Monday, December 21, 2009
It's been a while since we discussed Munkacs. We had been talking about Reb Burechel's abdication of the throne and got sidetracked by more important issues, like the size of O Deutschs' peyos. Let's skip ahead and see what happens once Munkacser talmidim realize that RBYYR will no longer lead them, and they wouldn't want him even if he DID want! By now the older son was married to the daughter of Reb Ahron Bernshtein of Chayei Olam Yeshiva in J'lem and was ready to lead on his own. Although educated in Ohio's finest Torah institution, Reb Moshe Leib Rabinovich was a chassidisher yungerman, well-versed in the ways of his grandfather, despite never having seen him. In 5722/1962 the Munkacser Beis Medrash was founded in Boro Park and RMLR was invited to lead the congregants. [I'm told now that the poster is not from 1962, but rather from 1969, and that the Yeshivah was functioning for quite some time by then. It's just that the shul in BP was started then. Until then it was in W'burg, with Reb Moshe Leib serving as Rebbe there. ויש לעיין בזה.]I would imagine that the Talmud Torah was founded only later on, probably late 60s to early 70s. What's ironic is that at that time the Rebbe was considered tier two or three, but the cheder was a serious place, where many local kids went, despite not being affiliated with Munkacs. Today the opposite is true; the institutions have collapsed and basically died, yet the Munkacser Rebbe has "made it" after all those years.
No, my friends, I'm not poking fun at the Munkacser, I'm telling how people saw it, not Lubavitcher people, locals, people of Hungarian and Galician extraction, that is. Maybe the opinion was juvenile and unfounded, but that's the way the Oylem Goylem saw it. They saw him as the man with the biggest Menorah, the one who made as if he was a 90-year old tzaddik living in Poland. איי, why do we care what the Oylem Goylem thinks if we admit that it's "Goylem"? It's simple. Very often these are the opinions that accompany people for the rest of their lives. Ask people today what they think of the Munkacser and they may refer to the late minyanim available at his shul or to the tall menorah, but they may have very little to say about his Torah knowledge or his askanus tziburis. Why? because as children a Rebbe's level of learning was never important, it was all about the "Parenches" (bleachers) and the color of the Bekishe and the sons who are vying for control. And if that's the way he sees it as a child he often retains those opinions, no matter if he learned in Brisk on Rechov Peres, or by Reb Chaim Feinstein, or in Satmar Bayswater or in Lubavitch in Qiryat Gat.
The fact that by that time most of his zeide's surviving chassidim had defected to Satmar is another whole story...