Tuesday, January 1, 2008
David Assaf's book "נאחז בסבך" was recently purchased for me by a friend. He was in Tuvia's in Monsey and saw it, so he called me and asked me me if I want, so I said "YES!." Since then I've been told by many friends - oofgeklerte friends - not to read it; That it'll hurt my Emunas Chachomim and belief in Toras HaBaal Shem Tov., They say it's not so much for the part about Reb Moshe ben the Alter Rebbe, but more so for the other parts that he writes, "facts" that was not really known to the masses till now. I've begun to read parts, slowly and deliberately, not wanting to ingest it quickly. At first I chose the parts that I know won't affect me as much. After all, learning that the Chernobler Chassidim and Rebbes of all segments of the Chernobler dynasty made life for Breslover Chassidim in their areas a living hell on earth really doesn't affect me as much as - say - the "fact" that he says the Chozeh of Lublin ztvkllh"h committed suicide, Afroh LePumey. Chassidim who believe that there was a Malach involved here, and that it was somehow connected to the Holy Chozeh wanting to bring the Geulah are naive fools at best in his eyes. His general tone is one of terrible scorn, this despite the fact that he claims to be a Shomer Torah UMitzvos.
More on this later......
UPDATE - WEDNESDAY EVENING:
Some points to ponder: Most of what he brings in the book is a collection from old Zichronos books, some written by Frumme, some by former Frumme. The whole point of the book is not - say - to bring to light a story that was never told, which is maybe what BMR had in mind when writing "Rescued by the Reich." In his case the LeKanter came later, when he stumbled upon a "conspiracy" (in his mind) by Lubavitch to cover up the story, and also lots of other "juicy" bits of information. David Assaf very much wants to "educate" the Frum public, rather the Chassidishe public. He followed all the conversations about the book in the Charedi discussion forums, and even brings BeChadrei Charedim as a "Ayin Shom!" As is the case with Shimmy Deutsch, who also wanted just to "set the record straight," he shleps everybody he can into his stories, and makes sure to Bashmutz wherever he can, not just the protagonist. Far be it from me to engage in character assassination, but if I didn't know better I'd say he was working for some word-class Chassidim hater, all Chassidim, that's all he writes about. Yes, I realize he's a MitMacheh BiTchum Toldot HaChassidus, (specializes in Chassidic history) but this seems to be his life's mission - just digging up dirt on Rebbes and Chassidim of old, to disprove even them, to disprove the whole movement, all the way from birth. This was the modus operandi of the Maskilim; with the Misnagdishe Bochurim it was somewhat easier because they weren't tied down to a group, and didn't have to worry about what friends would say. They also didn't need to worry about what the Rebbe would say because he had no Rebbe. Chassidishe Yidden had all kinds of Mofsim that proved to them that there was a G-d and that Tzaddikim were a sort of "proof" of Hisgalus Elokus. Chassidim stood in the way of the Maskilim, because they believed, and Maskilim, and David Assaf, hate believers.