Friday, December 7, 2007
Pick 'N' Choose Chassidus
(Reb Aron T'Baum of Satmar, KJ, photos by Hydepark)
Somebody posted a Shmuess by the Satmar Rebbe, Reb Aron, about what his uncle the Satmar Rov, Reb Yoel zt"l said regarding "Nishtakchoh Toras HaBaal Shem Tov." He makes a Brisker Teyreh out of his words, and he's Mechalek between Toras and Derech HaBaal Shem, Derech HaBaal Shem is alive and well, he says, it's just the Torah that's been forgotten. He says some very pertinent and educational things there, and I think he explained some of the accomplishments of the Baal Shem Tov quite well, I just have some questions on what he does LeMayseh, based on what he said at that opportunity. He says that Derech HaBaal Shem Tov is that even simple people wear Rabbeinu Tam's Tefillin and other examples which I can't remember right now. (I can't find the transcript of the Droshoh right now) I'm also impressed and happy that he addressed the issue, and answered the critics of his illustrious uncle, which is what any MeMaleh Mokom SHOULD do, especially concerning an issue like that. These questions are pertinent to his year-round behavior, and especially so during the days (nights, rather) of Chanukah.
One of the concepts found in Chassidic Courts was that the Rebbe is like the Kohen Godol and his house/shul the Bais HaMikdosh/Kodesh HaKodoshim. In Chabad the Loshon was Gan Eden HaTachton for the Rebbe's ante-chamber and Gan Eden HoElyon for the Rebbe's room. This is something found already in the days of the Baal Shem Tov, where his Talmidim were known to say that the Aron (the one from the Mishkon/BHM"K) is "in Mezhibuzh." Thus, Chassidim would bring all kinds of exquisite gifts of silver and money just as they did in the Mishkon/Botei Mikdosh, because the Tzaddik's use of these items is just as if it was used in the Bais HaMikdosh. The Holy Ruzhiner zy"a was the most famous of the Tzaddikim that lived "royally," even wearing gold boots and riding in a gold carriage, and dressing his children and grandchildren in the finest clothing money can buy. Another not-so-famous Tzaddik who lived like that was the Rebbe MaHaRaSH of Lubavitch who when asked why he used gold utensils and such said: Petach! (fool!) "Far vemen den iz gezogt gevorren Li HaKesef VeLi HaZohov?!"
It's safe to say were it not for Toras HaBaal Shem Tov there would be no such concept of Tzaddikim living like kings on public money, being that what excuse do we use to use hard-earned money to buy luxuries like silver utensils and flashy clothing. Before Chassidus Rabbonim and Tzaddikim lived BiPerishus and barely eeked out a living, which is still the way many in the Litvishe world live today, to their credit, especially in Eretz Yisroel. I would assume that the idea of Tzaddikim using elaborate silver utensils and Chassidim giving elaborate Menorahs for their Rebbes to use is of Toras HaBaal Shem, not Derech HaBaal Shem, since it's not something that all Chassidim were given, although there may be a separate Derech for the Gutte Yidden. My question is not addressed to those that say that Toras HaBaal Shem is alive and well, they can continue to carry on in all aspects, even using large Menorahs and big silver decanters. My questions IS addressed to the Satmar Rebbe of Kiryas Joel: Rebbe, פארוואס דארפט איר אזא גרויסע מנורה פון פינף פיס, און א ווייסע בעקיטשע פון טויזענטער דאלאר? נישט נאר פארוואס דארפט איר, נאר ווי מעגט איר אויסגעבן געלט פאר די זאכען, אדער אננעמען אזעלכע מתנות? What Heter do you have to gouge out the eyes of hard-working folks that work hard yet have little to show for it? Please don't tell me about Hiddur Mitzvah, This has turned into some kind of Menorah show, and it's kind of revolting.
A Freilechen Chanukah.