Sunday, August 12, 2018

The FULL story of the release of the Skulener Rebbe זצ"ל

I've heard it said that with this story justice was finally done to the כבוד of the Lubavitcher Rebbe who is the one who deserves the most credit for the Skulener Rebbe's release. The Skulener Rebbe's yohrtzeit was Friday, Erev Rosh Chodesh Elul. Our friends in Satmar over the years have tried - and have been successful - in covering it up. Thanks to the opening of the JDC digital archive to the public Dovid Zaklikowski was able to bring to light the evidence for it. You wouldn't know from the subtitle of the story, though. Almost as if they published the story but didn't want that to be the main point...

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Shenanigans at 500 Bedford Avenue...

Received via e-mail:

Hirshel: in the "נישט געזונטע יארען", after the stroke in תשכ"ח, the house of the Rebbe Reb Yoelish of Satmar, situated at 500 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, was considered a den of אינשי דלא מעלי, (certified by the ברך משה in his first Torah given to his new chasidim) ליצנות was rampant. Reb Mottel Zilber פון סטוטשין interprets this מושב ליצים as העכערע ענינים... (he should be hired by the Reb Mendel Vizhnitzer שוואנצונעס Co.) obviously the Satmar Rebbe himself was part of the mood ----- ליצנות was the commerce of the day. Before davening and after davening. There was always time for a good shmooz. This Shabbos I chanced upon a pamphlet on שמירת עינים. Most of it is quotes from the רבי ז"ל. I'd say that the editor of this pamphlet isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. They put in a story of Reb Mordeachai Duved Kohn a משמש in the early years. In the next room of Reb Yoelish's chamber there was a hangout of the guys, and some woman who was apparently the Rebbetzin's friend would also spend time there. The hangout tuned into raised voices of laughter, so much so that it was heard in the other room. So much so that Reb Yoelish had to walk in on them and rebuke them, being shocked that there was mingling and laughing going on with an אשת איש. I don't think there was another Rebbe in those days that had that casual an environment next to a Rebbe's חדר... I can't imagine R' Shaye Unger laughing and being casual with neither a male and definitely not a female, with the Skverrer Rebbe in close proximity. 

(with apologies for the פארדרייטע pictures, etc.)

Friday, August 3, 2018

ירחי כלה תשמ"א בקרית גן ישראל, פארקסוויל נ.י. 12768 - חלק ב

הרה"צ ר' אפרים אליעזר הכהן יאללעס זצ"ל במשרד הקעמפ

מימין: הגאון הרב מאיר גרינבערג אב"ד פאטערסאן, הרב יאללעס, הגה"ח ר' שלום מרזוב ע"ה (עם הטו"ת), הגאון ר' יצחק רייטפארט שליט""א, הגה"ח ר' חיים מאיר בוקיעט ע"ה

מימין עומד הר"ר אברהם יצחק שמטוב שי' מנהל הקעמפ ומארגן הירחי כלה, נואם הגה"ח ר' ישראל פרידמאן שליט"א ר"י אהלי תורה, משמאל יושב הרב אליהו עקיבא ליפסקער ע"ה, רב הקעמפ 

הגאון רבי יצחק רייטפארט שליט"א נואם

Historic Revelation!

New book published that has images of the original מצבות of The Rebbe Chaim Schneur Zalman of Liadi, son of the Rebbe Tzemach Tzedek, and his son Reb Yitzchok Dober, aka מהרי"ד, author of the סידור מהרי"ד, also Rebbe in Liadi. The matzeivos were destroyed in 1930 and the text of the Matzeivos was not known. Reb Chaim Schneur Zalman was also the first shver of the Rebbe מהר"ש. His daughter passed away a short while after the marriage. There is talk about a קפידא from one of the other brothers who wanted מהר"ש for a son-in-law...

Monday, July 23, 2018

נייעס פון איגוד הרבנים

You might say that ס'שטייט אויף צו תחיה....Unless you read the Jewish Press on a regular basis you'd never know they were still in existence. Nice to see that Rabbi AD Hecht's life work is not going to waste, and new blood is joining the RAA. Chassidishe faces. 

Let's see what the future has in store.

Appoints Director of Development
Calls for sensitivity in shidduchim 
Media Mentions

Monday, July 9, 2018

רבי זכרונו לברכה איז עולה אויף א ס"ת מיט א "טריפה'נעם" מגן דוד

...רבי יואל מסטמאר בארה"ב בעליית התורה ולידו מעיל של ספר התורה בעיצוב של מגן דויד ובתוכו התאריך של תש"ח
"דהיינו 1948  - שנת הקמת מדינת ישראל "ראשית צמיחת גאולתינו"

Photo credit: Rabbi Shmuel Knopfler

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

בעלזער דאטשע אמאל

הינט דארף דער רב זאל מאכען ימים ושנים זיין נישט פארען קיין די שווייץ זיךאפרוהען, ער האט שוין אן אייגן שטיקל ערד אין טעלז-סטון, אבער אמאל האט מען נאך געדארפט. און מ'האט נאך געקענט. היינט איז שווער. מ'וויל זיך נישט טרעפן מיט די קליינע רבי'לעך אין די שווייץ. פארען קיין וועילס און האבען א גרויסע ווילא ווי דער שוואגער פון וויזשניץ - קליינע באלבעס. פאר בעלז פאסט עס נישט. בלייבט מען אין ארץ און מ'פראוועט מיט א קליינע צאל נאנטע מענטשן.

ושלום על ישראל

Friday, June 29, 2018

Jewish Identity ... Can it be saved in America ...? (guest post)

Parshat Balak by Rabbi Shmuel Knopfler

 Fearing an Israelite takeover of Moabite territory should the People of Israel pass through his realm, King Balak of Moab summons the prophet Bil'am and asks him to curse the Jewish people. Try as he might, Bil'am proves unable to do the king’s bidding, and the Parsha draws to a close with a host of marvelous blessings, perhaps the most beautiful things ever said about the Jewish People. Bil'am also plays a crucial role in why this Parsha concludes on such a dramatically dismal note. “Israel settled in Shittim, and the people began to commit harlotry with Moabite women”. Nothing in this verse could prepare us for the depravity that resulted in the terrible plague that cost the lives of twenty-four thousand Israelites. The juxtaposition is striking. We have just finished reading about Bil'am’s wonderful blessings, only to discover that the people faltered on an epic scale, publicly fornicating with gentile women. And a short while later, they worship idols of Baal Peor, committing some of the basest forms of idolatry in the ancient world. How did this happen? The Torah’s description is rather vague: “Bil'am arose, went, and returned home, and Balak went on his way.” This cryptic account of Bil'am simply returning home contains no allusion to Bil'am's influence on the Israelites’ behavior. Yet a few chapters later, when Moses criticizes the nation for sparing the women in reprisals against the Midianites, he says: “They were the same ones who were involved with the People of Israel on Balaam’s advice to betray the Lord over the incident of Peor, resulting in a plague among the congregation of Hashem.” In other words, Bil'am was the one who devised the idea of ensnaring the Jewish People, sending Midianite women to the Israelite camp to entice the men. If things were so bad, why did the Torah not simply relate all of this when this week’s Parsha’s main event transpired? Often, the Torah expands on certain issues while glossing over others. Why, then, is the Torah silent about Bil'am’s attempts to cause the Israelites to sin, while going into such great detail in its description of Bil'am’s blessings?

Logic would have it that it should have been the other way around. Faced with this problem, some commentators suggested that Bil'am was not directly involved in the Israelites’ behavior, an idea alluded to in one of Bil'am’s blessings: “He does not look at evil in Jacob…”, as if to say that Bil'am had not seen anything sinful in their behavior. This blessing implies that once the Israelites could be brought to committing a sin, its enemies would find a way to successfully fight them. This is, however, an enormous departure from the simple meaning of the text, and Talmudic sages have also explicitly stated that Bil'am was the one who devised the scheme of causing Israel to sin with the Midianite women. Why, then, does the Torah not divulge this information when the event occurs? The Torah is teaching us a central tenet in how a person is to take responsibility for his or her actions. If, for example, scientists, historians, sociologists and anthropologists were to study the assimilation of North American Jews in the twentieth century, they would undoubtedly discover many reasons for the phenomenon, such as their financial situation, the disconnect from their Eastern European roots, a desire to fit into American society, and just amalgamate. We can safely assume that all of the above are correct. Yet when individuals do their own soul-searching, they would need to answer questions such as, “What did I do right, or what did I do wrong, in contending with this issue?”

 The easy way of evading personal responsibility is to simply state the causes of assimilation, as mentioned above. But that is precisely what the Torah wants to prevent. Had it elaborated on Balaam’s contribution to Israel’s sinful conduct, a case could be made for those who pinned the blame on this great heathen prophet who instigated the Jews’ licentiousness with the Midianite women. Who could resist such temptation? What were the Jews to do once the very man who penned the phrase, “It is a nation that shall dwell alone, and will not be reckoned among the nations” now calls for doing away with Israel’s unique status and intermingling with native women? The Torah, therefore, describes this as a standalone event, one that has nothing to do with Bil'am. Each of us has to stand in front of the mirror and ask ourselves what we could have done differently. Thus, it is only later, as the book of Bamidbar concludes, that the Torah mention Bil'am role in this tragedy. We may come up with a slew of political, theological, and technical excuses – some of which may be true – as to why so many Jews in the Exile or comfortable Diaspora feel estranged from Judaism, the Jewish People, and the State of Israel. But such analyses, on their own, certainly will not help in any way. We need to ultimately decide what we can do, and have not yet done, to ensure that more Jews remain connected to their Jewish identities.

 Those who live in Eretz Israel are the true Lovers of Zion whether "observant" or "not-yet observant." In 1948 we had 500 Yeshiva bachurim; with Jewish population of 600,000 now we have 50,000+ out of a population of 7 million+ "Ken Yirbu." In the Goldene Medina USA we currently have 5.5 Million Jews. Before WWII we also had 5.5 Million. (Core Jewish). With normal geometric progression we should have 55 Million. Granted we have Yeshivot and nice pockets of "frum" Jewish neighborhhods; that does not set off the attrition rate due to ZPG (zero population growth) which is 1.8 Children per family; coupled with assimilation & intermarriage; we are left with a Large "Beis HaChayim" Contrast that with Israel. Despite the "visionaries of doom" of the "Secular State" not to be created, Israel thrives on with miracles. There is more Torah learning in Eretz Yisrael than the entire world combined. Over 300 Seforim per month published. In World Economy Israel is No# 1 to invest in just ask Warren Buffett who is looking for more firms in Israel besides Iscar purchased for $10 Billion Dollars with management intact & promised NOT to move the firm outside Israel. A simple gentile from Omaha Nebraska who is fascinated with The Holy Land of Eretz Yisrael & its people.
 בברכת התורה והארץ‎ שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם
 B'Birchat Hatorah V'Haaretz
 Shabbat Shalom
 Shmuel Knopfler

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Happenings at old BMG

The Rosh Yehiva Reb Hillel Zaks recalls a story that happened in BMG. An elderly Rov who he does not name here, spoke in BMG in front of RAK and said that Reb Yisroel Salanter said if I would've met the גר"א I would've rebuked him for keeping to himself and not going out to teach the masses and be משפיע on them. Reb Aron got very upset and grasped his shtender with all his might to keep himself from lashing out at the Rov. He later told Rabbi Zaks I would've stopped him if not for his stature and reputation. So were RYS' words not correct? Or was the problem the audience he was repeating the story to? Maybe he didn't believe the story? Well, he explains it in the second paragraph.
 .. .

Sunday, June 10, 2018

....א חתונה אין בריסק

It looks like grandiose weddings are becoming the norm even in reclusive families like Brisk. Well, that's how it looks in the pictures, anyway. I don't know if it was grandiose in the sense that they had a choice of beef or chicken and a smorgasbord. But it's a nice hall in Talpiot with a lot of people in attendance. They did, it seems however, follow the תקנות of yesteryear not to have full כלי זמר,  only a drummer=פויקער. The wedding here took place last week in Yerushalayim. Velvel Soloveitchik ben Reb Dovid is married to Reb Berel Povarsky's daughter. His son now married the daughter of Reb Peretz Meyerson, son-in-law of Reb Refoel Soloveitchik, Reb Dovid's younger brother. Keeping it in the family, just like the Rebbes and leHavdil royalty. (At least until recently that's what royalty did.) So, I guess whoever didn't come for Reb Dovid came for Reb Berel.

My personal favorite: The מחותן: רבי נתנאל פרץ מאירזון חתן רבי רפאל סאלאווייטשיק. If I was a Brisker I'd likely look like him. Maybe I should become one.