Tuesday, April 29, 2008

1930 Munkacs Is Outdated

The Great Munkacser Coverup

Let me preface this thread by saying that I have a very soft spot for the Old Munkacs, particularly the Minchas Elozor. Not that what I think matters, but you get the drift. The Rebbe was very fond of him, as was the Frierdige Rebbe, as is my Tatte, sheyichye, so I have it from all sides. The Rebbe in "Sefer HaMinhogim - Chabad" brings him all the time, even when disagreeing with him, or when the Minhog Chabad is different. The Frierdige Rebbe has countless letters to the ME, where he laments the Matzav regarding Zionsim, Mizrachi and Agudah, and the two met in Marienbad when convalescing there. Even Chana Gurary, the FR's eldest daughter, asked to buried in the Munkacser BeisOlem in New Jersey because of the great respect her father had for the old Munkacser Rov. She said that while staying in Marienbad the only person her father would make the effort and answer the telephone personally for was the Munkacser Rov, the Minchas Elozor, zt"l. I think I've prefaced enough, now on to the issue at hand.

The Minchas Elozor had a very interesting connection to the "Saba Kadisha," Harav Shlomo Eliezer Elfandri, zt"l, a Sefardic (Iraqi) Mekubal who later lived in Israel and died at a very old age, maybe 110 or so. Harav Elfandri was anti-Zionist enough so that the Rov could "hold" of him. In 1930 the ME made a trip to Israel which was made into a sefer, Mas'os Yerushalayim. If I remember correctly part of the reason for his trip to Israel was to see the SK, and if IIRC the SK passed away while the ME was there. It seems like all those years of bashing Rav Kook and the Mizrachi was enough to buy himself lots of enemies, much like the Satmar Rov did. These people now have exposed the censorship that has taken place in the future editions of Mas'os Yerushalayim, seemingly because the words there were simply too harsh and made the ME look bad. They also have some theories as to whether or not there was really as close a relationship between the ME and the SK, as the Munkacser said.

Another issue discussed there, and one of those that was touched up in later editions, is what to do about the Slabodker/Chevroner Bachurim that recently arrived in Yerushalayim. Only a year before many Bochurim were slaughtered by the Arab mobs, and they - along with all Jews in Chevron - were evacuated to Yerushalayim. It seems like the zealots weren't happy that these modern boys were walking their holy streets, and they voiced their displeasure to both the ME and the SK. It's interesting to note that many of these zealots were descendants of the "Perushim," and were from those same areas in Lithuania as the Bochurim were, but they weren't happy with the changes that happened back in Di Lita, especially in Slabodka, where Maalos Ho'Odom was high on the list of priorities. According to Mas'os Yerushalayim they were to be left alone, on the SK's orders, since they would otherwise fall into the "net" of Rav Kook and his minions. While on the topic they get in some underhanded jabs at Reb Moshe Mordche Epstein, Ayin Shom VeTimtzoh Nachas. All in all the thread makes even a big believer rethink his attitude towards the ME, which is sad. It goes to show you one thing: it doesn't take very much to "mach kalt" one's Emunas Tzaddikim/Chachomim, not much at all.

In the second (newer) print Rav Kook's name is omitted.


schneur said...

Some of the editions also censored or changed the halachic dispute that erupted during the 1st meeting between the ME and the SK. Rabbi Isaac Nissim Rachamim then a yunger lamdan of the Bagdad community made some remarks about a brocha thta should be nade vechuli.
The true version is reported in the sons bio of his father who later became chief rabbi and Rishon lezion.

yehupitz said...

Tzig, I don't see the big deal here. I can understand why later editions would choose to gloss over certain names. At the time these recollections were recorded, those names were perceived threats to the authors' community, thereby justifying to the author the need for the Rechilus and LH.

Seventy years later, those institutions and names are not what they once were. Chevron/Slabodka today is not what it once was. Recalling those old feuds to today's audience would do nothing but create animosity towards today's Chevroners where no such animosity need exist to the Munkatch eye.

It's like the old Chazon Ish moshol about fighting on yesteryear's battlefield.

There is a book by a Yirmiyahu Cohen with several stories about the anti-Zionist gedolim of yesteryear and all their nasty swipes at R Kook etc. And the book is not moisif ahava or yirah. Maybe the editor of this newest version of the Munkatch sefer realized that there is nothing to gain by digging up old animosities.

Guravitzer said...

No, Tzigele, it means this: Never believe stories that you hear from others, never use them to prop up your own beliefs and ideals, never use them to judge another. Judge only by your own experience. The experience of seeing the respect accorded the ME by your father and the Rebbeim crafted your judgment, and there is no reason to change that based on stories you read for entertainment.

For if you do, you will be following too closely in the footsteps of Tzemach, who blows with the wind.

Esnaged said...

"Even Chana Gurary, the FR's eldest daughter, asked to buried in the Munkacser BeisOlem in New Jersey because of the great respect her father had for the old Munkacser Rov."

I didn't realise you do comedy!

tax prep said...

You list your father last in the list of people who accord respect to the ME.Just strange.Or maybe the Chabadsker are like the kid in Russia who gives his dad up to Stalin, cuz your real father is the Rebbe shlit'a?
You are such and infantile
and jerk

Hirshel Tzig said...

People like tax prep make love this work. They keep me going.

Don't ever change!

Anonymous said...

btw petzel, you claim that many of the zealots were descendants of the 'prushim'
What are you basing yourself on, you fat boych sevoreh?
Fact is many of the zealots are of your tzganer extraction from Hungary

Anonymous said...

Are you such a loser that an anonymous poster in a dumb blog makes you love this work?
Wow you must have a very boring life, or maybe anything beats reading through another of those long winded,inarticulate siches keydesh??

Mottel said...

How many Hungarians were in Prewar. Yerushaliem? Unless you count talmidei Hachasam Sofer, most were either Litvish or Chassidim

yehupitz said...

It is fairly clearly inferred that even back then there was a left-wing and a right-wing in "Chareidi" Orthodoxy.

On the "left-wing": R' Shmuel Salant, R Y.E. Spector, the Netziv, later R'MM Epstein, R'Isser Zalman Meltzer.

On the "right-wing": R' YL Diskin, R'Chaim Zonnenfeld, later the Chazon Ish and Gri'z.

The hagiographers have only been able to maintain a respect for the first group by keeping the stories of their leftness hidden. They judged this was easier than 'vilifying' them as they did to R' Kook, which would have been too complicated and blatantly revisionist this late in the game.

Anonymous said...

Tzig, maybe you can explain to me your problem

The first example you bring, the last edition restored the original print.

The second example, a name was deleted out of respect to the Slobodka Rosh Yeshivah, what was the point of printing it. The harsh statement against Rav Epstein was made by the SK not by the ME, so what exactly is making kalt your emunas chacumim and Tzadikim.

I wonder why the censorship for Tzemach Tzedek's Responsa doesn’t make you kalt at all.

Hirshel Tzig said...

1) I never said I was now kalt to the ME.

2) There was NO censorship in the T"T.

Anonymous said...

I am not so sure on the right leanings of the CI and RYC Sononfeld,it depends which biographer you follow

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, the words " Yalech Lbelz Veyatir As Hkaol" in the Shut MA was also censored in 1 print and put in the other print.

Goldwasser Story said...

some stuff you dish up. nice

yehupitz said...

anon 5:48, you are right in part about the CI. People put him and the Gri'z in the same pigeon hole when the truth is that the CI was much more of an accommodationist than his biographers let on, and certainly more benevolent in his attitude towards Medina-related affairs than the Griz was. A number of less-known stories demonstrate this.

But I would still put him in the camp that was distinctly to the 'right' of R' Isser Zalman's.

Nuchem said...

How did you 'decide' which camp to put each rov in? You also claim that the Chazon Ish was more 'accommodationist' (whatever that's supposed to mean)than his biographers let on,but, how would you know??Did you even know him?
Do you know anything about R'Shmuel Salant, that you have so scholarly marked?
C'mon now

yehupitz said...

C'mon now, Nuchem. It's all based on the stories told about them from all quarters.

"Did you even know him?" LOL.

An Ailemesher said...

What did the Minchas Elazer think of the Admu"r Rayatz' meeting with Rav Kook?

BTW, I heard the Minchas Elazer was unimpressed and disappointed after meeting the Rayat"z in person. Can someone supply more details?

(This pictures are painful considering that most of the people in them would be reunited prematurely with their Rebbe in a few years)

Hirshel Tzig said...

I wouldn't say unimpressed, I'd say surprised. He imagined that a Feierdige Yid like the FR woule wear Vaise Zoken during the week, like he did. Stop the Narishkeiten already.

An Ailmesher said...


There was more than vaise zoken involved. You know that very well.