Sunday, November 25, 2007

Impostors, all of them!


(Reb Lazer Hager of Vizhnitz zt"l on the left)

ובשיחי עם רב אחד משם [קאבנא־סלאבאדקא, במדינת ליטא] אמר לי בזה"ל "אל יחר עיני כבודו אם אומר לו דבר אחד אשר השתוממתי בהיותי במארינבאד על הכנסיה הגדולה, אף כי יהיה מזה קצת פגיעת כבוד אל הרבנים דמדינתכם, שמה היה לי שעת הכושר להכיר מהות הרבנים דמדינתכם, תחלה ראיתי דבר מה שהוא זר במדינתינו שכל רב מכם הוא בגדלות ובהתנשאות וביראת הכבוד חש על כבודו ומדת השפלות והפשטנות אין להכיר בו, אפילו רב צעיר הולך עם כובע רחבה כאניה ובמקל כסף, ורוצה להטיל אימה על הבריות מה שלא נמצא כזאת במדינתינו, אפי' רבינו ר' חיים עוזר מווילנא שהוא באמת רבן של כל בני הגולה הולך בפשטנות מבלי שינוי מאיש פשוט דעלמא, ומבלי לוויית איזה איש עמו, ושם ראיתי רב אחד בבואו, הרבה תלמידים היה רצים לפניו ולאחריו ורעשה הארץ מהם, אמרתי בלבי אתהה על קנקנם איך הם עומדים בתורה, ונכנסתי עמהם בשיחה בד"ת ולא ידעו מאומה להשיב ולפלפל, וחשבתי ליכנס בשיחה עם רבם, והצעתי לפניו קושיא על הרמב"ם בהלכות קדשים וג"כ לא ידע להשיב, וכה חזרתי ואמרת לו בענינים שונים ולא ידע לישא וליתן."


פניני משנה שכיר ממרן רבי ישכר שלמה טייכטהאל זצ"ל הי"ד דף ס"א


Reb Yissocher Shlomo Teichtel recalls what a Lithuanian Rov once told him:

This Rov from Kovno Slabodka was at the Kenessiah Gedolah and Marienbad and wasn't happy with what he saw there. He "realized" that all these Hungarian Rabbonim were was a bunch of impostors wearing Rabbinic garb but not talking the talk. They wore wide-brimmed hats and silver-tipped canes, but had no Torah to go with it. They were haughty fellows those Magyars and had nothing to back it up. Whereas the Lithuanian Rabbonim were all humble and scholars and didn't wear the garb. Why, even Reb Chaim Ozer of Vilna, the leader of World Jewry wears the garb of a simple Jew! I saw one who had a large entourage with him - says the Rov - and I told myself that I'd observe them and see what their level of Torah knowledge is. I asked some of the people with him and they knew nothing of what I asked, then I asked the Rov a question in the Rambam and he too had no answer for me!

Was it fair for him to base his opinion of all Hungarian Rabbonim on one chance encounter he had at a resort area? Did he at all know whom he was engaging in that Shmuess? Wasn't he a bit quick to judge?

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

if you would be fair you would translate it correctly- your distortion is unbelievable!

Hirshel Tzig said...

where did I distort?

Anonymous said...

for example
אפילו רב צעיר הולך עם כובע רחבה כאניה ובמקל כסף
"They wore wide-brimmed hats and silver-tipped canes" all of them!

U' N' said...

I didn't bother with the translation, but from the original it seems that he didn't mean davka Hungary or Marmaros but his criticism was towards the general chassidishe hulekh-yeilekh. He probably didn't realize that it's the only language some people understand; they absolutely need to run in front of someone and that someone better look distinguished.

But it's a two way street. There is no correspondence at all between person's inner humility and width of the bream of his hat.

As far as quickness to judge - what do you expect from a _rov_ from kovno - slobodka ? That he kiss his hands and hand a pidyon ?

chaim said...

What a load of hogwash!

There were FAR, FAR, more rabonim gedolim and especially poskim in Hungary that in Lita. (continues to this day. Once RM Feinstein zt'l was niftar the Litvish tzibbur was struggling to name a posek or 2).

It is possible that the speaker met some ameratzishe rebbishe kind (something which we are not short of even these days), but to besmirch all rabonim because of this - is very wrong.

Efrayim said...

How is the photo relevant, who was he and who is he talking to?

Anonymous said...

who is in the photo?

Yaakov said...

A)You copied this from Chadrei Chareidim
B)You screwed up the translation and gist
C)I'm quite sure that if you look it up Rav Teichtel was in agreement with this rov.
Some interesting tidbits about Rav Teichtel:He was a talmid of the Minchas Elozor.One of his sons learned in Slabodka and was held of in high esteem by the Rabbi Yoisef Yitzchok of Lubavitch, in a letter he tells someone that he can study chassidus by him.He died a young bochur about 20 before the war.
One of Rav Teichtels sons became a Lubavitcher and his kids represent Lubavitch in Germany

U' N' said...

You're missing out that most of his [grand]children joined Satmar veavizrayhu.

Hirshel Tzig said...

I had this picture in my files. When the time came to place a picture next to this post I did it quickly, basically putting the first one I found. All I remember from this picture is that the one on the left - with cigarette in hand - is Reb Lazer'l Vizhnitzer, Rov and R"Y in Vizhnitz, Bukovina after ww1, and later in Eretz Yisroel, and son of the Ahavas Yisroel, and brother of the Imrei Chaim. He passed away childless in 1946, and the Vizhnitzer Yeshivah in Israel was started by him in 1944 IIRC. Maybe one of you would know who the other Rov is? I deemed it appropriate for this post since he wore a wide-brimmed hat and had an entourage with him, just like the Litvak said they do....

Mottel said...

Just a thought on Kovno:
On lil Pesach, when the door was opened for Eliyahu, people hiding outside would push a tzig'ele through the door into the house.

snag said...

1) Were there takeh many Hungarian Rabbonim at that knesiah ? I thought the Agudah was not as popular with Hungarians as with others.

2) The translation leaves something to be desired, as stated above.

Another example of that is "Reb Chaim Ozer of Vilna, the leader of World Jewry wears the garb of a simple Jew".

In the Hebrew it actually says that he walks simply, it doesn't say that he wore the garb of a simple Jew. You might be mixing him up with the Chofetz Chaim.

I believe R. Chaim Ayzer wore Rabbinic garb.

Hirshel Tzig said...

Reb Chayim Ayzer wore a smashed up Homburg, not exactly very Rabbinic. As far as nitpicking on my free translation: Please stop!

Anonymous said...

Snag
The most prestigious rabonim in Hungary were in the Aguda as Rav Dushinsky,Nitra Rov and Presburger Rov

chaim said...

A few rabonim - mainly from Slovakia indeed belonged to the Aguda. But they generally had kanoishe views - as per Rav Elchono Wasserman and Rav Aharon Kotler - as opposed to the Polishe rebbes and rabonim - many who were more LW.

But the bulk of "Hungarian' rabonim were non- or indeed anti-Aguda, under the strong influence of the Munkatcher rav and the Satmar Rav.

Rav Teichtal's descendants include the Jm Bransdorfers - eg the Dayan of the Edah - Rav Meir Bransdorfer shlita