Monday, July 12, 2021

נפטר הסופר שמואל ארגמן ז"ל

It never gets old. No matter how much time has passed, you learn about how the Rebbe had connections to and influenced people all across the Jewish spectrum, even if they officially belonged to the other side.

For decades, young Israeli frum readers enjoyed Shmuel Argaman's (Rot) books and magazine serials that gave readers a sense of adventure in a kosher setting. Nothing objectionable ever made it through the pages. Argaman also made sure to put Torah'dige concepts and messages in the books, so that his young readers would be left with a positive message as well, once done reading. Despite being a Ponovizher talmid and Bnei Brak resident, Rot made sure to send the Lubavitcher Rebbe a copy of the book הצוללת הפליגה בחצות, pictured below. He passed away today at the age of 77.

Based on the Rebbe's response it would seem that the Rebbe read the book cover to cover. Not that was out of the ordinary, being the ראש בני ישראל includes children and adolescents as well. But the Rebbe went on to write a quite lengthy letter to Mr. Rot telling him to make the messages more obvious to the reader, so that when he/she puts down the book he takes that message along. Any mechanech worth his weight would tell you that this is important, the Rebbe adds.

אשרינו שזכינו



 

צילום: אתר כיכר השבת





 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

וואס פארשטייען מיר בכלל צו אזעלכע אידן ווי ר' פיניע?



































דער אמת איז אז ווען ס'קומט צו אידן ווי ר' פיניע איז נישטא קיין ווערטער. וואס מ'וועט נאר וועלן אויף אים זאגען וועט ניט זיין גענוג. דערפאר איז נישט דא דאס פלאץ אויף די באקלאגן זיין פטירה. און חוץ פון דעם וואלט ער דאס בכלל נישט צוגעלאזט. ס'טייטש! ביי חסידים מאכט מען נישט קיינע הספדים. אבער אידן בעטען צו הערן עפעס וואס.

ר' פנחס ב"ר יהושע ע"ה איז געווען א איד וועלכע איז אויפגעוואקסן אין די שווערסטע צייטן אין רוסלאנד און דערנאך אין די ווייטע אוזבעקיסטאן ביז נאך די מלחמה. שפעטער איז ער געווען א תלמיד ביי ר' ניסן נעמענאוו אין פאקינג און אין פראנקרייך. זיין פרוי - תבלחט"א - איז  אן אייניקל פון די וויליאמסבורגער בוטשער ר' פתחי' לאם. ר' פיניע איז כל ימיו געזעצן און געלערענט און געדאווענט כל ימיו. געווען א משפיע אין מאנטרעאל און אין קראון הייטס. תמיד מיט א שמייכל. געוויזן אז מ'קען זיין א ברענעדיגער איד און שמייכלן צו יענעם און אזוי מחנך זיין דורות.

לא החזיק טובה לעצמו. נישט קיין ברייטע הוט און נישט קיין שיפע טאשן. וד"ל. געווען א ירא שמים בתכלית, מורא געהאט - מיט אן אמת!- טאן עפעס וואס דער אייבערשטער וויל נישט. נאר צו זעהן ווי ער האט זיך אפגעגעבן מיט זיין אלטען טאטען - הרה"ח ר' יהושע ע"ה - שוין נאך די שבעים איז געווען א לעבעדיגער מוסר ספר. ר' יהושע איז אוועק צו די 103 יאר אין תשס"ח. אין אנדערע קרייזן וואלט מען פון אים און זיינע הנהגות און הקפדות און דקדוק על קלה כבחמורה געמאכט נישט ווייניגער ווי די "גרויסע" ראשי ישיבות וואס זענען לעצטענס אוועק. ער איז איבער א יאר צייט געלעגן אין שפיטאל ר"ל און אין "ריהעב," אבער וואס האט אים באזארגט און געבאדערט ליגענדיג אין בעט באהאפטן צו אלערליי מאשינען איז געווען טאמער וועט ער פארפאסן הערן קידוש אום שבת, וכדומה. 


נישט צוליב נקמה חלילה, אבער דער יונגער דור דארף פארט וויסן וואס מ'האט געטוהן מיט אזא צדיק ווי ר' פיניע. ווען מ'האט אים אזוי ברוטאליש געשניטן די דיקנא קדישא - און נאר צוליב ביי אים איז דאס געווען אזוי חשוב און הייליג. אפילו די וואס ווילן פארטיידיגן - אדער לכה"פ "קענען פארשטיין" (כלשונם) - די מעשה נבלה וואס מ'האט געטוהן מיט ר' מענדל וועכטער, פארלירן די צונג ווען ס'קומט צו די מעשה נבלה וואס די נידערטרעכטיגע פארשוינען האט געטוהן מיט ר' פיניע, וואס סה"כ האט געלערענט חסידות מיט א בחור אין א נייטראלער לאקאציע, נישט קיין סאטמארישע ישיבה. אבער רוצחים פארטיידיגן רציחה, אזוי איז די מנהג העולם. 

די וואס ווייסן זאגען אז ר' פיניע האט געהאט מסירות נפש אויף צו לערנען א פרק תניא, כאטש וואס די רוצחים האבען אים געווארענט אז מ'גייט אים צומזיק'ן. זעהט אויס אז ער האט אונטערגעשעצט די שנאה פון די רוצחים צו חסידישע אידן און צו כל מה שריח חב"ד וחסידות נודף ממנו. א איד מיט בארד און פאות המכונה "חסיד" זאל טוהן אזאנס? ווער קען דען דאס גלייבן? אוודאי נישט א איד וואס לעבט מיט אהבת ישראל. מאנכע זאגן אז איינער פון די רוצחים איז אים געקומען איבערבעטן ווען ער איז לעצטענס געשטאנען פאר א שווערע פראצעס.. הייסן הייסט עס אז ר' פיניע האט אים גע'עצה'ט פארן אויפ'ן ציון פון ליובאוויטשער רבי'ן און דארט בעטען מחילה...

פיניע האט איבערגעלאזט א דור פון קינדער, אייניקלעך וכו' און תלמידים וואס וועלן אים קיינמאל נישט פארגעסן.

 דינסטאג - ביי די ענדע פון די שבעה האט מען שוין געשטעלט די מצבה...קורונא אין ליובאוויטש האט געריסן שטיקער, דאס בעסטע און די שענסטע. נאך איידער מ'האט געוואוסט וואס און ווען איז שוין אין קראון הייטס געווען א מאסן אנשטעקעניש. ר' פיניע האט למעשה געקעמפט איבער א יאר מיט אלע סארט קאמפליקאציעס און צום סוף איז געווען נצחו אראלים וכו'. אויף אזוי ווייט און אזוי לאנג הא ער שוין געפעלט אין 770 אז מ'האט שוין כאילו פארגעסן פון אים. אוודאי נאר כאילו, ווייל פיניע וועט מען קיינמאל נישט פארגעסן. זאל דער פון אויבן טרייסטן זיין אלמנה תחי' און זיין חשוב'ע משפחה, און זאל מען זוכה זיין צו והקיצו ורננו שוכני עפר, והוא בתוכם. 


Friday, July 2, 2021

אמאליגע סעלישער אידן

Years ago we spoke about the Jew from Sevlus (Selish) that I met while at the resting place of my grandparents. That was 10 years ago, what you might call the heady days of this blog. Stories like that one was what put us apart from other blogs, if I may say so myself. He had no issue talking - with a heavy heart - about the dark days in the Soviet Union, the forced chillul shabbos and yomtov, etc.. These were yidden that no past experience with the Russians, since their cities and towns were in either Czechoslovakia or Hungary or Romania before the war. For them, dealing with the new regime was a new צרה.  

Since then, the 3-4 times year that I visit my zeides and bubbes, what happens is that I notice that the little חלקה in New Jersey has filled almost to the point of beyond recognition. The matzeivos you would see from the narrow roads in the cemetery are now hidden from view and you need to make new landmarks for yourself. So goes it with Jews of the old country; they're almost all gone. This week, while visiting, I noticed that another member of the Selisher yid's family has been added. I wonder if corona took him too. In my advanced age I cannot recall our old friend ever told me his first name, so I cannot say for sure which of the brothers he was. I thought he was Nachman only because that kever was there the last few years. Now I see a new addition to the family plot...

But it's safe to assume that, unfortunately, he too has found his peace in New Jersey.




Thursday, July 1, 2021

שני תדפיסים מספר "המזכיר" שז"ע יצא לאור

One of the many things we missed while on hiatus was the passing of the mazkir Reb Leibel Groner, a"h on Leil Bedikas Chometz. Of the many deaths the Lubavitcher community in Crown Heights experienced during the pandemic Rabbi Groner may have been the biggest klop, despite his advanced age. But more on that later, bl"n. A year later an extensive biography was published. 

Here's two sneak peeks.

המזכיר תדפיס by Hirshel Tzig on Scribd

Some Pages From Hamazkir by Hirshel Tzig on Scribd

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

?אפאר חב"ד פאמיליעס... ביני לבינך מה הם

 






















Just when you think you've seen it all, and that people realize that it's 2021 and you don't publish anything that is on your mind, even if these pleasant thoughts do cross your mind - You get slapped with a dose of reality.

This opinion piece was published today but was already leaked to whatsapp late last night. The writer is lamenting the fact that by the time you'll read this it'll be day 6 of the Surfside Tragedy, yet there's no sense of urgency. This after all the tragedies and deaths we've seen since Covid arrived on the scene, in addition to Miron and Karlin. At first, we thought that it was only a few Chabad families that perished, so yes, it's a "bitter story" but not something earth-shattering. No reason to not go about your daily routine. But by now, when it's become clear that some 36 Jews are among the missing... Now we can begin to react. 

The irony in all of this is the subliminal "לימוד זכות" happening between the lines. The writer finds no fault in the fact that it's taken frum people several days to react to the tragedy, yet at the same time sees no issue with writing that about Jews of Chabad persuasion.

Friends in frum media tell me that it's not the first "אקסישע" thing published here, but people obviously don't care enough or don't bother to read it. The proof is in the ad pudding, ads galore in this rag. I'll give them the BOTD and say that most people only read these and similar circulars for the ads and classifieds and could care less what the opinion pieces say. They have Kol Mevaser for hard-hitting news and opinion!

Kol Berama has yet to issue a clarification... Not that I asked for one.

Monday, June 28, 2021

בעלזער חסידים פארקויפן לאקשן צו די צייטונגן

 



So this clipping from 1960 or so announces to the Jewish world that young Berel Rokeach, known today as the Belzer Ruv, was to marry the daughter the of the Klausenberger Rov. After a six year engagement and when he turns 18. We all know this never happened, nor was such a shidduch ever sealed. So what happened? The יודעי דבר say that this was some kind of ploy to get young Berel to shape up. It's not easy being a young orphan. His father the Bilgorajer Rov passed away when he was barely 2 years old. Being that young orphan who everybody whispers about that he'll be the leader of Belz when he becomes of age doesn't make things any easier. So they decided that one way to get him to shape up was to tell him that a suitable shidduch is being found for him, but he'll need to undergo a farher, etc., and that means that no more fun and games, time to hit the seforim.















So the elders of Belz sat down and made a list of which gutte yidden had eligible daughters. They came upon the Klausenberger Rov. The good thing was that he had no bad blood with Belz, like some others did. Bobov comes to mind as one Rebbe who had.

Here's where it gets a little murky.

It seems like they pressured the Klausenberger Rov enough for him to agree to such a shidduch in principle. We all know that the Klausenberger didn't want or need yichus, he had plenty of that on his own. What he wanted from a prospective match for his daughters was bletter gemoroh, and as long as you were Jewish it didn't matter where you came from. I guess to a point. Many  - or all? - of his eidemer are from simple stock, but they passed the farhers. There was even a Lubavitcher bochur who had dreams of becoming his eidem... But that's for another time. So maybe the Klausenberger agreed to the shidduch after being pressured by a group of crusty Galitzyaners like himself provided that Berele would pass the farher just like anybody else. In the end, the Belzer Ruv married the daughter of the then Vizhnitzer Rosh Yeshiva and the rest is history. Reb Moshe'le Hager had already made a shidduch with the Skverrer Rebbe and today his sons-in-law are the leaders of the largest chassidisen in the world. Looking back, it would be hard to see that shidduch ever succeeding. וד"ל.

A search on Twitter shows you that PY Mund's Genealogy says that the two had a falling out early on in the Rebbistive, which began before he got married, and which may or may not have affected his chances at the shidduch.


People tell me they miss the blog...















This warms my heart. I almost started again pretty seriously when you-know-what came around at Purim of 5780, but I got busy with other things. Let's see if we can crank this old thing up again and keep it going. There's so much to talk about!




Thursday, September 17, 2020

תקיעות ביים רבי'ן - Guest Post












The Rebbe's face is white on the bimah, in a sea of thousands in white and black. 770 is silent. It is so quiet that a paper cup falling from a table could be heard among the gathered seven thousand chasidim.

My brother Moishy pushes me closer so I have a clear view above the hats of Israelis standing on the bench in front of us. We are standing together on three milk boxes which we chained to the bench before yom tov.

There is a white light in the wordless room. The souls united creates a vacuum. All faces are glued to the Rebbe.

מן המיצר קראתי קה, the Rebbe's plaintive voice beseeching, in a low voice; a beckoning from son to father, from the vacuum to the light.

ענני במרחב קה, the Rebbe's voice is crying through the words, though all we hear are the words.

טוב טעם ודעת למדני, כי במצותיך האמניתי

The Rebbe's voice fills the room, but not a loud voice; koil demomoh dakoh, a still small voice. Others write about the exact intonation, or the exact way in which the Rebbe moved the handkerchiefs, but what I remember is the still holy voice and a room filed with the bright light of creation.

We were learning the maimorim about the world being recreated through the Shofar and now it was happening.

The sound of the shofar from the Rebbe was unlike any sound I ever heard. The pitch was low, each moment a cry from the universal soul. The sound was so low, you cannot imagine the silence required of the gathered 7000. But you could hear the still low wail of the Rebbe's shofar in every corner of 770.

 And all of us can hear it today, as I hear it now as I write these words.

Yet words will never capture it.

To have seen and beheld.

ונזכה...

Monday, August 31, 2020

תכירו: "אמשינאוו-בארא פארק-בית שמש" רבי אויף א בליץ-באזוך אין דער פופצענטער עוועניו שטיבל

B'hemshech to our previous Amshinov-BP post; Here's what a devoted reader sent us from yesterday's kabbolas ponim at the 15th Avenue shtiebel. This Rebbe is a brother of the one who will fill his father's seat in Boro Park. His place is Beit Shemesh, where he recently hung out his shingle. Now he needs our help to help his fledgling mosdos, so he's come all the way to America.

At the time we wrote about his brother, the Sadigerrer Rebbe was still alive. Now, he's the first cousin via marriage of Reb Yitzchok Yehoshua Heschel of Sadiger (Bnei Brak), who is the son-in-law of Reb Osher Sternbuch, the Amshonover brothers' uncle. How is he their uncle? He's their mother's brother. Their maternal zeide, Rav Eliyohu Sternbuch of Antwerp, brother of Rav Moshe Sternbuch of Yerushalayimwas the son in law of the Sereter (Vizhnitz) Rebbe, aka Mekor Boruch, who passed away in 5724/1963.  

Rav Dovid Soloveitchik is married to their sister.


According to the above article, the young man has a bright future ahead of him. 

We wish him the best of success.






































Seated second from right is the Amshinov-BP Rebbe from Beit Shemesh. 





















Rav Osher Sternbuch, left, at the Sadiger wedding in Shvat, 5778.




















חתונה של הרב אלי' שטרנבוך בשנת תשט"ז. מימין גיסו הגרמ"ד הלוי סולובייצ'יק שליט"א





















הרב שטרנבוך בשנותיו האחרונות

























Back to the kabbolas ponim...



























Pouring some l'chaim for the BP-Alexander Rebbe.
























Nice to see that Beis Vorka sticks together...


 

Monday, August 17, 2020

צר לי עליך אחי מש"י ....

 





















So if we're to believe the Israeli frum websites and the Whats app chatter, the rumors were true. Son # 5, Yitzchok Yehoshua Heschel Friedman is the new Sadigerrer Rebbe of Bnei Brak. This at 23-24 years old and two years after his marriage to Ms. Sternbuch of Antwerp. Most of us did NOT see that coming. Those that folowed Sadiger at a distance were made to believe that when the time came it was to be his Rebbistive for the taking. The reyd on the street was that the Bostoner Rebbe from Boston hit the jackpot when he made the shidduch with Sadiger and that his son-in-law would naturally be the Rebbe of Sadiger when the time came. When we heard the rumors we could not believe that a father would do that to his son and basically embarrass him like that. But it was his choice to make by virtue of him being in charge for these seven and a half years.

But one of two things happened here: Either the ones that are "in charge" of the chassidus (huh?) told the Sadigerrer Rebbe that he cannot name his oldest son - Mordechai Sholom Yosef = מש"י  - as successor because then all that they've worked for all these years all these years will collapse. As one Sadigerrer I spoke to said: He made it into a brand name - מותג - and it would be in danger of crashing down. I'll be the first to admit that I don't know why his being Rebbe would do that. Or, maybe he takkeh isn't worthy of the position. The skeptic in me says it's likely reason number one. 

There seems to be plenty of resentment among the younger generation in Israel against the royal family - as crazy as that seems. This, from seeing the chatter on the interwebs. I mean, if you like the Rebbe and you're devoted to Sadiger don't resent his family because they're rich. They didn't take it from you, the money didn't come from high yeshiva tuition or forced מעמד געלט. They married rich and that's that. If you don't like it you can go to Boyan or Bohush. Chances are you'll be unhappy there too. 

Young Shia seems to be the only one who bucked the Sadiger trend and decided on his own to carve out his own little path. Even his younger brother pretty much toes the line. We usually like black sheep here at the Circus Tent, but maybe if he'd have become a Litvak or a Breslover. Stam to let your peyos hang out and try to look more generically Chassidish because you're always looking over your shoulder at the Rebbishe types with the white socks? Meh. But it seems like that's what the Sadigerrers want as well, judging from the chatter and the happenings today in Gutmacher Street. 

We like to look back at recent examples of such explicit tzava'ahs from Chassidishe Rebbes to NOT have their oldest sons replace them. Toldos Aron, for one, although there they were told to vote on it and take one of his children or איידעם. Maybe Reb Avrohom Yitzchok Cohen knew how that would turn out, so he decided not to hurt his son by NOT naming him. If the people vote on it then they shall have their way. Besides, Toldos Aron was also created by means of a vote after Reb Are'le Rot's passing, if I'm not mistaken. Even if it wasn't with an official ballot box they did vote with their feet there in 1946.  

Interestingly enough, it was a Lubavitcher with Rizhiner connections that reminded me of the fact that it was the Tzemach Tzedek that said that he wanted his YOUNGEST son, the Rebbe MaHaRaSH to take his place in Lubavitch. He was disappointed to think that the Rebbe of Sadiger's will may not become law there. Yes, Lubavitch wasn't to where most Chassidiei Chabad traveled after the Tzemach Tzedek;s histalkus in 5626, but in the end we see why it was davka the MahaRash that needed to take over. 

Back to MeSH"Y:

צר לי עליך is what came to mind when it seemingly was made public that it was Shia's for the taking and not מש"י. I was hurting for him when I heard this and decided to put keyboard to web page. Here he was told all his life and was made to understand by history that it was his position to lose - and then this ambush. Personally, if I was the one advising Shia I'd tell him to play hard to to get, to say that he was not doing this to his family - that he's not worthy. He'd get back on the plane to Antwerp and sit back in Kollel. Just like in Ger in 1948. This would work wonders and would make him even more appealing to the Sadigerrers. The rest of the Rebbishe branzshe would watch and be amazed by this strange phenomenon.

One chassidic observer said it best when he told me that people complain about Rebbes who don't leave clear tzava'ahs, but look at what happens when they DO!


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Royal Court Once Again Mourns - כ"ק אדמו"ר רבי ישראל משה פרידמאן זצ"ל מסאדיגורא איננו!






























It's been only seven years since he had assumed leadership in Teves of 5773/2013. To an outsider like me it seems like Sadiger, after a slow start in Bnei Brak, was finally picking up steam. The zeide Reb Mordechai Sholom Yosef had remained in Tel Aviv, at Rechov Pinkas 41, some say at the behest of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. He had left Vienna after the anschluss and gone to Eretz Yisroel. In the 50's he came to New York. The old timers still remember his shtiebel on Crown Street.I once wrote how he was a literal melech in the old country but lost it all during the war. Thousands of chassidim all up in flames. He never really made it again.

The son Reb Avrohom Yakov (the 3rd) stayed in New York after his father left and ran the shul in Crown Heights. Later, he built Yeshivas Ruzhin/Sadiger in Bnei Brak, and moved his court there when his father passed away in 1979. So there were two Ruzhiner Yeshivos in EY, one Boyan and one Sadiger.

And now this. A terrible calamity for them and Klal Yisroel. Most of us were thinking that there was hope, that the treatments would help. That the tefillos would be answered!

And then this! כרעם ביום בהיר. 

The previous Sadigerrer Rebbe had been ill for some time. Parkinson's, it would seem. The untrained eye would say that maybe the Israeli oylem didn't really relate to him, but then again, this is Sadiger, and like Boyan, there doesn't really need to be a relationship. They have the bittul to their Rebbe and that's that. Those that don't have that Yerushalmi streak in them, anyway. Then, two years ago, the Rebbe fell ill. Since ascending to the mantle of leadership, he had won the hearts and minds of Jews the world over. His grace and mere presence filled the room; you couldn't help but notice it. 

He was a talmid of Kamenetz and Ponovizh, so the naysayers couldn't deny him, since he was a product of their yeshivos. For years he lived in London and lead the Sadigerrer shtiebel there, officially being a dayan in the Kedassia Beis Din, but I don't think he sat in on dinei Torah. Then, when his father passed, being the only son and successor in waiting, he came to Eretz Yisroel.

You might say that unlike his father he did veer a bit back toward the mainstream; whereas his late father was a fighter for the integrity of Eretz Yisroel, I searched but could not see that this was on his son's agenda. He was busy building his little vinkel and I guess could not be concerned with settlements and peace talks. OK. Sadiger seemed to have a bright future ahead of them. They had let some of the old bygones be bygones. Chaim Yitzchok Cohen was seen there again, so it looked they had made up. Meir Porush was a frequent guest as well. The shul was bright and beautiful and filled to the brim. 

A little known fact about him, is that his shver was his uncle as well. R' Chaim Moshe Feldman was his shver and his mother's brother. Feldman was the son-in-law of Getzel Berger, the big Satmarer gvir who made a killing after WW2 in bombed-out London. So there's a nice mix, but I would assume that the Rizhiner within was the strongest element.

Now the rumors begin. That the the tzava'ah wasn't read because it would cause too much strife and pain among the family and chassidim. I hope this isn't the case. What we don't need now is another 5 Sadigerrer Rebbes, not with 9 freshly minted new Sanzer Rebbes now in the pool. We should discuss that at some point.

.יהי זכרו ברוך







 

A search of the blog for the word Sadiger brings up a slew of good posts, if I may say so myself.