Thursday, March 27, 2008

Yeshivos Pushing Agendas

(2nd from Left Harav YY Piekarski, zt"l, R"Y Lubavitch, 4th from left The Skulener Rebbe zt"l, , 5th from left Harav Yaakov Teitelbaum, zt"l.)

When discussing the passing of Reb Eli Teitelbaum, the fact that he learned in Lubavitch was mentioned by me. Which reminds me; did the obituaries mention that fact? I wonder... Anyway; So the talk began as to why his father, a Ruzhiner Chossid, would send to Lubavitch. After all, there were other bastions of Torah like Yeshivas Moreinu Harav Chaim Berlin, and Yeshivas Harav Yaakov Yosef, and Yeshiva Torah Umada- I mean Torah Vodaas, so why send to a place where they probably just learned Tanya all day and kissed the Rebbe's picture, right? Obviously, instead of most people changing their perceptions about what a Lubavitcher Yeshiva was or still is, they instead make themselves happy by convincing themselves that it was Lubavitch that changed, and that they're right for changing their attitude towards Lubavitch. Fine, let them think so.

The point here is this: ALL Yeshivos push their agenda, most of them anyway. Whether it's the Yeshivishe Agenda, The Chassidishe Agenda, or the Zionist Agenda, it's no different anywhere. The reason you may not see it somewhere else is simple: they have nothing to offer. Then there are those that push even if they have nothing (really) to offer. In Spinka we would all travel to the airport to greet the Spinker Rebbe when he would arrive from Israel. Why? why be mevatel the learning of tinokos shel bais rabbon just to welcome him at the airport when the same can be done in the yeshiva? And why Bichlal involve little kids who nothing about the Spinka Rebbe, and are not Spinka Chassidim? Is that why their parents sent them there, to make kabbolas ponims for the Rebbe? I guess if it's an innocent little KP it's ok, after all, what's the worse that could happen, my son will become a Spinker Chossid? Nisht Geferlich.

Those of you who are either alumni of Stoliner Yeshivah in BP, or know those that are, will recognize that the Stoliner Cheder was, and is to a lesser extent, a major "factory" (for lack of a better term) of gaining new Chassidim. DeHaynu, that they managed to build up a whole thriving chassidus mostly on Tzugekummener American/Litvishe kids, most of who's parents never dreamed that their children would become farbrente chassidim of a young bochur who they were told has super powers and knows what they're thinking just by looking at them. Many, many of the Choshuvste yungeleit there are from Litvishe homes, and they were actively recruited to be Stoliners while in yeshiva there. I believe the same goes on today, and rightfully so; any person who sends his child to a yeshiva run by Stoliner Chassidim should realize that there the chance that his son will begin subscribing to their way of thinking, whether they say it explicitly or not. I guess maybe the old Rabbi teitelbaum was thinking that too; if my son becomes a Lubavitcher iz oych nisht geferlich, besser vi a l-----.


Anonymous said...

One of the unique aspects of the Kesser Torah Network was that while the Rebbe was especially careful that the yeshivos be chassidic in nature, he did not push Radomsker chassidus. Both the faculty and the student body were comprised of people who belonged to a wide range of chassidic courts. In addition, the Rebbe put a special emphasis that the curriculum should be devoted only to the highest level of Gemara learning. In addition special emphasis was put on the learning of the heretofore largely neglected subjects of Kodashim, learning about the karbanos and the avoda in the Beis Hamikdash.


Hirshel Tzig said...

and that's why it was "unique."

chaim berlin debacle said...

long live radomsk

Yoeli said...

why a rizhin chusid should send to lubavitch I cannot answer

but i know that the kaliver rebbe in williamsburg also went to chabad, and he told me because his father wanted him only to learn by rabayim with full beards, and that time it wasn't available only in chabad.

Anonymous said...

so, you deny anything has changed in lubavitch?????

genuk shoin said...

tzig the worlds exploding on the uoj blog enough about teitelbaum

Anonymous said...

Tzig: Why are you ignoring the Hersh kid in a Jamaican prison camp? The goings on are historic and beyond belief. You have to write about it.

Anonymous said...

One of the heros in the isaac hersh rescue is from monsey.

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

Actualy, the Titelbaums originaly went to Torah V'Doath (also slightly chassidish). He wasn't happy, and pulled them all out and sent to Chabad. Pure Litvish yeshivos weren't an option.

Hirshel Tzig said...

anon 12:06

I don't get the whole story. If you'd like, fill us in on the details and tell me what Schechter has got to do with it. I'll be glad to post it.

Minkatcher Ainikle said...

Just an FYI, in this week's Yated: "As a youth, Eli attended the Lubavitcher Cheder and Yeshiva during which time he formed a close relationship with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, which he maintained until the Rebbe took ill and passed away."

n said...

tzigele, this was a pleasant post.

Hirshel Tzig said...

I'm glad you lied it, N. Nice to hear from you.

Anonymous said...


As someone who attended a Lubavitcher Yeshiva 40 years ago, I would like to state that I came out of the Yeshivah with a strong feeling for Yiddishkeit but knowing far less in learning than a typical teenager who would have attended a regular yeshivah like Chaim Berlin or Mir. On the other hand, I have personally seen over the years what happened to some of these learners once they married and didn't open a sefer for years.
I only started to become uncomfortable with Lubavitch with Lubavitch when this whole Rebbe/Moshiach business became high profile about 20 years ago.
I have no agenda. I would just like to know from you, what percentage of the Lubavitch community, in your opinion, either openly or tacitly, suscribe to this belief. I am getting conflicting responses and it is important for me to know.
Thank you in advance.

Minkatcher Ainikle said...

More from Yated..."After the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s passing, when the messianic leanings of many within the movement came to the fore, Rabbi Teitelbaum was at the forefront of publicly protesting and pointing out the fallacies of such an approach.
Despite the fact that Reb Eli himself was close to Lubavitch and the Rebbe throughout his life, he felt that this step was extremely dangerous. His vociferous railings against this aspect of the movement invited attempts to intimidate him. It also lost him many of his decades-long friends, but he was undeterred. The emes, the truth, was what mattered to him more than anything. His sense of responsibility to Klal Yisroel did not permit him to remain quiet when such a dangerous breach in hashkafa and deyos was being promulgated."

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding???
Your website loses all its credibility when you write silly things like this!
Your raya that all yeshivas push their agenda aside from Chaba”d is since some person who was Ruzhiner Chassid sent his child to Lubavitch?!
He could have had a zillion different motivations, but you decided it was since Lubavitch does not push their agenda!
Perhaps R’ Eli was sent to Lubavitch because they lived close to the school? Perhaps R’ Eli’s father knew one Rebbe in the yeshiva who he wanted to be mechanech his son? DELETED
There could have been many different reasons why R’ Eli was sent to Lubavitch, but you decide that it was because they do not push their agenda!
What you are doing is pushing an agenda!
Also, before you decide that the Munkatcher children are being mevatel torah by going to greet their Rebbe at the airport think for a second. What is the point of learning torah? Lilmod al m’nas la’asos! So while you are sitting and learning the sugyos of kibbud av and kibbud rav, and you are trying to kler p”shat in exactly what does it mean machniso, mashkeihu, etc… you are being mevatel your mitzvah of being machnis him!
When I was in E’Y I had the zchus to learn b’chavrusa with a certain Rosh Yeshiva, who is world renown as a tzadik and a talmid chacham. When my Rebbe from America was coming to E”Y, I asked this Rosh Yeshiva if I should go pick him up from the airport and miss night seder and his response was YES.
But I’m sure you know better.

Hirshel Tzig said...

re: the Yated obit.

I bought the paper, and must admit, they went all out for him, as if he was one of theirs, which is nice, but the preaching has to stop. It's ok in a separate piece, but not in the obit. That's what Der Yid does.

You hear me A.B.??????

Anonymous said...

I spoke to Reb Yaankel Teitelbaum or rather he spoke to me since I was then a teenager, about precisely this topic. I have been trying to jar my memory but it is proving very difficult since it happened so many years ago.What keeps on coming up is his saying he was hopeful it will turn out for the good, there are few good choices and then onto one of his favorite themes of shearis hapelitah. All this came about as part of a long conversation over many weeks where Rabbi Teitelbaum explained to me in great detail the evils of Zionism and how the Agudah if it is not careful will go otd if it hasn't already. He was concerned with authenticity in two ways...the sense of authenticity we call heimish and how to maintain that sensibility in America going forward, and authentic in the sense of not deviating from the shiteh of the pre-war Agudah. Against this larger conversation he once spoke why he sent his children to Lubavitch.

I give you what I got and I hope I got it right.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think that not having a agenda for a rebbe is a problem? Did the Tiferes Shlome had a agenda? He definitely had a certain derech in Avdus Hashem, being pareve is not a plus at all

Arthur said...

There is no question that Eli Teitelbaum was a multi talented and very outgoing individual.Even though he was three years younger then me,we were very good friends.We learned together in Bedford and Dean in the early 60's. In fact I remember when he stole the regents from Dr.Wadlers (who was then principal of the HS) office and gave it out, not only to the bochurim in B&D,but also to bochurim in other Yeshivas.There was a whole scandal about this episode and the regents he had stolen had to be cancelled throughout NY state.We worked together as asst.head councellors under Zisha Heshel Z"l,one of the sons of the Kopycynitzer Rebbi ZT"L,in Gan Israel NY in the early 60's.
The fact of the matter is that he started drifting away from Chabad way before Gimmel Tammuz.This is probably due to the facts that he had a close connection with the Agudah and was a rebbi in Torah Timmimah.
I am not trying to belittle him in any way C'V,but if you read the posts on Yeshiva World and other blogs ,they write about him as if was the Gadol Hador.Again he had a great zchus of being the founder of Dial a Daf and was a fantastic Rebbi and wrote articles in Country Yossi but all this does not make him a new R' Meir Shapiro ZT"L. We are not ready to canonize him yet.
In the Litveshe Yeshive world however,where every shmendrik Rosh Hayishiva and his brother are Gedolim (Did you ever go to the Chupa at a Litveshe Chassuna where you can get sea sick from all the standing ups and sitting downs when the various Roshe yishvelach are called up for a Kibbud?)
Eli was a fantastic guy.No question but lets not diefy him.

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

BTW, he too his camp to Rav Sach EVERY YEAR, even during the heat of the fight!!!

schneur said...

Your coments about yeshivas are very cogent , but much too general. What shita was Tora Vedaas sending in the 1940's. It had rebbes who were Mussar men, Brisker, Chabad, POlish chassidim and even Rabbiner BReuer taught there.
What message was RJJ selling ? Mussar ? Brisk ? Tore Im derech Eretz ? You tell me What message was MTJ selling ? Was Tchebin selling something how about Chachmei Lublin ?
What message did other yeshivas sell. In my opinion TTl until the mid 1950's was Chabad but much brayter. The rosh yeshiva was either a Litvak or a Amshinover chassid. And there were some non Lubavitchr there.
Finally although it seems that having a yeshiva became a must for all growing Chassidic groups after the War . thsoe interested in the spiritual side of Chassidius now understand that these Mosdos are partially responsible for the SPiritual downfall of most Chassidic groups.

Lipman said...

Let me sidestep to another recent obituary in Hamodia daily regarding Reb Benzion Dunner Z"L, that initially mentioned the fact that in his youth he learned in the Lubavitch School. However the longer article in the weekly Hamodia somehow omitted that fact.

I believe this is a point for the readers to observe and for the writers to protest!

Hirshel Tzig said...


I did notice that. The fact that Lubavitch had the only frum Jewish High School in Golders Green, and that all GG bochurim of a certain age went there, is totally lost on these people, so they had to delete it, I guess. I guess they think they're doing his neshomoh a favor...