Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Hungarian soldiers milling about the Cheder in Seredne, Hungary, 1939
HebrewBooks has so many treasures it could make a grown man cry. The latest one comes to us from a very active and devoted reader. There's a book that speaks of the activities of the Agudath Israel in Romania after WWII, and there was much to write about. Communities were destroyed. Young adults came back to their towns only to find that there was nothing to come back to. Many - even if totally Chassidish before the war - were now drawn to the ideals of the idea, since it seemed like the only way out. I recall seeing a short video clip of an interview with an elderly Jew In Israel, where he speaks of his and his parents' deportation to Auschwitz in the summer of '44. This man is no longer religious, unfortunately, but his parents were Chassidishe Yidden, their pictures are flashed on the screen. He mentions that his father was so religious, that he was even worried that the transport from Romania to Auschwitz would arrive on Shabbos, which may lead to chilul shabbos..... The man then finishes off by saying זה שהוא נשרף בשבת זה כבר משהו אחר...... The irony is simply painful to watch. With someone like him it's easy to see how many said "G-d died in Auschwitz, c"v." This is what they tried to avoid when they organized after the war and tried to provide for the survivors.
From the sefer אגודת ישראל ברומני-ה - דין וחשבון
Which brings us to the letter here. We all know the Sighet-Satmar approach to the Agudah, Mizrachi and its satellites. This is not something that started only in post-war Palestine or in post-State Israel, it was the opinion of the Teitelbaums that they're both treif. Always were and Always will be. Not so much because of their approach to the Jewish question, (for lack of a better term) as much as not believing in what they were doing, mixing Rabbonim and Askonim and other such issues. They were not Reb Elchonon HYD, who had he survived would've most likely left the Agudah or Rav Dushinsky, who was a Agudist but anti-State, and passed away before the State came into being. You might say that in this in this sense the SR and probably his older brother the AC were like the Munkacser Rov, anti-Agudah in all aspects, and anti-anything the Agudah does, did, or will ever do. Daf Yomi is treif, Hachsharah for Kibbutzim are chazzer treyf, as is the word ALIYAH. You would think that since everything they did was treif that any cooperation would be as well. Surely a letter of admiration would be totally off limits too. Yeah, I know, Lubavitch was anti-Agudah too, but we're speaking about Sighet-Satmar now.
Yidden in Rumania, 1938
So the Agudah sends the Sigheter Rov a letter asking him to write a few words about the activities of the Agudah in Rumania, and he cannot stop praising them! He waxes poetic about how they saved lives. How these daughters of Israel had parents who were moser nefesh for yiddishkeit returned alone and broken in spirit and were saved only by the work of the "Kibutzim" that the Agudah in Transylvania operated. This is news! News that needs to trumpeted from the tops of tall buildings. You can appreciate what an organization does even if you disagree with what they're doing.... (huh?) I mean with OTHER things that they're doing, or with opinions they have about other activities. Yes, we can sit here and be amused at the fact that the man who would be Satmar Rebbe and Nosi of the Edah HaCharedis would be so open towards towards dialogue with the Agudah, but I see the good in it. I guess it's not for nothing that the more zealous ones didn't want to accept him when his uncle the DY passed away. They must've known about the letter. It wasn't the shidduch with the Vizhnitzer Agudist, it was the letter after WW2 that may have done him in as far they were concerned. ומסיימים בטוב.