Thursday, July 29, 2010

תמונת הלילה

Reb Boruch Mordche Ezrachi - rosh yeshivas "ateres Yisroel," and son-in-law of the mashgiach Reb Meir Chodosh - at his grandson's "tenoyim" this evening."

מיר זיינען חברים צוריק

I always wondered what a Rov like Reb Schneur Der Rov thought about the guys that were ex-yeshiva bochurim and left the fold, went on to "illustrious" careers in Di Medina, when they came back to Kfar Chabad and got Koved Melochim at the Farbrengens. A picture may tell a thousand words, but a thousand words may not tell us what we need to know in this case. If you ask me he's giving to him, and good, in this exchange. Rav Garelik was the first Thomim in Lubavitch and you couldn't fool him. I'm sure it bothered him that these שנה ופירש'ניקעס were being sat אויבן אהן, but he knew which side his bread was buttered, and he knew that they needed the suport of the State in order to function, and he knew what the Rebbe's opinion was and he knew what he had to do. So when they sat together he smiled and shook hands and made nice, but I would imagine that when he had a second alone with SHaZaR he told him what he REALLY thought of him...

Let your imaginations run wild...

Oh! while we're on the topic of "Chanifoh LeReshoyim," please take a look at the words of the holy Chasam Sofer on the matter. Quite fascinating, IMHO.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Return to Lutzin

I may not be traveling myself, but somehow, by the virtue of me receiving mementos of other peoples' travels, I feel like I'm there too, crisscrossing Europe and Israel and anywhere else. As corny as that sounds I do believe you can experience it to a much lesser degree by reading and getting descriptions from the actual visitor. Having said that - sorry about the cliche' - We present the travels of one of our very devoted readers to Eastern Europe, to where his zeides and elter zeides lived and died. Lutzin, aka Luzda, may not sound like much to some of you, but it was a town with many illustrious Rabbonim, not to mention stam yidden yerei shomayim beTachlis. Some of the lucky ones left and went to lands of greater opportunity; the US, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and so on. We Spoke about Lutzin way back when.Our traveler is descended from those who left and went to South Africa, like so many thousands of other Litvishe/Letlandishe Yidden did. Now he went back there for the first time and chronicled what he saw. He davened in the shul - one of the shuls, - and even found pre-war siddurim and other seforim, just sitting there, as well lots of pre-war furniture!

Here's what you see when you're approaching Lutzin

Ok, you drive into town with your guide's fancy car and you're transported back a 100+ years, much of it is still the same, despite the modern amenities like cable TV and internet that are available...

One shul...

another shul....

as if they left a few weeks ago and are about to come back and clean up...

Here's what YOU could've found there if you would've made the trip yourself...

You're done with shul, you drive out to the BesEylem, and this is what you find. At least here the matzeyves still stand tall, despite the overgrown brush.

The kever for Lutzin's last Rov, Reb Ben-Tzion DonYichyeh, HY"D - who was shot with the rest of his Kehilleh (maybe not with all of them, since that is the mokom HaKevuroh) in 1941...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

בוהוש'ער יארצייט

Today is 18 years since the passing of Reb Yitzchok of Buhush-Shpikov. We attach a picture of him as a young man in The Ukraine.

We Remember.


"The praying Jew was our neighbor in Baranw Sandomierski. The Jew with the goat lived by the road that led to the castle. They were poor or very poor. In 1941, when these photographs were taken, Jews had to wear armbands but still lived in their own houses. Soon, they were taken, however, to the ghetto in D~bica. The author of the photograph is Stanislaw Birecki, who, like myself, had been expelled in 1939 from the Poznan region, where there were no Jews like these." Helena Krasnodebska, Wroclaw

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Not me.

There was no datche for the Tzig, it was a post created based on the picture I found on the 'net. I was talking about THAT goat, not me, I thought you guys figured that out. I need to be more careful when I write here. I was amused by all the e-mails and IMs asking me where I'm on datche and how it's going. HaLevai I could do that; work doesn't for allow for datche now, especially not far away. By the way, you can now be notified through either Facebook or Twitter when there are updates to the blog, which happen pretty often these days, vacation not withstanding.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Eitz Chaim goes into Golus. Again.

School Photo, 2010

School Photo, 100 years ago

Full story here.

They're turning the whole Rechov Yaffo into one big "Midrachov," with no vehicular traffic allowed. So how are they supposed to bus in hundreds of children if they can't have buses there? So they're packing up and leaving. It doesn't sound like they have a plan for next year, which probably starts around Rosh Chodesh Elul; imagine needing to find a place like that on such short notice! From what I understood from watching the interview with the menahel Reb Nissen Tikotchinski, son of the legendary Reb Michel, zt"l, I see that he has no plans to sell any of the buildings in the huge compound, prime, prime real estate, to say the least. So we wait and see what happens. If you compare the two pictures you might see how the institution actually decreased considerably in size over the 100 years. We can attribute that to the change in the makeup of Yerushalayim bichlal, where no one institution had a monopoly on chinuch as was the case back then. Maybe not complete monopoly, but close to it. Eitz Chaim was THE Litvishe/Perushim institution, where Mesoras HaGro was scrupulously guarded and taught. The Chassidim had - I guess Chayei Olam - and maybe there were one or two smaller Yeshivos for either side - Toras Chaim comes to mind, but Eitz Chaim was THE cheder. Every Yerushalmi worth his salt went to cheder there. It would be the end of an era if EC could not continue.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

די ציג אויף דאטשע

גייט א טענצל מיט א "משיח'יסט" ערגעץ וואו

טא, וואו דען פארט זי און וואס דען טוט די ציג אויף דאטשע? זי גייט דארט וואו חסידישע אידן און אידענעס גייען, אויף די גלייכע בערג כאפן פרישע לופט. די ציג וויל אויך געניסן פון די פרישע לופט בכדי צו קענען איינזאפן כוחות אויף די הייליגע טעג הממשמשים ובאים. וואס פרעגט איר? פארוואס איז די ציג א "זי?" טא, וואס דען איז א ציג? א מאנסביל ציג איז א צאפ, כידוע ליודעים. און פארוואס טאנצט די ציג מיט א משיחיסט דוקא? כ'ווייס? אפשר איז ער דער איינציקער וואס האט מסכים געווען מיט מיר טאנצן. אין יעדענספאל אזוי איז די מעשה, און אויף א מעשה פרעגט מען נישט קיין קשיות. תשעה באב איז אריבער און כ'קאן זאגן אז ס'איז געווען גאנץ א "תוכן'דיגער" פאסט-טאג. געזאגט דעם גאנצן איכה און קינות ווארט ביי ווארט. נישט גערעדט קיין סאך לשון הרע, און בכלל געטראכט וועגן אהבת ישראל און דאס גלייכן. בכדי צו ערוועקן דער בענקעניש נאך דער בית המקדש איז די ציג געגאנגן זעהן א ווידעא פרעזענטאציע וועגן דער צווייטער בית המקדש פון איינעם פרידמאן. גאנץ א גוטער ארבעט, נאר די "נאראציע" וואלט געמעגט זיין אביסעלע העכער, קלארער און מיט א בעסערע שטימע. זעהט אויס אז דער ארויסגעבער האט אלץ געוואלט טוהן אליין און גארנישט אוועקגעבן פאר אן אנדערען. איז געווארן אז די בייגעלייגטע מוזיק איז געווען העכער ווי זיין שטימע און מ'האט זיך געדארפט שטארק אנשטרענגן צו הערן וואס ער זאגט. אויסער דעם איז אויך געווען צו פיל אינפארמאציע איינצוזאפן אויף איין מאל, בפרט נאך פאר אונזערע קליינע קעפעלעך. אבער ס'איז געווען זייער, זייער אינפארמאטיוו, ב"ה

Thursday, July 15, 2010

גאליציאנער שטאלץ

I remember Daled Av as the Bobover Rov HY"D's Yohrtzeit from when I was a child. In Spinka there was a very subtle Bobover influence, especially in summer camp, where many of the counselors were Bobover bachurim and yungeleit. In cheder we had a Bobover Chossid as Menahel and he would teach lots of Kemp Shalvah songs, as well as the older Bobover nigunim. Come daled Av the Bobover boocherim would pack out and head to New York or to one of the Bobover camps to prave the Yohrtzeit. If it fell out on Shabbos it was a whole Shabbos away from us kids. Anyway. Those are my childhood memories of that day. Looking back I would say that some of us were envious of the bachurim; maybe it was for all the wrong reasons, maybe it was because they got to leave camp and not us, but maybe it was because we also wanted to go to the vaunted Bobover Rebbe. Bobov was way cooler than Spinka, in the eyes of a young kid anyway. Not that we used words like "cool" back then in Spinka, but you get my point, I hope.

One can appreciate the Bobover Roov's greatness when we look back at what he accomplished back in Galicia. If my memory serves me correctly there were dozens of Bobower Jeschiwoth spread all across the Galicianer plain. Many of these boys were sons of very simple folk and had very little potential. Many, not necessarily the majority. I once heard Rabbi Dr. Hershel Fried talk about the Roov and how he would take these "Mountain Jews" who didn't own a pair of shoes and would make "mentshen" out of them. Besides for teaching them Torah he would teach them how to speak properly, teach them how to eat using cutlery - fork and KNIFE - and how to take them care of themselves. Kind of a Kovod Ho'Odom approach, but without sacrificing the Chassidishe Levush and ideals. Yes, they were jealous of him, his cousins, especially the other Sanzer Eyniklach who had very little to show as far as accomplishing in the realm of Yiddishkeit. ב א ב ו ב is Roshei Teivos "בא אחיך במרמה ויקח ברכותיך," they said. While many of the Sanzer Rov's children were still alive and well, their brother's GRANDCHILD was building Yiddishkeit and producing feine Yungeleit, talmidei chachomim, by the hundreds. He took the zeide's broches and ran with them, so to speak.

Matzeivah recently placed at the site of the mass murder outside Lemberg/Lwow. Reb Benzion Halberstam of Bobov was one of the murdered.

The Belzer Chassidim laughed at him and called him a Mechalel Shabbos because he came to shul with shiny shoes on Shabbos morning after walking home from shul on a muddy street. "It must've been that he polished them," they said. It never ocurred to them that he had a second pair... So while Belz was losing their young men and women to the ills of the day, Bobov was building. The Bobover Roov saw past the "s'nisht inzer minheg & choodesh ooser min Hatoyreh" (in this case) and confronted the ills of the times head on. It takes a big man to recognize that what he's doing is right no matter the scorn from others. We saw some of that in RBZ's son in our days, when his son took a decimated group of survivors and restored SOME of the glory here in the United States. But In America, when all groups see themselves as belonging to the same cookiecutter Yiddishkeit/Chassides it's tough to stand out and shine. Here too Bobov was the butt of many jokes among other Chassidic groups, but here they have less to point to as far as accomplishments. Less, I said, not that they have nothing. May Hashem avenge the blood of the Kedoshim, veHu Besoychom, speedily and in our days!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lakewood Checks In Loud and Clear!

A Letter from a reader:

As a big fan of your site (usually) and someone who was an askan and worked long days and nights for the success of last night's event, I could tell you that although it wasn't a Lubavitch love fest and we still have a lot of work ahead of us in coming together, there was a historical turnout. There was never such a turnout for any event in the history of Lakewood. That includes "The Gedolim from Eretz Yisroel Kabolas Panim" and the BMG tent event that gets pumped and marketed like crazy for months in advance etc. There was local traffic of over half an hour to get to the hall, the roads were like parking lots, many just turned around and went home when they saw they wont get there, others parked their cars and walked 20-30 minutes. The most amazing part was there were lines of simple, poor yungeleit (that don't drive Odysseys and have new homes) giving $100-$180 and the like. We raised over $250,000 in one night of small $ the greatest donation being $1,800. I think it deserves honorable mention at the least. We are really going all out for our Lubavitcher brother.

A Yid In Lakewood

Thank you, a Yid in Lakewood, for your report and your work on behalf of this great Mitzvah. I am pleasantly surprised that despite the fact that the sentence was handed down that people still want to participate in helping the appeal and don't want it to "just go away." What you tell me about the poor of Lakewood writing big checks is wonderful. (That has always been the case - where those that have less give more, but that's beside the point! It's still wonderful to see!) I'm also happy to hear - yes, happy - that Rabbi Waxman from ireinu Monsey mentioned the fact that nobody would but is on lots of peoples' minds: namely why are we helping this Lubavitcher if we soooo oppose what they do and what he believes?! It was a very smart move. People today never speak what's on their minds, and Rabbi Waxman was a breath of fresh air. Where the askonim, P. Lipschutz and all the others have the strength to persevere veist nor der eiberhster, and may he give them alot more where that came from!

Cute, 2 BMG Roshei Yeshivah watching a "Chabadsker Yungerman" speak in Lakewood...

א בראך אויף בראנדייס'ן

David Assaf's book, now in English for all to see, just when you thought it was gone and forgotten. Actually Tuvia's here in Monsey makes sure to have a fresh supply of that and every other Chasidim or Lubavitch-bashing book at all times, so it's not forgotten by all people. Tuvia is sort of a one-man band when it comes to fighting the perceived enemies of all that he holds dear. I still don't get over the fact that most Lubavitch haters are very excited by the new information they learned about Chabad, yet either ignore or dismiss the other parts - especially if it deals with a sect close to their heart, like Belz, for instance. At least the guys on the outside, like the ex-frummies, buy the whole lot of it. Whatever you say at least they're consistent. The problem I foresee is that in the Hebrew version you need to be somewhat of a learned person to understand and form an opinion - if Hebrew isn't your native tongue, that is - but now anybody can read it, Jews and non-Jews alike, and that can't be good for the Jews.

Monday, July 12, 2010

בני איש אחד נחנו

האדמו"ר ר' דוד פרידמאן מפלויעשט זצ"ל (עומד) עם אחיו האדמו"ר ר'יצחק פרידמאן מבוהוש זצ"ל

You guys know there's a double standard when it comes to Lubavitch, and I've come to expect and accept it. That's the world we live in. So there's no need for "Russian Choosid" or anybody else to get their tail in a knot trying to make him more universally acceptable. The Bohusher, Boyaner, (I'm not saying he was) Sadigerrer and any other Rebbe or Rov who slipped under the zealots' radar will stay that way biz Moshiach's toog.

אזוי וויל דער אייבערשטער

Saturday, July 10, 2010

the little man from Groswardein

Yehuda Klein was his name. Born in Groswardein, Transylvania, home of the Vizhnitzer Court between the two wars, he nevertheless drifted to a Litvishe derech, having learned in one such "Litvishe" Yeshivah in his hometown. He was drafted into Munkatabor. He made aliyah and fought in the War of Independence. Klein was too "galuti," so Amital was how "er hut zich geshribben" from now on. He built a Yeshiveh, and invited RIETS's (and maybe YRCB's too...) greatest product - Rav Ahron Lichtenstein - to join him, not worrying about RAL stealing the spotlight. He raised thousands of Talmidim who loved him dearly. He passed away early Friday at the age of 85. It's funny how we think of all Hungarians toeing the line and following shitas Satmar or shittas HaChasam Sofer VeTalmidov. Hungarian frum Zionists/Mizrachi are few and far between in my circles. Apparently some people didn't like the fact that people like Bibi and Shimon Peres had nice things to say about him upon his passing; that somehow told these people "all they needed to know about him." They cared nothing for what he did in life.

People are weird. I often stay away from them.

See More

Friday, July 9, 2010

בוהוש = אהבת ישראל וארצי-ה

You doubted - some of you, anyway - where the Buhusher Rebbe's loyalty lay. Here's a little something to help you make up your mind. The letter is of a personal nature, so I cut it in half for obvious reasons. On the bottom we have the current Rebbe with his zeide. He was obviously enthralled by his esteemed grandfather, as it should be. Have a wonderful Shabbos.

UPDATE 7/11/10 - 2:52pm:

Here - in the top right corner - we have the right and left side of the letter, so that you get the full effect of the stationery...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

bagoly mondja verébnek, hogy nagyfejű ("the owl tells the sparrow that it is big-headed" - Hungarian Proverb)

ahn alter Yid amohl

So 50 Roshei Yeshiva called this very urgent meeting last (Tuesday) night, where they discussed a very burning issue. The issue was concerning a very distressing trend, where good bachurim make very high demands of prospective shidduchim - hundreds of thousands of dollars, often, as well as an apartment in one of the big cities. The tattes that want these good bocherim often have no choice - I guess NEEDING to have the best bocher leaves you no choice... - and commit themselves to raising that money; mostly, or completely, by shnorr aktzyes. After all, who's little princess isn't worth getting a heart attack over... The end result is utter catastrophe, as you can all well imagine. You have old men shlepping to chutz La'Aretz several times a year to collect money for children who have eyniklach of their own because they had to promise astronomical sums to these bachurim'lach ages ago. If you have a large family - G-d help you, you'll never, ever get out of debt. Not in a million years. OK, so they decided that they need to bring an end to this. Very good, you say, right? The only problem is this:

They're the ones who created this system!!!!

Part of the great solution to this problem has been a group called - get this - שהשמחה במעונו, where if you join this group you commit yourself to not spending more than 40K(!) per child when marrying them off ----------- These yungeleit, who happen to be from Kolel Ponovezh, decided that enough was enough, and that they're taking action, so as to save - literally - fathers from dying of heart attacks. Forty Thousand Dollars per child. Read that again. Now ask yourself: where does a kolel yungerman, or a successful American businessman for that matter, have forty thousand dollars to spend every year for several years?! He needs to marry off children one after another very often, he has that money sitting around somewhere? from his Kolel check? So why is Forty thousand OK to ask for, but seventy five not? The point is that the whole system is a death wish, starting from the not working to the expecting big money come wedding time. I can understand the learning MiToch HaDchak, but who came up with the one-two punch of not working and needing to spend money come Shidduchim?!

I haven't heard what these Roshei Yeshiva decided, but I imagine that no great resolutions were passed. Nothing revolutionary, that is. It wasn't decided that bachurim should go to the army and go to work, and rightfully so. It wasn't decided that young couples need to move out of town and only rent apartments, not have their parents buy them, like the Lev Simcha of Ger did years ago. Maybe they adopted a resolution similar to the Simcha B'Meono group, where they limit the amount that each side spends. Is that enough? Maybe there's something I'm missing here. Maybe there's an unlimited amount of money in Israel and I'm just not in on it. Maybe to raise/collect/borrow/shnorr forty thousand a year 7-810-12 times is no big deal for the people of Yerushalayim and Bene Beraq. Vos veis ich? I hope you realize why I used that proverb in this post. I just didn't see the avlah in asking for 100 thousand. If you can't afford it don't commit to it, just like a house or a car.

May we hear only simchas ba yidden...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

מנהג אבותינו אינו בידינו לע"ע





Ruzhin? Tchernobyl? Lelov? Kanoyim now? These were the carriers of the torch of Ahavas Yisroel as far as I remember. They did the nice way, not by yelling at hired cops and throwing stones and burning garbage. The old Buhusher (the current one's zeide) was a Mizrachi party member - or at least voted Beit in the Israeli elections. Rachmastrivker Rebbes have been in Israel for 4 generations - or is it 5? - and never have they been part of the Kanoyim brigades! The Lelover Rebbes may have been super frum but never have I seen them go out there and be mekayem Mitzvas Macho'eh like this. Now far be it from me to tell these Rebbes what to do, but what gets me is how - especially the Tchernobler (Rachmastrivkeh and Tchernobel) Rebbes are sooo stringent and careful about sticking to their fathers' and grandfathers' minhogim when it comes to the little things, Yet when it comes to deviating from the ways of their fathers and zeides in a major policy issue they have no problem treading a new path. Not that it REALLY matters in me balancing my own checkbook and paying my bills, it just makes for interesting conversation. Somehow the Jaffa graves situation - maybe because we live in an Electronic Age - has stayed on the Charedi front burner, and I guess these younger Rebbes want to take part in it too. Kol HaKavod that they go and do their part and are not yotze with sending bachurim and unemployed yungeleit.

The current Buhusher was always known to more of a Kano'i, even very close to shittas Satmar. I'm not sure how that happened, with him being a Ruzhiner eynikel and all. Maybe one of you guys can fill us in.

Reb Duvid'l Rachmastrivker has swung far to the right of late, even stopping to take Government funds recently, due to his strong Satmarer following and to the funding he gets from them. His Yeshiveh in Yerushalayim has recently become somewhat of a haven for Satmarer bachurim. Oyb azoi we can understand why he went out there.

The Lelover and Tchernobler Rebbes going out there is a total mystery to me.