Friday, May 30, 2008

יעור ויסלף

(Rav Hirsh Peysach Frank, zt"l)

I have a tough time with letters like this the one about to be posted, simply because it may not fall in line with the opinions of my rabbeyim. However, the lessons we can learn from these letters are immeasurable. We need them to show how the zealots not only manipulated public opinion today and for generations to come, but they also managed to sideline important players while they were still alive. They sold the world a pack of lies, all under the guise of "Frimkeit." Another topic of interest - person of interest, rather - is Rav Hirsh Pesach Frank, zt"l, Rav of Yerushalayim. The zealots have a real problem with him, since he accepted the job as Rav of the Rabbanut Yerushalayim, but they can't deny his greatness like they do with others. So they came up with this story of how he lost 2 children to hunger - which is true, I think - and that's why he HAD to take the Rabbanut job. That would be OK were it not for the following letter, which shows what he thought of the Hungarian Kanoyim. The letter was written to his Mechutan, who was active in the Mizrachi.


'As I wind up my letter, I should let his honor know a bit of the affairs of the town [Jerusalem], though it is not my way to write such things, for we could not write enough. However ... directed us to inform his Honor. According to ... his Honor has the ability to correct things. Having heard that it will of benefit, I find myself obligated to uncover the mystery enveloping the conduct of our city.

The Gaon, our Master RA"Y Hakohen Kook (may he live) was accepted here at Rav by the majority of the Holy Community here. It is well known that the members of Kollel Ungarin are envious of our Russian and Polish brethren. Especially, so that the proceeds earmarked to the Hungarians should increase, it is not good for them that the Chief Rabbi of the Holy City be other than Hungarian. So what did the members of Kollel Ungarin do? A few of them gathered together ... At their head the old lad ... He propagandized to found Vaad Ashkenazi (Ashkenazic Council). Now this old lad is a great expert in arranging elections from all, revealed only to him. The entire electrocal process is invisible. It is difficult to describe in writing his diligence in this matter. He puts together a list of a large committee, also a steering committee. On the surface, all is lovely. On the inside, all is rotten, for from the ranks of the Hungarians and Galicians he picks ... youngsters and from the other kollelim, when he sees an old man or imbecile who won't understand his tricks, he brings him into the Vaad. So the result of the invisible election is that he is the Secretary and young fellow... the Chairman. They write and sign tens of thousands of letters to America and the entire world in the name of all the Ashkenazim in Jerusalem ... that Rav Hayyim Sonnenfeld is the Rav here, when all see and know that R. Hayyim Sonnenfeld was never, and will not be, the Rav, for he is an old, frail man for whom it is not possible to get involved in the affairs of the town. But this old lad uses him and his name as a pawn to destroy an entire city. He and his gang of empty fellows publicly, brazenly insult the Gaon Kook (may he live). The old lad got together with young writers who frequent the home of the ancient Rav Yishak Yerucham Diskin (may his light shine), for this old man is under the influence of young secretaries... They manipulate him whether way they please and obtain his signature for all their antics. In my estimation, he is not guilt at all for he cannot see writing, and signing is also difficult for him The secretaries made for him a stamp of his signature which is an exact replica and they write and sign whatever they please. Woe to a generation whose leaders are such lads, little foxes.

About six weeks ago, I spoke with Rav Hayyim Sonnenfeld, and at one point, I asked him if it right that he signs himself as the Rav of the Ashkenazim in our Holy City?... He answered me that the truth is, he himself does not sign so, but they made for him a stamp and wrote this on it. The Gaon, Our Master RAY Kook (may he live) is the Rav here. All the largest institutions are under his presidency. He is the Rav of the city and carries the burden of the community. They placed new, inexperienced people to carry the load of the community ... These sycophants and insolent fellows stroke these old men to their advantage. I wrote these things hurriedly, without order, as it does not fit my temperament to take care of such things. The upshot is, if his Honor can publicize the truth that the aforementioned elder sages – without disparaging them – are not communal leaders and one cannot pay attention to their signature. The affairs of the Jerusalem community, general and specific, temporal and spiritual are neither the domain of the elder sages nor their followers, who as a rule are simple folks who have put on a cloack of hypocrisy, announcing that they are zealots of the Lord. They use the names of the elders sages to blind peoples eyes, while anyone discerning sees that their aim is not truth, They employ smut sheets to stir up controversy in Israel.

His honor should let me know if any benefit may come of my words, which are but a drop of the sea of what should be known... '

Thursday, May 29, 2008


It was three years ago last week that we embarked on this very important venture, and we're still here, stronger than ever, b"H. We started Circus Tent. At that time we saw our site as one that counters the unchecked Chabad-bashing that was going on at the time, from 2 well-known sources. Then we realized that there was much more we could do; we could go on the offensive and show some of the bashers the chinks in their so-called armor. I will say this; there are times when I look back with discomfort at what I wrote or allowed to pass from commenters, but that's what happens when we allow the free and open exchange of ideas and of opinions. Most of what we write is not meant to embarrass and expose, but, rather, to level the playing field, do to speak, and to take the attention off of what's holy and dear to me.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Aiming to please whom?

(Rabbi Avi Weiss of Riverdale)

I referred to Rabbi Hertzfeld as a Mah Yofis Rabbi. I realize that it may be more of a shem haMush'al than a real term to describe him and his agenda, but that was the best I could come up with at the time. What I meant was that he seems to be more concerned with the supposed terrible plight of these illegals than with the fact that he knows none of the facts. All he's doing is believing the radicals agendas of the mob-infested labor unions and the radical agenda of PETA, the most unscrupulous organization known to man. An organization that has no qualms about lying and cheating to get their agenda pushed onto others. The fact that a Rabbi of a supposed Orthodox shul, who surely has benefited from the fact that Rubashkin is the sole supplier of kosher meat in thousands of venues across the country would go and make a statement like that without ever being asked for his two cents is shocking and embarrassing. In Israel today "Mah Yofis" would refer to a man who always sees fault in the ways and actions of his frum brethren. Thus, the good Rabbi here fits the bill, in my opinion anyway.

Reader "Bray of Fundie" disagrees. He writes:

"Without commenting on your case or Rabbi I'd quibble with your terminology, Tzig. I think it's impossible for an MO to be a Mah Yufis. The archetypical "Mah Yufis" was utterly contemptuous of the Grahf/puritz even while dancing for him. In our long golus informed by physical and, mostly, political impotence our approach towards those by whom we were nigleh (exiled), in whom we saw a mortal enemy, and whom k'mayim punim ehl punim we feared and loathed was to achieve a modus vivendi by maintaining a low profile and earning our livelihoods however they let us. We routinely khanfed, bribed, outsmarted and manipulated them whenever posssible.This approach is still the primary one for most Charedim, although we are richer and, in the west, physically and politically more empowered than our forbears ever were.

However the ideology of Modern Orthodoxy engages and embraces non-Jews in general and Western Civilization in particular. Science, medicine, the arts and High-Tech are not there merely for us to exploit and enrich ourselves with, but to pursue careers in and help build. MOs do not share the visceral hatred of goyim that we feel. They do not incessantly repeat halakha b'yodua sheh'Eisov sonei l'yaakov like some kind of a mantra. Hence IMO by definition they cannot be mah yufis'ls. The mah yufis khanfes he before whom he dances. The difference between khanifa and a compliment is sincerity. The MO sincerlry admires many planks of secularism, higher education and non-Jewish culture and mores. Despite pronouncing a shelo asani goy every morning the words probably stick in this Rabbis craw as, no doubt, the words shelo asani isha do.

I'd be surprised if he did not feel greater empathy and even identity with the "oppressed" yet Catholic uncurcumcised labor force at the plant than with the Charedi, Jewish "oppressors." MO has liberated it's adherents from the constraints of Jewish particularism. They are free to tsk tsk "Chilul HaShem" at every tiny perceived and/or real infranction of their co-religionists and don't feel beholden to the concept of "my people....right or wrong.""

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Kaplan Confusion

Here I was trying to learn more about what people argue about when it comes to the age of the universe, and the difference between Science and Torah. So I figured who could be better than Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, right? So I went and bought a book called "Kabballah and the Age of the Universe," figuring it would give me all the answers according to what Torah says. I ordered it on Amazon months ago but never checked it out till last week. When the book came I was a bit disappointed to see that it was all of 30 pages long, but was the least of my problems. It turns out that all the book gives you is a bunch of different opinions and no real, concise, clear-cut answer. It basically allows you to believe whatever you want: 6,000, 42,000 49,000, 14 Billion, 18 Billion, you can believe it all, just take your pick! For every age there is a Shitah that backs it up, whether by using "G-d years" or some other reasoning.

What Gives?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

No Ashkenaz Appeal

(Harav MB Weissmandl, zt"l, speaking to the baker who would deliver free bread to the yeshivah in Mt. Kisco. Right is Harav Avrohom Chaim Spitzer of BP.)

When discussing The Death Of Ashkenaz we mentioned that the Viener Kehillah in Williamsburg decided to throw in the towel and switch to the more appealing Sefard. It makes sense if you're looking to gain Mispallelim and build a kehillah, which seems to be the idea there. I know of other shuls who did the same, and that was in neighborhoods like Flatbush, where there are plenty of Bnei Torah who daven Ashkenaz to fill the shuls. In one of those shuls The Rav, who has a shul in his home, but is not what you'd call a Rabbonishe type, dedcided that he needs to get more mispallelim in his shul, after all, it's his parnossoh. So he decided to switch to sefard, and some people got very upset. Believe me, this man has no love lost for Chassidim of any sort, whereas the Viener Rav is a through-and-through Chossid.

But let's get back to the root cause of it all. Why has Ashkenaz lost its appeal today other than in the Litvishe World? Why are Litvishe Bochurim from Hungarian homes so anxious to switch to Litvishe Ashkenazism, yet run-of-the-mill Hungarian Ashkenazism is old hat and unappealing? Is it all about the extra Yotzros and Maarovis that they don't want to say? is it all about not eating Kneidlach? A friend who's a former talmid of Nitra in Mt. Kisco, but is from a chassidisher family - a chossid himself, thinks he knows why, and his theory doesn't make chassidim look very good. "Hirshel," he says, "The Oberlandishe Rabbonim were way too nice." He tells me how when he learned in Nitra the Chassidim were already there in full force, and despite the fact that Yeshivos like Nitra were run by genuine Oberlandishe Rabbonim where they davened Ashkenaz and said Tikkun Chatzos during the 3 weeks, these Rabbonim were essentially like strangers in their own homes.

This friend is a middle-aged gentleman now, and sees the errs of his ways, but there's not much he can do about that now. He recalls how on Friday nights when after Mizmor Shir the Rov would start saying BaMeh Madlikin, Bochurim would yell "KeGavnoh!" and make a tumul. Every Bochur who was sent to Nitra wearing a Tallis during Shacharis because his father was an Oberlander Yid, soon was made to feel very uncomfortable wearing it, and the list goes on.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Story And A Lesson

A Reader Writes:

"In the '30s the Zeirei Agudah arranged a boat ride once a year on Lag B'Omer for Bochurim and girls from Heimishe Mishpachos to come together and meet. When Reb Leizer Silver, ZT'L, heard about it, he went ballistic. He approached the baal habos, a Mr. Feigenbaum, who was arranging this outing and told him that it is absolutely assur. Mr. Feigenbaum explained to Rav Silver that with all the Yidden going off the derech, the other option would be that these kids would go to bars to meet members of the opposite sex. The result would be that many would, Chas V'Sholom, marry goyim. Reb Laizer heard what Mr. Feigenbaum had said, but he still felt very strongly that it was assur to hold this boat ride. However, he agreed to go to a din torah.

They went to Reb Shlomo Heiman, ZT'L. First Reb Leizer Silver screamed for a while about how this boat ride is assur. Then Mr. Feigenbaum explained his reasoning. Reb Shlomo put his hand on his chin, closed his eyes, and did not move for 45 minutes! Then he said 'Nisht nor men meg, men muz!'A few years ago an older gentleman told this story to Reb Malkiel Kotler. Rabbi Kotler replied that, 'It can't be true!' The older gentleman replied loudly, 'Chuchik! ('Young child') You don't know what went on with Yiddishkeit in those days! Out of my whole class at Chaim Berlin, I was the only one who remained Shomer Shabbos!'The end of the story is that Mike Tress found his shidduch on that boat ride, and so did Rav GEDALIAH SCHORR. Reb Laizer Silver was a big kanoi, but after he had confronted Mr. Feigenbaum, who had arranged for the boat ride, he was maskim to go with him to a din torah!"

What do we learn from this story? I'm not sure, really. I doubt the RGS part of the story simply because I think he was past the "Zeirei" stage, he was a ben-torah already, but maybe. Even if he did go on mixed boat rides does that negate his later achievements? of course not. Truthfully, I'm uncomfortable even writing about this, simply because I don't want any of you to think that I'm some kind of mudslinger.

(Reb Gedalia as a Bochur outside Torah VoDaas)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Book That Brings It All To Life

Get Yours Here

In case you were wondering which book I was reading all this time, here it is, in all its glory, except that I paid a buck forty two for it, 688 pages and hard cover, not bad at all. Now the lowest priced one at amazon is 7 bucks and change. In any case it's well worth the few dollars, because it'll give you days and days of good reading with very little that you need to hide from your children. The few references to what may be considered taboo are over very quickly and are written in a "refined" manner, at least the after-censor result is that. Not that I have, but if any of you have read the yiddish writer IBS you'll know that his books are filled to the brim with vulgar language, Der Nister's work is not.

The book is basically a history of the town "N." in the late 19th century. N turns out to Berditchev, where Rav Dovid Ortenberg, the Baal תהלה לדוד was Rav. It describes in great detail the day-to-day life of all classes of that mostly Jewish town, as well as the Polish minorities, including the noblemen. While reading the accounts you cannot help but be taken back to that simpler, more difficult time, and you feel like you're there in Berditchev, walking the streets, davening in its shuls and shopping in its markets. You can imagine the riches of the rich, and you can almost taste the bitterness of the poor and impoverished. And when we speak of poor and impoverished we mean those who starved for a piece of bread and froze in the winter. Der Nister manages to bring it all to life. For the most part you think you're reading a story - tragic, but still a story - of a town, with the focus on one family , the family of Moshe Mashber. Only later do you realize that there's a message in the story.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Crown Heights: It's all about lack of leadership!

Moshe Rubashkin and Chanina Sperlin

The situation in Crown Heights has gotten to the point where people are afraid to go out at night, and sometimes even in broad daylight. Jewish blood has become cheap, and nobody seems to care, maybe even those in the community itself. Not since the 60s has it been so bad there, yet one would think that it couldn't happen in a time like this, after 60+ years in a community. Correct me if I'm wrong, and if I'm comparing two dissimilar situations, but I doubt the good people of Williamsburg, Boro Park, or any other community would stand for what goes on there almost on a daily basis. They would do what they need to do so that the community would at least feel like they have a sense of safety. Right now people there are sick and tired of the lack of leadership and have begun to take matters into their own hands. You have Shomrim beating up innocent black kids. Or is it Shmira? I forget.

You might think the solution is simple: do what Jews did in the 50s and 60s, pack up and move to Boro Park. But consider this, Jews have been living in comfort and security there for quite some time now. Gone were the days where you were afraid to walk the streets at night, especially in the center of CH. You could walk the streets late at night without fear, especially during the Giuliani days. But recently, especially the last year or so, it's as if the criminal class has realized that the tough times were over, and it was business as usual for them. Hardly a week goes by these days without an incident of robbery and/or assault. I can understand that most people have neither the time nor the resources to do anything about the situation. They're too busy trying to make ends meet and raising families. But there is usually a group of askonim that deals with things like this, so that the working zhlobs don't have to. This is where Crown Heights lags so far behind, and never has it been as bad as it is now.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Save Us From Him!

a yid from Kishinev

According to what we're being told the Maskilim tried to save Judentum from people like him, the Jew from Kishinev pictured above. Well, maybe not this Jew, but ones like him. For all we know this yiddel was a pauper who worked hard for a living, so there was no need to save the others from him, only to save himself from the others.... This yiddel and all the others like him in the Pale, Poland and Lithuania and elsewhere didn't realize that they were being held hostage by the rich and the Rabbonim. They didn't realize that there was opportunity and firewood on the other side, and that they were being kept in the dark/cold by the evil ones. This is an ongoing them in the book I'm reading, although not as direct as that. There we see that the establishment in town - the Rav and the Kehillah - were indifferent to the plight of the starving and dying, and only worried about Jews stepping outta line. What's more upsetting is that the Rav in question is a Chossid, a mechaber seforim, very popular seforim at that.

You might say: Tzig, we're talking about a novel, a made-up story, why are you basing your opinion of people on a book written by a non-frum writer who had it out for the frum? The answer is simple, (and I apologize if the flow of my words is lost, and if you'r still in the dark about the book I'm talking about. I'll get to that Motz"S and Sunday, iy"h.) The answer is simple: Much of what was written about those times either was never reprinted or has been banned. From what we do know we know that the blood of certain people was muttar, and I mean that literally. They were allowed to be murdered if the people there thought it necessary. I speak of the Breslover Chassidim, who were attacked and scorned all over the Ukraine by the others. We also know that the poverty was great, and the chesed not so "ay-yay-ay." People today aren't allowed to starve like that. People take notice and help. Then it was like "this is the way it is." Maybe I'm rambling, and maybe I'm too easily impressed by books. Maybe. I look back at what I wrote here and I realize that s'hut nisht kein hent un kein fis, and I apologize if the message here is unclear.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

געזעהן אין וויליאמסבורג היינט

I wonder what Schneur - who's so worried about the "Chilul Hashem" at Rubashkin's - would say to a note like this... would he get it? would he be upset at what he saw, or would enjoy it too much to criticize it?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Communism Uniquely Jewish?

(A Nazi propaganda poster from 1941 in Lithuanian language, equating Stalinism and Jews.)

Here's a theory I've heard thrown around that's beginning to make some sense to me lately. You may have seen it in the rants and rambles of Tzemach over the years, but it may have been lost in his ramblings, so you might have missed his point. It's OK, I did too, until it was explained to me in a non-hostile setting by somebody else who has more patience for him than I do. The theory is such, UbeHekdem another point: Many of us know that Jews were very prominent in the Communist Movement and later in the leadership of the Soviet Union. We know that they were vehement and vigilant in trying to eradicate religion from Jewish life, closing Mikvaos and Yeshivos and Shuls and not sparing loved ones in the process, even parents and siblings. We wonder why their hate of religion was so great, and we have a hard time finding an answer to the question, at least those of us who are descended from other countries. There are theories, and we intend to explore them here.

UPDATED 5/15/08 12:43am

I normally try and stay away from books by the irreligious about religious Jews, but here was a book that I was recommended by a very learned, religious friend. He told me that gives a very accurate and lively description of Jewish life in a big city in the Pale at the end of the 19th century. He told me that when I'll read the book it'll be like being transported back to that time, and that I'll "see" the charcters, identify with their struggles, and won't be able to put the book down. He told me that the chracters are real people, people we know from their works on Torah, and that I'd be very surprised at some of the things that happened in their town under their orders. He told me that I'd identify with many of the perceptions and opinions that people held, and that I'd see that much of what we consider sacred or the opposite can be traced back many years. I'd see all of it in the book, he said. So I went and bought it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Death Of Ashkenaz

הרב ר' יונתן שטייף זצ"ל

Viener Kehillah In Williamsburg Changes Nusach To Sefard!

After 67 years of Ashkenaz in the Hungarian/Oberlander style the Viener Kehillah has ceased to exist as we know it. The reason given is that the clientèle has changed now, and nobody there save for a few old men davens Ashkenaz anymore. ( I just wonder what the reaction would've been if this was a Lubavitcher Rov who came into an old Ashkenaz shul, brought in new people, and then changed the Nusach because the people there daven Nusach Ari....)

Ashkenazishe Yid writes:

Death Of Ashkenaz ???

Nope, just the death of Viener Ashkenaz in one part of Brooklyn (other Viener branches elsewhere are still davening Ashkenaz at this time). In a way it serves them right, they took a Chassidishe Rav, what do you expect, you think he would fight for nusach Ashkenaz ? This is not something that happened overnight, they have been building up to it for years, by kowtowing to and consorting and flirting with Chassidic elements. If they would have stood for what Vien used to stand for, it would be a big change, but the Oberlanders there have long been outnumbered there by Unterlanders. It's still a disgrace and they should be censured, but it's not the big earthquake you are making it out to be.Let them change their name to something else, maybe Viener Chassidus, but they don't deserve the name Khal Adas Yereim nor a claim of being the successor of the Schiffschul in Vienna anymore.

קהל חסידי וויען ד'וויליאמסבורג is the new kid on the block, goodbye קהל עדת יראים ד'וויליאמסבורג.

Friday, May 9, 2008

You're Never Far From Sin -----

----- At least according to out Skverrer brothers and sisters, G-d bless their pure little hearts! I wish I knew why they thought this was a burning issue that needed to be taken care of immediately. Why they think that a time of danger, when people are busy saving lives, that they think of aveiros. Does it stem from an increased sense of kedushah? I doubt it, really I do. Unless there was an actual incident that made them do this it's all a bunch of Chassidim Shoytim in my humble opinion. It reminds me of a recent obituary where they mentioned the Tznius of certain Rebbetzin who walked to the Hatzoloh ambulance after suffering an aneurysm because she didn't want the Hatzoloh men to carry her ON A STRETCHER. Are we supposed to learn a lesson from that kind of behavior? are our daughters and wives also supposed to act like that? The following are copies of a weekly פנימי publication that Skver prints, where all of the Rebbe's moves and conversations are published. Those of you in Chabad may remember the Beis Chayenu of yesteryear; this is very close to it.

The Skverrer Rebbe addresses the members of the newly-founded Hatzoloh of New Square, telling them what a great zechus they have, and how great the Mitzvah they have is. Hakoras HaTov etc.

Rochniyus, Gashmius, Me'or Eynaim. Nothing extraordinary here, UNTIL he begins to speak about the women they've accepted and trained in the Hatzoloh of Skver, and the great To'eles that'll come from women Hatzoloh members....

The Skverrer Rebbe says - and seemingly has no problem with it - that he knows of women that refrain from calling Hatzoloh because they know that males will respond to the call. We have all kinds of Syogim and "Mishmeres'en" that others don't have and don't understand, so our own Hatzoloh division is a great idea....

Thursday, May 8, 2008

דעילי איד מער נישטא

Daily Yid signs off.

No more will we read about the Aronim אין זייער שמוציגע הייד פארק וועבזייטל, and about the latest scandals involving our brethren. He says that the time has come to call it quits. He can't continue, for whatever reason.

We'll miss him.

Travels To The Far East

A long-time friend of Circus Tent traveled to China and Hong Kong and saw Chabad at work. Others too. This is what he sent. Some pictures were taken with a cellphone camera, so excuse the low resolution, please. He says a report of activities will follow soon, iy"h. In Hong Kong there are 4-5 places to daven and learn, with plenty of kosher food to boot. On the mainland is another matter, there you'll need to use make use of Chabad's hospitality, with the support of those who frequent the shuls there.

Chabad in Hong Kong Shul. Partial View.

Chabad in Guan Zhou, China, shul interior.

Chabad in Guan Zhou, China, exterior.

Chabad in Guan Zhou, China, dining room.

The Ohel Leah Shul In Hong Kong. Built a long time ago by the wealthy Sassoon family of Bombay, India.

Sefardi Kolel in Hong Kong. Most of the Yungeleit who learn there come for a while from Israel and get handsome compensation. The "patron" is a rich Sefardic Jew who was "Chozer BiTshuvah" and wanted a Kolel of his landsleit (sefardim) there for him to support. The pictures were taken during Bein Hazemanim, so the benefit of the doubt is in order here.

Same as Above.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Flashback To Teves/Shvat 5742

Recently, when discussing Reb Henoch Leibowitz, a friend of mine thought he remembered something about the Niftar. He was a Lubavitcher Bochur from a non-Lubavitch home - his father was a Lakewood talmid - learning in a Litvishe Yeshivah, so he was directly affected by the events, you might even say he was traumatized by them. He says he felt like a child trapped in a lions' den, where his only way out was either to leave the yeshivah- which was not an option for him at that time - or to just take the verbal abuse and nasty looks he'd often get. Such is often times the life of a bochur who decides that his path in life and avodas hashem is different from what his friends have chosen, especially if they vehemently disagree with the path he's chosen.

On 24 Teves 5742 the Rebbe spoke - among many other topics - about words that were said in Bnei Beraq by a very prominent Rosh Yeshivah to the affect of not needing the Golan Heights. "Give it back to the Syrians, he said, just like we lived without it for 1900 years until the Six-Day War, so too can we live without it now." Why do we need the Syrians on our backs? was his tayne, let them have back what's theirs and they'll be our friends from now on. The Rebbe was quite upset about those words, and made reference to the words and to their author, in a sharfe oyfen. Those words were transmitted in the Algemeiner Journal the following week, and soon enough the tummel began. A major meeting of Roshei Yeshiva was called and held in the Kamenetzer Yeshivah in Boro Park with the hishtatfus of many of the local yeshivos. In those days the Roshei Yeshivah were not as bold and brazen as they are today, there was no Yated and Degel HaTorah that was mattir what is Muttar today, so the wording and the tone was gentle and didn't refer to the Rebbe by name, just a mecho'oh and a "coming-to-the-defense" of Koved Hateyreh.

Looking back at those events and that time period I'm actually surprised that they felt a need to come to the Rosh Yeshivah's defense. I didn't know that he was held in such high regard here in America, we hardly heard his name here until much later, when the split between DH and AI happened in Israel. Then, seemingly to me, it seemed like he was retroactively made into the Godol HaDor since the passing of the Brisker Rav, and thus he was right in making that major rift among frum Jews. Anyway, at that asifah/macho'oh there was one speech that did make mention of the Rebbe, and not in a manner of praising him, that was the niftar Reb Henoch. I do not know what he said then, since I was not in attendance, but that's what I was told. I'm not sure why davka he felt the need to stand up and defend the Rosh Yeshivah's Kovod, and maybe it was Eygene Pni'os that compelled him to, but that's how it was. The mecho'oh was put into words and published in newspapers, but it was pre-dated to before 24 Teves, so as not to imply that it was a mecho'oh against the Rebbe!

Imagine that!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Here's The Other Cheek

(Why this picture here? I have no idea.)

The responses to the Belsky saga have varied from "he's right," to the "OU should be banned," to "burn the Mishpacha." Some of the responses have brought out some of the worst, boorish and uncouth elements in Lubavitch. The truth is many of us in Lubavitch are just as upset at the Meshichist element as our detractors, but for quite different reasons. Whereas we're upset that they either give Lubavitch a bad name or look like fools, and we want them to mend their ways, they're happy that this is the situation now. They're giddy that the supposed Nevu'os and "Vayte Blikken" of their supposed leaders have come to supposed fruition, and anything else would be a detriment to their supposed cause. So when some of our friends and even some of our own say "he's right, and we even believe much like he does," they're wrong. Nobody in that article has the best interest of Lubavitch in mind, and nobody is waiting for Lubavitch to "join the fold." If they say they do then they're bad liars too.

What they want is this: complete and absolute control; they want all of Judaism to subjugate themselves to them and their Psokim, but yet there's very little concern for the same Jews they wish to keep in line. Yes, I know, Lubavitchers want complete control too. What people like Rabbi Belsky et al want is for us to turn the other cheek and to ask for more. They want us to be Mekabel Nezifoh from their Gedolim who were raised on Hershey bars Joe Dimaggio and who had good heads so they soaked up some Torah. At least in Eretz Yisroel there are Rabbonim who are Zekeynim and Baalei Shem who were mekabel from the giants of the previous generation, but Heineman and Belsky? we need to rethink our ways based on them not liking it? Do they really take themselves so seriously? Again, I agree that there are things that need to be mended in Lubavitch, and maybe, since there was a void left on 3 Tamuz, there are more things to be Mesaken since people tend to understand things the way they want to without getting proper guidance, but to just sit back and take the abuse from these people who mean nothing but their own Kovod? לא מיט אן אלף!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Crying For Klal Yisroel

People speak about Rabbonim and Poskim as being a Rabbon Shel Kol Bnei HaGoloh. They say that the fact that this Rebbe has the most Chassidim, or that this Rov is the greatest Posek is what makes him the leader of the generation. I disagree. This video clip isn't meant to show anybody up, or to pat myself on the back saying how my Rebbe is bigger than yours. It's the point that the Rebbe asks for Klal Yisroel. This is what makes one a LEADER. The fact that he feels a responsibility to all Jews - not just to his adherents - shows that he has at least the ability to lead. One that worries only about Bnei Torah, or Heimishe may be doing a service, but it's not on the farnem of a LEADER.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Belsky "על הכוונת"

UPDATE 5/6/08: I've added the reast of the interview with the Choshu've Rabbonim as a public service to the many who'd like to see the rest of the attacks printed there.

(click to enlarge)

Rabbi Belsky, שליט"א:

Not that what I do or say matters any after what other have called you in the last few years, but this is a new angle, and I'll explore it here. After what I read in the above article in this week's Mishpacha it's plain to see that you're like a 14-year old little bachur when it comes to Lubavitch, and I feel bad for our generation if these are our leaders. What's sad is that you're supposedly a very intelligent man in both Torah and wordly matters.

As far as Rabbi Miller in Toronto goes; I'd say he was pretty diplomatic about it, especially since he knows that he'd have to face Lubavitchers in Toronto. Sort of like when people speak about Farrakhan they mention the good that NOI does. Belsky has nobody to worry about, he doesn't deal with Lubavitchers, although I'm not sure he'd say what he said in the article to Mr.Rubashkin's face.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Vilna's Meddling

בעל ה"דרכי תשובה" זצ"ל

A short point about the Tzemach Tzedek Controversy: Kamenetsky is baffled as to why the Vilna drucker (Romm and Family) would bother to meddle in a Tshuveh of the Tzemach Tzedek. Why would it matter to him what the T"T thinks of the GR"A. I was made aware of something that we partially discussed here, and that makes another point about the drucker. The Darkei Tshuveh was printed in Vilna and was given an Haskomoh by Reb Shlomo Hacohen, the Rosh Beis Din of Vilna, as well as Reb Yitzchok Elchonon of Kovno. You might wonder why the DT was printed in far-away Vilna when there plenty of good printing houses closer to Munkacs? And why are all the Haskomos from Litvishe Rabbonim, were there none in Marmarosh/Galicia/Hungary that could give him an approbation?

A smart man once told me the following: There were two traveling salesman who were employed by the Romm family who would travel around to the bigger cities that had printing houses and would look for good material that they could get for their press. They chanced upon Munkacs at the time that the Darkei Tshuveh was being prepared for publishing. Being a shtikkel talmidei chachomim (after all, every Baal Agoleh in Di Lita was a Boki B'shas...) they immediately the novelty of the work and saw that it would one day become a "hit." People who know tell me that the Darkei Tshuveh is the Mishnah Berurah of Yoreh Deah, and that it's brought by even such non-chassidic contemporaries as Harav Yosef Sholom Ben Chaya Musha לרפו"ש. (This too serves as further proof that DK's claims about there being a lack of learning among chassidim is ridiculous.)

There are many proofs that the DK was meddled with by the publishers. These are facts that have been known ever since the first seforim arrived back in Munkacs, and the stories are retold by the current Munkacser Rebbe. The man I heard it from heard it from the Kossover Rebbe. The point is this is not some Chabad conspiracy. The DT was too nice of a person to make a tumult out of it, and the changes were allowed to go on without him making them change it. One of the proofs is a reference made in the Dt to a yarchon of the Volozhiner yeshivah, which we can safely assume was never seen by the DT. The people in Vilna went through the manuscripts and put in things they felt were necessary, it's that simple. I was told that if I call go to the Munkacser Rebbe and ask for the story and proof that he'd be very forthcoming, but I'm not that brave.