Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ice Cold Ger (Part I)

(L-R: The Beis Yisroel zt"l, The Imrei Emes zt"l, and Reb Meir Alter hy"d)

The call for ideas bore fruit; there were many ideas, and we'll choose one, the Ger/Lubavitch relationship, both past and present. Where do we start? and where do we draw the line? Do we include political motives as sincere solidarity, or just something that was worthwhile politically? Are we mechalek between Rebbe and Chassidim, or does the Rebbe set the complete tone, no matter what the Chassidim think and do? There also the issue and worry of alienating Gerrer Chassidim who read this blog - you know who you are - something I don't want to do. So I'll tread lightly, and hope to Hashem that there will be no fallout from this post. I also would like to preface that by saying that by no means will I allow this to become an all-out "Ger-Bashing" by those angry at Ger for whatever reason, imagined or real. I also would ask for your understanding when criticizing the post for missing facts and/or episodes, since I'm doing this from memory, and memories - as you may know - are quite flawed.

The first connection that I know of between Ger - the forerunner of Ger rather - and Lubavitch was after the passing of the Kotzker Rebbe zt"l, when the Chossid Reb Moshe Meshel Gelbstein (who later moved to the Holy Land) who had been a Kotzker Chossid began to look for a new Rebbe, since his Rebbe had passed away. (Ger is an offshoot of Kotzk) Until then I don't think there was a connection, unless maybe we count any connection to Pershischah as relevant. Reb Moshe Meshel was not a Rebbe, so maybe that doesn't count either. Fast forward to the Rebbe Rashab and his opposition to the Agudath Israel in Poland, a tradition carried on by his son the Rebbe Rayatz of Lubavitch. The letters to the Imrei Emes about why they so vehemently opposed the Agudah were so "sharp" that they needed to be removed from the letters of the Rabbeyim that were published. Most of those letters were printed by Kanoyim to show how strong the opposition to the Agudah was before WWII. Seforim like Tikkun Olam are full of them. There was also the fact that the Imrei Emes endorsed the learning of Mishneh Berureh over the Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch - which was the accepted Halochoh Sefer in Poland until that time - which irked Chassidim and Rebbes alike. That, and the doing away of Chassidic practices by the Imrei Emes, like davening after Zman Tefilloh too.

Off hand I don't remember what (if at all) the connection was between the FR and the IE while the former was living in Poland. I know Ger didn't like other groups that were considered proselytizers, especially the Breslovers. Yidden like Reb BZ Apter and other Chashuvei Breslov were marked men as far as Ger was concerned, but that didn't necessarily extend to Lubavitch too. After WWII, things were different. Most people forgot about the differences they had with other groups, at least for a little while, and decided to work together for the common good of the Jewish Nation. There were those that were not Mevater on their old differences even then, but we'll avoid that subject for now. After the establishment of the State Of Israel the need to work together was even greater. While Ger was at the forefront again of the Agudah, Lubavitch chose to stay out of it, just as they had done in Russia and Poland, which, again, is to be understood. This, according to some, is one of the big "Taynes" (KeVayochol) against Lubavitch; why didn't they join the Shtadlonim of the Agudah when they were so needed? Why didn't they join the Agudah's Chinuch Atzmoi Chinuch system when their help and input could've helped so much in the early days of the State. Ironically, many of those with the "Taynes" are not Agudists themselves, but that's beside the point. I'll go out on a limb here and say that The Beis Yisroel of Ger was probably not very happy with the stand Lubavitch took vis-a-vis the Agudah and its institutions, even if the Kfar Chabad magazine keeps on reminding us via the story with Reb Yossel Segal how he had great Koved for the Rebbe, which is also true.

To Be Continued....


Isaac Balbin said...

What is your evidence for the Shulchan Aruch HoRav as being the "accepted Halochoh Sefer in Poland until that time". I had heard that the Aruch Hashulchan occupied that space (in preference to the Mishna Brura as well).

shmuel said...

Aruch Hashulchan was published only a relatively short time before the period Tzig is talking about, and around the same time as Mishna Brura.

Mottel said...

Isaac, take a look here

A interesting notes:
-Kotzk was called the Chabad of Poilen.
-In shmuos v'sipurim there are stories of the Rebbe Rashab working together with the Gerrer Rebbe.
-There's a interesting video called bikkur Ger, which shoes the various times the Gerrer Rebbeim or their shluchim came to the Rebbe.

Anonymous said...

what about the famous stories of the Kotzker and the Tzemach Tzedek?

Anonymous said...

In Poland and Hungary the popular text was ShA Harav. In Lithuania it was the Chaye Odom. Mishneh Brurah became popular only after WW2 starting in America, because of the [very cheap, remember $6 for set] reprints by R. Mendel Zacks, and the unavailability of the other sefarim. Aruch Hashulchan was never popular (i.e. general population), not only because of size and lack of availability, but also because it is not as practical (sefer shimushi) as the others, because of its lengthy lomdishe discussions instead of clear-cut and straightforward piskei halachah that you have in the others mentioned.

Shimon said...

Mordechai Jiri Langer writes in his Nine gates how Chabad gladly welcomed the cherem against the Kotzker because of their previous long fights.. No details included.

Can you please write more about various reasons Chabad rebbes oposed Agudah?

Also, in the tradition or Tzemach ;-) your blog became a valuable source for not so common picture. Can you find the picture of Alter Rebbes tefillin? Or one of the Bobruisker? How about the mythical hidden picture of Rebbe Maharash?

Berel said...

The Kitzur Shulchan Oruch was the most popular halacha sefer for the layman, by far.

Anonymous said...

Jiril is talking narishkieten, Besides what he saw in Belz his info is nonsense, he just repeats what every Yoshev in Belz was telling him, he believes that the Kotzker Rebbe was seen Shabos on a porch smoking a cigar without a yarmulke,

Anonymous said...

Just see the way the Avnei Nezer and his talmidim are immersed in the study of the Rav Shulchan Oruch and even the Siddur, the Aglie Tal is big time mefalpel in both of the above, and his son the Shem Mishmiel quotes the Siddur Harav from the Chasidic perspective

I recall that some Yizchak Meir Alter printed in Warsaw the Shulchan Oruch Harav,its probably a grandson of the Chidushei Harim

Gershy said...

Anonymous 209pm
How does the fact that the Avnei Nezer was 'immersed' and mefalpel in shulchan oruch harav disprove Isaac Balbins point??
Guys you can do better than this, no?
I don't know if Balbin is right or not.I'm not even sure what the Tzig meant by 'the accepted haloocha sefer in Poland' till that time?
Anyway, this is a bit silly, comparing the Shulchan Oruch Horav to the Mishneh Berura it's two different styles of text books.The Mishneh Berura is only on Orach Chayim and is based on the text of Shulchan Oruch, it is also a much easier sefer to give a shiur to baaley batimk with.

Gedalya said...

Do Lubavitchers use the Mishneh Berura?
What sifrei halacha are popular in Chabad besides the obvious Shulchan Aruch Harav?

Dov said...

The Mishna Berura only became popular after the the 2'nd World War because it was cheap????
Anon 12:34
Why not buy the even cheaper Kitzer Shulchan Oruch in one volume??
Besides that your whole post is not even close to the truth

schneur said...

Whatever the relationship of lubavitch to Gur (and I have a long list of involvements etc) its clear to me that Lubavitch and especially the amcha Lubavitcher layman was much much close to his White Russian Misnagdic neighbor. My late father had little bad to say about the litvisher rav in Kurenitz punkt farkert- but I would crack up listening him mock the "Peylishe" gutte Yidden visiting his region in the 1930's .
Lubavitcher and olamsher were meshadech constantly with each other. they used each others rabbonim even learnt in each other schools.
To the average Chabad person in Reisen Gerer, Rizhiner, Talner, radziner etc were all foreinners. Of course the negidim in Lubavitz (read Gourarys were meshadech with peylsihe rebbeeim but this was a n exception.
I am willing to bet the Rayaatz felt much closer to the Achiezer than he did to some of the Peylisger gutte Yidden just a hergesh you know ?

schneur said...

I heard that R .Itche Der Masmid had some particular harsh comments on the Imre Emes for his favoring the MB over the SA Horav.
Did the Imre Emes attend the Bar Mitzva of BG in Warsaw ?

mib said...

I have heard the same recollections in my family vis a vis the relationship between the chassdim & misnagdim in Reisin. They were culturally very similar albeit with different minhagim... The Rav of my Zeide's town was a misnaged and he maintained very good relations with my Zeide's family.

What was the first gourary shiddach with a rebbisher family?

If the Imrei Emes was at the Bar Mitzva in Otwock, wouldn't it be well known? i doubt he was there

Mottel said...

Of note:
The Frierdiker Rebbe moved to Otwock, in part, to get away from the Gerer Kanoim . . .

Anonymous said...

The Lubavitchers always made the following pshara with the misnagdim (al pi hor'as Raboyseinu nesee'einu): The Rov would be a misnaged and the shoychet (shaychet ; ) ) would be a chassid. Veda"l

Which leads me to another point (maybe for another "menchliche" post) did you ever see an advertisement for "litvisheh shechita"? ...... : )


Hirshel Tzig said...

what were they so upset about, the "Gerrer Kanoyim?"

Gidel said...

The Rayatz was a total non entity in Warsaw.In addition upon taking two 'moderneh' sons-in-law it did not give him much credibility.
Years later it would turn out that The Rebbe had hidden his talmudic erudition, but at the time his going off to Berlin was very 'uncomfortable' for the shverr as was the next marriage with a very modern bucher, R'Mendel Horenstein the Rayatzs cousin.

Isaac Balbin said...

I don't know about Chassidishe circles, but the Aruch Hashulchan had precedence as a Posek and Sefer Halocho over the Mishne Brura, especially in Lita. This has been stated by many. I heard it most recently from Rav Hershel Schachter.

The main (only) reasons the Aruch Hashulchan lost some status was due to two Psokim which outraged some circles. One was in his view on ervah when it's something you are used to, the other being his Psak on Dina D'Malchuso.

By the way, if Shulchan Aruch HoRav was standard for many Chassidim, why didn't some of the unpublished volumes see the light of day (before they were burnt)

Mottel said...

The inroads the FR made in Varsha, R' Menachem Zemba's connection with him etc.

The Rebbe described it as:
וַיְקַנְאוּ-בוֹ(יוסף) אֶחָיו

Mottel said...

While not a major force, I'll agree, Chabad was not a non-entity -there was a netowrk of Lubavitchers that were active through out Poland.
Your statements about the Rebbe classify you as as a Moron.

Hirshel Tzig said...

The Bar Mitzvah seems to have been a small affair, in the Rebbe's house or something like it. We showed the pictures BePirsum Rishon. Even at the Rebbe's wedding the IE sent a son as representative, but then the Rebbe wasn't living in Warsaw yet.

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

There is not doubt however, that the SA Harav was very popular in Lita, even by the true misnagdim. My Father keeps four sets of seforim on his table that he lernes with, a small shas, a SA, a SA Harav, and a MB. And we are true snags. In addition, the MB quotes the SA Harav constantly. In Europe, there was definitely a different relation between Chabad and Litvaks and the other Chassidim. A emphasis on intellect, simplicity in daily living, disdain for the mofisim and entourage of rebbes were some of the common ideology.

schneur said...

anonymous: its always dangerous to learn history from folktales.
There were many Chabad rabbonim in White Russia, why not peruse through Toldos Anshe Shem by SN Gottlieb, you will be suprised by the number of Chabad rabbonim including a few Schneersohns.
Peshore. Most shochetim if not all in greater Lita were misnagdim. Many yeshiva bachurim became shochetim. Once TTL startd to produce shochetim, I guess some got shtelles.. My uncle a Radiner was a shochet, and the shochetim in Vilna were not Chassidim.
The folktale expresses a certain emes that Chassidim were more concerned with the shochet being a yioras shomayim mirabbim, that the bachurim from Mir and Slobodka did not like being shochetim , that Chassidishe bachurim were willing to be shochetim and thta in general the eylem accepted the myth that Misnagdim werebetter learners. BUt bepoel there were many chassidic rabbonim in White Russia and Northern Ukraine.
Why there isno Misnagdic shechita today is a subject for a different comment.

Anonymous said...

Even today most meat that is consumed today as Glatt is by Chassidic Shochtim.Maybe Shearith in Israel has pure misnagdim

Anonymous said...

Balbin, Rav Henkin writes that by us in the lita the Aruch Hashulchan was the final posek,
Lately I saw a copy of a old Aruch Hashulchan that he writes that he makes his Sefer the same style as the Shulchan Oruch Harav

Anonymous said...

Was the RYD of Belz a non entity because of his daughters ?

Anonymous said...

i heard on a tape from rav gifter that the telzer rov, rav bloch never paskened without the shulchan aruch harav