Thursday, April 8, 2010
So over Yom Tov I had some time to look at the newly released sefer on Reb Yisroel Grossman, zt"l, dayan, Rosh Yeshivah, Vechulu, "גדול בישראל" they called it. It's a fascinating window into a world not many knew of; where one man was involved in so many different campaigns and battles for the character of the Holy Land back in the day, as well as being a major meyfitz of Torah and Chassidus for decades. Any Chabadnik worth his salt knows about Reb Yisroel, as well as any yungerman who knows about anything in Eretz Yisroel should know about Reb Yisroel. I learned lots of new things from the book, like the fact that he was an eynikel of MaHaRY"L, the AR's brother, and his father's name Moshe Schneur Zalman was for the Alter Rebbe and Moshe Rabbeinu - him being born on 7 Adar. The family history is rich - rich I tell you, real geshmakke Yiddishe personalities, one by one, from all sides of the spectrum. Litvish, Russian, Galicianers, you name it. If I had the cash I would buy it.
If you know RYG's history you know that he joined the "Alte Karliner" after Reb Yochonon passed away. For those of you in Crown Heights that means that he never accepted Reb Yochonon's eynikel as Rebbe. Some 7 years after RY's passing they crowned Reb MosheMordche Lelover as Rebbe, and "Karlin-Lelov" was born. Most of the "yunge" waited a few years and took Reb Boruch Shochet - his daughter Feigele's eldest son- as Rebbe, despite the culture gap. Reb Yisroel was in his early 30s at the time, so he wasn't technically "old" at that time, but you get the drift. They say that the real rift happened way before, when Di Alte - or their parents - became chassidim of the Karliner, Reb Avrohom Elimelech, HY"D, after the passing of Reb Yisroel, Der Frankfurter, and not of Reb Moshe Stoliner nor of Reb Yochonon, and they never REALLY accepted Reb Yochonon as Rebbe, even after he was the only one left after WW2. "They did because they had no choice," the yunge say, "so they're not really chassidim anyway, so who cares what they think about our Rebbe," they add.
The Current Pinsk-Karliner Rebbe
In any case, when they get to that point in time of Reb Yisroel's life they do some kind of job on history. There was no eynikel. There's no big shul at Avinoam Yellin 11. There are no hundreds and hundreds of Stoliner families. There was only Reb Moshe Mordche Lelover and then there was Reb Aron Rosenfeld of the newly-established Pinsk-Karlin, and now his son. That's right, my friends, History was thrown to the wind here, and nobody but me is raising the issue, IIMSSM. Why they do that when every young bocher'l knows otherwise is beyond me. It seems like in Israel they STILL haven't realized that censorship of that magnitude just doesn't work anymore. Truth be told, the yunge (Stoliner) would do the exact same thing, but I haven't seen - and am not discussing - that book now. What the author has done is that he's one-upped the Stoliners by publishing some real good pictures - some of which were totally unknown, and some of which were erroneously presented until now, like the one of the Yenukah traveling in a wagon, or at least that's what we thought until now. Now it turns out to be his SIL, Reb Avrohom Shapiro of Gwodzisk, with the shver all the way in the back in another wagon altogether.
Why does it fly under the radar, and why do you find your self "could care less" about this revisionism? Quite simply, you have little affinity or dislike towards these groups or groups like them. Lubavitch gets in your hair and forces you to call their bluffs almost as if you're forced to. I understand that fully. And I realize that some of you are annoyed that I shlep Lubavitch into every conversation, as well... So I'll stop here. He does bring a nice story that happened to RYG's shvigger a Litvishe-Yerushalmi woman named Gutfarb, who stopped the Frierdige Rebbe on the streets of Meah Shearim when he visited in 5689 and would not allow him to pass until he promised her that all her descendants would stay true to Hashem's Torah. The Rebbe of course blessed her and all of her 1000+ descendants are יראים ושלמים until today... Oh, and did I mention that he was Rosh Yeshivah in Lubavitch for decades when Reb Boruch Shimon Schneersohn left Tomchei Tmimim Lod to join his shver's - the Tchebiner Rov - new yeshivah in Yerushalayim. There I go again...