Friday, July 24, 2015

Guest Post - Being Menachem Avel משפחת קטלר - by Rabbi Isser Z. Weisberg

I went to be menachem ovel the Kotler family today at the modest home of their mother Rebbetzin Rishel a"h at 515 5th St. in Lakewood. Incidentally the Rebbetzin would always mention to members of my wife's family, the Schochets, that they were related and the families were close (exactly how, I could not ascertain). I came together with Reb Nochum Kaplan, who now serves as the head of the "Central Office of Education" of Chabad in Crown Heights. R' Kaplan started his career as the principal of the Bezalel Hebrew Day School in Lakewood almost 40 years ago. He was reminiscing with the Kotler family about the early years of Lakewood and his close and warm relationship with Reb Shneur and the Rebbetzin z"l. (They were also related somehow). Incidentally R' Nochum was one of the first to introduce me to the world of Chabad while I was learning in Lakewood. While there in the Rebbetzin's home I snapped a picture of the famous list of the founding 13 talmidim which was hanging on her kitchen wall for over 50 years. (The number 15 quoted from the NYT in Wikipedia is incorrect). The Yeshiva opened its doors for the Pesach zman of 5703, hence, the list indicates summer 1943. This list was created for the Draft Board, and lists in which yeshiva each talmid obtained their 4D status. (which is the exemption for ministers & divinity students.

(See Here).























The first on the list is Reb Yisroel Kanarek z"l founder of Peekskill Yeshiva and the last is my father z"l, Reb Yaakov Weisberg. If I am not mistaken my father is the only one of the group born in America. From the book "The Legacy of Moran Rav Aharon Kotler (Dershowitz)" p. 74: "Rabbi Yaakov Weisberg was the very first American bochur to "hear" the Rosh Yeshiva's public call to Bnei Torah to "forge a new link" in the chain of Oskim BaTorah Lishmoh and join the fledgling Lakewood Yeshiva. He was a Talmid Chochem of note who loved and built Torah. Loved and did countless Chassodim (with devotion, Simcha, and true modesty) for countless individuals."

45 comments:

Love your blog said...

What happened to the picture ?

JS said...

Rav Shmuel Scheinberg (R' C"P's younger brother) was born in America.

JS said...

Reb Pesach Cohen was also born in US.

see the article at the bottom of this page http://www.serenacohen.com/mir/pictures.html.

There's also a picture there of Reb Pesach with R' Shmuel Scheinberg.

Isser Zalman said...

Thank you JS for correcting my error. Can you please identify all the others (besides R' Nosson) and where they ended up?

kidor said...

The 'velt' says that IZ Weisberg was sent to rescue Rabbi Heller from Chabad, yet fell in himself. Is there any truth to this?

Anonymous said...

I heard the carlebach brthrs were also among the first talmidim

Anonymous said...

I dont think its nice to exploit a shiva visit like this

dovy said...

Rabbi Adolph Katz is Rav Osher Katz zt"l who later served as Executive Director of BMG. (the executive posts in BMG were always held by big talmidei chochomim who had Rav Aharon's value system such as Rav Katz, Rav Finkelstein and Rav Barnetsky until you know who usurped power in 1997 and changed the title to CEO.)
Rabbi Max Yoffe zt"l is father of Rav Boruch Ber Yoffe shlita. IIRC he was sent by Rav Aharon to open a yeshiva in Kansas City.
Moses Eisemann is Hagaon Rav Moshe Eisemann zt"l, Rosh Yeshiva in Vineland and very close talmid of Rav Aharon. Father of Rav Meir (Rov of Bais Dovid-Ridge), Rav Osher (SCHI), Rav Yechiel, Rav Binyomin (Rosh Yeshiva of a small yeshiva in Lakewood) and Rav Yankel (talmid of Rav Dovod Soloveitchik for many years).

Kovner said...

Rabbi Harry Genauer is R' Hirsh Genauer zt"l Hy"d, who was a SIL of R' Pilchik zt"l, the "father" of Stolin chassidus in America. He moved to EY in the '50s and was killed by an Arab. He is the FIL of the famous meshichist R' Volpe.

Isser Zalman said...

thanks dovy.
Can someone please finish the details of the first 13?
1. Israel Kanarek - Reb Yisroel Kanarek - founder of Peekskill Yeshiva
2. Rabbi Adolph Katz - Reb Osher Katz who later served as one of the Executive Directors of BMG.
3. Rabbi Max Yoffe - father of Rav Boruch Ber Yoffe. He was sent by Rav Aharon to open a yeshiva in Kansas City. What was Max’s Jewish name?
4. Reb Nosson Wachtfogel
5. Irving Hoffman - ?
6. Samual Sheinberg - Reb Shmuel Scheinberg (R' Chaim Pinchos’ younger brother) went to Mir in Europe with R’ Pesach Cohen. Where did he go from them there?
7. Paul Cohen - Reb Pesach Cohen – details of his life are here www.serenacohen.com/mir/
8. Rabbi Harry Genauer - ?
9. Rabbi Israel Bergstein - ?
10. Moses Eisemann is Reb Moshe Eisemann, Rosh Yeshiva in Vineland. Father of Reb Meir (Rov of Bais Dovid - Ridge), Reb Osher (SCHI) etc.
11. Hirsch Kaplan - ?
12. Louis J. Isbee - ?
13. Jacob H. Weisberg - Reb Yankel Weisberg (how did the H get in?) “Yad Yeminoi of the Rosh Yeshiva” (a title coined by Reb Shneur) and founder (together with Reb Sholom Dov Ber Lipshitz) of Pe’elim (which later branched into Lev L’Achim and Yad L’Achim). Incidentally in many bio’s of Lipshitz (see for example http://www.shturem.org/index.php?section=news&id=51889 - “he founded Pe'elim with a brocho from the Frierdiker Rebbe”) he is credited as the sole founder, neglecting to mention my father as co- founder (with the brocha of Reb Isser Zalman).
Incidentally when tension mounted about the direction of Pe’elim (after the original mandate - to try to save the Sefardim and Yaldei Teimon etc. from the clutches of the secular Zionists - expired) Rav Hutner suggested to my father to go to the Rebbe to see if he can make sholom. My father was in Yechdus but it didn’t work out and that’s when it split into two.

Kovner said...

Rabbi Yisroel Bergstein was the SIL of the Divrei Yechezkel of Slabodka. When WW II started he was able to leave Lita since he had a Canadian (or American) passport, but his wife and child couldn't. He tried unsuccessfully to have them saved, but they were killed together with the kedoshim of Slabodka. He eventually remarried and had a son, Shimon, who is a rosh Kolel in Yerushalayim.

Kovner said...

To Rabbi IZ Weisberg:
I'm sure after what you wrote in your blog, many of us readers would like to ask you the following question. Since your father zt"l was so close to R' Aron Kotler zt"l I'm sure you received from him a very positive picture of RAK zt"l. We all know what Lubavitch thinks of him. So what did you teach your children???

Kovner said...

Incidentally, R' Noson Wachtfogel zt"l would relate that the Stoliner Rebbe zt"l tried to prevent R' Hersh Genuaer zt"l from moving to EY, but didn't explain himself, and at the time it was puzzling. R' Nosson would add that he's sure that the Stoliner Rebbe zt"l saw "bruach kodsho" what would happen and that's why he tried to stop him.

mo tendler said...

so yea r'aron was against college, why did this tzdikes a"h send her daughters to college ?

Kovner said...

Her daughters did not go to college.

mote said...

oh.

yom tov in der vochen said...

Firstly
A yasher koiach to R'Isser Zalman, for visiting!
*A special bakosha from the oilem to be nice, because we don't get such nice, interesting "yeshivishe" Lubavitchers every day, and we don't want to scare him away!

If I may add to Kovners' question, respectfully.
Many of the readers have seen some of posts on the blog with "accusations" regarding the time in Shanghai.Unfortunately many Lubavitchers have the wrong facts.Fact number one is that, unfortunately one bochur from the Lubavitcher yeshiva died,his name was Chanowitz and he was sickly even in Vilna.(not "many" like you may hear from amatuer "historians") The Mirrer yeshiva lost a few boys to illness, one of them was Arbuz and a kovetz was given out lezichroi in Shanghai.Even Rebbetzen Rishel Kotler, came to America sick, ad kdei kach that they were not sure if she could bear children.
Additionally, the man Lubavitch wanted to have a din torah with, after the War, if im correct was not R'Aharon.Another misconception was that money was "wasted" on printing seforim.Actually the Lubavitcher yeshiva in Shanghai also printed seforim.
I don't want to get into a debate with 20/20 hindsight, but want to know if and what you have done to help bury the hatchet between Chabad and BMG a machloikes I feel is a bit one sided.I can personally attest to speaking to R'Schragi about Lubavitch and not feeling even one whiff of resentment .In fact when R'Motty Ashkenazi zl was photographed in Lakewood on a visit he had come to visit R'Shragi, since he was a cousin of Shragis wife, who is a great grandaughter of RMeir Ashenazi, rov of Shanghai.

yom tov in der vochen said...

My guess for #12 Louis J. Isbee, would be R'Yehuda leib Isbee, father of R'Yitzchok zl,Rov of Agudath Israel Bais Binyamin ,a big shul in Flatbush.I believe he was the brother in law of R'Gedalya Schorr

Suri said...

R mordche yoffe was the real name. How I z weissberg ended up a lubab is a long story. I once heard that the kotlers used to say reb yankel weissberg. " of all your children did it have to be the one named user zalmen become a lubavicher ? " of course it was a joke as he had no control over what happened very chavall all de avden. Also in the leibewitz family from kamenitz hagoan rav Chaim sheloma shelieta has a brother who went off to lubavitch

Gedalya said...

Well
R'issr Zalmans sister married a BMG grad who eventually became Lubavitch

Gedalya said...

"The 'velt' says that IZ Weisberg was sent to rescue Rabbi Heller from Chabad, yet fell in himself. Is there any truth to this?"

Doubt that's true.
I think R'Isser Zalman went from Philly to Lubavitch,no?
R'Heller learned by R'Dovid Soloveichik.I think that R'Ezra Schochat may have learned with R'Heller there,though.Not sure

Isser Zalman said...

Thank you everyone for identifying most of the original 13. We are left with Irving Hoffman and Hirsch Kaplan. Anybody?
Details of my life and journey to Chabad I am leaving for my forthcoming book "From Lakewood to Lubavitch and Back". (No. I did not leave Chabad. To the contrary, my exposure to Toras Chabad has afforded me a much deeper appreciation for limud haTorah lishmo, which is the underlying essence of what Lakewood represents.

Kovner said...

Irving Hoffman is R' Yitzchok Hoffman zt"l. Here is a copy of what a grandson of his posted at kevorim.com:
My grandfather, Rav Yitzchok Hoffman, was from the original 8 talmidim who started the kolel in White Plains and then moved on to Lakewood. My grandmother told me how Rabbi Bishko first approached my grandfather in Williamsburg that he was putting together a group to start the kolel in White Plains which he did and for some reason they couldn’t stay too long in White Plains so they moved to Lakewood. At the time it was called Bais Medrash Gavoha Kolel Kovna and Rabbi Bishko was considered the Rosh and Meyased of the Kolel. Once they were in Lakewood they decided to look for Gadol to be the Rosh Kolel. First they asked Rav Yechiel Michel Gordon to come and he left after a short period of time. Then a delegation, my grandfather among them, went to ask Rav Ahron to come. I have the original Yeshiva stationary that lists Rabbi Bishko as the Founder and Rav Ahron as the Rosh Kolel of Bais Medrash Gavoha Kolel Kovna. Shortly thereafter there was a dispute between Rabbi Bishko and Rav Ahron regarding the mehalech halimud in the yeshiva. Rav Ahron felt it should be pilpul and Rabbi Bishko felt it should be quicker,similar to they way it was in Europe. Ultimately Rav Ahron won this dispute as he felt the bochurim would get more of a geshmak in the learning if they learnt derech pilpul. Today BMG and all the mosdos stemming from Lakewood proves his decision to be prophetic. Rabbi Bishko moved away from Lakewood as a result of that dispute. However after all is said and done we have to thank Rabbi Bishko for founding the base of Torah in America and thank Hashem for putting the Rosh Yeshiva Rav Ahron Zt’l at the helm

Kovner said...

I guess that "Hirsh Kaplan" is Rav Tzvi Kaplan, son of R' Yisroel Chaim Kaplan, who was the SIL of R' Yeruchem Levovitz zt"l. He was an uncle of the current more famous R' Tzvi Kaplan of Brisk.

yericum said...

Yo, you guys are real boring cold lutvaks, i mean an ashes cuver died, their must be some legacies some episodes of massim tovim? who c.ares who knew who or who thumped whom .

Suri said...

Yericum I don't those last 3 words and they have no mokom here. As for IZW book I can't wait to see it
Most people who make radical changes in there life, are tzorich ieyun gadol via hameiven yovin

yom tov in der vochen said...

r'isser zalman,
i guess you are serious about writing an autobiography.when is it going to be published?what does from 'lakewood to lubavitch and BACK" mean. u still live in toronto, don't u? and your plans for the lubavitcher yeshiva lemetzuyonim never actually came about.so in what way are you back in lakewood?i'm sure you visit and come to family simchas, but i doubt that is what you mean

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

YTIDV:

Reb Isser Z lives in Lakewood for some years now

yom tov in der vochen said...

Oh, i did not know.Interesting.
Does he teach there or somewhere around there?
Whatever.I wish him gezunt un nachas in his newer place of residence

yankel said...

Kovner, your Bishko story is amusing and slightly connected to the truth. The yeshiva was indeed started by Reb Hillel Bishko and when they were looking for a serious Rosh Yeshiva, they asked a few Gedolei talmidei chachomim who would only come on condition the money would not be their responsibility. Reb Aaron, correctly understanding that the money and the ruchniyus are all one, agreed on condition he WOULD be in charge of the money. When they agreed to join, Reb Aaron understood that Rabbi Bishko would continue as administrator, whereas Rabbi Bishko understood he would be a partner Rosh Yeshiva. They went to Beis Din by the Agudas HoRabbonim, where Reb Moshe presided and was mechayev Reb Aaron to pay Rabbi Bishko a large sum of money, which he did.

Kovner said...

Yankel, if you look up the website kevarim.com there is more than I copied. Apparently, RAK zt"l requested of R' Hutner zt"l to go to the grave of R Bishko a day after he (RAK)die and daven there,which R Hunter did! It appears that the purpose was to appease R Bishko. IIRC I heard years back from another source that R Bishko never came to terms with his ouster.

a kotzker chosid... said...

ר' איסר זלמן,
איך מיין אז עס פאסט נישט פאר א ליובאוויצר חסיד צו שרייבען א בוך וועגען זיך. עס שמעקט פון ישות, און נאר זאך ניט אפ אז דו מיינסט לשם שמים!

מילכאוויצער said...


יהללוך זר, א פרעמדער זאל דיך לויבן, ולא - אין אויב נישט - פיך. לויב דיך אליין. זאגט די וועלט

הלא תטיב. - האסט גיטוהן א גיטע זאך - שאת. - מעגסט דיך הייבן! - איי גיאות? זאגט ער, אם לא תיטיב שאת. - אז די וועסט זיך נישט הייבן דערמוט - לפתח חטאת רובץ. וועסט ווערן בעצבות! איז שוין ענדערש אביסל התנשאות, נישט גיפערליך.

Yankel said...

It was Reb Dovid Cohn who went to the kever, not Rav hutner.

דובער ווילאנסקי said...

To a kotzker chosid... said...

לענ"ד מי שכותב דברים כזה על גדולים וטובים כהרב ווייסברג צריך רפואה שלימה קרובה, ובפרט שחושב על עצמו שאם יקרא שמו על שם הקאצקער אז מותר לו להוציא שם רע בכל מי שלבו חפץ, ה' ירחם!

הנביא כבר נתן לנו עצה טובה "ובמקום גדולים על תעמוד" (עי' מגן אבות לתשב"ץ אבות פ"ב)

ר' נטע said...

גם אני מצטרף דעתי העני' לדברי, ומחאות ר' דובער הנאמרים באמת

a kotzker chosid said...

פונקט פארקערט! ווייל ר' איסר זלמן איז ש חשוב'ר זאג איך עם די תוכחה. א פשוט'ר איד וועט דאס ניט פארשטיין.

חכם עתיק said...

חכם אינו מדבר לפני מי שהוא גדול ממנו בחכמה, וחילופיהם בגולם

a kotzker chosid said...

רבותי, וואס איז געווארען מיט אייך? צודען קען עס זיין אז א פנימי זאל שרייבען וועגען זיך???

ר' עמרם חסידא said...


וכל מי שגילה לו הקב"ה דבר ואינו כותבה ויכול לכתוב, הרי גוזל ממי שגילה לו, כי לא גילה לו אלא לכתוב, כדכתיב (תהלים כ"ה, י"ד) "סוד ה' ליראיו ובריתו להודיעם", וכתיב (משלי ה', ט"ז) "יפוצו מעינותיך חוצה", וזהו שכתוב (קהלת י"ב, י"ד) "יביא במשפט על כל נעלם" שגורם שנעלם, "אם טוב" שגילה לו, "אם רע" שאינו כותבה. -ספר חסידים, תק"ל

חבדצקער מיט פיאות said...

די היינטיגע חיצונים שרייבן פנימיות שאין מגלין אלא לצנועין, קומען מיר די פנימים און מגלה זייער חיצוניות, זה לעומת זה.וד"ל

סקרענטן נ.ז. said...

איבער געקוטצקעטער קאצקער, זיכט יענעמס אמת אין זיינעם ניט

זאגט די הייליגע משנה said...


. אם אין אני לי, מי לי? וכשאני לעצמי מה אני

קליוולאנדער בעדער said...

"ובמקום גדולים על תעמוד"

.ווייל עס שטינקט

א רייזענדער said...

שלום הרב דובער, אני עכשיו בנופש במעון קיץ, מלון ארזי בשוויץ, ואין אתי המגן אבות להתשב"ץ, נא לדבוק כאן דבריו ז"ל