Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Saratoga or Berlin?

Let me preface this comment by saying this: Much has been made of the fact that many in the Jewish community won't rest until they somehow disprove Chabad and the Rebbe completely. I'm not sure what "disproving" Chabad They'll say anything, no matter how outlandish, just to prove that they're right. will accomplish, but that seems to be their goal. I guess that way the biggest obstruction to their existence will go away, and they'll live comfortably. The following comment shows how silly you can sound when you try and do something like that at the wrong time and to the wrong person and group. So please, I realize that Berlin and Paris were not Boro Park and Williamsburg, but try not to let your mind wander too much...

Rav Elchonon Wasserman, Rav Zalman Sorotzkin and Rav Shmuel Dovid Unger of Nitra in Mareinbad. Yes, I know, they were meeting to discuss very important matters.

Reb Elchonon HY"D

"Anonymous" Commenting on Circus Tent Blinded By Light


What a chutzpa and ferdishkeit to write (on) the Rebbe that the 12 years (he spent in Berlin and Paris) are a black hole in his life. Can I ask you on Rebbes that most of their lives were traveling (and) jet-setting to expensive vacations - even prewar gedolim - while the Rebbe was sitting in his cubicle talking to yiddishe kinder for night after night plus suffering along the plight of Russian Jewry even July and August when the New Yorker tzadikim were in Sharon Springs, Saratoga , White Lake and the lovely Swiss Alps or Teves and Shevat, when all the tzadikim were in Palm Dessert and Miami and wrote tens of thousands letters as the Moreh Nevuchim of our generation. Giving Full shabbos afternoons farbrengens on Rambam, Zohar Rashi Al hatorah while most people were burping from the chulent effect. You can follow almost all his life and see the multifaceted life he led that was unique in Jewish history."

The Munkacser Rov and Rav Meir Shapira

The Imrei Emes and The Beis Yisroel with Chassidim. How did he always have such an entourage with him where ever he traveled? Did they all have money for such trips?

Anonymous continues:

"Did you ever see the deep kabboloh discussions he had with his great father in the years of Paris and Berlin, or his reshimos from those years a smorgasboard of Bavli, Yerushalmi, Midrashim , kabala and chassidus, or the letters that his father begs him to stop with the taneisim. Not too many yungeliet like these were walking on the holy streets of Warsaw, or Grossverdein and not even in Belz or Ger. The Rebbes that didnt produce that amount of torah have rather a black hole in there resumes." עכ"ל Basically, what the commenter is saying is that we see what became of the 12-year "black hole," namely utter devotion to Klal Yisroel with very little regard to his own well-being. Vacations are important in a man's life, and especially so in the life of an Ish Tziburi, the Frierdige Rebbe also traveled to spas and sanitariums to heal his broken body, but the Rebbe saw himself as one who has no time for such trivial matters. There are Jews that need to be helped and Torah that needs to be learned and shared with Both suffer when one travels. Yes, you can gather strength by walking in Miami or relaxing in Martha's Vineyard, or seeing G-d's Alps, but what do you tell those people that need your help at that time?!

Reb Chaim Ayzer and Reb Shimon Shkop

Reb Baruch Ber and Reb Aron Kotler

The Sadigerrer Rebbe and son

We need to realize once and for all that there are some people that are beyond our comprehension, and yes, beyond the comprehension of those who truly Hurreved in Teyreh for many decades. There are some things that even continuous toil in Torah cannot provide. I say that concerning myself as well, but especially to those of you here who seem to have a mental barrier when it comes to Chabad and the Rebbe. Yet, it doesn't take that much seychel to understand that despite what your 9th grade Rebbe or older brother may tell you, anybody who had any contact with the Rebbe had at least common decency and respect for him. To attach your own fantazyes to a man - let alone a Rebbe - is beyond wrong, and the above comment shines a harsh light on that fact. I know that we beat this topic to death, but some of you need to be reminded of this quite often, for some reason. I apologize to the Lubavitchers among you who think I stoop too low here by allowing certain comments to pass, but sometimes that's what's needed to educate the ones who know no better.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reb Chaim - שלשים שנה

(From an anonymous donor)

Story On Matzav

Reb Chaim Shmulevitz was different. It wasn't about him or his aspirations, it was about teaching and about Torah and about instilling Midos Tovos in those who would hear what he has to say. He was old school in the sense that he never picked up the Brisker - or whatever you call it - shtick that others did, maybe only because it was just becoming in style, but I doubt that. They say it was partly due to his being an eynikel of the Alter of Novardok that he had such a unique approach, almost Chassidic in nature as compared to some of the others. His shmuessen were warm and kind, and I believe that's why you hear "love" just as much as awe and respect from his talmidim to him when they reminisce about Reb Chaim.I don't pretend to be a mayven on Reb Chaim, or on any other Torah personality. As a Lubavitcher I can appreciate his tremendous devotion to learning and building Torah. I can appreciate his style despite the general chassidic approach to "misnagdim," because he seems so warm and genuine, as opposed to some of the others. There was some good reading this weekend in the Jewish newspapers and magazines, with the writers coming from all sides of the spectrum. That tells us a lot about a man. His choice of Reb Nochum as Son in law also does... There used to be a nice site where you could hear shiurim and shmuessen, I can't find it online. Anybody know what happened to it?

(Reb Chaim in Shanghai, second from right)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Crying Out - Piasecna Style

A Friend of the Tzig and the Tent saw these words by the Holy Piasecner as very appropriate in light of the tummel some people made after some of the hespedim in Kfar Chabad 4 weeks ago. It went so far as G-d's lawyers plastering Jerusalem with Pashkevillen about the "heresy" that was spoken at the funerals. Reb Klonimus Kalman HY"D mentions the fact that there have already been times in the past where Jews suffered death and destruction, and still it doesn't arouse questions of Emunah in the average Yid's mind when he reads and learns about it, so why should the decrees of WW2 do that? Yet at the bottom of page the Rebbe of Piasecna sees fit to "change his mind," and announces to the world that Tzores like those suffered by the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto and the environs - that they were deported to death camps etc. - HAVE YET TO BE SEEN BY KLAL YISROEL.

It's almost as if RKK had changed his mind when he wrote the הגה"ה, as if the reasons for him justifying G-d's ways and leaving no room for questions in Emunah just fell away in the year that had passed from 1942-1943, and now there were only questions - but no answers.... Do you too see it that way?!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Blinded By The Light

(The Rebbe Rav Yosef Yitzchok of Lubavitch, Chanukah 5710)

It used to be that the only ones bothered by Public Menorahs were the Reform and their brothers-in-arms. They thought it would hurt their cause. After all, if you're against any public displays of religion then you need to show that you're objective and oppose your own religious displays too. There's also the fact that they're embarrassed by any public display of religion, thinking it arcane and childish. But never would you think that religious Jews would oppose something as innocent as a Public Menorah. Are they too embarrassed by public displays of their observances?! I can understand that they're uncomfortable attending such an event, but why be bothered that others do it? being that I too come from there, and never has "pushing" religion been easy for me, maybe I can explain it for them, so that they can immediately deny it....

Most of us - notice I say most, not all, there are many exceptions - have no real love of yiddishkeit and/or Hashem. We go through the motions and we do what we have to, and in these trying times it may be all that G-d could ask for, but the fact remains that we have ulterior motives. They may be positive peer pressure, pressure from parents and mechanchim, or fear of being embarrassed by misbehaving, which I guess is a Toldoh of peer pressure. Most "mishmeres haTznius" groups will agree that the best fear tactic to use against somebody they say is stepping out of line is publicizing his picture or telling his Rosh Yeshivah, because that's the last thing most people want - that people know what they're up to. I'm not speaking about women, neshomos DeBan have a totally different makeup - excuse the pun - I speak only of men.

There also is the element of shame. Many Jews, when confronted with their practices by the more "enlightened" begin to see that lots of what they do makes no sense to the naked eye. They look at themselves and see that what happens in Iran often happens in Brooklyn and Jerusalem too, so they begin to wonder. They wonder how they're any different than the radical Islamist, other than they have no access to guns so they don't use them. Yet. Others react by trying to make yiddishkeit more "normal." They dress and look normal, educate themselves and their children, and generally try not to stick out more than different that the average Western man and/or woman. Passing by a proud display of Judaism on an otherwise normal street reminds them how their brethren - and, by extension, them too - are weird, and they don't like to be reminded how weird they really are. Despite their fancy homes and cars.

These people - the ashamed ones, the ones that do it just because, and all the others - they see light and it boils their blood, because they're not vessels for the light. They see some dorky guy with a menorah on his car and a snide remark leaves their lips - a knee-jerk reaction, really, they cannot help themselves, they need to laugh and poke fun. Oh, yes, they'll tell themselves and anybody that would listen that they laugh because there's "really no mitzvah," or because חדש אסור מן התורה, but don't believe it. Those that oppose and laugh and condemn are dark characters who need to live ion their dark caves like nocturnal animals and birds. Sure, they'll lead good Jewish lives, and even support institutions in a very admirable manner, but their lives are dark, and any attempt to shine some light into their dark lives leaves them shielding their eyes, yelling at your for disrupting their dark existence. These people are blinded by the light.....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"ובצפי' עמוקה להתברך.... יצחק בן חנה"

These letters were penned in 5728/1968 after the Rebbe had announced Mivtza Tefillin, namely putting on tefillin with any Jewish male over 13 years old, anywhere (almost) and anytime (from the z'man in the morning till shkias haChamoh.) Rav Yitzchok Hutner zt"l, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin in Brooklyn writes to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, זצוקללה"ה regarding his concerns that he had over this new campaign, including the need to tell the people you were donning the tefillin on that there were parchments inside that had the parshios of krias shema written on them. We see the respect RYH has for the Rebbe, and how he wants to understand the Rebbe's words and opinion in the matter. There's also the denying of ever speaking out against Lubavitch during the '67 Agudah convention, or being present at that or any other convention for that matter, to the point where he begs forgiveness and asks to be blessed by the Rebbe.

Let's read:

No attacks and condemnations, only respectful dialogue

"ישנו יהודי וואס קאכט זיך אין מהר"ל..... יה"ר שזכותו של המהר"ל תעמוד לו להינצל ללא פגע"

הוד כבוד אדמו"ר מליובאוויטש שליט"א

ביקרא דאורייתא ...... יצחק הוטנר

How much more proof does one need?!

Lakewood Rumbling


I did not know there was so much animosity to the leadership in Lakewood. I promised the guy I'd help him by getting the word out, although I don't wish to be a clearing house for Loshon HoRah. The picture of Reb Malkiel looks nice, an emese hadras ponim. What can I say, it's sad to see all the fighting in every kreiz.

By the way, the letters from Rav Hutner to the Rebbe from 5728 will be up shortly, iy"h.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Response to the VaYoel Moshe

MaeneCHacham-01 08

Use the arrows at the top of the page to maneuver between pages. I do not know who wrote the sefer. I cannot imagine - wait, I can imagine - how
Satmar will respond to it. The Hakdomeh says the sefer has been around for quite some time in a typed format, but never has it been mass produced. Satmar has long claimed that the VaYoel Moshe makes an airtight case, and that all others act against Halochoh when they collaborate with the State in any form. The fact that nobody refuted the VM was proof in their eyes that nobody could. This sefer begs to differ.

Sent in by reader Abarbanel. Enjoy.

Monday, December 22, 2008

גוטע זאכען לכבוד חנוכה

The Makarover Rebbe of Winnipeg, Canada. From an Anonymous reader.
Must Be Clicked on to fully enjoy!

Chanukah Fabrengen in Winnipeg. I guess they figured it was press worthy!

Full Page

Letter from Rav Hutner to Rav Kook regarding his sefer "Toras haNozir." HaMercaz

My father's rebbe, Reb Aizik, and his name dilemma, and how Reb Lazer Silver hut mechaven geven tzum Rebben. I always knew that the Rebbe had once told that to somebody, but I never heard it from any other source.

Friday, December 19, 2008

3 Days In Kislev....

די ליצני הדור have a saying that goes something like this: Chassidus was around for 3 days, from the 19th to the 21st, because on 21 Kislev איז שוין געווען נשתכחה תורת הבעש"ט..... meaning that ש"ב the Satmar Rov, zt"l came along and made that statement, and he arrived to the safety of Switzerland on that day.... The פתגם is said in jest, but it bears some investigation. Why is it that these 3 days follow each other? I'm beginning to think that לא בכדי is the sequence such. There's also the fact that wedged in between 19 and 21 Kislev is 20 Kislev, the יומא דהילולא של מרן ה"פחד יצחק" מברוקלין זצוקללה"ה. I had a shtarke rotzon to go to Coney Island Avenue last night, but time didn't allow for it to happen. Maybe I'll get the tape... Chassidim also observe the 20th of Kislev, no tachanun is said by neither shacharis nor minchah, because of the "geulah" that the AR had from the house of his adversary after being released from prison to the streets of Petersburg, and the 20th is the yahrtzeit of the Rosh Yeshivah Zt"l. אזוי ווי מיר גלייבען דאך אין השגחה פרטית איז כדאי מעיין זיין אין דערויף......

Speaking of tachanun at mincha; why don't most chassidim say tachanun then even if they daven before the shkiah? and why is there this one yungerman - gantz an eideler - that comes to the Chabad mincha minyan and refuses to klap אשמנו and say tachanun even at that minyan? Is that minhag OK with the likes of Burech? Is that not the chossid trying to be "kliger vi di gantze velt?" Is his questionable minhag, which mainly comes from the fact that he normally davens after the shkiah to be allowed to continue despite the issues of Lo Sisgodedu and Al Tifrosh min haTzibur? I guess so. We have Ahavas Yisroel. A smart man once tried to tie in the fact tachanun at minchah is omitted all year to the idea of saying selichos at the end of the year. Imagine, he says, all those days that they go 24 hours without asking for forgiveness, from one day's tachanun to the next, of course they have to make up for it at the end of the year! Mah she'ein kein those that say tachanun at mincha, and then at Krias Shma She'al HaMittah, they have less to atone for. Efsher lomar B'derech tzachus....

The pictures here are a series of three pictures seemingly taken from a newsreel where the late Satmar Rov, zt"l is seen before, during, and after the Kastner Transport train that took him and over a thousand six hundred well-connected others to safety in Switzerland. Not before a four month furlough in Bergen-Belsen, though. I have yet to see them before, and neither have some people very familiar with history seen them. The Rov looks so out of place amongst all the irreligious looking Jews there. The picture of him looking out the window shows a very concerned Rov, wondering where this will lead him, where his talmidim and chassidim will end up, and maybe some discomfort as to his surroundings too. The subject and controversy of the rescue is one that Satmarer Chassidim are well aware of, and one they take very seriously, especially with the aspect of being saved by the Zionists. A Yiddish book, written by Hershel Friedman, has recently been published, and there he tries to debunk many of what he calls myths that the Tziyonim spread about the Rov, but I could not find it in the stores here. Other claims, like where the Chassidim say that the Nazis did not see the Rebbe's beard and peyos, or they thought the kerchief he had on his face was due to a toothache, may be addressed in the book too, I don't know. Maybe one of you read the book?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

!רבותינו סרו מן הדרך

!אוי מה הי' לנו
נבלה עשה בישראל, שאלו שקוראים לעצמם "גדולי ישרא-ל"
קבלו לבתיהם ראשי הכת הידוע בארצנו הקדושה שמחרפים ומגדפים,
ומסיתים ומדיחים אלפי ישראל לכפירה באלוקי ישרא-ל
משתפים פעולה עם ראשי ממשלת הכופרים
רבם - מרן רשכבה"ג הגרא"מ שך זצוקללה"ה - דקרו ממש
מרן ראש הישיבה זצ"ל טרח ועמל - בהצלחה גדולה בעז"ה -
להוקיעם מכלל ישראל ובאו המחדשים והרסו את כל מה שפעל
פני הדור כפני הכלב, ואין לנו על מי להישען רק על אבינו שבשמים

All kidding aside, a delegation of Chabad Rabbonim and askonim visited with leading Litvishe Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshiva and invited them to attend the upcoming shloshim event to commemorate the Kedoshei Mumbai Hy"D. Another delegation also visited Chassidishe Rabbonim and Admorim and presented them with the new Tanya Chassidus Mevueres.

הגאון רבי גרשון איידלשטיין שליט"א משמאל

הגאון רבי נסים קרליץ שליט"א בראש השלחן

הגאון רבי ברוך דוב פוברסקי שליט"א מימין

הגאון הישיש רבי מיכל יהודה לפקוביץ שליט"א בראש השלחן

הגאון רבי נתן צבי פינקל שליט"א


Response to "Burech" VeSayato

From Here

A Guest Post - Received via e-mail:


Dear Hirshel,

As a reader of your blog for some time, I’ve learned a lot about different types of people, though I cannot honestly claim to understand all of them. There is a particular type of guttersnipe your blog seems to attract whom, while interesting as a psychologically dysfunctional curiosity, is quite vile when masquerading as a ben-teyreh. It is to one of the latest example of same, posting with the moniker ‘Burech,’ that I would like to address a few comments. Hopefully your readership will find this entertaining, if not educational to some degree. After opening with what seemed like a reasonable question regarding the Lubavitch custom to generally avoid delivering a hesped, ‘Burech’ quickly showed his stripes with a series of juvenile insults and accusations. What seems to be bothering this imbecile are the facts that Lubavitch are generally respected as representing a branch of Torah / Yiddishkeit, as well as his inferiority complex, pathological jealousy, and plain old vicious nature. Of-course, like any good anti-Semite, ‘burech’ has a very convenient peg to hang his ignorant slander on, in this case his ‘problem’ being why Lubavitch doesn’t make a hesped…. Since ‘Burech’ is likely born of a Jewish mother, in which case we are commanded to love him, let’s help him get some sleep tonight by addressing some of his burning questions. There are medical treatments available for some of your other problems ‘Burech’, but I wouldn’t waste a prescription on you (mamesh baal tashchis), so this will have to do:

1. You need to hit the books in a big way. Perhaps you were prevented from attending yeshiva full time, or maybe you’re just as naturally unintelligent as you sound…- either way, you need to learn to read Hebrew post haste. The sources for the minhag in many kehillos not to be maspid are the easiest things to find, had you bothered opening a Shulchan Aruch. While I wouldn’t expect you to have ever heard of the Reishis Chochma, much less be familiar with his stringent warning regarding hespedim, you might have known both the reason for this minhag, as well as the fact that many communities other than Lubavitch follow it. You might practice keeping quiet about things you know nothing about, and while this would mean your being silent most of the day, you’d also save yourself considerable embarrassment.

2. If you can’t learn a sefer in the Hebrew original, I suggest you go to a library and try reading books in English. There’s a whole world outside Chelm that you obviously know nothing about, not to mention your astounding ignorance of Lubavitch (and likely most other) practice and history. This will be news to you, ‘Burechel’, but over 80% of all Lubavitcher customs are based on chumros in halochoh. That’s right, not al-pi-kabolo, derech hasod, or anything else, simply being choshesh le’daas hamachmirim. If you’d bothered learning the Shulchan Aruch HaRav, not to mention studying his siddur, this would all be very obvious, but you prefer hurling slanderous accusations to real information – what a surprise !!

3. You then, shamelessly (“shoteh aino margish…”) claim that;“What riled me was the Tzig (and this as an example of most Lubavitchers)had never,ever asked himself why Lubavitch sought to be "kliger" than the whole world.”. You mean smarter than you ?! What is immediately obvious to anybody reading your ignorant rants, is what it is about Lubavitch that really bothers you. What bothers you about Lubavitch is exactly the same as what has bothered generations of anti-Semites about Jews in general, i.e, “…”Why are you different – why can’t you be like us – Why do you think you’re better ?!” Well Burech, the answer in this case goes something like this. Lubavitch as a chassidus (and as a movement) is about doing things. No, not just things like visiting a few kvoorim once a year…. Lubavitch is about learning chassidus, teaching, reaching, building, understanding, changing….. you see Burech, Lubavitch is about achieving, so of-course you hate them. Their very existence showcases your failure. But is that their fault ? Your inferiority complex is not their fault. Does it bother you that Lubavitch has sources in Torah for their minhagim, and are honest about their reasoning, is that too much for you to handle? you can’t debate them in learning so you throw stones? Whatever’s eating at your kishkes about Lubavitch and their Rebbe would pale in comparison to other Chassidisen, in comparison to what’s written about the tzaddikim R’ Mendel Rimanover, the Noam Elimelech, or the Yismach Moshe – but a fool such as yourself wouldn’t know that, would you now?

4. Which brings me to another point. I recommend you apply for a refund to whichever yeshiva was lucky enough to steal your parents' tuition dollars. You see, the typical frumme-yid entrusts his children to a yeshiva to be schooled in ‘derech hamishneh ve’hagemoro’ with all the typically attendant benefits of this type of education. Not to mention our mesorah. You obviously got none of this. Did you attend a real yeshiva, or a jihad-factory? You run around ignorantly criticizing others in your elitist hate fest, but you don’t seem to realize what you sound like. Kach hi darko shel torah?!! Which ‘derech’ is this ? Not the derech of Hillel, nor that of R’Akiva ….. How dare you pervert Torah to justify your ignorant attacks? “Boshni mi’divreichem beis Shammai……v’hushcheru shinov mipnei hatzomos” (Chagiga22b). Or is R’ Yehoshua not good enough either. You claim the right to criticize Lubavitch based on your ignorance, yet you ignore the glaring distinction between how they learn Torah, and how you sputter hate. Open any sefer published by Lubavitch, (there are many hundreds of them) and you will notice the voluminous marei-mekomos. Yes ‘Burech’, mekoros, so one can see how the author arrived at his conclusion. That doesn’t mean that you must necessarily agree, but this is darko shel Torah – demonstrating ‘mino hani milli deomar kroh’. Contrast this with the fatwas banning other shittos / groups / derochim that have become a staple of the jihad-factories you attended, and the difference is clear. You don’t like somebody else’s minhag? - fine. But that doesn’t make it wrong. If you have a legitimate problem with it, naysi sefer venechezeh!

5. If you can’t manage any of the above, that’s ok, ‘Burechel’, there’s an easier way that might even work for you…. Go buy a plane ticket, leave the ghetto for a few days, and pretend you’re a decent human being. Stop into a Chabad House somewhere, and see the enemy up-close. What you’ll typically find is a nice guy. He’ll invite you for a free meal, yes- he’ll feed you for free – probably while realizing what aמ ingrate you actually are. You might also hear him give a shiur or two, and realize that he’s a שטיקל talmid-chochom as well. Maybe, just maybe, in spite of all the hate and brainwashing that are your staples, you’ll see the average Lubavitcher for what he likely is – hardworking, dedicated, learned, and happily devoting his life to helping other yidden. Yes, ‘Burech’, even yidden who love to hate, yidden like you!

6. Finally, to address what’s really bothering you, I recommend you take a look at the definition of a ‘machlokes leshem shomayim’ as given by the Meiri on Avos 5:19. You will then understand why Lubavitch keeps growing in Torah, operational success, and stature, while those institutions whose main exports seem to be pseudo-lomdus and jihad, are falling apart and imploding. ‘Sof ganev litliyeh’, and ‘derochim’ that thrive primarily on hate and criticism, will not last very long.

Try it, ‘Burech’, and you might surprise yourself. It’s not a mitzvah to remain in such misery. There’s a whole new world waiting for you to discover – the world of ‘Eili v’eilu divrei....’, limud haTorah, and Ahavas Yisroel!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

יום טוב אין דער וואכען

I just finished my Yud Tes Kislev Seudah with my Mishpoche. We set the table like Shabbos, lit two candles, without a Brochoh of course, and had a festive meal, Baked chicken and Orzo, complete with L'chaim (Carmel Young) and desert, brownies. We figured that despite the fact that the kids were taught all about the Chag HaChagim at school, that they need see it "observed" at home as well, and in a family setting, showing the importance of the day. I can see some of you jumping out of your seats already, quoting irrelevant gemoros about how adding yomim tovim is assur. Somehow you'll convince yourself that it's a concoction of the last Chabad generation, and that if Rabbonim and Geonim got along fine with Nesiei Chabad then, then it must be that Chabad did something to change it. Well, my friends, it seems like Yud Tes Kislev as been watered down some after WW2, in the old days it was more of a big deal than it is today. Imagine that! I once heard from Reb Avrohom Aron Rubashkin that in Nevel - his hometown - there was no cheder on Yud Tes Kislev, today all Chabad chadorim have school. אכשיר דרא.

You might ask what is it about this day that Lubavitchers - and many non-Chabad chassidim - make such a big deal of it. You might say that it's the אור וחיות נפשנו ניתן לנו that the Rebbe Rashab refers to that injects that holy light on this auspicious day. Contrary to what many of you may think little is made of the Misnagdic aspect of the story, other than when telling the actual story. This is not a Didan Notzach over Misnagdim, but rather a day of Hachlotos Tovos, a day when the Chassidishe Neshomoh enters one's Guf in an internal way, and when the koach is given מלמעלה to learn and understand chassidus and to follow in its ways. For me these last 2 days have been a Yom Tov in Der Vochen. Days where you can sit on a regular Tuesday, after a day's work, and sit BeDibuk Chaverim listening to vareme verter from a mashpia and singing vareme nigunim. You leave the farbrengen at 3am and you've been transformed to another world, a world where there's only good. At least for a short while you live off those Hachlotos Tovos that you made, until the time comes to recharge the batteries.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Calling All MO "Ethics" Majors

Short and Sweet:

In light of the fact that the biggest pyramid/Ponzi scheme in history was allegedly perpetrated by the President of YU's Sy Syms School of Business. In light of the fact that such a stink was made of the fact that YU alumnus Rabbi Menachem Genack was kashering unethical treatment of animals and workers. In light of the fact that Billions of dollars were lost to his vast schemes, will these same people be in the forefront of making sure that Mr. Madoff is brought to justice and the monies he stole returned? Not that he won't be brought to justice without their clamoring for it, but still. It would be nice to see a little even-handedness.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

אבד חסיד

הגאון החסיד רבי מנחם מענדל הכהן פעלדמאן ז"ל

HaGaon HaChossid Reb Menachem Mendel HaCohen Feldman z"l

Brother of Yitzchok, father of Pinchos and numerous grandchildren etc. The niftar was a Rov in Baltimore for many decades before emigrating to Sydney Australia to be near his son. Most young Lubavitchers had probably never heard of Reb Mendel Feldman, and most definitely didn't know his brother Yitzchok, Berke Gurary's only friend. Other than Schneur, of course.

The end of an era.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

No time to mourn


Chabad has some traditions that has people scratching their heads. "Why do they insist on them," they ask. "Why can't they be like everybody else," they cry. One of them is the minhag not to make hespedim on a niftar, no matter who he or she may be. The fact that there were hespedim last week in Kfar Chabad notwithstanding. A typical levaya in Chabad in New York goes something like this: A sign goes up that the levaya of so-and-so will leave Shomrei HaDas chapels at 2:00 and will pass 770 at around 2:30. At Shomrei HaDas, Tehillim may be recited before the aron is loaded into the hearse. At 770 a crowd usually assembles in front of said building, and the aron arrives on or around the announced time. The car usually stops for a few minutes while the crowd gathers around. The women stay on the other side of the service road of 770 and watch. After a few minutes the hearse begins to move, and those who go to the feld usually get into their cars to follow the hearse to the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, where the Lubavitcher Chelkah is located. (Even in death they're separate, those Lubavitchers!")

On Monday - when I started writing this post - there was a Levaya for the mother of a Lubavitcher Chossid here in Monsey. No "tragedy" per se', the woman was 92 years old. An email went out at about 11am that the levaya would pass our shul at 2pm and that burial would be at Sons of Israel cemetery on Brick Ch--ch road, half a mile down the road. That cemetery requires a post of its own, with a 7 foot stone wall separating the Vizhnitzer Beis Olam - where the Skulener Rebbe and Ribnitzer Rebbe are buried, and the Olamishe one, where such Gutte Yidden as Rav Mordche Schwab and Reb Nesanel Quinn are interred. The hearse - a Toyota Sienna minivan like a thousand others in Monsey - arrived at around 2:40, parked in the parking lot, lifted the tailgate, and the levaya began. Walking down the road. Maybe 200 feet, and the van pulled away, not waiting for the others. The procession then headed to their respective cars and drove the half mile to the cemetery, where the aron and the driver were waiting patiently.

At the beis olam the ceremony was short and quick. The aron was removed from the van and placed on the metal "bed" and then carried down the walkway to the open grave. Yoshev B'seyser was said seven times, stopping at the appropriate time. The Chevra Kadisha man was a seasoned veteran of seemingly Satmar stock who expertly instructed the novice procession of when and where to stop each time. After arriving at the kever the aron was soon lowered into the grave, with the said man barking out instructions of when are where to drop first. After being told "nisht ibergebben," the assembled worked for about 10 minutes covering the aron with the dirt and the shovels supplied, and the deed was soon done. Kaddish was recited by her three sons. Two rows of people soon lined up and the Aveilim took of their shoes and we're comforted by the assembled, who were warned נישט נאכגיין! An old pump on the side of the path with an old "Kvort" was used for washing hands. You need to actually pump the water out of the ground. When I started the engine in my car the clock read 3:13. It took a maximum of 40 minutes from the beginning of the levaya till after S'timas HaGolel!

Where I come from, even a simple yid's levaya takes a minimum of 4 hours from beginning to end. There's going to the chapel and waiting. There's the hespedim, a minimum of three, at least one by his Rov, or Rebbe of the shtiebel where he davened, and family members, son, eydem, eynikel etc. Even in the death of an elderly man or woman there's usually lots of crying, and presumably some התעוררות too. Lots of time to mourn. The procession outside the chapel is usually for a couple of short blocks and the hearse waits for the cars that will follow to New Jersey of Long Island, an hour's distance. At the cemetery there's often another hesped. All in all you've been in the levaya mode for some hours now, and if you're an immediate family member you cried plenty too. Now compare that to the Lubavitcher levaya and see how much crying the Lubavitcher did for his immediate family member. I know that the minhag chabad is not be maspid, but it seems like the minhag is also not to mourn, or at least to minimize the mourning. At the aveilim house it's more nechomoh than aveilus, so that wouldn't make up for it. Just my thoughts, what say you?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cunins Need Not Apply

For those of you who were so disturbed by Shlomo Cunin's words 2 weeks ago, here's what Rav Yosef Heller of Crown Heights had to say about the events in Mumbai:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kosher Quandary

Watch The Live Webcast

I really feel bad for Rabbi Shafran. He has to sit through this, listening to starry-eyed girls lecture about "social responsibility" and such. Kudos to him for going there and speaking his mind.

Here's the Press Release I received:


In light of the ongoing Agriprocessors scandal that has rocked the kosher meat industry and the Orthodox community, Rabbi Avi Shafran, director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America, Rabbi Menachem Genack, rabbinic administrator and CEO of the Orthodox Union's Kashrut Division and rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University's Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, Rabbi Basil Herring, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America, and Shmuly Yanklowitz, co-founder and director of Uri L'Tzedek, will engage in a candid conversation on the interplay between ethics and kashrut at a program on Tuesday, December 9, at 7 p.m. in Weissberg Commons on Yeshiva University's main campus, 2495 Amsterdam Ave. at 184th St., New York.

The program – "The Kosher Quandary: Ethics and Kashrut" – serves as the launch event for the new student-run organization at YU called TEIQU, A Torah Exploration of Ideas, Questions, and Understanding. The organization is devoted to nurturing intellectual dialogue on campus surrounding Jewish matters of import.

The panelists will explain their views and insights on the kosher quandary, address recent developments and share their prescriptions for action.

Who: Rabbis of All Major Orthodox Organizations

What: "The Kosher Quandary: Ethics and Kashrut

When: Tuesday, December 9, 2008; 7 p.m.

Where: Weissberg Commons, Yeshiva University

2495 Amsterdam Ave. at 184th St.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Same House - Different Result


The Nikolsburger Rebbe, residing here in Monsey, has seemingly made a name for himself. When I was growing up talk among my Satmarer friends was that he was a clown - if you'll excuse me. That's the way people spoke of him, as if he were some cult leader. He was a Satmarer talmid, a Benon Shel Kedoshim, who bothered some people with his Rebbishe antics, so they chucked him out of Satmar in the early 80's sometime. As it that wasn't enough somebody decided that it was a good idea to involve his wife in this matter and turn her against him too. The end result was that they went to the Rov, if you know what I mean... Badchan Yoely Lebovitch is his son from his first marriage. The Nikolsburger Rebbe has created a fusion of a very frum yet very accepting chassidus where all are welcome and all are treated admirably. It may not be a mainstream group like the big ones but I hear good things about the place. One of the things they said about him even back then was how charismatic he was, and that you had to be "careful" not be "farchapped" from him, especially when he says Torah.

Well, it seems like has made it his mission to get the word about the NR, posting video on youtube and other sites, this in addition to the "official" website I've seen somewhere online. One such video is the one we posted above, an actual audio clip that has a static image on the "cover." He cries bitter tears at the death of the 6 Mumbai Kedoshim, and let me tell you - call me a woos and a softie if you like, but it took me a few minutes to dry the tears that flowed when I heard him cry and scream about the deaths and what a terrible tragedy it was. There seems to be genuine pain for the suffering of the murdered, the families, the yesomim, and for the entire Jewish people. The bechiyos there are astounding. There's no talk of the Zionists, nor of flag draped coffins, nor of funerals in Hebrew and Presidents and Ministers eulogizing. It seems like you can be a devoted Satmarer and not be a heartless fool like the writer of the editorials in Der Yid. Not that we didn't know this before, but it's reassuring nevertheless.

Friday, December 5, 2008

For Bnei Torah by a Ben Torah

Some of you here questioned Rabbi Pinchus Lipschutz's credentials and his general relationship - or lack thereof - with the Babylonian Talmud. You said he was a "BalleBus" and that he doesn't represent when he writes. We recently received an authentic copy of two approbations received by a then-unmarried Lipschutz to a sefer he wrote - um, compiled- in honor of his deceased mother, a"h. They include Harav Moshe Feinsten, zt"l, and Harav Yaakov Yisroel Kanievski, zt"l. Not bad for a young American lad. See them as you wish. We thank the reader who sent it in.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Das Judische Sturmer ........ ראו מה בין בן

The editorial in this week's Der Yid..............
Click on the image to enlarge

Something must've happened to the Hungarian mind somewhere along the way, because they've totally lost it. How nice of them to - in their own mind- hold off on further criticism until maybe NEXT week! Can we ever expect for any sort of achdus with this being the approach and mentality among some of our brothers and sisters in Williamsburg?!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Will The REAL Pinchos Lipschutz Please Stand Up?!

There seems to be an impostor running the Yated these days...

In the forefront defending Rubashkin, and now this. Ladies and Gentleman: I believe the Yated bears some re-examining. Gone are the days of 15-20 years ago. This looks and feels sincere, not worrying about repercussions or backlash, straight-from-the-heart cries of anguish. Thank You Rabbi Lipschutz, the Kovner Zeide would be proud.

Merciful Father

Chaim G's Thoughts On the Mumbai Kedoshim

I do not condone that site as a whole, but we can rely on Chaim G's (aka Bray of Fundie) opinion as being based in Torah.