Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Cornflakes, Potato and OvernAit Kugel
Hirshel, listen to this:
My friend was in Woodridge for Shabbos. That's near Woodbourne, in the Catskills in Upstate New York. Where the Borscht Belt once was. He walked over from his אכסניא to the holy Woodridger Ruv Reb Yitzchok Lebovitch. There is much to say about this very unique character who lives up there all year round, basically by himself. Reb Yitzchok eats a cornflakes kugel and distributes it to those at his tish. (I'm not sure who else is at his tish? during the winter, that is - HT) That corn flakes kugel is a minhag of the old Kivyashder Ruv of Williamsburg, Reb Yitzchok considers him his rebbe muvhak. He told my friend the following: My Rebbe (who was a Shapiro, einikel ben acher ben of the Rebbe Reb Hersh Mielech) heard from an alter chusid that still remembered the bnei yisoscher, that when potatoes were introduced to Eastern Europe, it was introduced as a American food, The holy בני יששכר asked that they start making a kugel out of it, in order to do birurim on that part of the world (in chabad terms חצי כדור התחתון) that needs alot of birurim. In the world of kugel - which was holy by chasidim - by the Alter Rebbe and others it's the noodle kugel. (potato kugel could not be הלכה למשה מסיני or instead of tekias shofar when RH falls on Shabbos as the Alter Rebbe said...)
So getting back to the corn flakes kugel; the Kiviashder Ruv had a sister that came to the US in the early years. Like before WW2. She was Bertsher rebbetzin, כמדומני (I think her husband was a Rokeach, זייער גרויסע מיוחסים) - you can maybe look up the whole yichus tree in Wikipedia. Her brother the Kivyashder was by her when he arrived to the US, and he saw a new concept: corn flakes kugel. He liked it, since corn flakes is a real American food, and this kugel will do the birur, just like the potato kugel did the birur for the Bnei Yisoschor. So who knows who gets credit for the yiddishkiet in the USA? Everybody has their person whom they credit... Satmar, Lubavitch, Lakewood, Torah VoDaas. Nobody gives the cornflakes kugel any credit. I know a big Rebbe that loves Overnight (overnait in the holy Rebbe's Rumanian tongue) potato kugel.