Wednesday, July 27, 2011
The Spinker Rebbe of Yerushalayim, Reb Mordche Duvid Kahana, zt"l, was niftar yesterday. Most people never really knew him. He had a tiny shul on Rehov Salant in Meah Shearim, and if you blinked you could miss it walking by. (This is not the Spinka I grew up in, in case you're wondering.) RMD was a great-grandson of the late Rav Nachman Kahana, Rov of Spinka, the author of the "Orchos Chaim," who was a SIL of the Imrei Yosef, the first Spinker Rebbe, and who traced his yichus, ben achar ben, to the Baal Kuntres HaSfeikos, the brother of the "Ketzos." (The same Kahanas who fought the Teitelbaum Rabbonim in Sighet...) RMD was known - those that knew him - as a Masmid and Talmid Chochom who was on staff - like his father before him - of the Otzar HaPoskim, meaning he worked for a living... On another, more cosmetic note, he was one of the last Rebbes who would smoke in public, mostly because he could not go for more than a few minutes without a cigarette. על פי דרך הטבע you might say that the smoking killed him, since he suffered terribly the last few years, but he never could kick the habit...
The Spinka Rebbe was known as an Ish HaShalom who never - or rarely - got involved in politics. Despite being very Conservative when it came to his own life and family, he never took that to others, meaning he never yelled and screamed that all others were living in sin by doing what they do. In politics he also was not heard from, although the Eda HaCharedis saw his as of their own. However, he was heard from when it came to the danger of giving land to Arab Terrorists/Hamas, and he was part of the group "Vaad HoRabbonim L'Inyonei Pikuach Nefesh," a Rabbinical group that saw it as its mission to make known to the world the dangers of giving land to Arabs/Terrorists. Which makes perfect sense, since JEWISH lives should be beyond politics, and whether or not you're a Zionist shouldn't matter. The fact that the group is dominated by Lubavitcher Rabbonim also didn't seem to bother him, or the Erlauer Rov, shlit"a, or Rav Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg, SIL of the late Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt"l. They too were very active in the group, despite its "Lubavitcher connotations."
Which brings me to the issue at hand. Many of you nice people complained about the lack of coverage that Chabad sites gave and continue to give to the passing of Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbonim in the Charedi world. That proves to you that Chabad is "outside the realm." Whatever that means. To tell you the truth I was a bit surprised at all the coverage he got in all the Chabad websites, maybe I've been influenced by some of you here. It seemed like pandering to me, or that he pandered to us so we'll pander back... But then I realized that we all do this, not just Lubavitch. "ער איז געווען דבוק אין רביה"ק זי"ע" is a common line when it comes to obituaries in the Satmar-Yiddish press, which is "code" for "he was worthy of an obituary in our paper." In the Litvishe press they would write "מרן ראש ישיבה אמר עליו שכל כולל חזו"א עומד בזכותו," or something like that. So in Lubavitch "code" that would translate into "הי' מקושר בלו"נ לכ"ק אדמו"ר זי"ע." In the Spinka Rebbe's case; I guess Lubavitchers also liked the fact that he was a Talmid of the Yeshiva Toras Emes in Yerushalayim and that he would attend 19 Kislev functions at the Lubavitcher shul on Rehov Baal HaTanya. As much as we'd like to think that we're different we're very much the same. So maybe Lubavitch is "in the realm" after all...
COL on his passing
Another story on COL about his connection to Rabbonei Pikuach Nefesh
Shturem also has the Pikuach Nefesh angle
As well as blurb about him learning in Toras Emes Chabad in Yerushalayim