Sunday, November 4, 2007
S'vent zich avu m'redt
(Bodleian Library, Oxford)
An expression like the one above is meant to tell the reader/student that although on the surface the two topics or cases may seem quite similar, they're meant to be understood differently, because there ARE differences, and the Halochoh is different as well. I think the same may be said for people. When we discuss two people who had similar situations, and seemingly dealt with the situation similarly, but yet one is given a free pass and the other isn't, then we know that somebody decided that S'vent zich vu m'redt, and that's why these two people are judged so differently. The only difference is, that unlike in Halochoh, when it comes to these two people there shouldn't be a difference after all, it's just that Yankel Shmoyger for whatever reason decided so, and the Eylem Geylem went along with it, again for some unknown reason. The point of the proceeding lines is not to cast doubt on the greatness on of RMBW, but rather to show how silly people are when it comes to the Rebbe. I also realize that most of what I'll write here is probably not known to the average "Joe," but that too is not by mere coincidence.
Every Cheder Yingel the world over knows that the Rebbe's big "crime" (KeVayochol) was the fact that "er iz gegangen in college." The old Skverrer Rebbe of Kolorash was said to have called the Rebbe "Der Studehnt," and that the AR is twisting in his grave over the fact that the Rebbe "zitzt of zahn benkel." In Satmar the propaganda machine, led by one Menashe Fulop, takes it a step further. They teach all their minions that the Rebbe spent "finef in tzvontzig yoor" in Colleges, "oon choolov yisrooel, in oon kooshere essen." They also feed off the perception that all of Paris is one shtick house of ill repute, which means anybody who ever lived there was a chronic sinner. They also mislead people into thinking that no frum Jew ever stepped foot in Paris before, which would make it impossible for him to daven mit minyan or for his wife to do what she needs to. I can understand the aversion to secular studies, but to take it this far, and Passel like that those who you disagree with is what drives people away from those circles. It certainly did for me. There however seems to be an exception to the rule. The Litvishe have Rav Hutner, who I guess did Tshuvah, right? and the Chassidisher/Oberlander have theirs.
Who's the Chassidisher/Oberlander exception, you ask? Why I thought never would. It's Reb Michoel Ber Weissmandl, of course! What's that? You never knew? well, friend, let me clue you in. (Btw, the point of this thread is to show you the hypocrisy of some people, especially Snags and zealous non-Chabad Chassidim). At the age of 18 - still unmarried - RMBW traveled to Oxford to see the great manuscript collection that was housed there, and to publish The point of the trip was to find unpublished manuscripts and bring them to light, so that Lomdim would be able to benefit from them. There was no Minyan in Oxford, no Cholov Yisroel, no Kosher food, and no Mikveh. According to the book he ate tea and crackers the whole time he was there. I don't doubt that for a second, but maybe you should. Oh,! and did I mention he was UNMARRIED all that time?! In Oxford?! Do we REALLY know what he did in COLLEGE all that time?! Yet, if I had an agenda against the man I could come up with all kinds of reasons why he was Treyf, and should be shunned from Jewish society. Obviously that wasn't his intent, but RMBW's association with Satmar is what saved his reputation. Imagine for a moment, if you will, if he would've become a Zionist after the war, how would the Satmar attack machine have treated the great rescuer? Probably no different than they did all their ideologocal adversaries.
What else can we say? Oh yeah. RMBW was married at 33 (!) years old, and married the daughter of the Rebbe he had known and studied with for (IIRC) 20 years! Whoa, you say, right? This is not Lita, mind you, where it was normal to get married at an advanced age, and there was no turmoil to speak of that would delay his getting married. All this time he was traveling the world, doing all kinds of things, including visiting the Yeshivos of Lita and the Roshei Yeshivos and Rabbonim there. The zealot in you should probably be jumping out of his seat right now. At his LeChaim or Vort or T'noyim meal his shver the Nitra Rov zt"l Rav Shmuel Dovid Ungar (whom the Munkacser Rov called "Shin Daled") announced that he was a Kodosh VeTohor. What's that you say? He's a Nogea BeDovor and shouldn't be trusted? Well, who cares what you say? The policy wonks have decided that this passes inspection and may be printed in the history books and the Yiddish newspapers. There's more to say on this matter, but time is short, and I'd like to get this out. I guess by now you realize the similarities between the Rebbe and RMBW as far as life's stories go, and you see what I mean by "Es vent zich avu m'redt." I would only hope that you - and you know who you are - can see the errs of your ways, and the introspection that needs to start right now. I know this was not his intention, but I thank the author for providing all that material and insight into his great Zeide's life.