Thursday, February 26, 2009

Munkacser Abdication (Part II)



In Part I we discussed the Munkatcher Rov - Reb Boruch Rabinovitch - in general and the fact that he was a light that would not shine after WW2, when in theory he should have been in his prime, due to the lack of pre-war Rabbonim at that time. We can assume that due to the fact that a larger contingent of Hungarian/Marmorisher Jews survived the war that they would've flocked to him almost as much as to the Satmar Rov. In part II we'll try and get to the bottom of what transpired during and immediately after the war years that caused him to so drastically change his approach to Jewish life and abdicate the throne of Munkatch - at least as far as Rebbistive went.


Bacuhrim and RBR accompanying Reb Choone Koloshitzer upon his visit to Munkacs

At the outset of world war II the Government of Hungary deemed all foreign citizens suspicious and potential spies that needed to be deported back to their home countries. Reb Burechel was a Polish citizen - from Shedlitz, - Shimon Goldman's town- and thus deemed a potential spy, or something like that. He was rounded up with thousands of other Polish and Foreign Nationals and delivered over the border to Kamenetz-Podolsk in the Ukraine. Literally just dumped there. Only by a sheer miracle was he rescued from the massacres that the bastard Ukrainians carried out on the helpless Jews, just as they would when the Nazis overran the Ukraine in the summer of '41. RBR made his way to Budapest after being rescued, and immediately threw himself into the task at hand - rescuing Jews by any means neccesary. He sounded the alarm - as was the case with RMBW, who also escaped from the trains to Auschwitz - and made it his duty to help those refugees who had managed to escape from blood-soaked Poland. Hungary was still a relative safe haven at that time, no deportations yet, only forced labor.



Reb Burechel and Reb Nuta Shlomo Schlissel, the Rosh Yeshiva and Dayan of Munkacs

Truth be told, there isn't much information out there about RBR's wartime activities. They say that he wrote a book and still saw it published right before his passing on Chanukah 5758. Before that time he wouldn't discuss what he did. maybe since he became a shtikkel Zionist he decided not to write about them for fear of implicating himself by associating with them. He would say that he's leaving that chapter of his life for "after 120." It seems like he was frustrated at the total apathy of most Hungarian Jews, not only to the plight of their brethren in Europe, but also to the dangers awaiting themselves. I may have mentioned before how in Shavuos of 5703/1943 Jews traveled to Koson, to the "Ohr Moleh", to be with the Tzaddik for Shavuos, my maternal grandfather included. Most of Polish Jewry was decimated by then, but in Hungary it was Yom Tov as usual for those not conscripted into the forced labor brigades. A biography written by RBR's son-in-law says that the reason for RBR's leaving Hungary in 1944 and traveling to the Holy Land was that he saw that he could only do so much if the people themselves are unwilling to help. He had done all he could, now it was time to save his family.


Learning Parshas Emor at Cheder in Ungvar

Unlike the Belzer, Lubavitcher, and Satmar Rebbes, among others, no book has been written about the Rabinovitch Family's escape. Let me rephrase that - I haven't seen one, so we may have to get to that part later. In the hakdome to his sefer בינת נבונים he does write about how he was rescued in the Ukraine and escaped to Hungary. They arrived in the Holy Land in 1944, and Reb Burechel would darshen to thousands about the slaughters that the Jews in Europe are subjected to and would try and call the Jews there to action. There the Rebbetzin Frima, the Minchas Elozor's only daughter, contracted Tuberculosis and was no longer alive a year later. RBR was left alone with 5 yesomim'lach, shattered sevenfold now that his world and his wife had been taken from him. What happened later is unclear, prone to hearsay and rumors and often mixed with outright lies. Two years later he married a young woman - one that the Chassidim were (to say the least) quite unhappy about. The Holocaust had taken a major toll on the young Rov - he had changed drastically. His outlook on life and how to build the Jewish Nation from דאסניי had also changed, and many of his shver's - and his - talmidim and chassidim were very unhappy.

More on that later, iy"h.

55 comments:

אלא עפולה said...

B"H
Where can I find more pictures from Ungvar? (for the Shliach there)
Am I correct to assume that this is a pre-war photo?

Anonymous said...

There is a book by his niece in English

Anonymous said...

The book is called Going Forward, written by Peska Friedman. I believe it was published by CSI.

Anonymous said...

The book Gonig Forward, I think was written by his sister (not his niece).

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

The book was published by Artscroll, not CSI, which is really CIS.

It is a pre-war photo.

I'll look for more.

AK said...

Hirshel - Thanks for another great post. The pictures you have are truly one of the best parts of this blog. Any thought about making a picture page, or loading them all up to Flickr or something similar.

Would love to see them all in one place.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

I love it when people give me more work to do....

Anonymous said...

publish a book

the Lubavitch connection said...

........and he met the rebbe .....
if you can not blend this in, you are not a legitimate lubab convert

Anonymous said...

I saw the Viznitser gabbai Rezmivesh write in his Zichronois alot on Reb Borechels hatzala work in Budapest,
There are still live winesseses that can testify on his messirus nefesh for "Yidens Vegen" in Budapest. But their is not much you can do to fix his tainted legacy. Our genaration that was brought up on broiled chicken and non concentrated orange juice(as the Klausenburger used to phrase it)will never grasp the depth of the churban,so everyone is a shnook in judging the doir of the greatest churban of klal yisroel.

Anonymous said...

I heard a CD of a Chanuka torah from his later years with the Munkatcher nigun, it was deeper then deep, Chaval..

Anonymous said...

the photo of reb Nutte Shlome Hy"d and the Rov brings me back the zichronois of my fathers Bar Mitzva in prewar Munkatch, both were by the Bar mitzva eventough they were a strong Belzer family.

Anonymous said...

The Lubac conn..
He met the Rebbe and he quotes the Geonisher vort that he heard from the Rebbe on Chanuka in 1 of his seforim

publish a book Friday, February 27, 2009 12:35:00 PM Anonymous the Lubavitch connection said... said...

The Lubavitcher conn..
He met the Rebbe and he quotes the Geonisher vort that he heard from the Rebbe on Chanuka in 1 of his seforim
keep it up
copy and paste if its true

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

what does that mean "copy and paste if it's true?"

baalbatish said...

the Lubavitch connection said...
........and he met the rebbe .....
if you can not blend this in, you are not a legitimate lubab convert

if you don't make a stupid anti-Lubab comment on every post then you are not a real snag.

Balaclava said...

From Part 1:

Milhouse said...
>>>Are you saying that the last two Rebbes viewed the Zionist entity through the same prism as the Satmar Rebbe or the Minchas Eluzor? Give me a break.<<<<

Yes, that is exactly so. Lubavitch remains to this day just as anti-Zionist as it was before 1948. You will not see an Israeli flag or hear Hatikvah at any Chabad mosad. The Rebbe's horo'oh is not to participate in Yom Ha'atzmaut celebrations. The Rebbe was against frum people being cabinet ministers in the medinah.
==========

Millhouse, you obviously don't know. But in the Chabad Beth Rivka school in Melbourne there are full Yom Haatzmaut celebrations held annually (presumably with Israeli flags etc).
Also unlike other Chabad schools, the girl are taught to davven in the Ivrit havara - much to the upset on some serious Chabadniks there.

Anonymous said...

Publish...

If you need it very important then go to a seforim store and buy the sefer Bairos Nosson

westpoint said...

Lubavitch and zionism see
http://tinyurl.com/a9vywf

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you've seen Small Miracles of the Holocaust by Yitta Halberstam where there is a "fantastic" story told by RBR's son, the present Rebbe. You really should write a book, you know. Hatzlocho!

yeheedee said...

testing

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

"Lubavitch and zionism see
http://tinyurl.com/a9vywf"

Check out number two, where the Rebbe states that " 2. Also this, in truth all their actions and principals are in thought alone, because their desire is impossible to come to actuality, as it is impossible that there should be an agreement under any circumstances!!"

Seems like the Rebbe was denying the possibility of the establishment of the State of Israel!! Hm, to those who believe that a Rebbe can never be wrong, I guess the State of Israel doesn’t exist.

Anonymous said...

You had mentioned in PartI that you would scan and upload the 3 part series from Bshah Tovah (by Yair RB?). We are still waiting.

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

BTW, please don’t take the above as an attack on the Rebbe. Just pointing out that only hashem is infallible.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2/27 1AM

Peska Friedman is (was?) a sister

schneur said...

To understand this story, I suspect one had to have been there and know Rabbi Baruch.
But permit me to mention some issues.
Firstly the Munkatcher was not the only dynasty in HUngary that failed to reclaim their place in the sun. Given the fact that over 50% of Hungarian Jews survived one wonders what happened to the chashuve Chassidusen of Spinka, Liska, Razfert, Kosonoi and Kerestir.
Of course all have bate Medrashim and even so called rebbes but they are ke"efes as to thier pre War strength.
I realize that Reb Baruch was already rebbe before the war and that the groups I mentioned lost their pre War leaders, yet ?
Next no one has raised the factor that Rav Baruch was a Jew from Congress Poland(with all the differences inherent in that) not from Hungary not even from Galicia , how did this impact on his relationship with his Hungarian flock? After his wife died what did this Polish rabbi mean to the Hungarian survivors?
Finally let me paint a hypothetical situation. Its 1940 the Raayatz and the Gourary fmaily are stuck in Poland and share the fate of Polsih Jewry. The Ramash gets to the US, his wife dies in 1946 , he remarries the college educated daughter of a prominenet German rav from washington Hts and claims to be lubavitcher rebbe with children from the 2nd marriage. He adopts outreach work and new ways. Pray tell me exactly how many Russian Anash would be there with him ?

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

Reb Schneur

your insight is stimulating and such, butt his was not the case here, really. RBYYR basically took everything he had and threw it away! Had he made a few changes but stuck to the basics he could've had it all, German wife not withstanding.

Anonymous said...

hirshel you would have been a munkatcher based on your fascination with non frum rebbes

Miller said...

Reb Schneur

Great point! the Ramash anology is very good.

The fact that the Chasiduser of Hungary lost thier pre-war Rebbe, is probably the biggest reason of it's disappearness post-war, in contrast to the Hungarian Chasidus like Satmar ot Kluasenburg.

Even Skver for example took a huge bite of Hungarian Chasidim after the war, or like Pupa which grew to a Chasidus post-war even there were no Pupa Chasidus pre-war.

(The Chasidus map changed dramatically post war, based alot on geographical facts like Williamsburg, Boro-Park or Isreal)

But Munkatch really had strong Chasidim who were looking for independency like Reb Chaim Ber the Munkatcher gabbai, they would love to rebuild around Reb Baruch'l, especially if he had children coming up who were Einiklech from the Minchas Eluzer.

And BTW Bobov also lost thier pre-war Rebbe and still grew to one of the largest Chasidus post-war.

Anonymous said...

Schneur,
Non of the Rebbes you listed were on the level of the Munkatcher,even with out his nice sized court and a rabanus in the biggest and most prestigious chassidic town in the Hungarian/Slovokai region, he made waves thru the whole golas europe, he dared to fight the Gerrer Rebbe on his own turf by printing the Tikkun Olam, organizing the Assifa in Chop. All the rebbes that were against the Aguda as Belz Kolachitz, Bobov were not ready to go to print with letters and Kol korahs against the movement. I am not day dreaming that he succeeded one iota, But is name was famous VS. the spinker that was A tzadik ,Baal Mekubal Goan but with no world recognition.

Geza who? said...

Schneur Says:
Pray tell me exactly how many Russian Anash would be there with him ?
Tell me even after staying married with Mussua B"H how much of original
anash joined the rebbe in his early years?

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

anon 2:19, March 1:

I'll do it soon, be"h

Geza Me said...

Geza who?
And how many stayed with the preceding 5 rebbes in their early years??? That's one more diff. between chabad and chagas: for the latter ther succession is automatic, effective immediately "the king is dead, long live the king." In chabad the chossid-rebbe relationship was not as in chagas for a number of reasons. Thus not at all surprising that there was not an immediate universal transfer ever -especially re ziknei anash who had close hiskashrus to the one who passed away. Those familiar with the "new one", or otherwise recognizing greatness, had no prblems with the new guard, and certtainly not the young crowd. So nothing new.
(For that matter, even in chagas there were many cases where it took the older crowd some time to adapt to the "new" rebbe, esp. when innovations came about.)

Geza who said...

I think there is a new diff. between chabad and chagas:
Where in chagas: "the king is dead, long live the king."
and in the current chabad: "the King is alive ,let the king die "

schneur said...

If we pyschoanalyzed rav Baruch we would find a man who was modern in idesa, was ravished by the Holocaust and thought that business as usual was no longer the correct path. Given his wife's death and the destruction of the geographical town on Munkatch, Reb Baruch sought a different future, perhaps in rabbanut as a more modern rav.Should he spnd his creative energies fighting Zionism after the destruction of 6 million Jews ? Should he spend his superior mind on restoring vaisse zaken leyashno ? I think not.
Its just a shame that he did not find the appropriate arena or position to influence orthoox Jewry.
As I wrote here several times, I spoke to Anash who lived in TA at that time (late 1940's) and was told by them that Rav Baruch tried to rebuild but "lo also beyado". The Spinker rebbe Weisz had problems too. Siyata deshmaya(means exactly that and not every banshak is raui for it-otherwise its not siyata dishmaya.)So yes the Vishnitzer and Satmarer rebuilt as did others , but other fairly well known groups faded from the picture. Lets face it the Stuchiner and Bluzhover were not small fry yet they failed in camparison to the Skverer and Kluizenberger 2 rabboinm who were not well known before the War.
As I also wrote several months ago there were Rebbeische kinder who rejected the whole thing after the war and remained private people. They did not see chassidiuth as either rebuildable or even as a desired goal in principle.Of course we never heard of them because tey were not part of the Charedi world.

Anonymous said...

Scneur,
Berka Gurari also sought a differnt path ,he could have laid low like the sigeter and scoop it all up

Anonymous said...

How did the "breakup " occur between reb boruch'l and his son the present munkatcher ?

Anonymous said...

Schneur
Most that didn't succeed were not ready to make their hands dirty, nobody achieved it on a golden tray

Anonymous said...

The success of the Old Skverer is outstanding , 99.99 of his Chasidim never knew that skver exist on the Map, the most they knew, was the Meor Einiem, He had some people that knew him from Belz, plus the minhogim are strange to most Galicianer /Hungarian chasidim

eliduker said...

Although your posts give both context and perspective on Mamorosh/Rumanian Chasidus, the cactus-sand line is uncalled for. Purim is the time when our chachamim חילקו כבוד לארץ ישראלת not the opposite.

Yosh55 said...

Same thing with radzin. Old rebbis wife children died in war, married new wife. Now he died, hischildren claim to be rebbi. (they are not aniklok bclall.)they took real rebbi,r m leiner to badatz to stop being rebbi.

schneur said...

Radzin . I think its a tad more complex. The Sosnowitzer rav Rabbi Engelrod was a brother in law of the last real Radziner rebbe. After the War and the loss of his wife he became Radziner Rebbe in Israel Although he lived in CH he was radziner rebbe only in Israel. In America he was called Sosnowtzer rav. Here the Radziner rebbe was the great scholar of Chachmath israel rav Yeruchem leiner.
After Reb Yeruchem died his son became rebbe in the US. I merited to know him and when you speak of anivus , he personified it. Lo machzik tivusa lenafshe.
When he died i think he left 2 sons 1 claims to be rebbe in the uS the other in Israel. When the Sosnowitzer Rav died in israel , one of his sons became rebbe in Israel. So i guess the fight is over the title in Israel.
Yichus is not necessarily genetic.
The current Bluzhover rebbe is not a genetic son of his precessor the same is true in Zehelem , Krasana and I am sure in other groups too.
I like to think hypothetically if the children of Dalia Schneersohn were frum , and close to their grand uncle , i think they could get the call even though they are only distantly related to the main Schneerson line.
In Stutchin even though one had a grandson becoming rebbe , the larger olam went along witht a studen tof the old rebbe.
The last radziner rebbe ZT"l in the US also told me that his aprt of the family was not into Techelth.
Others have informed that I am mistaken. Any comments ?

Anonymous said...

Schneur
The Radziner/ Englards are the wholesalers and purveyors of Techeleth. One of the brothers is involved in every polemic regarding the authenticity of the Radziner Techeleth. VS. the techeleth of Rav Herzog, he was arguing in the Ohr Yisroel (Monsey) against all the others opinions with vigor.

Anonymous said...

The radziner/leiner part of the family were into techeles as well. Their grandfather Rabbi Heshel Leiner, father of R' Yeruchem, was a chosid of his older brother, the famous Radziner Rebbe, Ba'al Hatecheles. After the war, the Rebbe in Israel, Rabbi Englard re instituted the techeles, but R' Yeruchem opposed it, for some unknown reason. This is the reason that his family doesn't wear techeles today, only pairs that were left from prewar Europe.

The Radziner story is not as simple as the Leiner family puts it down. According to them, the Englard family stole the radziner name from, whereas they are the only true radziner rebbes. The truth be told, the old Rabbi Englard was crowned not by himself, but by all radziner chasidim worldwide, especially in Israel. The main supporters were actually all descendants of the Radziner Rebbes, headed by the Goldshimdt family, which are the true heirs to the radziner name. This being because they are the only true descendants of the Ba'al Hatecheles and his son and successor, the Tiferes Yosef of Radzin. The Leiner family from Boro Park are only descendants of a younger brother of the Radziner, who was actually Rebbe in Chelm - Poland, and was basically known more by that name. The radziner name in that family was only taken after the war, by R' Yeruchem, instead of Chelm, for obvious reasons.

The Rebbe Reb Mailech said...

"The radziner name in that family was only taken after the war, by R' Yeruchem, instead of Chelm, for obvious reasons."

What are you implying here? Reb Yerucham was born in Radzin, one (maybe two?) of his brothers were Rebbe in Chelm and at that time, Reb Englard was not Rebbe and the rest of the family was killed. So being that Reb Yerucham was one of two direct descendants to come out of Europe alive, he rightfully chose to continue the Radziner line, as his nephew, Reb Yaakov son of Rabbi Chanina Dovid, chose not to be rebbe.

Anonymous said...

Look closely at what is written. No one wrote that R' Yeruchim had no right to the name Radzin. What was said is, that the more real heirs to the name Radzin are the Goldschmidt family, being that they are descendant of the Baal Hatecheiles and Tiferes Yosef. Naturally, the main continuation of the radziner line went to the Tiferes Yosef, and not to R' Heshel. R' Heshel was known more by the name of Chelm. Therefore if the Leiner's chose to use the name Radzin, let it be so. But they can't claim that the more authentic heirs to the name stole it by making Rav Englard as their Rebbe. They can choose their Rebbe, as was always done in the history of Chassidus.

lawkovicher said...

If you are making claims for everyone you shouldn't be anonymous. If you believe in something you'd put your name there.
When the Rebbe Reb Mpshe gives over the Ishbitza it is hearing the voice of the Ishbitza himself.
-Lawkovicher

pauper said...

please, do you know, who is on that picture (emor in cheder in ungvar)? in the midle, please write me. who is?

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

pauper

I do not know who it is. sorry.
do you know?

Anonymous said...

šolem
im sorry i dont know too
I never been in užhorod, and im only 31 but the face is like from mirror to me, so that is why I asked - funny feeleng
i hoped you know who is in the picture because is your article thats all
propably next time i will go to užhorod try to discover something,
do you know at least the origin of the picture or something?

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

the origin is from Life Magazine. It was taken in 1938 in Mukachevo.

Metal Israel said...

My Babi is Peska Friedman, thank G-d she's still alive, just hit 90 til 120 in health. Her book describes my Fete Boruch's ztl escape in passing as well as her own. My Babi took care of the Munkatch and Dinover Rebbes and their brothers in Israel until she went to Paris to marry my Zeide, Wolf Friedman (of Agudat Yisrael) .

Yair Rabinowich is the son from my fete's second marriage - he runs the shul in Petach Tikva that was founded by my fete. My fete WAS Zionist - he actually served as the head rabbi of Holon for a while.

If you want to get a copy of my Babi's book Going Forward in either Hebrew or Yiddish please contact friedmanj at aol.com, my mother . If you want to get some sfarim that my fete wrote and published, contact his nephew, Rabbi Dr. Noson Rabinowich - jheritagetours at aol dot com .

Metal Israel said...

"RBYYR basically took everything he had and threw it away! Had he made a few changes but stuck to the basics he could've had it all, German wife not withstanding."

Umm... it wasn't like that - people were mad at my fete for marrying his second wife and it had nothing to do with her being German - it had to do with her not being Rebbishe kind, and honestly I think that's evil.

He didn't throw everything away, he had it taken away from him - but that's something else, and I don't know enough about it to talk. My fete was a talmid chacham, and zeh hoo, so any trash talked about him is even worse loshon hara than usual....

Anonymous said...

Hello, nice blogging site style,very good piece of writing but that you will be right :)

Aviva Fort said...

Peska Friedman is my Babi who should live to 120 in health. If you want to get the book Going Forward she re-published it herself - there is also a version in Yiddish.

English - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1935110055?ie=UTF8&seller=AV4JQ1URJNWI7&sn=The%20Wordsmithy

Yiddish -
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1935110063?ie=UTF8&seller=AV4JQ1URJNWI7&sn=The%20Wordsmithy