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.


Camp Runamok said...

"Please don't tell me about Hiddur Mitzvah, This has turned into some kind of Menorah show, and it's kind of revolting."

This is especially true when the entire concept of "hiddur mitzvah" apples to the oil and the wicks, not what supports them. The same can be said of $100 esrogim in $1000 silver cases, $100 tallesios with $1000 get the idea.

That said, that is one cool menorah in the pictures!

Id rather not say said...

Hirshel, I'm disappointed in you. Really, you are full of zevel my good man. You know, as well as anyone, that this is cultural not ideological. The comparison is bogus -- and you, as a Hungarian, should have a little respect for your forebears.
It always makes me laugh when people define things on Chassidic/Misnagdic terms. The truth is that Lubavitch is Litvish and as such they have Litvishe sensitivities and the like – as you expressed here – but then they decide that those sensitivities = Chassidus = Emes. Zolst gein betten mechila fun di “Peilisher”.

joe said...

1.If you look into the sefer V'yoel Moshe he writes explicitly and unbashfully that the Derech of the Baal shem tov is forgotten into our times. He also implies at the end that when meshiach will come he will rediscover the torahs Habalshem that is forgotten today. What the Satmar Rebbe(Reb Aharan) tries to rationalize is totaly irrelevent to your understanding of what the Baal Shem Tov was and is today, if you'll post the transcript of his shmuess everyone will see how you twisted his words through your narrow understanding of the relevance of the Baal Shem Tov today.
2. The Rebbe (Reb Aharon)is not only memaleh mukem in a spiritual sense, he is a inheritor of a multi multi million dollar corporation(which some say can be split many times)and he is allowed to live in luxury as the owner of such wealth.
3.Hungaria and Romania and so was Germany were much richer countries than Poland and Lituania and Russia which the general public could not afford nice Menorahs and thus they could not bestow to their Rebbes such elaborate gifts.

Anonymous said...

You have questions Lemaiseh on Reb Aron according to the derech Habesht. I have a question to you, According to the sefer of the Rebbe of Lublin Zoys Zekurin he writes in todays parsha that no one should go out and try to make bal tshuvas because he will get dirty in the process only when someone comes to you, you should advise him he says that this is consistant what he personally heard from the maggid of Ravna-Mezrich who heard it from the Basht. According to him all of Lubavitch today is against the derech/toras Habesht

Anonymous said...

The statement about the Rebbe Maharash was not made by himself, rether by a Chossid R' Meir Shlomo Yanovsky which later turned out to be the Rebbes' grandfather ("choisein Moshe").
Otherwise - Keep it up!

What's revolting? said...

It is known that Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, the previous Satmar Rebbe, was a savvy and successful investor and business-man in the many years he had to himself before he was called upon to become the memale makom of his uncle. They say he was a big oisher and millionare. So your accusations againt his sone Aron is rather weird, because Aron Teitelbaum and his siblings presumably came into possession and also inherited the personal wealth of their late father that has nothing to do with what Satmar Chasidim give as tzedakah.
Unless a full financial release was made, why not be melamed zechus on another yid (even if Labavitchrers and Satmars share a mutual dislike for each other --sinas chinom redux?) and even if that yid happens to be one of the new Satmar Rebbes.

Why can't he spend his money on a Menorah and a Bekishe? To call it "gouging out the eyes of Chasidim" is a very wild and cruel way of referring to this.
After all, all Chasidm spend lots of money to honor their Rebbes. Even the poorest Belzer Chosid in America has to go to Israel a few times a year and has to bring shvere toizenter if he likes it or nor. And didn't Lubavitchers do the same to spend thousands every year on themselves and family to be with the Rebbe?
You are being too harsh with your words and judgments.
Bury the hatchet!

in agreement with last anonym. said...

anonymous is correct. r' meir shloime spent some months after hus chasene as a yoyshev by rebbe maharsh. when he came back to nikolayev and retold the balebatim the rebbes style one of them questioned the hanhoge and then he said " petach etc etc "

ohev yisroel said...

the anonymous who brought the lubliner re baale teshuva sounds a bit wacko. everyone knows that reb meylach and reb zushe travelled around making balei teshuve. the vitebsker also was involved in it. bal shem tov created a derech which while having certain common premises and denominators had much variet as we see in chevraya kadisha. iam not sure i understood what tsig was saying but if he says that if a particular rebbe has a big menora he deviated from derech ha besht, i disagree with him - naharei naharei upashtey

berl, crown heights said...

I am sorry, but this is silly. Do you really think that chasidim are unhappy to see these beautiful (in their eyes) items used by their Rebbe's? Furthermore, these are communal events and though the Rebbe's may be the ones that light these menorahs and wear these bekeshes, all their followers derive pleasure from that.

n said...

This post is revolting. Your big question summing up the entire post really is foolish. How did reb aharon gouge out anyone's eyes? Poor folks in Satmar get a tremendous amount of help in their daily existance because of the system and culture within Williamsburg (that his uncle, father, and him and his brother either founded and/or perpetuate(d).

Anonymous said...

Ohev Yisroel: you comparing the hand written text from the Rebbe of Lublin To Buba Maises?

U' N' said...

שעיִר, האָסט דו טאַקע אַ גוטע קשיא געפרעגט. אבל קדמך חבירך אחיך "פֿעיִלד מעסײַאַ" ימ"ש - לפּחות שנה שלימה פֿאַר דיר - הוא פוער פה בכל מיני נבלה בענין רבני סאַטמאַר וכליהם. הוא גופא ראיה שזה ענין חשוב - אם חיצונים גדולים כאלה אין להם מנוחה מזה - כן ירבה וכן יפרוץ.
בכל זאת, בכל דור ודור עומדים תלמידיו של בלעם ומחפּשים "יושר" . יונוס ויומברוס טענו כהנה על משה ואַהרן. בטח שרבינו הקדוש גם כן היה נשאל מאיזה צדוקי - היתכן הוא אוכל חזרת והעם מדוכים ברש אין כל. וגם את הבעל שם טוב הקדוש וכמעט כל תלמידיו רדפו בזה - מאין זאת לכם לקחת פדיונים גדולים מבני כפר עובדי אדמה שמפרנסים בדוחק גדול.

די ערשטע קשיאַ איז "פֿאָרװאָס דאַרפֿט איהר". קודם כל, יש מצוה כללית "זה ק-לי ואנוהו". כל אחד לפי הבנתו, יכלתו ומעמדו בעולם. בלע"ר , ר' אַהרן מנהיג כמו מאה אלף יהודים שומרי תו"ם. רובם הם לא "כזית ייִדן" אבל יהודים מוסרים נפש לקיים דבר גדול ודבר קטן ביתר שאת ,כפי הבנתם. והבנתם בענין הידור הוא כפשוטו - שײן מאַכן. דאָס איז די שײנקײט. "מוכר את כסותו" - מחבר זאָגט אַז מען פֿאַרקױפֿט דעם לעצטין בעקעשע צו קױפֿין חנוכח לעכט. װאוּ אַזױ איז מען מקייִם דער סעיִף אַז סי'דאָ געלט ? אַזױ!
פרש"י נשיא הוא הכל. ירובעל בדורו כמשה בדורו בדן בדורו כאהרן בדורו יפתח בדורו כשמואל בדורו ללמדך שאפילו קל שבקלין ונתמנה פרנס על הצבור הרי הוא כאביר שבאבירים . ר' אהרן ט"ב הוא הנשיא שבדור הזה. בהעלותו את הנרות כל העם השרים למשמעתו שם אתו עמו ממש. ואם תשאל "אױב עס קומצ'עך עהם ?" - אױב נישט עהם, װעמ דען ? טאַקע אמת, עהר האָט זיך נישט מפרש געװען אַז עהר איז אַ גאָט ר"ל, עצמות ומהות אַרײַנגעשטעלט אין אַ גוף, וישר כחו פֿאר דאָס. קײַן גאָט איז עהר נישט, אָבער אַ משולח מטעם סאַטמאַר אין הימעל איז עהר יאָ.
איך מתקשר תלמיד אל רבו ? אמר רבא דרחים רבנן הוו ליה בנין רבנן דמוקיר רבנן הוו ליה חתנוותא רבנן דדחיל מרבנן הוא גופיה הוי צורבא מרבנן .אין לי ספק שכל אחד מחסידיו הנגידים היה רץ לקנות לו מנורה של זהב נײנצעהן אמות הױך, עם ביקשו זאת - ולכבוד גדול יחשב להם. חסדי השם כי לו תמנו, ויש נגיד ויכול גם שתים בסאַטמאַר. קײנער האָט קײַן גאַטשעס נישט פֿאַר'משכנ'ט. אָבער אַ טהעאָרעטיק װאָס װײסט פֿון "התקשרות" נאָר פֿון ספרים און קײנמאָל מיט אן עהרלעכע ייד שײכות נישט געהאַט צו דעם העט פֿערשטעהען װאוּ אַ גױ צו בארטאַנוראַ.
די צװײטע קשיאַ איז - װאוּ אַזױ מעגט עהר, װאָס איז זײַן היתר. לא נהירנא עם תיקשי על כל הנשיאים או רק אותם שלא "מתאלהים". יכול שר' אהרן למד מקל וחומר - מה המנורה שבואַשינגטאָן אַצל װײַט האַוז שהיא פּסולה לכל הדעות, ונבנית בדמי וכו' , ואין בה תועלת כל כך, ומדליקה עם הארץ דאורײַתא ודרבנן - על אחת כמה וכמה ר' אהרן'ס שהוא תלמיד חכם, ומנורתו כשירה, ונקנית בדמים כשירים. או תוכל לומר שגדולה עבירה לשמה וחישב ר' אהרן בליבו שהוא ,נשיא הדור, מנהיל קהילה נאה דלא פּסיקי פומהון מגירסא, יומם ולילה לא ישבותו במאנרא ובוומ"ב ובב"פּ ובמאָנסי און װער װײסט װאוּ נאָך, גם בעניני צדקה וחסד אין דומה להם, וכסף שכר לימוד בעיניהם לאין יחשב, ומושכים ידיהם מקחת כסף מרשעים בפּומבי. וכדי שלא יתבטל הבחירה, עשו לר' אהרן מנורה גדולה ובקיטשע לבן יפה מאד לישתזב מעינא בישא , ולקיים "מתוך שלא לשמה" .
דער הײליגע זײדע רבי ר' בער זי"ע
פֿרעגט אױף אבות - מה בין תלמידיו של אברהם לתלמידיו של בלעם - למה לא שואל "מה בין אברהם לבלעם" ? תירוץ הוא שכמעט אי אפשר להבחין בין בלעם לאברהם כי שניהם מתראים כצדיקים יסודי עולם עורכים רעביסטעװע ימין ושמאל לוקחים פּדיונות דורשים חסידות; אלא מתוך דברי תלמידיהם תדעו נאמנה מי הוא מי. היות וכל הבלאָגערס אנשי דמים ומרמה אפּיקורסים גלוים מופלגים בשינאה נוראה לרבש"ע, ליהדות בכלל ולסאַטמאַר בפרט, ברור כשמש תלמידי מי הם.

Hirshel Tzig said...

די גרעסטע בראך איז אז זיי האבען דיר אלץ פארטיייגער

Never has so much time been spent to write such gibberish. If I could only make sense of it maybe I'd bother to respond.

U' N' said...

Tzig, did you try reading it ? Sometimes it works wonders. Slow people should read twice.

For the record, much more time was spent writing breslave sipurei maasiyos.

Hirshel Tzig said...

I did try, it's just that my head started to spin so I stopped. You seem to have - again - misconstrued what I said, and you built a whole Shittah based on that. Nowhere did I say that this money should've gone to Orimeleit. I understand that the guy that bought it for him fulfilled a strong Tayveh of his by buying it.

I also don't understand where the jab at Breslov came in here. It doesn't fit the profile I have on you. I guess that leaves almost no group or ideology that you like, only yourself, really.

U' N' said...

Tzig - you haven't understood a word then. Nowhere did I say that you said that this money should've gone to Orimleit. Instead, I was driving towards saying that this tayveh that was fulfulled here - if indeed it was a gift - is one of the best tayves a yid can strive for. Not just is it a hidur of "Ze Keili", but it's underscoring the tremendous shaychus that a Chosid has towards Nosi haDor.

Your latter sentence makes no sense at all. Somewhere in your head you enumerated all (?) groups and ideologies and derived some silly profile out of kleinkeppige assumptions. And what makes you think that I like myself ?

Hirshel Tzig said...

I never questioned the fact that this is a Tayveh of the rich man, I just wish to know why this has to be used?

The notion of this being part of the Hiddur Mitzvah was shlogged op earlier in the comment section, so what other reason remains.

מוז מען זאגען ווי די קאמענטער "אייד רעטהער נאט סיי" האט פריער געזאגט, That this is a cultural thing, Hungarian to be exact, and this is like a fine set of bone China, and has nothing to do with Chassidus.

U' N' said...

The nice menorah itself is chassidus in the sense of "lifnim meshuras hadin" and doing things in a specially nice way.

The act of giving menorah to Nosi haDor beGuf Gashmi is Chassidus in the sense of "hiskashrus" and "neshomo deatzilus" and "deoikir rabonon".

Satmarer Ruv z"l didn't invent the "nishtakach Toiras haBaal Shem". He was quoting what Tzanser Ruv and one of Raboiseichem-Nesieichem, R' Shlomo Zalman Schneerson of Chabad-Kopys' wrote many decades before him.

Hirshel Tzig said...

1) The Kopuster hut nisht dos gemeint as was proven time and time again, but I don't expect you to realize that. After all, the Kopuster became a Misnaged after that, right?


I'm sure the Sanzer Rov had such Menorahs and Bekishes too.....

Hirshel Tzig said...

Let me commend you however on doing a great job of evading the question and just blowing smoke.

ponevezh said...

i think the consesus here is not in agreement with tsig. if one believes in his rebbe he also believes that his rebbe has a reason for everything he does including the menora he uses anbd therefore they would only be more happy etc.
i must commend "whats revolting? said " - he also disagreed but he did it very mentshlech, without insults and harsh words ( unlike some others veda"l ). halevay oyf alemen gezogt gevorn

tomosvar said...

For the record:I like your writing.It's deep and makes me think, it's a breath of fresh air in this blog, where all the Lubab think exactly the same and all the snags are very similar and few in between who are talking divrei ta'am.
Don't chap hispa'ales from the Tzigs' crude insults, he is interested only in yes men or snags that he can manipulate to look bad.What he fears most is the blogger who can make a case.
With all the above it does not neccesarily mean I agree with all you say, it is though good food for thought

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

This Snag couldn’t agree more with HT. Next time they come collecting for Satmar, I'll think of the menorah and donate appropriately.

Anonymous said...

The Hiskashres (find favor)to the rebbe in chabad for the last 80 years was not by giving him a nice Menorah to enable him to be mehader bmitzvos chanika the present was for them a rare sefer no mattar the cost of it and sad to say that a good book that Chasidim didn't want to be in the same room with ,was accepted with gratditute and from reading theese Treifene books the Derech Habasht was transformed from a derech in avodes hashem to a modern activist orgenization,that the only conection I see in Tzieg post of Menorahs and derech Habasht A freilichen Chanika

Anonymous said...


You don't expect us to believe that you think that Satmar is Moleh Tzaddikim and that therefore the 5 ft Menorah is Kodesh Kodoshim?

Especially Satmar Aronim.

What a silly excuse.

Anonymous said...

I don't see a man looking at a menorah; I see a man staring at his gaavah.

U' N' said...


Double-check with your mafshi'a if it's cool to pick on Kopyster - after all, he's Beis haRav. And he meant exactly what he wrote - otherwise he wouldn't write it, would he ?

What does Sanzer rov have to do with bekisher and menoras ? (he probably did have a very nice white bekeshe, and also probably not a kezays mini-menorah Tzig-style, but that's not the point). You're trying to make following "points" :

1. That fancy menorahs and lustriuos bekishes is how silly R' Aron defines Derech haBaal Shem Tov
2. That he's not using / receiving them in a holy way of hidur mitzva but has some sort of insidious thing in mind that in your goaty eyes contradicts the Ways of Chassidus as you were taught by your mafshiim.
3. Unlike the spiritual Rebbes who are arayngeshtelt in a guf whose actions aren't to be questions and who are pure rochnius, R' Aron and his band of kuglfressers know nothing from Chassidus and the proof to that is that his uncle himself said that he forgot the Derech.
4. To add insult to injury, R' Aron makes a Brisker droshe how even though this ways of Baal Shem Tov are forgotten, he can still have himself a nice menorah and a bekishe because simple Jews are putting Rabeinu Tam tefilin.

If those aren't the point you were making, please clarify.

In any case, I think I addressed exactly the questions you "asked" - why does he need them and where his "heter" is. Or is the answer incomplete in your eyes.

Hirshel Tzig said...

I didn't pick, you Zaraze, All I said was that you have no idea what he meant, and the fact that he continued his Hanhogoh after he made that statement is proof positive. He continued to say Maamorim Bederech Chabad as well as all other Rebbishe customs. Were he to believe that the Derech HaBesht is no more would he do that?

You're the one that brought the Sanzer Rov into this discussion, since you still have nothing to say that's actualy relevant to this discussion, hence the need to go off on tangents hoping that I'll take the bait thus sounding silly and hateful.

Friendly anonymous said...

I'm not Hungarian, so please help me out here: how large would the china cabinet have to be to hold that menorah?

P.S. I love U.N.'s post, not least for the way he uses buzzwords we are all familiar with to make his point.

U' N' said...


How much more stuff can you "write off" from raboiseychem-nesieichem because you have a kashya oyf a maase ? What he wrote is crystal clear, but what he did is not - neither of us been there, right ?

But if you're so sure that he didn't mean it, nor did Sanzer Ruv mean it, why do you insist that Satmarer Ruv did mean it ? Maybe there is a secret understanding as well ?

All that aside, why are you asking questions about a Nosi of our generation ?

Hirshel Tzig said...


I chap the joke now. Ha Ha.

Yossi said...

How in the world did this post evolve beyond the last line? Men fargint nisht Tzigele giving someone a Chanukah present...

Lucky Wolf said...

There was a story with the Ruzhiner that he was outside one cold night with all his chassidim saying Kidush levanah. while he was taking his time in his prayers, some of the people there were beginning to wonder "the rebbe is in his fancy warm boots and warm coat but what about us, we are freezing to death. Why won't the rebbe feel for us, finnish kidush levanah and come inside?!"

Finally the Ruzhiner was done and started walking towered the shul. as he walked they noticed that there were red tracks behind the Ruzhiner, blood prints form the Ruzhiner’s feet.

the boots which they thought were keeping the Ruzhiner warm were in fact missing its soles and the Ruzhiner bare feet were on the icy ground!

Hirshel Tzig said...

To summarize:

N said I'm revolting because Satmar gives a lot of Tzedokoh. I guess they give alot to others so a 5 ft Menorah is tit for tat. OK.

The Natachalnik ( U N ) says that Aron Teitelbaum is Nosi HaDor so he's entitled.

OK, then, I'll know the rules for next time....

n said...

To clarify:
I never said that you were revolting because satmar gives tzedoka. I rather said that your composed thought (post) is revolting because you accused the Satmar rebbe of 'gouging out the eyes of chassidim'. Your proof? the fact that r' aron lights a big menora. a feilichen chanuka.

Avremele said...

The menorah b'frat and lots of other things are personal gifts from negidim.