Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Whence the Telsher Bochur?
Reader commenting on Circus Tent: My Unexciting (early) Life
The saga of Telshe in America is interesting. I heard that at one time it was so 'hot' that it was hard to get in there. Like when your father was there. So why are there so many people like your father, who learned there, but don't consider themselves Telzers? The difficulty in making Hungarians into Litvaks? Or was it more? Maybe he would have thought of himself more as a Telzer if he lived elsewhere, but living in BP, with so many Hungarians and Chassidim around, he reverted to his previous pre-Telshe state due to their influence. From what I gather, Telshe was quite large in the old days and places like Lakewood were quite small. Many Lakewood branches didn't exist yet then. I think that the advent of new Yeshivas and growth in air travel and travel to Eretz Yisroel to learn hurt Telshe in a big way. Why didn't you daven in Telshe minyan in BP ? The Telshe Rav is a Chassidishe mit a shtreimel. Sort of a funny combination there, like the photo with this post. A famous strong Litvishe Yeshiva represented by a Chossid. Amusing.
Hirshel Tzig concludes: There are a couple of misconceptions here that I'd like to address. First, that Boro Park was chock full of Chassidim 40 years ago when my father moved there. This is simply not the case. Boro Park is very different than it was 10-15 years ago, 40 years ago Al Achas Kamoh VeKamoh. There was plenty of non-chassidishe Yidden, albeit not as much Litvishe. Still, one can still find many Yidden in Boro Park that were never influenced by the transformation, and they remained the same as they ever were. Shuls like the Mirrer Minyan, Lakewood Minyan, Felder's, OAMY (2 doors down) and of course Anshei Telshe and many others still have very few Shtreimlach as steady Shabbos Mispallelim. Having said that we can rule out Boro Park influencing his decision as to where to daven, especially since he had many friends and schoolmates in the Telsher Minyan!!
The truth is I never asked Di Tatte Zol Gezunt Zein why he snubbed the Telsher Minyan all these years, with his buddy the Rov there and many friends there too. Maybe I should ask him next time we speak. I guess maybe he didn't wanna daven Ashkenaz with the Telsher twist, being that he davened Sfard despite his father davening Ashkenaz. Also, many other Hungarians that went to Telshe did become Litvaks, which is somewhat difficult to do, changing Nationalities as a Teenager, but it did happen! Also, i would think that such Torah luminaries as Reb Elya Meir Bloch, Reb Mottel Katz and Reb Boruch Sorotzkin z"l could have an influence on even an Hungarian Bochur, and especially one that didn't have a strong counter influence at home. So the question remains.