Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dr. David Glasner responds

photo from Cluj yizkor book

Dr. David Glasner, ben Rav Yudah Tzvi, ben Rav Akiva, ben Rav Moshe Shmuel (dor revii from the "Dor Revii,") writes:


A couple of people emailed me about your very interesting post regarding my great-grandfather and my grandfather. It seems to have provoked quite a discussion from all sides of the spectrum. I was thinking of commenting directly on the blog, but as a nogeia l'davar, I am reluctant to join the fray even though I have previously participated in some on line discussions. Instead I will just share with you some mainly factual observations by way of background. I think that it is correct that the K[lausenberger] Rebbe had good relations with my grandfather R. Akiva, although obviously there was an inherent tension in the relationship because my grandfather viewed the existence of a separate community as an affront to his father (which it clearly was) and as a halakhic violation, and his objective (never fulfilled) was to bring the kehilas ha-sefardim back into the community (which is probably why he did not speak out publicly in favor of Zionism) something which he later regretted and reproached himself for. I think that it is reasonable to assume that the K Rebbe had a very different attitude towards Zionism from that of R. Joelish. So whatever the origin of the kehilas ha-sefardim in K and the role of R. Joelish in establishing it, the K Rebbe did not necessarily buy into the Satmarer ideology. A K chosid once told me that he heard a shmuse that the K Rebbe gave in Kiryat Sanz in which he discussed the gemara in the beginning of Sanhedrin about the punishment le'osid lo'vo that will be meted out to the gentiles. The Rebbe asked, but many gentiles never had anything to do with the Jewish people, so why will they be punished? The Rebbe answered that they will be punished for voting against the state of Israel in the UN.

The Satmarer's hatred was ignited by the outspoken Zionism of the Dor Revi'i, but after the DR left K, the Satmarer had no problem transferring that hatred onto my grandfather who inherited the rabbonus from his father, even though my grandfather did not speak out openly in favor of Zionism and even though many very Haredi and anti-Zionist rabbonim who had opposed the Dor Revi'i were friendly with my grandfather. The story in the family, which is also found in Rabbi Miller's book about Hungarian Haredi Jewry, Olomo shel Abba, is that either in the K ghetto or in Bergen-Belsen my grandfather approached the Satmarer to try to reconcile with him, and the Satmarer simply refused to speak to him. So although I have great respect for the K Rebbe, I have none for the Satmarer. A famous story about about the Tzaddik of Nasoyd (which can be found in Olomo shel Abba and in the biography of the Satmarer) was that on Erev Yom Kippur after Kol Nidre, the Tzaddik got up to speak and delivered the following message to his kehillah. "You know, they say that he (it was obvious whom he was speaking about) is a poshe yisroel because he became Zionist. But they are wrong! He became a Zionist because he was a poshe yisroel." The comment of the Satmarer about this statement (recorded in his biography) was that not all Zionists were poshei yisroel before becoming Zionists, there were indeed also those who became poshei yisroel only after they become Zionists. The inclination of the Tzaddik of Nasoyd and of the Satmarer to brand others as poshei yiroel reminds me of the Talmudic saying "kol ha-posseil be-mumo posseil." By the way the chapter in the biography of the Satmarer that is devoted to the Dor Revi'i and Rabbi Kook is called "milchemes ha-shem neged amolek."

Here are two quick comments about some of the discussion. One of the anonymous commenters accused the Dor Revi'i of writing with chutzpah about R. M. Panet of Dezh. I believe that he was referring to a passage on p. 44 of the kuntres Halakhah Le-Moshe that was republished a few years ago with several other of his kuntresim under the title Ohr Bahir. I am familiar with that passage and I detect not a single bit of chutzpah. Indeed, the whole point of the discussion is to show that as a young man he had questioned a leniency of R' M. Panet, but he writes that when he became older and wiser he understood that R' M. Panet had been correct to be lenient. The DR was personally very close with RMP. He writes at the end of the hakdamah to Dor Revi'i, "when I became bar mitzvah, the holy gaon R. M. Panet of Dezh, sent me a congratulatory letter as if I were a colleague, against the wishes of my father." The custom of the Dor Revi'i was to wear a shtreimel at home on Shabbos and Yom Tov and the shtreimel was given to him by none other than RMP. According to a number of sources the neolog community in K was started
because the DR was viewed as being too inclined towards chassidus. He even exchanged very warm teshuvot with the Yeitiv Lev.

In his book ha-kera shelo nit'ahah about Hungarian Orthodoxy, Jacob Katz, who knew just about all there was to know about the history of Jews in Hungary, refers several times to R. Shlomo Tzvi Schick without identifying him as a status quo rabbi. Had he been status quo, I am sure that Katz would have so identified him. Katz writes with great sympathy about the status quo communities and their rabbis, especially the gaon atzum R. Meir Perles. But there is no doubt that R. Schick was bit of a left-winger by Hungarian standards. According to Sagi and Zohar in their recent book on conversion, both R. Schick and RMSG cooperated in publishing similar works justifying the conversion of the non-Jewish spouse of intermarried Jews. Sagi and Zohar mistakenly assert that there was a family connection between RMSG. They were misled by the fact that the Maharam Schick had a son-in-law named Moshe Shmuel Glasner. But the Maharam Schick was certainly not the father in law of RMSG. The son-in-law of the Maharam Schick is identified in the introduction to the shut Maharam Schick as being from Nicholsburg, so the Maharam Schick's son-in-law was clearly someone else with the same name. I have no other information about the other Moshe Shmuel Glasner.

David Glasner


Anonymous said...

I appreciate Dr Glassner candid post, but he omits his Great Grandfathers harsh handling of the Sanzer Rov, eventough he writes a nice title. The Sanzer Chasidim were sensitive on anyone that dared to differ with him as they harassed Reb Shloma Ganczfried ( thru the hands of Rav Weber rav of Ada)just for having opposing views in Shaimos Gittin with no criticism on his style.

dovy said...

wow! this dr. guy holds grudges against tzadikim for decades! we can learn a lot about (bad) middos from him!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:49:00 PM, I would add that probably Sanz is the reason why the Nasoyda rav was so opposed to RMSG.

Anonymous said...

ה"בעל הבלאג" הדפיס הרבה דברי ריב
ושנאת חינם על גדולים שלא טמעו טעם חטא בימיהם. והוא עתיד ליתן את הדין על זה, ביום הגדול והנורא. או לאותו בושה ואו אותו כלימה כשצריך ה.ץ. ליתן תשובה על כל מילה ומילה כפול מספר הקוראים. וכל מי שיש לו משהו של יראת שמים צריך לאוחז חיל ורעדה כשחשוב על דקדוק הדין.

berl said...

Honestly !
Doesnt the honourable doctor" know that עולמו של אבא is nothing but a glorified joke book ?!
Whoever belived anything that Miller wrote ! Back in Hungary the guy was kown to be a total nutter ! check the הקדמה re his fights with his step grandmother

shimon said...

IIRC, Rashban and RMSG were related via the Chasan Sofer.

Anonymous said...

there is no relation betwen the
Rashban and the CS

Anonymous said...

it obvious that the DR doesnt consider a Tzadik the one he holds grudges

Yoel said...

These are the kinds of Hungarian Rabbis Artscroll shold be writing biographies about. All I see is more and more hagiographis of people like the Minchas Elozor and the Satmar Ruv- who although subjects worthy of study- are portrayed to be the sole representatives of Hunagarian Jewry.

What about the hundreds of moderate, dare I say "normal" and level headed rabbonim in Hungary. Why isn't artscroll writing about them? what about radatz hoffman? r' meshulam roth? r" lichtenstein?
i guess they were too "modernish" and "zionist"...

Berish said...

The Klausenburger rebbe z'l - pre-war - was known as a far bigger kanoi than his uncle the Satmar Rav z'l. He was known to attack and curse the zionists [vechule] in harsher language than the Munkatcher. Obviously the Doctor doesn't know EVERYTHING about life in KB all those years ago.

berl, crown heights said...

let me join the chorus of the moronic attackers and use the worst insult they use:
(to get the full impact of the insult, צריך לעקם את החוטם תוך אמירתו )

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

רבי שניאור

בארואיגט אייך, ביטע

no harm was intended, despite the non-comparison. Chabad never hired Weiner to teach Jewish History in their schools.

I may have been pulling your leg too when I asked about Weinberger.

I see that he authored one of the Cluj yizkor books.

Anonymous said...

Reb Dovid


did any of your family have a conection with the Klausenberger Rov zt"l after the war.

Anonymous said...

Tzig, Schneur and everybody else:
Sorry for going off topic, but this post just reminded me of my search for a map of pre-war Europe based on the Yiddishe shtetlach/Chassidusen/Yeshivas?etc...
Anywhere online I can view that??

Anonymous said...

you can not throw facts with no back up.

David Glasner said...

Concerning my great-grandfather's allegedly harsh handling of the Sanzer Rov, I would say first that it's not called milchamtah shel torah for nothing. Second, and more seriously, in his hakdamah to Ohr Bahir, I think that the DR made very clear that although he had huge respect for the Divrei Chaim, every argument in Torah is open to criticism. So there is a big difference between attacking an argument of the Divrei Chaim and attacking the Divrei Chaim. He also rejects the idea that because an opinion is based on a mystical hidden source that it is exempt from criticism based on conventional lomdus. You can agree or disagree with that, but certainly he had every right to take such a position. The Maharsham gave a glowing haskamah to Ohr Bahir and he obviously read every word of it. Do you think that the Maharsham would have given a haskamah to a work that was disrespectful to the Divrei Chaim?

Anonymous (01/20, 9:45PM) accuses me of publishing "divrei riv v'sinat chinam al gedolim ve'chulu." Most of what I wrote about the Satmarer came straight from the Satmarer's own biography. So if divrei riv were published, they were published by those who glorify the Satmarer ve-siyato. I simply added that even though the Satmarer was inflamed by the outspoken Zionism of the DR, he held a grudge against the son of the DR who did not espouse Zionism (u-devarim she-be-lev einam devrarim) and refused to make peace with the son of the DR even when they were imprisoned together in Bergen Belsen by the Nazis. And that is a davar yadua which eidim ne'emanim witnessed with their own eyes which I did not have to find out by reading Rabbi Miller's book.

Berish claims that the K Rebbe used to attack and curse the Zionists in harsher language than the Munkatcher. I never claimed to know everything that happened in KB, and certainly not in the kehilas ha-sefardim. If I was dan le'chaf zechus, do you want me to apologize? At any rate, unlike his uncle, he did not abuse my grandfather, and I was once told by the K Rebbe's shamas that the Rebbe always spoke about my grandfather with great respect. Obviously, even if you are right about his hanhaga before the war, his hanhaga after the war was very different from what you describe.

Anonymous (01/21, 11:17AM) asks if there was any connection with the K Rebbe and my family after the war. No. However, my father did once (about 25 years ago I am guessing) visit the Rebbe in Union City and was very warmly received by the Rebbe.

berish said...

Anyone who wants to know details about the kanous of the KR pre-WW2 should speak to the family of the late Reb Zanvil Gertner z'l (of G&G Milk and Yossele Schumacher fame).

R' Zanvil was a hausbucher and ben bayis of the KR before coming to America. The KR was the one who turned him into a feiyerdigeh kanoi.
Post-war when the KR changed his style and hashkafa, Reb Zanvil gave him up. That was despite the fact that when the KR first arrived in America, he stayed with Reb Zanvil. (The KR is known to have said in some speeches that "Zanvil zogt ich bin avek fin veg" (or something similar).

I have no idea about the relationship of the KR and the Glasner rabbonim, but he was definitely a sharper kanoi that his uncle and the Munkatcher.

And indeed Reb Yiddlele Horowitz despite being dayan in his kehilla didn't speak with RG.

Menashe said...

Yoel said...
What about the hundreds of moderate, dare I say "normal" and level headed rabbonim in Hungary.

The DR was a chiddush gadol in Hungary. The zionists/mizrachi used to take him around from town to town darshening their propaganda.
"HUndreds of moderate rabonim"??

Name me 5. (Even the famous R' Teichtal, only chenged his views when the tzores began. And teh Lubavitcher rebbe tol dhis grandson to write clearly in his republished sefer Em habonim - that the grandfather was NOT a zionist.)

The DR was a fully-fledged religious zionist who became close friends with R Kook - who defended him with very un-Kooklike (ie, not very ahavas-yisroeldig)words after he lost the dion Torah against the separatists

Anonymous said...

berish, Please a kanoi has nothing to do with being menchlich. That was the difference between the SR and the KR. You guys keep on mixing these two issues up. The KR never took it to a personal level as did the SR.

“Post-war when the KR changed his style”
This is the most ridiculous statement you have made. The KR changed his style? Oh and by the way the KR changed his haskafah regarding Zionism because of the Belzer rav.

lipa said...

This so called '' doctor '' wrote this whole blog because it hurts him that such big tzaddikim didnt hold of his grandfather!! And if the holy satmar and nasoid tzaddikim wern't allowed to attack your grandfather, who are u to talk about them?? Your a big mechutzif!!!!

Viktor Bauer dr. said...

Dear Dr. Glasner, (I will be a little bit off-topic with this post excuse me..)

I maintain a web site of the remaining Jewish Community of Balassagyarmat.

I would like to write more on the site about the Deutsch family and the Jewish life of the town before the Shoah.
If you have any informations (stories, pictures of your mother's family) or anything else (etc. the Deutsch house, the yeshiva...), please send it to us in e-mail. Yours sincerely:
Dr. Viktor Bauer (Yechiel)