
בפרט אם הטבעות נלקחו מלולב של מי שהתחתן בשנה האחרונה.

"ספר אדון המושיע"

Remove the rings from your Lulav on Hoshana Rabboh, place them in your pocket, and keep them there until after Hakofos on Simchas Torah. It's especially effective if the rings are taken from a recently (within a year) married man.

Spread the word.

Via HydePark

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A S J sees things the Tzig way!

A Simple Jew: Just Like New Coke?

My Comment there:

"Man, you stole my thunder, I was gonna post on that, I was even shlepping around the free sample they were distributing!

Of course Artscroll sets the tone and decides what's "in", so I guess חק לישראל is "out". They also made sure that (at least Parshas Bresihis) has no pieces from Chassidishe Seforim. All recent Rosh Yeshivos, yes, but no Chasidim, not even "generic" ones like the Sfas Emes.

Way to go Scherman!"

The more I look at the comment the more I like it, I should start a class on this subject......

Psst! Wanna buy a book?

a "Must Read" for all Democrats

You gotta love the Elephant reference here. Those mean GOPers are always looking to hurt children, aren't they?

make sure to play with blocks that spell D-E-M-O-C-R-A-T

$160,000 to go to school?

Imagine if this nice Jewish guy, Jeremy Zilber, would've actually used his talents for something constructive, he might have brought good to this world.

I Think I'm gonna hurl.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sukkos in Yerushalayim - 1940's

Any ideas who these distinguished looking Yidden were?

a Yerushalayimer Kaftan has nothing on these Bukhari robes!

My, what big Lulovim they had back then!

?א שטריימל אהן א בארד
and are those reindeer on the walls as נוי סוכה? I know alot of it is Kratzmich decorations, but this is a bit much!

Is he blessing the man via the Lulav and Esrog?

From the collection of Trudy and Miko Schwartz featured in Ynetnews.com

Horthy in the Battlefield

Monday, October 9, 2006

Charedim in Meah Shearim never learn


An English filmmaker gets a "Chelek" in Meah Shearim (Hebrew)

What is it about them that they wish to give all Frum Jews a bad name?
Maybe Tzemach can go over there and teach these guys a lesson.

Friday, October 6, 2006

There Lubavitch goes again.......

...... All these Shluchim ("Chief Rabbis") sticking their heads into the Rosh Hashonoh in Uman

....... Making sure the food actually gets there

...... Keeping it Kosher

If they'd only just go away and leave Russia to the real Jews............

Thanks COL

Lubavitcher Minyan in Uman 5767

Photo by נרו_יאיר - בחדרי חרדים HydePark

I don't understand why they can't adapt somewhat to the timetable of the Breslover there. If the whole עולם davens at 6:30am please don't roll in to שיעור חסידות at 9:30am, OK?