Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Read this book and you'll see why what's happening in Bobov today is a crying shame
We've written about Bobov and their accomplishments in Galicia before, but this is more like a book review than anything else. I borrowed this oldie but goodie from a family member and read some of it over Shabbos. It's even difficult to put down at times. So allow me to share some thoughts as to what Bobov was and what's happening in Bobov today; and why, like we say in the header, it's a crying shame.
Many other chassidim laugh at Bobov. Mostly for all the wrong reasons - but still, they laugh. ס'איז גרינג צו לאכען אויף יענעם. I know, I do it all the time. But read this book, written by a biased chossid, of course, and you'll get a true appreciation of what Bobov was before the war. Of what they accomplished in Galicia while others just thumbed their noses at them but did little to build Yiddishkeit. The story of survival during WWII is also a great lesson in hashgocha protis, as well as in emunah and bitachon, but that's not so much the point, although it's a as good a mussar sefer as any. This may sound like a bad cliche, but it does take you back to that time! You feel like you're there with the Ruv when he's attacked by the Hallerchiks in their post-War pogroms. You're there with him when he rebuilds his yeshiva and expands the network. You're there when he sees chassidim with real conundrums, such as do I do this shidduch or that one? do I go to Canada and make a living or stay here? how do I get out of the legal mess I'm in?! Besides for appreciating his persona and accomplishments you also grow fond of his family large family. The sons, the daughters, the sons-in-law, even the grandkids. If you'd met them on the street you'd think that you're best friends with them... The trials and tribulations during WW2, the ups and downs, the countless miracles, the hashgochoh protis that was with them every step of the way, even when the result was not good. The joy upon seeing those who managed to survive, the sadness of seeing those who did not --- you live through it, plain and simple.
At the end of the book, after seeing what the Nazis ימ"ש did to Bobov, we get to see what was rebuilt in the US, as well in the rest of the Jewish world. We see the familiar landmarks, the big buildings, the people who helped make it happen, and some of the people who are mentioned in the pre-War chapters of the book. We see how they survived the horrors and managed to build beautiful families as well as be active in the rebuilding of Bobov. Then it hits you! You see what was destroyed by the Nazis and what was rebuilt and you see what's happening now in Bobov, the years of fighting and a din torah that was a shande, first and foremost, and you grab your head in your hands! This isn't what people died for. They call themselves Bobov?! I have no skin in the game, I have no friends nor family in Bobov, but I do root for the underdog here, especially seeing the viciousness with which they've been treated since before Day 1, i.e. before the Ruv, Reb Naftul'che, passed away. They never agreed for him to be Ruv in the first place - him, the oldest son! He stood in the way of their little tchachkele, the kid from Krenitz, I mean קראנהייטס, mit di sheine gelokerte pay'alach.
ah, the din torah. Far be it from to sit here and criticize rabbonim who conduct dinei torah. I have no experience with dinei torah. I've never needed to take anybody to DT. But many of you have, and unfortunately, anybody that ever lost a DT swears that the Rabbonim were on the take. [otherwise there's no logical explanation why they'd lose...] Here, however, it's tough to say that the Rabbonim were on the take since BOTH sides made so much money! But nevertheless, anybody on the outside, who has no real dog in this race, will tell you that - with all due respect, of course - the psak stinks! It stinks because of all the hard work that the late Reb Naftul'che put in. The tears, sweat, blood and even threats to his life that he gave to build Bobov for his father and for the chassidim. It stinks that his descendants, who he definitely would have wanted to be in charge, only get the scraps that beis din threw them. And most of all because the צד שני did very little to deserve what beis din gave him. Did little to build the institutions, to carry the debt, to endure the sleepless nights and meetings with bank managers. Other than the hallowed Halberstam name, that is. In the end, after all is settled, the 45 people will probably grow bigger and stronger because of what was done to them. So says me, עפר ואפר. סינא טינא.