Last week we published A letter from Reb Shulem Foygel, Gabbai of the previous Belzer Rov, zt"l, to the latter's niece, the Rebbetzin Traneh Twersky of ניו סקווירא. The letter was chock full of Chassidishe GEFIELEN and derheren, In other words how a Chossid looks at a Tzaddik such as the BR, and especially how one looks at the said Tzaddik and Rebbe at a time of war, such as was the case in 1956. Many of my English-only speaking brethren felt left out and voiced those feelings to me in e-mails and via Google Talk. מה עשה הקב"ה? despite the fact that I did not have the time to do it myself, we did have a volunteer who took upon himself the monumental task of translating Foygel's letter, no easy task. Many of our Satmar brethren didn't take very well to the letter, and some voiced their very strong opinions about it in the comments section. What bothered them was what RSF saw as "Rebbishe Inyonim," they saw as a lack of "leadership skills," something they say that their Rebbe possessed very strongly. There was more, but there's no need to repeat all their heretical thoughts here. So now, without further ado, I present to you a free translation, somewhat literal, of the letter to Rebbetzin Twersky.
We thank Mr. Ende Tsadik for his hard work.
Translation by "Ende Tsadik" – exclusively for Circus Tent
Sunday, Mikeitz [5717/1956]
Peace and Greetings to the honor of the Rebbetzin, the Righteous and Modest, Daughter of the Sanctified, the Renown Mrs. Trana, Tlit"a
After greetings of peace and well being I hereby write to you that boruch Hashem all is in order with her uncle the Graceful Holiness (GH) the Admor Shlita and he is boruch Hashem well. The widespread reports that the GH the Admor Shlita did not lead any tishn on Shabbos Kodesh are rebbishe matters; no one can do anything about it. Although I have been with the GH the Admor Shlita for a long time and I have seen similar conduct before, now it is different. Now it happens for longer periods and it has never happened that he should not lead the Shabbos meals. It is all due to the times and not because, G-d forbid, the GH the Admor Shlita is in fear.
I can only share with you an example. When I arrived in the winter there was still a bit of a war going on in Israel, and one Friday I saw how the GH the Admor Shlita was very occupied. The Rebbetzin was not there yet [i.e. they were not yet married - ET] and it took a long time till the kindling of the candles, till the GH the Admor Shlita entered to light the candles without having had anything to drink, not even some coffee. Only after candle lighting did he drink something and then davened tefilas Shacharis, because in Israel they light the candles according to the Jerusalem calculations which works out at 40 minutes prior to sunset and therefore he was still able to put on Tefilin. We are of course troubled by the GH the Admor Shlita's conduct. But we have tried different approaches and not always do we succeed because the GH the Admor Shlita will not be swayed.
This Shabbos Kodesh it was quite intense. By that I mean that Shabbos Koidesh in the evening [Friday night] they davened on time and the tish was also as usual. By contrast, Shabbos Koidesh by day it was again like the current times. First the GH the Admor Shlita sat in his room for long periods managing his [Rebbishe] affairs. Two and a half hours after the time of candle-lighting on Friday he came in to make the daytime kiddush of Shabbos, and then the tish also went on for a long time. Everything was prolonged. Sholoish seudos took several hours, to the extent that it ended when it was light outside, and by the time havdoleh was over it was properly light. This has never happened before. This was the first time. Of course we must pray for the GH the Admor Shlita's health that this shouldn't affect his health because the effort of the divine service is very intense. There is little sleep and several nights can pass and the GH the Admor Shlita doesn't wash for a meal even in the evening. I am therefore writing to you again that we are doing all we can, we try every method but it ultimately depends on the times. Of course G-d should help that it should completely quiet down when we hope that this will not occur. (translation unclear - HT)
The GH the Admor Shlita currently makes few enquiries about politics but the times are noticeable all around him. Despite that no newspapers are read one can see on the GH the Admor Shlita that Jews throughout the world are in desperate need of help. There is a midrash in Parshas Vayishlach that the shevotim relied on the powers of that elder, Yakov Ovinu. Although Yakov Ovinu did not order them to wage war on the town of Shchem, but since Shimon and Levi were fighting a battle Yakov Ovinu said that he could not allow his children to fall into the hands of the nations. So Yakov Ovinu girded himself and waged a battle. This is what we see with the GH the Admor Shlita: although he is not agreeable to wars but since they have started one the GH the Admor Shlita prays that, G-d forbid, not a single Jew should come to harm...
Now regarding the Rebbetzin's enquiry about travelling, although in previous years there was a greater danger because according to newspaper reports Nasser ym"sh was planning to start a war, G-d forbid, on the Jews and at that time there were requests from abroad, from Antwerp, that the GH the Admor Shlita should get himself a passport and leave the country for Antwerp, nevertheless the GH the Admor Shlita would not agree although there is some divided opinion on the matter. Firstly, traveling is no simple matter for the GH the Admor Shlita and it may be as dangerous as not traveling, because how would he travel? The GH the Admor Shlita absolutely refuses to travel with an airplane and it is impossible to travel by sea, especially due to changing weather conditions.
We are very pleased that with G-d's help the GH the Admor Shlita walks about the house, that now at this age, may he live many days, he should be mobile. The GH the Admor Shlita's attendants are of great benefit to the GH the Admor Shlita's well being, as they are used to him and he is used to them and should he travel they would be prevented by law from accompanying him. Generally, leaving Israel is very questionable due to the GH the Admor Shlita's health and the stress of travelling, especially at this age. Then the question arises, where does one travel to. To Europe? A few weeks ago and perhaps even now there was more panic and fear in Europe than there is in Israel.
Then there is the issue that how does one travel if no other Rebbe is travelling. For instance, your mechuten the Vizhnitzer Rebbe who has a family does not intend to travel, and likewise others, so the GH the Admor Shlita should run off? One must also be aware that there are few Belzer chasidim in Israel but nonetheless the entire Jewry look up to the GH the Admor Shlita. Should the GH the Admor Shlita abandon Israel it will break their hearts and cause great fear to all the Jews of Israel. It will be said that since the GH the Admor Shlita is leaving it is a sign that the outlook for Israel is, G-d forbid, not good. When he was in Poland etc. the situation of klal yisorel was always taken into account and he did not just think of himself despite that the GH the Admor Shlita had a family at the time. Alas he risked everything because klal yisroel was taken into consideration. When he had to rescue himself he came to Israel so now when klal yisroel in Israel needs help will he run away...? Israel is acquainted with miracles and G-d will not forsake Israel. The GH the Admor Shlita's current conduct is not because he is in a state of shock, G-d forbid. I am certain that had he been abroad his conduct would have been no different because these are Rebbishe matters. He is informed that the world is in need of salvation and he feels for the nation of Israel and one does not flee from Israel.
One other thing, if the GH the Admor Shlita were to travel, then whichever of the great men who might follow will have an excuse that the Belzer Rov has given orders to travel. Who can take upon himself this responsibility? Trust me, I have no interest in the matter because if he were to travel then please G-d I and my family will also travel. I might even do better than in Israel especially now that during these weeks I am unable to admit people with kvitlech. Last week I admitted a few people with kvitlech, but one cannot escape the truth of the general rule that it is preferable to remain seated and not act, sit and do not seek to improve. Israel is conducive to longevity and may G-d indeed help that we should be able to welcome the Messiah with the GH the Admor Shlita speedily in our days, amen.
During the war in Israel there were several sirens during those few days and the GH the Admor Shlita went into the bomb shelter in the GH the Admor Shlita's basement. It made no impression on him, G-d forbid. I spent all the nights with the GH the Admor Shlita and I did not sleep at home so that the GH the Admor Shlita should be more assured and not be left alone with the bochurim. My children were slightly worried and I brought them to the GH the Admor Shlita so that they could spend the night with the GH the Admor Shlita.
As to the American bochurim, the GH the Admor Shlita tells no one what to do in respect of travel, whether to travel or not. Many bochurim have left and those who have not left it’s because they don't want to…
It will shortly be Chanukah and we hope that Jews will again merit miracles and the GH the Admor Shlita will surely bring about for klal yisroel all varieties of salvation…
From me the Gabbe,