Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Yeshiva Torah VoDaas Through The Ages


(random pic, not connected to the article)

I was asked to write about YTV, and the ensuing splits and breakups, so I'll give it a shot. I welcome any and all corrections.

The truth is I'm not that familiar with all the details; There may too many to count, really. I'm sure some people were angry that the school opened in the first place; there was RJJ just across the bridge, on the Lower East Side, so why the need for another Yeshiva? "You think you're better than us, Mr. Wilhelm? Our school is not frum enough for you? Your boys can't cross the bridge like everybody else does? I can imagine the screaming going on somewhere in Williamsburg. But Mr. Wilhelm held his own and the school was opened. Then, when "Mr. Mendlowitz" came to town the school really picked up, although most kids still went on to eventually become Mechalelei Shabbos anyway. Such were the times. They started a high school, a mesivta if you will, and the first fruit were soon to be soon on the streets on Willy and the rest of New York. There were boys that became men, and they continued to practice as Jews, even while all their buddies left the fold. All thanks to the mesivta.

Then the first troubles began. It all began when a (Hungarian) lawyer named BenZion Weberman made an innocent-looking trip to the Kantrowitz Hotel in Woodridge, New York. That's where Jews would spend the hot, pre-air conditioning summer days, in one of the many Jewish-owned hotels in the "Borscht-Belt." When BZW announced that he had found a Rebbe, an old man with a long white beard, a Malach. BenZion had seemingly been looking for a Rebbe for himself and his kids, and had been disappointed with the slim pickings available in America. I'm not sure what kind of reception he got from the old man, since the old man didn't like clean-shaven men in modern clothes, but BZW didn't seem to be fazed by that, he still was very much intrigued by him, and wanted his kids to be educated by him as well. He soon found out that the old man is the Rabbi in a nusach Ari shul in the Bronx, and lives there as well, so he began to send his kids there, to be taught the holy texts by the holy man, and the change was soon visible in all of them. Soon, together with the change in dress came the change in theology, and that's where the first splinter happened.

More soon, iy"H.

28 comments:

yoshe kalb said...

According to Jerome Mintz in his "Hasidic People - A Place in the New World" it was Mr Mendlowitz himself who brought some of his students to the "malach" in order for this Amerikaner boychiks to get a feel for an old world chossid.Subsequently the "malach" became sort of a mashpiah for many TVD talmidim teaching them the exact opposite of TVD's (Hirschian)ideology. Ultimately this lead to thr relegation of the "malach"s followers from TVD in 1931.

Anonymous said...

why write about issues of which you obviously didn't do much research- the R' Dovid Liebowitz etc. was before the malach and if you are trying to get to the chabad angle-well the malach didn't see exactly eye to eye with the rashab-why dont you dwell on that aspect!

Anonymous said...

i 2nd anon 9:08.
why dont you ever dwell on all these that felt that lubavitch is leaving its roots?.

Anonymous said...

R 'Dovid Leibowitz took plenty of students with him to start his new yeshiva, apparently he gave the top shuir at TVD.

Hirshel Tzig said...

and why did he leave?

schneur said...

Tzig The Malach came from Western White Russia and spent time in places such as Ilya and Kurenitz. In Kurenitz a farzaytike Yid a very frum man was called a malach. My father relates this as does Reb Yankev Landa in his article in the Yizkor buch of Kurenitz.
There were any number of Heilike Yidden in Kurenitz and I presume other White Russian towns with the appelation Der Malach. This because of Rabbi Levine's frumkayt etc he too was known as DEr Malach.
Clean shaven attitudes. The first question the Rayaatz asked my father in his 1st yechidus in the 1930's in Postov was about how my father shaved. That was a general Lubavitcher attitude.
I guess it has changed in recent years.

Snag said...

A teacher doesn't need to be a malach to know if his talmid is a liar.

Anonymous said...

http://www.thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c36_a7198/News/New_York.html#

Tibi said...

Im Harav domeh l'malach.......Torah yevakesh m'pihu.

Anonymous said...

Hirshel
In the new book Mipyam imipi Kesovim Monroe 2008 there is interesting new inf on Rav Levin from his son of Albany,

Anonymous said...

Why you emphasize Hungarian on Weberman rather then Mendlowitz? I think the Webermans are Galcianers Sanzer Chasidim

reader said...

"But Mr. Wilhelm held his own and the school was opened."

The tale that Wilhelm founded YTV himself is not true. See Artscroll's Reb Shraga Feivel book for more info.

An important player in the beginning was Mizrachi leader Rabi Zev (Wolf) Gold, who was a Rav in Williamsburg in those days, who reportedly gave YTV its name, which is the same name as the short-lived Yeshiva of Mizrachi leader Rav Yitzchok Yaakov Reines z"l in Lida had, before it closed in the WWI era. Not a coincidence I'm afraid. They had limudei chol there as well as limudei kaydesh (Lida I mean, as well as NY later), hence the name Tayreh and daas, similar to the Torah umadda slogan of another maysed.

YTV (NY) in the early days was ivrit beivrit (or maybe ivris beivris), as Helmreich reported.

psol said...

"The tale that Wilhelm founded YTV himself is not true. See Artscroll's Reb Shraga Feivel book for more info."

Regardless of these facts about which I know nothing, you would be advised not to believe everything you read in an Artscroll biography. In fact, it may be wiser to believe nothing.

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

Many people were involved in the founding of YTV. The Zimmermans were early supporters. rABBI gOLD WAS VERY PROMINENT IN YTV until the 1930's. He spoke at any important event, dinner, etc

baalbatish said...

From mentalblog:

Berel Levy�s grandfather was Malach's brother. The Malach was Berel Levy's inspiration. Don Yoel Levy writes:

"Growing up in America in the 1920's, outside of New York City, was not conducive for someone wishing to be an observant Jew. Consequently, at the age of ten, a young Berel decided to leave home and move in with his uncle. The move enabled him to attend the Yeshiva Torah V�Daas. The subway ride to Torah V'Daas was over an hour and Rabbi Weiler, a Torah V'Daas teacher, would accompany my father and learn with him each way.

Berel Levy's uncle, Avrohom Ber Levine, was known as "the Angel". He was recognized as an extremely devout and brilliant person. In those years, assimilation was becoming a real problem for the Jewish community. Thus, Rabbi Mendelovitz, the principal of Torah V'Daas, asked Rabbi Levine to teach Chassidus to some of the older students. He included his nephew, young Berel, among his students. Rabbi Levine had a strong influence on these students and many of them refused to continue their public high school education. Rabbi Levine was a man of impeccable habits. His desire to do the correct thing, no matter what others would say or do, deeply affected my father at that time and for the rest of his life. There were times in those years that my father, having no other place to sleep, would spend nights on a bench in the shul.

Even without much previous religious training, my father utilized his prodigious capabilities to their fullest to become an outstanding student. When he was sixteen, his uncle passed away. My father's spiritual guide, Rabbi Yisroel Jacobson, gave him constant guidance and, at his suggestion, my father decided to leave Torah V'Daas to go to the Lubavitcher Yeshiva in Otwock, Poland. He received no money from his parents and raised the money for the journey himself."

r said...

1) The Artscroll book Reb Shraga Feivel is by Yonoson Rosenblum, so it's on a higher level than some other publications.

2) "there was RJJ just across the bridge, on the Lower East Side, so why the need for another Yeshiva"

Also Yeshiva R. Shlomo Kluger.

3) Teshuvah to R. Mendelovitch of YTV re the malochim is in teshuvos Emek Halocho by R. Yehoshua Baumol, 2:28.

Hirshel Tzig said...

from the AS book is mashma that there was no mesivta in New York, other than RIETS, and that was meant for future Rabbis only. Is that the case? did RJJ and YRSK not have high schools?

Anonymous said...

Hirshel
Someone has to fill in the gap on the "Angel" attitude toward his nephew that he went the FR to Poland, he was full of rage on the Rashab and especialy the FR.

r said...

RJJ definitely did have a HS (and a beis medresh). The question is when it started. Ken zein it started later, as in some other cases, e.g. MYRCB first had only an elementary school.

Although that is hard to understand today, we must understand the context. At that time there were many (in the American velt bichlal, not davka the Yiddishe one) who went to work without a HS diploma (At that time, before the five day work week, food stamps, section eight, etc. things were pretty different. Young - and older - people had to work hard to keep ends meet. The immigrants had difficulty with English and the new life in America. Their kids, often better acclimatized and with yunger kochos, had to lend a hand). HS then was like college today. Once one got the yesodos (elements-foundations-as in the term elementary school) the rest was considered extra. So if 'regular' HS (like in public school) was considered extra, not absolutely necessary for everyone, so its not surprising that when they made Yeshivas, the main stress was on elementary at first. This was especially so in the early years of the 1900's like 1900-1920 I would guess. As years went by, more schooling became common. While Yeshive RJJ and YRSK started around 1900, YTV started close to twenty years later).

Also, we have to remember that in der alter heim, in the old country that most of the immigrants had come from not long before, many, if not most bochurim also went to work at a relatively young age, except for a rare few exceptions who were on track to be Rabbonim and Yeshivaleit. So they were working with that model.

An Ailmesher said...

I understand that there exists a picture of the Malach. Could someone scan it and post it?

Also, could someone describe in a not-partisan manner what exactly was the machlokes between the Malach and the Rayatz (the machlokes with the Rashab seems to have been a biproduct of this).

Schneur?

r said...

Hebrewbooks.org has teshuvos Emek Halocho.

R. Yehoshua Baumol was a Galitzianer Yid who came to the USA after WWI, became a Rav in Williamsburg and was involved with YTV, the beginning of the Mesivta vichulei. He was also involved with Agudath Israel of America in the early days.

He was also the zeide of lihavdil, zol zein gezunt, Rabbi Dr. Lamm, RY and Chancellor of YU. In fact you can even see teshuvos to a young Nochum Lamm in his zeide's sefer. As an aside, the young Nochum Lamm attended YTV before moving to RIETS/YU. He learned under Rav Pam zt"l and others.

Anonymous said...

I think its simple, He created a rift between the father and the son, he claimed that the son was seen reading Secular Books

janitor said...

http://ungaren.blogspot.com/2007/02/handy-list-of-neturei-karta-leaders.html

webermans kids are nazi kartaniks. was the malach an nk?

An Ailmesher said...

Anonymous,

I asked for a non-partisan description. I already know the partisan lines.

The Rasha"b refers to the malach in one of his letters as ידידנו so the Malach was no קטלא קניא.

Anonymous said...

ailmesher
Can u give the source of the letter?

An Ailmesher said...

It's in the אגרות הרש"ב. I don't remember which volume, but go through the indexes of each volume and look for R, Chaim Avrhohom Dov Ber Levine

Anonymous said...

Once we're delving into YTV, does anyone know the exact details behind the dispute between R'G'Schorr ZT"L and R'Y' Kaminetsky ZT"L? In addition same question regarding B'M' Elyon, and R'D' Ungarisher.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone check this website for lashon hora? Why do we have to delve into the controversies in history? Instead, let's work out the ones in the present! We all want Moshiach. Lashon-hora-filled websites is not the way to get there!
Gmar Chasima Tova