Wednesday, November 30, 2005

What's thy name?

Due to popular demand, and to an impending nervous breakdown fom a reader whose sharp mind I'd like to retain, there will henceforth be no more "anonymous" posting.


I understand that the signup process may take 2 minutes, but if you can post on the blog you can find those 2 minutes somewhere.

I would prefer that you sign up with blogger, and choose a username and a password. That, however, is not mandatory, you can choose a screenname without signing up and divulging any personal information. Just choose it and stick to it.

Sounds confusing? maybe, but I've got faith in y'all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Napoleon's Soothsayer?

(Napoleon and his Staff 1868, Oil on panel 17 x 18 cm, Wallace Collection, London)

Here's the story:

During the war of 1812 The Alter Rebbe was again on the other side of the equation. Sounds Familiar, no? He and the Ropshitzer Rov were the only ones to "root" for Czar Alexander I.

My son was reading this Yiddish book called : רבי מענדעלע רימנובער, which is published by מוסד זכר נפתלי בהנהלת הרב אלי חיים קרליבך, but that's totally not part of the issue here, it's just a coincidence. When they speak of the battle of the Talmidei HaMagid as to who should be victorious, Napoleon or the Russians, one paragraph really caught my eye, on page 187,It goes as follows:

אין יענע צייטן האט נאפאליאן כסדר מצליח געווען שלא כדרך הטבע. מ'האט געוואוסט אז דאס האט ער צו דאנקען דעם רבי'ן ר' מענדעלע, ווייל אין דער נאפאליאנישער מלחמה-כראניק ווערט דערציילט, אז פונקט ווי ביי אלכסנדר מוקדון איז פאראויסגעגאנגען דאס געשטאלט פון שמעון הצדיק, אזוי האט נאפאליאן געזעהן אין זיינע מלחמות דאס געשטאלט פון א נידריק אידל מיט א רויט געזיכט, און אדאנק דעם דאזיגען אידל האט ער מנצח געווען. און ביי דער לעצטער שלאכט ביי וואטערלאה האט ער דאס אידל נישט געזעהן....
דאס דאזיגע אידל איז געווען נישט קיין אנדערע ווי דער הייליקער רבי ר' מענדעלע

In short: The holy Reb Mendelle of Rimanov would appear to Napoleon and tell him of his forthcoming victory. Until the battle of Waterloo, where he did not.

Most other stories have sources such as The Munkatcher Rov zt"l in Darkei Chaim V'Sholom, yet this story has no source. Rather the source is the "Napoleon's Chronicles", whatever they may be.

Your thoughts, whatever they may be, would be appreciated.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

די מצב אמאל

(די אלטע זיצען אין שול, נאר קיין יוגנט איז ניט דא)

As described in the words of Yom Tov Erlich, z"l.

שווארצע וואלקנס זענען אנגעקומען,
און פארשטעלט פון זוהן די שיין,
און א טרויער האט ארומגענומען,
אט דער קליינער שטעטל מיין,

וואס געבליבן איז דער ליבער חדר,
א מאדערענע שולע איז דארט,
אין די שולן דאווענט מען כסדר,
נאר קיין יוגנט איז ניט דא,

און עס טראגט זיך איין הילכיגער געלעכטער,
פון די קלוגן טאג און נאכט,
און זיי די ערליכע זוהן און טעכטער,
פון דער השכלה אריינגענארט,

אלעס איז צינויפגעמישט צוזאמען,
אלעס טאנצט און זינגט מיט פרייד,
נישט איין טאטע נישט איין מאמע,
פון וועלכע געגאנגען יונגערהייט,

עס ברענט די הויז עס ברענט אויך די ישיבה,
אין יעדן הויז א גרויסער בראך,
מען רייסט קריעה און מען זיצט שבעה,
אויף קינדער וועלכע לעבן נאך,

א גריס פון די שטעטאלאך, די ווינקאלאך די שיינינקע,
א גריס אייך פון דער ליבער אלטער היים,
א גריס אייך פון די געסאלאך, די הייזאלאך די קליינינקע,
א גריס פון יעדן גערטנדל און בוים,

די ישיבאלאך פארלאזענע, די שכנדלאך פארשלאסענע,
די הייזער פול מיט טומל און מיט שרעק,
די הערצאלאך צוריסענע, די ליפאלאך צוביסענע,
די קינדער וועלכע זענען ווייט אוועק.

I see that for some reason he blames the Haskoloh only, why no introspection?

Why only sitting Shivah and tearing Kriah?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

כ' מרחשון תשס"ו

BeHemshech to what was said earlier about Avigdor, and the titles bestowed upon him, I feel it's appropriate to quote the Rebbe Rashab N"E,

משיחת י"ט כסלו תרס"ד תורת שלום עמוד 44

האב איך פריער געזאגט אז היינט איז נתגלה געווארען חסידות, היינט איז חסידות יצא זכאי בדין ...... און אזוי ווי ביי חנוכה איז געווען להשכיחם תורתך ולהעבירם מחקי רצוניך, אזוי איז דא אויך געווען ..... און דא איז דאס געווען דורך א אידען, דער ס"ם האט זיך מתלבש געווען אין א אידען.... טאקע אביגדור וואס אין אים האט זיך דער ס"ם מתלבש געווען אויף צו פירען דעם קיטרוג.....

It's worth a look.......

Kovner Rov, א חסיד ?

Take a look at this picture.

I don't believe I've seen other Litvishe Rabbonim with a Gartel like that.

Maybe it's just a belt.

Taken at an אסיפת הרבנים in Petersburg.

Photo courtesy of USHMM

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Who killed Stalin?

was it:


Actually, he died from illness, but I mean in a spiritual sense.

Towards the conclusion of the Farbrengen of Purim 5713, the Rebbe said as follows:

[כהקדמה ובסמיכות לאמירת המאמר, כאשר רצינות ודביקות מיוחדת נראתה על פני קדשו - פתח כ"ק אדמו"ר שליט"א וסיפר:

בתקופת המהפיכה ברוסיא לאחרי מפלתו של הקיסר, הורה כ"ק אדמו"ר (מהורש"ב) נ"ע להחסידים להשתתף בבחירות שנערכו במדינה. ובהתאם לכך הגיע למקום שבו התקיימו הבחירות גם אחד החסידים שהי' מופשט לגמרי מהוויות העולם, ולא ידע כלל מה מתרחש במדינה - שהרי צריך הוא לקיים את ההוראה של הרבי, וכמובן, לאחרי הקדמת טבילה במקוה וחגירת אבנט, כראוי לקיום הוראה של הרבי. לאחר שעשה מה שצריך לעשות בשביל הבחירות, כפי שהורו לו חבריו - ראה אנשים עומדים ומכריזים "הורה", ועמד גם הוא והכריז: "הורע, הורע, הורע"...

(כל המסובים עמדו והכריזו בהתרגשות: "הורע, הורע, הורע". ומיד לאח"ז פתח כ"ק אדמו"ר שליט"א ואמר את המאמר[167])].

Man, I wish there was a tape of that Farbrengen, but alas!

Chassidim zenen klug, and they saw that this was an extraordinary event happening in front of their eyes, they seized the opportunity.

The same or next day Stalin died. The news was only publicized days later, with the reports only being at first that he was "ill", and only later that he died.

In Chabad they say the Rebbe "killed him".

Meanwhile, only minutes away in Williamsburg:

The singer/composer Reb Yom Tov Erlich z"l, had a custom of burning effigies on Purim, something I don't see the point of, but neverthless, that's what he did. He would always ask permission of the Stoliner Rebbe, Reb Yochanon z"l. On Erev Purim 5713 he asked if he
can burn Stalin's effigy, the Rebbe replied:

"מיר האבען אנדערע וועגן ווי דאס צו טאן"

So, according to RYTE his Rebbe "killed" him.

So who gets the credit here?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Same old psychobabble

It seems like no matter how hard they try not to sound the same they all do.

Take A CERTAIN KID for instance, his main beef is that he was told דו ביסט א גארנישט, something that for some reason doesn't bother most other people. Then again he's not just "other people", he's an "anarchist", brrr.

(listen to the pearls of wisdom pouring forth)

When is some פרייאק going to come up with an original line, an original reason for leaving the fold?

And of all communities CH is the least of your problems if you're in the mood of a good time.

Please don't tell me that I don't understand either.

To each his own

Photo courtesy of Carlebach Shul

Reb Eli Chaim z"l at the Kosel. Notice the Atoroh. The Tallis and Tefillin are still Chabad, though.

The Lithuanian connection

Photo coutesy of USHMM

Pursuant to the anonymous comment about the Lithuanian side of RIH z"l:

הרב נפתלי מנחם (הערץ מענדל) הוטנער פון איישישאק ומשפחתו

I guess it doesn't get any more Litvish than that!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

From Bais HoRav to Chaim Berlin

Rabbi Shimon Groner passed away last week. He was Leibel's first cousin, his father was Schneur Zalman. RSZG passed away when young Shimon was 14 years old, which was in 5706. My only question is why did he not join his cousins in Tomchei Tmimim? For that we'll need to learn more about his father which we do not know at this time.

I saw his picture on the front cover of the Yated and decided to buy it. It was tough going through the pages, I tell ya.

Was he related to Dov Groner who was killed al Kiddush Hashem by the British in 1947?

Anyway, Shimon stayed in YRCB on Stone Ave. where he was "One of two Bochurim in the Bais Medrash on long summer friday afternoons, him and his young Chavrusah" (aren't they all?) and "never left". Even when he was away from the Yeshivah he took it with him. In 5738 he became Mashgiach, (after Rav Avigdor Miller left?), a position he filled until his untimely death.

They did (the Yated) conveniently omit the fact that he was a descendant of Bais HoRav, altough they mention his father's name, but there they mention only that he learned in Eitz Chaim in Yerushalayim and that he was a "scion of the well-known Grossman family". He was also the only Bochur permitted by the Roash Yeshivah RIH to grow a beard.

If only he stayed.....

כ"ד טבת תשי"ב

l-r: Shlomo Carlebach, Reb Meir Ashkenazi Rov of Shanghai, China, The Rebbe.

The rebbe said a הדרן על הש"ס at the farbrengen.

......שלמה האט קשיות

Audio courtesy of WLCC

Monday, November 14, 2005

?זי מעג

(Bruriah's father, HaRav Yitzchok Hutner, z"l)

Bruria Hutner David, (1936 - ) daughter of Rabbi Isaac Hutner, is the current dean of Beth Jacob Jerusalem (commonly known as BJJ), a prestigious religious girls seminary located in Jerusalem, Israel. Known as Rebbitzen David, she was on one of the planes, along with her husband and parents, which were hijacked by the Black September terrorists in 1970.
Dr. Bruria Hutner David received her doctorate in philosophy from Columbia University in 1971. Her dissertation dealt with The dual role of Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Chajes: Traditionalist and Maskil. Her dissertation demonstrates a thorough mastery of the source material, and deals with R. Chajes relationships both in the world of Haskallah as well as in the traditional world of Orthodox Judaism.


She's molding the young, impressionable women of tomorrow, a Columbia grad of the 60's?!


You get my drift here?

What the Rebbe did

whilst in France

Of what the others did we have no testimony. Maybe they'd find out if they looked too, or maybe they don't want to....

Watch the interview with David Fakler.

(much thanks to an anonymous reader and friend)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The man's getting desperate

Now he's doing an interview with Sholom Ber Keller, a Yosom. The depths some people will sink to just to generate controversy or to get back at others is unbelievable.

What's next, are we going to use one of the shnorrers in 770 as proof of the lack of helpful institutions in CH?

Am I supposed to let that go too?

Friday, November 11, 2005

They needed 3 days

Most of you have heard about it, so here's the Jewish Week's take on the “Reaching for the Infinite: The Lubavitcher Rebbe – Life, Teachings and Impact” Conference held at NYU this week.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Why couldn't they all be like him?!

I've always admired Reb Chaskel Besser. An old-time Peylishe Yid, a scion of a very distinguished family, he always seemed like the perect example of a Torah-diplomat who never allowed the young and even old Askonim and Rabbonim inflame passions amongst the Agudah faithful. He's a true treasure, and, unfortunately, today's so-called "askonim" have much to learn, with all due respect to their accomplishments.

In the video soon to be released where people speak of their recollections of the Rebbe, he's the most fascinating personality to watch. His respect, reverence, and even love for the Rebbe, that's right, love, a true אהבה, is clearly evident. The Rebbe reciprocated and showed him the respect due to an Askan of his caliber.

How then did the Agudah take the turn that it did, banishing Rabbi Soloveitchik (although he left and joined Mizrachi) and anybody that a certain Rabbi didn't like, and propping up and creating the new age Gedolim that we have in the Agudah today? Does he think that the Rosh Yeshivah of Philadelphia (may he have a Refuah Sheleima) really has his finger on the pulse of the Jewish People? Does the Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin, a kid from the Young Israel of East New York, know how to take on the crises that befall Klal Yisroel?

I won't go as far as to say that he should've been there to stand up for the Rebbe's Kovod, because I have no knowledge of what might have been had he not been there. One thing's for certain, he must have nerves of steel to sit in at those meetings and hear some of the gibberish spoken there.....

they book is available at EBAY and is a great read.

Some great pics there too.


Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Lesser of two....

My friend, blogger --------- (I forgot his name!) wants to know why we cannot along. After all, aren't we cut from the same Russian-Belorussian-Lithuanian cloth? we wear the same clothes, we speak the same language, and we both purport to seek intellectual stimulation, not feeling fulfilled by what the Tzaddik learns and does.

I'll try to be coherent here, but it may take more than one thread.

The truth is that I do have more in common (sometime) with a simple, Temimisdikke Yid, who learns in his free time and knows no חכמות . A man of esteemed lineage who wears extravagant clothing does not garner his respect, the man needs to teach Torah, and work hard at it. When I see the photos of two Rebbes sitting together in a lavishly furnished room with huge silver vessels filled with fruits and cakes, I can puke, sorry. The contrast is when we see 2 of the older generation Litvishe Roshei Yeshivos sitting in a simply-furnished room with Seforim all around. If I were to need to choose who to look up to and emulate the choice would be quite easy.

So this Yeshivishe Yungerman who works for a living and spends his spare time learning, attending Shiurim, and mostly, not attending his Rebbe's einiklech's Chasunah twice a month is worthy of much respect and admiration. This was the case until the recent past, about 30 years ago.

Since then the haters have hijacked the cause. No longer was the way of life to just simply spend your time learning and spreading Torah, albeit to your community only. Somebody decided that their job was to be the policemen of the Jewish World, and to decide who can and cannot speak. They are the true "Torah Jews", only their Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshivah have Daas Torah, everybody else is either "krum" or is just ignored.

The main problem with that is that most Baalei Batim today are products of those Yeshivos and Rabbonim and are exposed to the hate. Many, to their credit, do not soak it up, but many do, especially the "frummer" ones, which is problematic. They are not naturally the zealot type but they cannot help it. Years of hearing it in their shmoozes and at Shiurim have taken their toll. For those who see Lubavitch in action it may lessen the effect but it's still there.

How then am I supposed to love them? Lehavdil, Indians and Pakistanis are also the same people, living in the same country and yet they hate each others' guts. I use them as an extreme example. We have been alienated. I'll admit that Lubavitch has no love lost for "misnagdim" and abuse the term terribly.

To sum it all up:
Gone are the days where the Litvishe Rabbonim like Harav Moshe Feinstein and Harav Y.E. Henkin were the eyes of the community, they were true leaders who let old disagreements die. The Rebbe often differentiated between "Misnagdim" and "Nit-Chassidim", the aforementioned Rabbonim were the latter. Today's leaders of the "Torah Community" are not only of lesser caliber, which can be understood, we all are, but they seem to try and make up for it in other ways. The newspapers decide public policy and decide who's in and who's out. Sort of like one-big Moshe Sherer, z"l.

The general Chassidishe Velt deserves another post, I sometimes feel more distant from them than I do from the Yeshivishe, but that's for another time, hopefully very soon.

I do not write מתוך שנאה but rather to clarify the issue.

Monday, November 7, 2005

It really shouldn't bother me......

........But it does.

How is it that an unlearned, angry, depressed character like him can be sprouting opinions and formulating policy about our holy Rebbeim?

Why should I "loz op't", like Berl says, and let him run rampant, totally unchecked?

Does his mental and emotional status absolve him from any criticism?

Let him ramble on about Art and Architecture, but leave Yiddishkeit and Chassidus alone!

I am trying to be positive rather than just attack, attack, but some issues must be taken on directly. I do not act as an investigative reporter and try to expose Roshei Yeshiva etc, all I do is discuss, and let everybody speak freely.

I knew you'd understand.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

Let 'er burn!

Paris under anarchy

Youths rampaging

no mention of their religion here.

From the AP:

"The violence — originally concentrated in neighborhoods northeast of Paris with large immigrant populations — is forcing France to confront long-simmering anger in its suburbs, where many Africans and their French-born children live on society's margins, struggling with unemployment, poor housing, racial discrimination, crime and a lack of opportunity."

French are still clueless.

You made your bed, now sleep in it.

Friday, November 4, 2005

בשבילך, "Anonymous"

You asked for a "Dvar Teyre", so here goes:

A Chosid once came to the Alter Rebbe "complaining" about his situation in life. "Rebbe", He said, "I am wont of both worlds, I have neither Olam HaZeh nor Olam HaBoh". Other Chassidim, Chassidim of Peylisher Rebbes, have it much better than I do. They travel to their respective Rebbe for Shabbos with their wives' permission, because she knows the Chossid will ask for Brochos of Gezunt and Parnossoh and will receive them. At the tish the Chossid gets Sherayim. At Yechidus the Chossid asks for everything he needs and the Rebbe graciously "pours" the Brochos. Of course, when the Chossid gets back home he is happily received by all of his family. After living such a spiritual life he merits a Gezunte Olam Habah because he's done all that's expected of a Chagas Chossid.

The Chabadnik has none of this.

His wife gives him a hard time. "you must ask the Rebbe for a Brochoh for Parnossoh, for our daughter who needs to get married" etc. He cannot do this. When he gets to the Rebbe he tries hard to understand the Maamar, he attends the Chazoroh, review, of the Maamar, he fasts before Yechidus, and when he gets to go into yechidus he cannot do it. He simply cannot bring himself to ask the Rebbe for Brochos regarding personal physical matters. The Rebbe asks him about his learning, davening etc. and he's ashamed. He leaves the Rebbe a broken man.

When he gets home the wife asks him if he'd asked the Rebbe for the Brochos, he says no. Next year he'll have a hard time convincing her to let him go again. He remebers the Maamar and the lessons he needs to learn from them and he has a difficult time implementing the Rebbe's directives. When he leaves this world he's asked וואס פאר א חסיד ביסטו? So he says, A Chabadnik. A Chabadnik gets asked "Did you learn Chassidus, Did you daven like a Chabadnik should etc. He's left with no answer and is sent directly to h---.

So the AR put his heilige kup in di hent, thought for a while, and said:

"איך וועל ניט בייטען דעם (חב"ד) חסידישען גהנם אפ'ן פויליש'ער גן עדן "

א פרייליכען שבת

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Step 1, implemented.

( Reb Nachman's Yarmulke)

Well, not in Lubavitch but elsewhere.

In Breslov it seems that some have gotten sick and tired of crazies giving their Rebbe a bad name, so they've taken action.

In Beitar, Israel there's a group called וועד דחסידי ברסלב-אנ"ש

They've basically decided that they've had enough of the crazies running around giving Reb Nachman and Breslov a bad rap. They wish to keep to themselves. They're mostly Yerushalmi Breslovers who never signed on to the idea of "opening" Breslov to the masses,so they've decided to stick to themselves and keep Breslov and all it entails to themselves.

They do have an advantage though. They've had 200 years to develop ideas without a current Rebbe directing, they therefore can decide for themselves. They also do not have one Shul where everybody needs to daven other than on Rosh Hashanah.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Reb Hershel Eichler, z"l

I was זוכה to get a Psak from him in the old Flatbush Eichler's. I was pestering the poor man, asking him for prices on half the seforim in the store.

Hershel was a Mechanech for many years in the ערי השדה before starting the seforim business. A sharp Jerusalemite who became a successful businessman.

He passed away last night.

יהי זכרו ברוך

Time to reconsider

In light of recent events, where every Russian, Minnesotian, and son and daughter of Baalei Tshuvah who was ever brushed against at a farbrengen or had his hat smashed at the Mikveh in Crown Heights is "exposing" Lubavitch, we need to reconsider our priorities.

We can trace all of these rabblerousers, troublemakers, backstabbers, and ingrates to one of several categories:

1) The Russian bachelor who feels he's been lied to and Lubavitch isn't perfect, worse, they're a bunch of Hungarians who don't understand Greco-Roman Architecture, and only TNLR has the right idea.

2) The fool from Minnesota who feels that the Rebbe should've used his contacts to save Raoul Wallenberg, the Falashes, and the spotted owl, if not he should've died (r"l) with the rest in the gas chambers.

3) The young girl who's lost her way and now uses her feel-good education to make teenagers feel good and comfortable in an irreligious environment.

4) The Sefardim, Frenchies, American Baalei Tshuvah, without whom such troublemakers such as a Rabbi at a certain institute for Baalos Tshuvah would have nobody to preach to.

THEREFORE, I PROPOSE A 10 YEAR MORATORIUM ON CHABAD OUTREACH ACTIVITIES. Meaning, no Boy or Girl, man or woman should be sent to a Yeshivah or Girls institute for the next 10 years. Chabad activities should be limited to doing mivtzoyim and/or teaching Nigleh only, preferably Artscroll/Metsudah/Feldheim. Anybody needing to go to Yeshivah should be sent to Aish or Or Someach. A person needing "Rebbe" guidance should be sent to one of the "Gedolim" such as Goldwasser and so on. The Rebbe nor Chassidus should not be mentioned.

This will make it a better life and Lubavitch for all of us.

Untouched by human hands

In the latest issue there are Zichronos from Reb Mendel Novikov, a Chossid who passed away in Eretz Yisroel in 5703.

He writes: In 5699 Reb Levik Schneerson (later of) Yekatrinoslav stayed with me at one אכסניא in Lubavitch for Yom Tov (Shavuous). He ate the Yom Tov meals at the Rebbe's house. upon his return he told me that he had asked the Rebbe when was the Yohrtzeit of the Baal Shem Tov? The Rebbe replied on the first day of YomTov.

Reb Levik proceeded to ask "If so, then according to Halacha Goyim would need to be the ones to dig the grave, boil the water, and do all other neccessary work. Can we say that the holy Baal Shem Tov was buried by Goyim?" The Rebbe replied: "הבעש"ט לא הי' נצרך לשום התעסקות וממילא מובן שלא התעסקו בו שום אנשים רק... וד"ל

The Baal Shem Tov was buried by....

Do other groups that have the mesorah as it being on Yom Tov Sheni also mention this?

Do they believe this?

Is this why they say that he was Niftar on Yom Tov Sheni, so as not to be compelled to say that he wasn't buried by humans?