Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Flashback To Teves/Shvat 5742

Recently, when discussing Reb Henoch Leibowitz, a friend of mine thought he remembered something about the Niftar. He was a Lubavitcher Bochur from a non-Lubavitch home - his father was a Lakewood talmid - learning in a Litvishe Yeshivah, so he was directly affected by the events, you might even say he was traumatized by them. He says he felt like a child trapped in a lions' den, where his only way out was either to leave the yeshivah- which was not an option for him at that time - or to just take the verbal abuse and nasty looks he'd often get. Such is often times the life of a bochur who decides that his path in life and avodas hashem is different from what his friends have chosen, especially if they vehemently disagree with the path he's chosen.

On 24 Teves 5742 the Rebbe spoke - among many other topics - about words that were said in Bnei Beraq by a very prominent Rosh Yeshivah to the affect of not needing the Golan Heights. "Give it back to the Syrians, he said, just like we lived without it for 1900 years until the Six-Day War, so too can we live without it now." Why do we need the Syrians on our backs? was his tayne, let them have back what's theirs and they'll be our friends from now on. The Rebbe was quite upset about those words, and made reference to the words and to their author, in a sharfe oyfen. Those words were transmitted in the Algemeiner Journal the following week, and soon enough the tummel began. A major meeting of Roshei Yeshiva was called and held in the Kamenetzer Yeshivah in Boro Park with the hishtatfus of many of the local yeshivos. In those days the Roshei Yeshivah were not as bold and brazen as they are today, there was no Yated and Degel HaTorah that was mattir what is Muttar today, so the wording and the tone was gentle and didn't refer to the Rebbe by name, just a mecho'oh and a "coming-to-the-defense" of Koved Hateyreh.

Looking back at those events and that time period I'm actually surprised that they felt a need to come to the Rosh Yeshivah's defense. I didn't know that he was held in such high regard here in America, we hardly heard his name here until much later, when the split between DH and AI happened in Israel. Then, seemingly to me, it seemed like he was retroactively made into the Godol HaDor since the passing of the Brisker Rav, and thus he was right in making that major rift among frum Jews. Anyway, at that asifah/macho'oh there was one speech that did make mention of the Rebbe, and not in a manner of praising him, that was the niftar Reb Henoch. I do not know what he said then, since I was not in attendance, but that's what I was told. I'm not sure why davka he felt the need to stand up and defend the Rosh Yeshivah's Kovod, and maybe it was Eygene Pni'os that compelled him to, but that's how it was. The mecho'oh was put into words and published in newspapers, but it was pre-dated to before 24 Teves, so as not to imply that it was a mecho'oh against the Rebbe!

Imagine that!


Friendly anonymous said...

It must be a coincidence that the only border which is quiet is the Syrian one.

I guess it's a good thing that Chareidi politicians don't give a darn about such irrelevant issues as security, as long as the "independent" chinuch atzmoi continues to receive millions of dollars in government aid. Otherwise, we might have Syrian troops in the Golan by now.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but as much as I disagree with a certain rosh yeshiva the fact remains that he was not even keeping or giving up the Golan.
He was speaking about the wisdom of passing CHOK HaGolan, not the Golan itself.

What he said was (not verbaitim, obviously) that we have survived 2,000 years in galus without the Chok HaGolan and will continue to survive without it. His reasoning was that the US government was against it even though the administration at the time was strongly pro-Isreal and that there was nothing to be gained by thumbing our nose at the Americans by passing a law for the sake of passing a law which would be disregarded if the Israeli government ever decided to give the Golan to the Syrians.

OTOH, someone has got to wake up certain political charaidim to the fact that holding office means doing what is good for the country and not what is good for chinuch atzmo'i (when the needs of the two clash).

Gedalya said...

What are you trying to say about R'Henoch?
Sounds like you are trying to say something negative,this after you've been complaining
everywhere about R'Belskys words??
Sounds like you are a hypocrite.
Btw in mem beis' you were a little boy in a chasidishe cheyder,why would you have heard of Rav Shach?
Do you know how many young kids in Williamsburg have no idea who the Lubavitcher Rebbe was?

Anonymous said...

Typical tzigeleh revisionist history. R Shach was the leading litfisher godol hashkafah wise for 15 yrs before that asifah and contrary to you i would know since i was there

Hirshel Tzig said...


I would've heard of him just like we heard of the others.

anonymous: there was no hashkofoh in Israel before the Yated. It was all Ger.

Gedalya said...

Are we going to get into the nuances of what a seven year old boy in a Chasidishe chaider in Boro Park would have known and basing who was considerd a leading authority in Eretz Yisroel on that??
Sounds like you have an agenda and won't let anything get in the way.Even minor details such as 'facts'.
Can't win with that.

Hirshel Tzig said...

Tcheinik Hakker:

1) why seven?

2) The fact is we knew the Satmar Rov, the Lubavitcher and Vizhnitzer Rebbes, and we knew the Steipler. the Ponovizher Rosh Yeshivah was known as the one stood in front of a fancy gold aron kodesh when he spoke.

now stop harassing me.

gedalya said...

Stam that you should know (though you don't neccesarily care)That in the period you speak of Rav Shach was the acknowledged leader of the Yeshiva world!After all he was 'only' about 85 years of age!So when would he become a bigger manhig, when his health was failing and he was weak??

I want to make it easy for you:Lets agree on some basic facts and than debate ideology,k?
You don't have to like Rav Shach, but you have to know some recent history about him so the debate will be intelligent
If not we go back to when you were a chaider yingel arguing who's tatti is stronger than the other, fine for 7 year olds, infantile for adults

Aryeh said...

Let Chabad continue Avodas Hakodehs, Chazal say 4 things need Chizuk.
ברכות (לב:): "ארבעה דברים צריכים חיזוק, ואלו הן: תורה, ומעשים טובים, תפילה ודרך ארץ", מסביר רש"י: "צריכין חיזוק - שיתחזק בהם אדם תמיד בכל כוחו

Daven on time (not 3pm shacharis)

Learn Torah (Besides just chasidus and one perek of baba metzia

חסידות הוא טוב כמו יין ישן, רק מעט ולא
הרבה ולא כל הסעודה.... ).

Stop the יחי business.

Don't use the אגרות for ולא תנחשו
לא תעונן

schneur said...

Rav Shach was the acknowledged Spiritual leader of the Yeshiva world starting in about 1970.
But don't forget he was a rosh yeshiva in Ponoviesz for about 25 years before that and P. is one of the 2 most impt yeshivos in Israel.
By the way the Rebbe had every right to criticize the good rosh yeshiva, but our friend the editor of the Algemeiner GJ had no right to make light of rav Shachs name as he consistently did over the years.
Certainly there were many juicy stories about CH and Chabad that GJ chose not to print.
Next the attitude of the various Chofetz Chaim schools across the country speak volumes about their true feelings about Chabad.
Whatever happened at the meeting does not change the fact that not one rosh yeshiva of any so called Litvishe Yeshiva in Israel or America has anything to do with Chabad. And that even includes the majority of the roshe yeshiva at YU and Mizrachi schools in Israel.

snag said...

when rayatz said shor shenogach es hapora doenst mean an ox goring a cow was when the litvishe gedolim took chabad off their map

Milhouse said...

"Give it back to the Syrians, he said, just like we lived without it for 1900 years until the Six-Day War, so too can we live without it now."

Ikkar choser min hasefer. What he said, and what the Rebbe objected so sharply to, was that "we lived without it for 2000 years, and we can live without it for another 2000 years if necessary". To the Rebbe, this implied that we could live for another 2000 years without Moshiach, that to the speaker of these words the prospect of Moshiach not coming for another 2000 years was one he could contemplate with equanimity, one he could relate to as a real possibility, one that could be mentioned in public (without even a "chas vesholom"), and one that could be "survived".

That was what bothered the Rebbe; what he got from it was that the speaker did not really believe in Moshiach at all, that the whole concept of geulah wasn't real to him, it was just some aspirational ideal to take place in the far future.

Of course there's no guarantee in the Torah that we won't have another 2000 years of golus, or another 10000 years; but to a yid a maamin the prospect of such a thing should fill a person with horror, not to mention that it should be considered extremely unlikely. If a person truly awaits Moshiach every day, i.e. he takes seriously the possibility that Moshiach could come as soon as right now, then how likely can he consider it that over the course of 2000 years not one day will be the awaited one? It's strange enough that Moshiach hasn't come yet; that he shouldn't come for another 2000 years doubles that unlikelihood. But to someone for whom the whole idea isn't real, there's no problem in contemplating 2000 years, 10000 years, even 50000 years of golus. And that's called kefirah.

Remember that this is a person who is reputed to have complained, early on, that "the Lubavitcher thinks Moshiach is a bosor vodom", and was astounded that this was indeed the undisputed halocho in all sources. That's how real Moshiach was to him.

Anonymous said...

"I guess it's a good thing that Chareidi politicians don't give a darn about such irrelevant issues as security"

That national security is not on the UTJ's agenda was openly admitted in the Jewish Observer following the Gaza expulsion:

""United Torah Judaism's decision not to join the
anti-disengagement forces reflects the strong
preference of the Torah leadership to avoid casting
the decisive vote on matters of national security"