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.


schneur said...

You make some good points, but I want to bring them up to date. Everything you say about college then is in many ways still applicable. Because you attend a college does not mean there are orgies every night. It also does not mean you can not be a frume Yid.
Of course mores in many areas have changed, but going to college does not mean that you signed up for the Sexual Liberation Front.
This is especially true when you live "off campus" and close to a large jewish community like NYC , Baltimore or Boston.
I recall a Rebbe I was close to in BP kept asking me about the orgies in Columbia University dormitories, I was sorry to disappoint him that I never heard of any.
Today many universities (Columbia, UPenn, Harvard, Yale, Queens College, JOhns Hopkins etc have shiurim , kosher food , campus Orthodox rabbis (besides shluchim)
I am always impressed by the intensity of Jewsih life at Yale University in my hometown of New Haven.They ahve a full time rav, kosher food daily minyonim and a plethora of shiurim. Like the rest of American jewry, most of Yale's Jews could care less about Judaism.
So today's Charedi community including Chabad needs to stop its condescending attitude towards "college students".

U' N' said...


Do you consider RMBW a Talmid Chochom ?


This Rebbe in BP, does he start with an "S" ?

Hirshel Tzig said...


is that a trick question?

U' N' said...

No, it's a simple question with consequences, like all of them.

Hirshel Tzig said...

Of course he was a Talmid Chochom.

U' N' said...

Why do you think then that by your being mevazeh him you're somehow making up for someone totally else's possible disrespect towards the object of your affections ? I personally have no problem with anyone attending college full or part time, Rebbes or not. Equating or even putting on a same scale his occasional travel to a university library to clarify matters of Yiddishkeit with someone's full time attendance of a technical college in order to obtain a technical college degree is ridiculous; whatever point you were trying to make, you failed miserably and as usual, at the expense of the very person whom you're trying to "reinstate" in the eyes of your fellow kleinkeppige morons. Your pathetic attempt to "punish" RMBW for having a grandson who didn't write a book to your liking and for not sucking up to methods of "kiruv" that he considered - perhaps rightfully so - detrimental, is only punishing you and your ilk. Nor did RMBW ever declare himself to be a piece of Atzmus arayngeshtelt in a guf r"l or a rebbe fun alle yidden or a nosi hu hakol or any of other modesties which have no upper bound in some circles and some sources. And your pathetic attempts to spell yiddish in Litveshe havore are failing even more miserably; you should ask your tutor - another fellow Magyar, no doubt - for a refund.

And why do some insist on sticking the idiom "KeVayochol" into every second sentence where it doesn't belong by the farthest stretch of any mad linguistic imagination ?

Hirshel Tzig said...

why do you insist on bringing up countless points that have zero relevance to what I wrote?

why do you insist on missing the point of the whole thread?

Camp Runamok said...

"why do you insist on missing the point of the whole thread?"

U' N' apparently does not recognize irony or is so insecure in his own Emunas Chachomim that the slightest irreverent comment gets translated into "Yosi Yakeh Es Yosi".

myhumbleopinion said...

Dear Tzig;

You are wrong on so many fronts - in regards to RMDW - I don’t know were to start.

I might elaborate more later, but for now, I cannot let it go without a rebuttal to the nonsense being written here. Therefore, in the limited time I have I will touch on a few misleading points you made.

Firstly, don’t try to fool yourself, in thinking people are as stupid as you make them look, in thinking that they don’t see the difference between colleges, to which the Hungarian rabbis forbade attendance of any sort, as “chazir” to a library that was never “ahserd”.

In addition trying to compare secular study, in a university environment, in a class with professor giving lectures, for the sole reason of enlightenment, to sitting over manuscript thousands of years old breaking one’s neck, trying to understand the old time writhing, is absurdity at its best, and as you rightly point out the purpose of the whole trip was “to find unpublished manuscripts and bring them to light, so that Lomdim would be able to benefit from them”, Have you never heard of “eis lasos lashem” or of “ousek bemitsvah putir”? (Not to say RMB “chas veshulm” did anything against the torah just to point out that even with your twisted way of thinking, RMB wasn’t wrong)

BTW as a Talmid of RMDW Yeshiva in general, and especially by being a Talmud of his eldest son Zt”l, in addition to being a Talmud of two other son’s of his, I had the “zechiah” to get to know some of his Talmidim amv”s, therefore I know a bit about RMB.

One of the interesting things I learned in speaking to his talmidim – which is in direct regard to the above point – is the fact that RMB set in the library hours and hours continuously, going over the monumental amount of manuscripts of “Rishonim”, and as you probably are clearly aware, by reading the book, what RMB went thru during the war, (that is if you gave any emphases to anything in the book, other then the two points, Zionism, and the relationship with the rabbi and the “freardigeh” rabbi) the numerous close calls on his life, the loosing of his family, the seeing with his own eyes the perishing of his fellow brethren while the world stood in silence, his two hart attacks during and after the war in Switzerland, (were – BTW – he held, he survived only miraculously by the “Tefilos” of the Strupkever rav), coming back after all this, and without having writing down the “Rishonim” giving “shiurim” in “Gemurah” intertwined with the “Rishonim, vos err hut gebleterd” in oxford before the war, the “shiurim” were written down by his talmudim, only to be proven wondrously accurate, and precisely as they appeared, years after when the manuscripts were printed.

So you want to compare RMB’s sitting and “scanning and downloading GB upon GB” of hard-to-read manuscripts, into his hard drive – only by him it was his brain – probably not even being aware of his surrounding, to sitting in a college environment with “yingen in muden”? Whom do you think you are fooling?

And you have the chutzpah to speak about his being unmarried, while true, you forgot to point out that he didn’t find his true love in oxford, but rather went on to merry his rabbi’s daughter, unlike “others” you very well know who did find there love there.

And may I also mention one small point, I don’t know if you are aware, RMB didn’t go bareheaded in oxford he proudly were a “kapel”, again unlike others who didn’t.

Oh, since you brought it up, I had a good laugh thinking of what the munkacser rav would have said, should he have known the “rebba”.

BTW, I see you tanked the author for giving you the information on RMB’s time in oxford, so I presume you weren’t aware of it, or at least you weren’t aware of the details, if so, you are so far of knowing anything about Hungarian Jewish history you probably shouldn’t be writing about it.

Going now to the previews post on the book.

I know the author, in fact, he was my “cavruseh” in yeshiva, I can tell you that although he is a Chasid of the great Satmar rabbi he is far from a so-called “satmerer” he has no problem to point out the working together of RMB with the “vaad hatzalah” which consisted of not only “satmereah”, as you are probably aware. (This is not to say that the Satmar rabbi wouldn’t approve of this, but your impression of a “satmerer” certainly wouldn’t approve of it). In addition this “satmerer” “davens nusach Ashkenaz” and puts on “tefilin” on “chol hamoed”.

This said, the part of him not being “mekarev rechokim” doesn’t have anything to do with being a “satmerer” or not, You yourself know that the “rebba’s” “derech” of “kiruv” was unique, and disapproved by many more than just the Satmar rav, but to say he was against “kiruv” is absurd in many ways in particular by the fact that the main manager in the “yishuv” of “Nitra” (I wont say a name for obvious reasons) is a “Baal Teshuve” the direct work of RMB.

And about making RMB a “satmerer” in his opposition to Zionism, well not only did he not think what he thought on Zionism, because of the Satmar rav, rather the opposite can be said, a lot of what the Satmar rav thought and wrote about Zionism, is because and what RMB said and wrote.

I conclude with one light point, at least you find something plausible with the book, that is, it gives you another opportunity to knock reb Aaron Kotler.

Hirshel Tzig said...


a quick perusal of your comments tell me that you WERE very much influenced by the absurdities perpetuated by the Williamsburg crowd.

Also, "informing" me that RMBW couldn't have been a Satmarer because he wore Tefillin on Chol HaMoed shows me that you lost your ability to think.

more later, iy"h.

myhumbleopinion said...

I didn’t say that RMB wasn’t a satmerer I was speaking of his grandson, (not that it changes your point which I will address after finishing my point) but please read carefully before you reply.

To your point, no I wasn’t trying to tell you that one cant be Satmar and put tfilin chol hamoed, just that it interferes with your importation of a “satmerer” walking in lock step of everything in Satmar.

Hirshel Tzig said...

I said "quick perusal," which means a quick glance. כשאפנה I'll respond דבר דבר על אופניו בעזהשי"ת

Hirshel Tzig said...


VULGAR, irrelevant comments will not be allowed. If you'd like you can refute my claims, but don't bring in your perversion into my blog.

I like how you're the Kanoyi here.......

Guravitzer said...

Schneur, those very dedicated shluchim that you mention will tell you that the college campus atmosphere affects the frume students who come there tremendously, and they end up with more work on their hands trying to help those students remain frum.

College students are great, and have always been great. College campuses and professors in the humanities are terrible.

Volvie said...

Without taking a stand regarding attending college,I have to voice my concern for the blogmasters logical abilities.
Do you think that studying manuscprits of rishoinim in a library=attending college?
Are you really missing something or your abilities clouded by your biases?

Anonymous said...

ikh bet reshus tsu shraybn a por verter oyf mame-loshn ( mayn kentshaft in der englisher shprakh iz gor bagrenitst ). Tsufelik un tsum groysn badoyren maynem hob ikh arayngefaln bay ot dem zaytl oder blog un mir iz gevorn vi men zogt shvarts in di oygn. ober in der zelber tsayt hob ikh batrakht az alts iz behashgokhe elyone un efsher durkh reagirn oyf di divrey nevolo vos men shist oyf shrit un trit, iz dvorim hayoytsim min haleyv nikhnosim el holeyv.
ikh, yoysef doyv ginsburg, bin a litvak ben litvak, un hob gelernt in ekhte litvishe yeshives. in der zelber tsayt hob ikh gehat a zkhus un a gelegnhayt shaykhes tsu hobn mit gdoyley yisroel fun ale krayzn.
ken ikh eydes gebn ( mit a por bayshpiln ) az dos rov ( m'ken zogn rov haminker ) fun gdoyley yisroel hobn gerekhnt un haltn in eyn rekhenen dem lubavicher rebe'n zt"l alts a goen oylem un a tsadik kodesh vetoer. der blog ( araynrekhenen dem balebos funem blog ) viln gebn an ayndruk az ale gdoylim hobn gepaslt dem lubavicher reb'n un dos iz poshet kegn dem metzies. men gedarft nor geyen in a poshetn zuntik ven der lubavicher rebe flegt teyln dolarn un bentchn klal yisroel un zeen vifl admoyrim, roshey yeshives, rabonim - khsidish, litvish ud"g farbay gegangen mit hadras hakoved betn a brokhe. eyn kan hazman vehamokem tsu oysrekhenen zey bay nomen - nor yeder vos iz etvos bakant mit metzies veys dos.
men hot in eyner fun di diskusyes geshribn geferlekhe bashuldikungen akegn dem heylikn rayat"z. mayn zeyde ztz"l iz geven onveznd in der shul fun dem heylikn zviler rebe'n ( r' shleymke zviler ztz"l )
ven r' shloymke iz arayn in der shul, a klap geton oyf der bime un hot proklamirt b'ze haloshen " men hot makhriz geven in himl az der tsadik hador iz der rayat"z fun lubavitch - ikh hob gemeynt az dos iz an anderer ober azoy iz ". horav fridman, der gevezener rosh hakoylel in avstralye ( a vizhnitser ) haynt a rov in london hot mir dertseylt az zayn foter iz oykh geven beshas mayse. ( derekh agev, di dozike mayse iz gedrukt in dem seyfer hamaayon hanitzkhi - a poylish-khsidish seyfer vayt vayt fun lubavich.
ikh hob aleyn gehat a zkhiye tsu hern fun dem G-t zelikn tchebiner rov zt"l moyredike verter vegn dem lubavitcher rebn zt"l - un shpeter ikh hob gehert fun a khaver maynem enlekhe verter vos der tchebiner goen hot em gezogt vegn dem lubavitcher reb'n - zayn geoynes, tsidkes ud"g.
do, kukendik in farshidene diskusies ze ikh a sakh baredenishn oyf gedoyley yisroel un dos iz oser nit vikhtik oyf vemen men redt. kinderlekh ir shpilt mit fayer!!!! trakht arayn tsi khotch eyn godl beyisroel volt gut geheysn un maskim geven tsu aza zakh!. der firer funem blog ( ikh vil nit aykh rufn mit a kinuy tsig - derekh agev in yidish tsig iz loshn nekeyve un loshn zokher iz a bok )- ir tzit oys on mit ayer shraybn - afile positive shraybn geferlekhe reaktsyes fun mntchn vos kenen nit nit metzies un nit halokhe-ober vos ir tut iz punkt azoy farbotn loyt der halokhe ( kuk arayn in dem heylikn khofetz khaym ).
kinderlekh - ikh bet aykh! tut tshuve un her oyf mit di geferlekhe verter! moshiekh vet nit kumen durkh farbrengen tsayt oyf blogs un bifrat mit azelkhe shmutsike falshe inyonim.
ikh vinch aykh alemen ales bestn un hof fun tifn hartsn az ir vet derhern emeskayt.
yoysef doyv

Der Rebbe is Nit Moshiach. Ich bin Moshiach. said...

>>Nor did RMBW ever declare himself to be a piece of Atzmus arayngeshtelt in a guf r"l or a rebbe fun alle yidden or a nosi hu hakol or any of other modesties which have no upper bound in some circles and some sources

So true. And Rav Hutner did not either. One who could make such a claim clealry does not understand what he is talking about. And it certainly cannot be said of one who spent many years alone in Paris and Berlin--doing little, if anything, to do with Judaism. . . Unlike RMBW. Say, Tzig--you know how long Rav Hutner was in Berlin for? You know how he never said he was the embodiment of God or the Messiah? Interesting.

Hirshel Tzig said...

I see that most of my readers suffer from what's known as "nisht entferen tzu der zach" disease. Research has done little to find the cure.

Camp Runamok said...

"Do you think that studying manuscprits of rishoinim in a library=attending college?"

At many major universities you cannot access the archives or special research materials unless you are faculty, staff, student or alumnus. While special arrangements can be made they require some level of affiliation with the University. I suspect that you cannot just walk in off the street to the Oxford library and ask to see the Ba'alei Tosafos.

U' N' said...


Maybe you should ask youself why did everyone suddenly become "irrelevant". And it's nice to see you arbitrarily censoring posts that aren't to your liking (not that there was anything vulgar or irrelevant in them) - it's an admission of your moral bankruptcy and defeat. It's a good thing, as you've placed yourself amongst "moridin velo ma'alin" by attempting to mock and denigrate one of the few honest yidden that the last generation had a merit to see.

volvie said...

Vos hob ich gezogt, vos iz nisht tzum zach?
Simple question:How do you equate, somebody studying manuscripts in a library to attending university???

Runamok:I don't have any idea about what you are talking about.Are you trying to say that R.Michel Ber was a student in Oxford?He was not.So what was your point?

Hirshel Tzig said...

U N and others:

repeat after me:

"Hirshel Tzig is being sarcastic. He's a big Chossid of Reb Michool Ber and is only showing us how silly we are when it comes to the Rebbe."

The fact remains that he was away for a very long time in a University, in a very free and liberal society. If you want you can make a lot out of it.

I would also assume that you were not allowed to wear a head covering in the Library there..... How do you like them apples?!

I agree that the idea of RMBW doing something wrong or improper to Judaism is absurd, yet you, for some reason, have no problem believing it on the Rebbe.

Realize, will you, that he was 18 and single when he decided to save the world by publishing unknown Seforim, something I think many would agree was not the most pressing issue of the time.

Bringing "Moshiach and Atzmus" to this conversation is absurd.

Yonah said...

Since the topic of the Rebbes attending college won't go away I want to ask a couple of questions.
1)Why did the Rebbe feel the need to go?Without getting into the 'politics' around it Der Shtudent or not,it was, everyone agrees a very unusual step for the son-in-law of a Rebbe to take off from the center of the Orthodox world,Warsaw and go and live in Berlin and Paris.(There are very few other examples that I know about, but I may just be misinformed.R'J.B Soloveichik who's father was not your classic Orthodox rabbi, coming from the Soloveichik line, but heading the Tachkemoni Institute in Warsaw which was a Mizrachi Yeshiva/university.R'Avrohom Yehoshua Heschel, who left his rebbishe roots and became a famous Conservative rabbi in America, and there must have been other, but they did not remain religous)
2)The Rebbe was a brilliant man, why did he need to attend university to get the secular knowledge he felt was important?You would think that a tutor and his own study would be enough?
3)The study of engineering seems more geared towards a career, than the study of secular subjects that one would need to know to fight assimilation and haskola.

To me, and this is just my conclusion, The Rebbe apparently wanted no part of the Rebbisteva and wanted to be able to support himself with a job that did not require using his Torah.Probably at the time his brother in law Rash'ag was seen as the succesor anyway.
I'm fascinated by this topic since in all the talk about how 'terrible' or not it was to go to college, nobody has tried to understand the WHY.Why did he need to run off.I'm also interested in knowing why he was not offered a position in Tomchei Temimim in Otwock .It was a very succesful yeshiva at the time.Two thought come to mind:Maybe it would have been seen as politics,usurping the Rashags position as menahel there(was he the menahel?).Maybe they did not want The Rebbe shadowed by R'Yehuda Ebber, the rosh yeshiva who was a major koach, well loved and much older.
I want to hear some honest comments.

U' N' said...

It seems that your sarcasm got lost in translation. It was neither funny nor "sarcastic", I suggest you refresh definitions of it.

RMBW was in Oxford in the mid thirties, when he was around 30 years old. I guess your "assumption" about his lack of headcovering in their library is another piece of your sarcasm, since it's both ridiculous and untrue - he was treated with utmost respect by the library staff, as is witnessed and documented by the staff themselves.

Your parrallels between RBMW and RMMS are completely non-sensic. Not that I believe any of the more ridiculous stuff being made up about RMMS's years in Europe or elsewhere, but the two case have nothing in common.

RMBW had more then one chance to escape all of the nightmares of the Second World War, yet he chose to return from the free world to Hungary to be active in the rescue efforts and whatever else they had going on during those days. That goes unreferenced in your exercise in sarcasm.

I don't remember anyone bringing Moshiach into this conversation. My point was that RMBW was an unimposing oberlendisher Ruv figure , a humble person whose posture and position, past and future, did not in any way contradict his research in Oxford - which brought him numerous contacts and respect that allowed him to submit pledges to the Foreign Office endorsed by the Archibishop of Canterbury - something that would have been impossible otherwise.

I think that people who choose to hold RMMS's college education against him are downright wrong. But is it hard to understand their viewpoint - that someone who was described with rather lofty epithets, and someone who is using the brand of "Chassidus" and of the AR in particular doesn't quite shtimm with pursuing an electric engineer career in Paris ? If you preach the infallibility doctrine - to which no sensible oberlendisher yid would ever subscribe, then it must be the proper thing to do, logically. So the point that actual going to study in college bepo'el and for a degree's sakes is an endorsement for such behavior.

Hirshel Tzig said...


רחמ"ד איז געבוירען אין חשון תרס"ד, קיין אקספארד איז ער געפארען אין תרפ"ב , ביי די אכצען יאר

נישט איך זאג דאס, נאר אזוי שרייבט די אייניקל אין איש חמודות

schneur said...

The rebbe was not the only East European Talmid Chacham to attend schools in Germany and France. May I add the following to the list : Rabbi Jacob Weinberg who left the rabbanus of Pilvishaki , Lita to go to Germany to attend college, Rabbi Symcha Elberg , who by the way also wrote and publsihed secualr Yiddish poetry,Rabbi Dr. Isaac Herzog the chief rabbi of Israel also went to college, if you read the bio of Heschel by Kaplan you will note others who went to college.The Frankfurt Yeshiva founded by Rabbiner Dr. Solomon Breuer was mostly attended by young hungarian orthodox Jews who were in Frankfurt to study at the university like Dr. Jacob Katz, whose memoirs shed light on Hungarian frum people who went to university in Germany after studying in Hungarian yeshivoth . Another example being the rabbis of the Altmann family.
Of course it was unusual but the Lubavitcher rebbe was unusual. Was he not ?
Since most of the Orthodox students attending college come from the modern sector, what do you suggest they do ? Sit and learn in Scranton or South fallsburg ? They go to college and its the duty of the local Orthodox community , lay leaders etc to accomodate these young men and women and provide a nurturing atmossphere fro them. Frankly the pages of JEWISH ACTION have been the scene of debates about this very issue. Some students leave , other s remain frum , and many non frum people become frum in their college yeras.If the frum world adopted a more realistic attitude towards YU, Touro , it would do a lot to help frum people to get a good college education in an Orthodox sviva.

U' N' said...

As of 1938-1939 he was still at Oxford. Maybe Ish Chamudos is making a mistake or a typo ? Are his contacts on the shaar blatt ?

schneur said...

Yonah. Let me give you a non Lubavitcher answer. Firstly you must realize that people change, times change and events change. The rebbe was not the same person in 1927 who he was in 1950. The year 1944-45 was not 1929 and the Holocaust and the destruction of Russian jewry after 1945 was also not the same as 1929.Asa cousin of the rav told me about 15 years ago (she and her husband both cousins of the rav) left Vilna to study in Paris that had she known of the future churban , she never would have left the world of her fathers in Lita, so too I am sure would have been the rebbe's position.
In addition the yeshiva in Otwock while attracting many students from Polish families was not a great academic institution. The boys were there for the daily meals.
In fact the rebbe was given an appointment there, but was not interested.
Another fact the rashag himself gave up his job in Otwock and left to palestine to investiagte business opportunities ther ein the alte 1930;s . I think he wanted to set up a tobacco factory.
Another fact Cahssiduth Chabad being tor off from Russian Jewry and the bulk of the tmimim in the 1930's was not a great enterprise and few could see much of a future for it..After all Russia was the home of 90% of all Lubavitcher people.
In fact when the Rayaatz got sick in the late 1930's talk in Otwock was that Rabbi SZ Schneerson might be the next rebbe.
The rebbe as a very smart young man in the 1920's wanted to study in Berlin and Paris which was quite common in those days. The Hildesheimer eminary was chock full of east European talmidim who came to studty there.

Hirshel Tzig said...

As of 1938-1939 he was still at Oxford

Machst a Too'es, man lieber yid.

According to the book he was there in 1922 for an extended period of time. Maybe a year. He published the Kikoyon DeYonah in 1934. That was based on mauscripts he found at Oxford, but he had lots of copies made then, and later had copies sent to him. He was in Oxford AGAIN in the late '30's but that was not the first time.

Sources are given for every story mentioned. I'm not sure if the Oxford dates have sources, but I imagine they do.

Yonah said...

Thanks for the information.
I see that we appear to think on the same lines regarding the Rebbes choice.He was a smart Westernized young man who was interested in being self supported and educated in secular studies.Later on during and after the Holocaust he realized that he would need to step up to the plate.Maybe his work experience in the Brooklyn Navy Yard made him realize that he would be better off as a C.E.O.
About the Hildesheimer Institute:That was a frum, all male Yeshiva a bit different than attending University, though I imagine that for the secular studies the boys attended a local non Jewish college?Whatever the case The Rebbe was older and married and still the choice of going off to Berlin as a scion and son in law of the dynasty would have to mean something about a parting of ways with the 'alteh heim'.
Truth be told, apparently Nikolayev the Rebbes city was not a very frum place, his father was one of a couple of shtot rabbonim.He never grew up as a big 'chnyok',the city had few big chasidim or yeshivas

Guravitzer said...

yonah, although your guesses (and schneur's) are interesting, they are incorrect, as we know from multiple sources, one of them interviewed for The Early Years videos, that the FR told the Rebbe to do this, and the Rebbe was unwilling. One speculation that fits this fact is that the FR wanted him to accompany his brother in law Mendel Horenstein who did want to go to college.

These are all guesses and speculation, as no one asked the Rebbe directly why he did it.

yonah said...

Sorry I missed your earlier post about rabbis who attended college in Berlin.
I think R'Avrohom Elya Kaplan was there too, but maybe not in university.
Interesting that you mentioned Rav Hertzog.On the face of it you would think that there is little similarity between him and the Rebbe, but actually I think he is one of the best examples!Why?Well actually he grew up in Ireland and Paris iirc, he had very little Eastern European exposure .I don't think he went to yeshiva, he probably learned on his own and by his father.His formal studies were on a much higher level than the Rebbe though, he had iirc a couple of Phd's and was fluent in 12 languages.On top of that he was a Goan.

U' N' said...


RMMS left Nikolaev at age 2 and lived with his father in Ir Ve'em beYisroel Yekaterinoslav, of which I know a thing or two. In those days Yekaterinoslav counted a good 50-100 thousand yidden at any given time, until germans did their deed. Before 1917 it was as frum a place as any other city of such size in such proximity to the Pale. But you can't measure Jews from those lands with the same meter you measure galitzianers, hungarians or even poilishers and litvishers. The latter were farfrumte chonnyokisher backwarded people, often with tiny heads and lack of erudition. Black Sea coast was full of educated people, some maskilim but many very dedicated frum yidden who simply didn't grow up in the atmosphere of derision of any sort of secular education. Those who are not from the region will never understand the atmosphere in which RMMS grew up and how things got to be the way they got to be.

yonah said...

You have to understand that I am not a Lubavitcher and have to approach this subject objectively.I have not seen the video you refer to but generally as is often the case with chasidic sources, the facts are suspect.You have to understand what I mean:Chasidic stories are more sources of inspiration, chizuk if you may and that is their point, therefore the exact historic facts were not important.At a certain point in history, chasidim started to actually believe that the exact facts and stories took place as told and a somewhat fantasy world was created.This is a general theme, but does not mean all chasidic tales are untrue.However, truth be told that Chabad is quite notorious for inaccurate and often totally wrong history.As this is the case I would be hard pressed to accept a story, that even you would admit may be biased.After all Lubavitch has always gotten a lot of flack for the Rebbe going to college in Berlin to begin with.So it would be quite convenient to now say that he went there unwillingly,'forced' so to speak by the Shverr.
Additionally, I thought Mendel Horenstein was The Rebbes neighbor in Paris and got married three years after the Rebbe, who left immediately after his wedding in '29 to Berlin, so the whole story sounds suspect.

yonah said...

Sorry, I got mixed up with Dneiperpetrosk and Nikolaev.
And to be honest I was under the impression that Yekatrinoslav/Dneperpetrosk was not a very religous place.Far from the Chabasker shteitelach such as Paritch etc.

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

"At many major universities you cannot access the archives or special research materials unless you are faculty, staff, student or alumnus. While special arrangements can be made they require some level of affiliation with the University. I suspect that you cannot just walk in off the street to the Oxford library and ask to see the Ba'alei Tosafos.

Actually, any serious researcher can have access to just about any such library. And I am sure years ago it was even easier. And which idiot arbitrarily decided that you couldn't wear a Yarmulke in the library!!

Camp Runamok said...

"Actually, any serious researcher can have access to just about any such library. And I am sure years ago it was even easier."

As long as said researcher establishes his bona fides as a "serious researcher". In the case of the ancient manuscript archive at Oxford it requires any outside researcher obtain the written reference of a "recommender". Given the sensitivity of these documents you can be assured that said recommender MUST be someone immediately recognizable to the library staff and has always been so. In the context of 1930s England, in which Jews were held in about as much esteem as the wogs on the subcontinent and in Africa if not less so, no Rosh Yeshiva/Rebbe from an Eastern European Shtetl need apply. If RMBM obtained access to the ancient hebrew manuscript archives it was with a recommendation from within the Western European academic community.

Hirshel Tzig said...


they mmention about him finding favor in the eyes of some professor there. I'll check the book again later.

As far as headcovering goes: I'm willing to bet a small sum to Tzedokoh that you WERE not allowed to wear a Yarmulkeh in 1922 Oxford, just as supposedly you weren't in the UOB and the Sorbonne.

U' N' said...


Pavrych, Nevel and other shtetelech in lita and podolye (white russia and lithuania of today) were of course much "frummer" then yekaterinoslav - there was absolutely nothing to do in them and they were for the most part populated by not too luminous masses. Population was a usual mix of various russian chassidim - karlin, lubavich, kopyst, chernobyl, slonim - and good old litvakes. Potatoes barely grew there, and there was no exposure to outside world. Hence, most white russian and some lithuanian jewry from the shtetelech were illiterate at least in the language of the land; as far as koidesh, some were outstanding talmidei chachomim, and some were the opposite. idyllic pictures of shtetelech sold by artscroll or kehos are nauseating. In yekaterinoslav on the other hand everyone read and wrote good Russian, the shore wasn't far away, there was plenty of what to be busy with - there is no comparison.

Interestingly, most old jews making up minyonim in white russia and ukraine for all these years - some are still alive today - are of real litvishe stock. Nobody on this blog has ever seen people like that, but whatever.

Tzig - your bet is worthless. Memonafshoch, if you didn't make the bet - you lied and shouldn't be trusted; and if you did make a bet - you gambled and you still shoudln't be trusted.

Hirshel Tzig said...

so I was right about U N after all....

Are you still denying it?

U' N' said...

You moron, I was never denying that you were, as usually half-almost-right. I think that in more then a few posts I made it more then clear, and so did my Name. Gee, Ingarishers are takeh shtaate mentschen ...

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

"As far as headcovering goes: I'm willing to bet a small sum to Tzedokoh that you WERE not allowed to wear a Yarmulkeh in 1922 Oxford, just as supposedly you weren't in the UOB and the Sorbonne."
$10 bet. I win it goes to Lakewood, you win it goes to? Yes, in class you probaly could not wear a yamulka, but in the library, or walking around campus? I am sure you could. Ask the library

Hirshel Tzig said...


Leykh LeUman SheOsani, I can't decide where and to whom I'm born. I try and make the best of what I was given by the Holy One, blessed be he.

Hirshel Tzig said...


an outsider, an OBJECTIVE, KNOWLEDGEABLE outsider, needs to decide if that was the case. Until then BMG can wait for its ten dollars.

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

"an outsider, an OBJECTIVE, KNOWLEDGEABLE outsider, needs to decide if that was the case. Until then BMG can wait for its ten dollars."

Ha. I will contact the current librarian or school historian

Hirshel Tzig said...


you have him on speed dial?

Anonymous said...

the skwerer rebbe never said the alter rebbe wet zich... because he was categoricaly against Tanya also.

What about the the holy of the holiest Rav Posen Shoproner Rov that also learned secular studies? His Rebbe the Munkatcher worked hard to get him a rabbinical post since it was against the Takonas Ortodoxy

Btw: the Minchas Eluser himself learned secular studies to pass a exam to become a legal certified Rabbi, Look in Toldos Rbeini.but they were on the right side of the Kanoim..

Anonymous said...

Tzig is to the point with his post, Since the real problem that todays Chariedi world has with Limudie Choil is being in the University Buildings, since Limudie Choil is being learned in every Cheder in BP and Williamsburg, besides the "Malochim " was the only cheder in Williamsbugh that didn't do the daily 2 hour secular studies, I remember Rav Lietner sent his boys there when it still existed. I lately read that the Chasam Sofer"s boys in Pressburg attended HS for secular studies. So the problem with RBMW was, that he actualy was browsing the hall of Oxford.
According to the AR the problem with limudei Choil is not the being in university, just the filling up your mind with secular studies.Eventough the AR is the 1 that gives the heter for it together with the issur,

An Ailmesher said...

Shneur's "non-Lubavitch answer" is obvious and was commonly accepted by frum Jews that were not associated with the crazies of Lubavitch, Satmar or Litvaks. The Rebbe was a typical intelligent Russian yungerman that respected a secular education. The problem was that he became Rebbe of a kanausdik chasidus that was against secular studies. People felt that this was hypocrisy.

Of course, the reality was that the Rebbe had changed from a modern yungerman to a chasidisher yid and then to a Rebbe.

As for Rav Hutner, the very frum litvaks, talmidim of R. Aharon Kotler did not consider him one of their own because he did attend college.

The comparison with RMBW is nonsense because he did not go to Oxford to study secular studies. And there were not many woman in Oxford in those days - see

Anonymous said...

the sridey eish - rav yechiel michel weinberg new the rebbe in berlin and what he told many people wasnt consistant with what an ailmesher is writing. he felt that even in berlin the rebbe was not a modern yungerman. the son of meir shochetman ( who new the rebbe in paris ) tetified that his father told him many times that the Rayatz used shochetman to convince the rebbe to continue cecular studies in paris.