Thursday, December 31, 2009

א שיין ווארט

אין בור ירא חטא ולא עם הארץ חסיד; they say in the name of RMBW, that a boor cannot be a G-d fearing Jew, which is simple, since he never learned he cannot know how to conduct himself daily. He also cannot be an Am Ho'Oretz, since even an ignoramus would wake up early in the morning and go to shul, say tehillim in his spare time and fill his time with good deeds and such. What can he be? חסיד! only a chossid can do nothing of the sort, no learning, no davenin, and no yiras shomayim..... What's ironic is that I heard it being repeated by a very proud Satmar Chossid. The Hungarians can be like that sometimes, they can put down chassidus like that despite themselves falling into that category. Reb Michoel Ber was like that, never caving in to the Chassidic influence of the day. He liked certain Rebbes, like the Satmar Rov, but that was it, he was a fierce defender of the Ashkenaz, z"l. I wonder what he would've said to his yeshivah and talmidim had he lived another 35 years.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

אותיות wanted

Speak to your average Litvak, even the upper crust guys, listen to him praise his teachers and the ones he admires, and you'll realize this: He has no shprach, no Osyos for what he's trying to convey. He'll use lots of cliches and catch phrases, like "Kulo Torah," or "ah shtik Torah," but what does that really mean? There are countless hours of interviews that some guy went around to a slew of talmidim of Lakewood until 1962 and got their impressions of their Rosh'shiveh. The conversations are just fine as long as they speak about themselves or can relate anecdotes about the RY. But none of them - and many are Rosh'shives themselves - can put the greatness of their Rosh'shiveh into Osyos. What I find most interesting is that many of these same people have gutte kep when it comes to dissecting a sugya, they're very smart, even in business matters despite never venturing into business themselves, but they cannot put ideas into words. In Reb Borech Ber's name they say "az s'felt in Hasboreh felt in Havoneh," but this is not so clear cut when it comes to identifying greatness, it's just that they lack the terminology, the vernacular, the lexicon; in other words, they lack Osyos.

Case in point: I asked our good friend Mr. Not Brisk, who is a very smart and observant fellow, about a term he used when referring to Yonah Minsker (Karpilov), HY"D, a prize talmid of the Mirrer Yeshivah, and one who was very admired by the late Brisker Rov. He called him "The Great," and I asked him why. He was "a tremendous masmid," he said, "dovuk in torah," he went on to say. "he was maymis atzmoh beOholei shel Torah, it bothered him immensely when he couldn't understand a tosfos," etc. When I asked him how that made him different from hundreds of others like him he began to get defensive and turned his attention to me. He had reached the pinnacle of hasboroh and was rendered speechless by an amateur like myself. He saw my questions as those of a "Lubavitcher who has no chashivus for Teyreh", doesn't appreciate it, has a different chinuch than his, which he says is also "kulo torah," and so on. "A Chabadsker who doesn't think that gadlus beTorah equals gadlus ho'Adam," is what I am, he says. It had to be that the prublem iz in mir, because every guy in Lakewood knows that Yayneh Minsker was great, and if I disagree then I must have no love for Torah. But what he failed to realize is that the chisoren iz in em, nisht in mir; he had failed to make his point, plain and simple. Using catch phrases and cliches only goes so far.

The truth that NB cannot be blamed. Like so many of us he was never taught to think or to elaborate on his thoughts. In many circles all that's needed is the look and the Reyd and you're good to go. As long as you stick to the circles you grew up in you're safe, nobody will ever challenge you to back up the claims you made. This is especially true in his circles, where any thought whatsoever is verboten. It didn't use to be this way, there used to be some Machshovoh in the Torah world, but that was outlawed, seemingly after the mashgichim of yesteryear passed on. The new regime saw any machshovoh as bittul teyreh, I guess. Maybe since so many in those circles are not Yotzei Lita, they have no mesorah of machshovoh, or maybe they're all Briskers, what do I know? Then again; Not Brisk is NOT A BRISKER, he should be able to open Reb Yeruchem's shmuessen and learn to think a bit, despite RY's fear of anything that shmekked a little bit like kabboloh. But maybe this is the only way; maybe the only way to continue in the Torah's ways is to throw away your thinking caps and stick with the gemoroh only, like they did in Marmures, and they had the numbers to prove that it worked like a charm...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

They're killing us!

It seems like the chassidim were to blame for all the death that was happening in 1771 in Vohlin, Valachia and Podolia. Which is why - according to a new study - the che"s on the Chassidim was issued soon after, in 1772. At least that's what the bosses in Vilna told the masses there. The author of the article linked above uses lots of (admittedly, circumstancial) evidence, like the fact that the four main kehillos in Lita: Grodno, Brisk, Slutsk and Pinsk did not heed the call of the Parnossim of Vilna to excommunicate the Kat, to prove that they used it as a pretext in an internal Vilna dispute about the appointment of a new Rov there. They TOLD the people that the che"s was gonna save them from G-d's wrath. This was also the reason why the Gaon of Vilna would not see Reb Mendele Horodoker (Vitebsker) and the Alter Rebbe when they came knocking on his door. the fact that the huddled masses were davening late using a new nusach, and not respecting the Talmidei Chachomim? Really, they could care less about that. If you remember, back in '92 Yehoshua Mondshein was called an Apikores by the powers that be in Bene Beraq for saying that the Gr"o could have been manipulated by the fatcats in Vilna.

Listen to RYBS of Boston as he discusses 19 Kislev, The Gaon and Chabad.

Bekitser, it's all politics, always has been....

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Vos Badert Not Brisk?

Rav Isser Yehuda Unterman, (L) with HaRav Yosef Dov HaLevi Soloveitchik

Much has been said about the recent Mishpacha article about the Rav and disciple numero uno, Rav Hershel Schachter. Everybody has his opinion about the article, the revisionism, the implications, and so on. Predictions about the fallout of the article sure to come very soon range from mass cancellations of subscribers in Ocean County, NJ, to mass new subscriptions from the 5T to the UWS. In short, lots of wishful thinking. The way these things go people get excited for a short while to see their hero profiled in a mainstream magazine and may think that the publication is now totally unbiased, until the next story they don't like appears, and there goes the newfound love. In other words, what have you done for me lately. The same goes for the detractors; they get upset that Lubavitch or YU was thrown a bone, and some may even threaten to cancel subscriptions, but by next week, when all is back to normal they calm down and buy it again or forget to cancel. As long as the mainstream Gedolim get their usual coverage all is well in 08701. We do however, need to dissect the current hulla-balloo, why guys like "Not Brisk," who pride themselves on having the purest of Hashkofos, get so upset that someone he dislikes has 15 minutes - or seconds - of fame. Here's my take:

I happen to know who Yitzchok Frankfurter is. Don't ask me how, that's just the way it is. Being a Boro Park kid myself I know him and where he comes from. He's a very out of the box kinda guy, despite his appearance. He puts himself right in the picture at the beginning of the article by recounting his first encounter with Reb Meshulem Dovid HaLevi, aka Reb Dovid Soloveitchik, son of the late Brisker Rov, zt"l, and the preparation for the Brisker world he got at that meeting. To make a long story short he asked him how old he was and he answered "20." RDS told him "he didn't look 20," to which he was gonna pull out his passport and show RDS that he really was, when RDS told him "I didn't say I didn't believe you, all I said was that you didn't look it." This prepared him for the world of the "Tzvei Dinim." Frankfurter then delves into the world of Der Bostoner, Reb Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik, the Rav, and his life and legacy, before expounding on RHS and the work he does, including giving Belsky a plug as well.... דא ליגט דער הונט באגראבן. You want to write about the Rav, meileh, but to include him in the royal lineage of Brisk, which equals real torah MiSinai, this is criminal, and Mishpacha needs to made to pay for that, in the opinion of guys like Not Brisk, the defenders of Brisk.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

יעצט איז ניתל - ביטע נישט לערנען תורה

......בכדי לא להוסיף חיות

The 6th and 7th Lubavitcher Rabbeyim playing chess. Lav Davka it was nittel.

"מה שנוהגים לא ללמוד בניתל, שמעתי מאאמו"ר (אדמו"ר מהרש"ב נ"ע) הטעם, שהוא כדי שלא להוסיף חיות
פעם אמר אאמו"ר: די מתמידים וואס די אכט שעה איז נוגע בנפש, האב איך ניט האלט. והוא רק עד חצות לילה"
מדברי כ"ק אדמו"ר מהריי"צ נ"ע

Harsh words from a man who loved every Yid and who loved to learn Torah no less than a Mesivta bachur in a small New Jersey town Mesivta.

Dear Mum - 9 (numbers have changed)

M0she Sharett - guest speaker at the KG - in 1948

Yeshivas Chevron, Yom Sheni leseder "Vehoyo ki Yeviacho,"
4th Jan, 1954

Dear Parents,

It is now some time since I have heard from you ....

The news of the demise of Rabbi Dessler ZT"L in Bne Brak last Thursday has probably reached you by now. The Yeshivah had a coach to the Levayoh. Many Hespedim were held in Ponovitch where he was Mashgiach. The first speaker was Rav Herzog, who was again interrupted by many members of the local Kolel Chazon Ish and various people from Yerushlaim. He is quite foolish in persisting in his attempts to speak to unsympathetic audiences. Perhaps this time he will have learnt his lesson. It is interesting to note that in today's Hatzofeh (the Mizrachi organ) there is published a letter from Rav Herzog to Shapiro, the Mizrachi Cabinet Minister, asking him to do what he can to be Mevatel the Chok Sherut Leumi as it is causing a Machlokes in Klal Yisroel. There were many thousands at the Levayoh which proceeded along the same long road to the Beis Olam where grass has not yet started to grow over the Kever of the Chazon Ish ZT"L. In Bne Braq [R'] Moshe Sternbuch intoduced me to his future parents-in-law, who are a most charming couple. At the same time I also had the opportunity of looking round the new kitchen in Ponovitch, completed only a few weeks ago. It is said to be the last word in planning and equipment.

On Friday night I was at the Gerer Tish where I had not been for some time. I was disappointed to learn that the previous week or fortnight had been honoured by the presence of Barnett Janner [MP & Board of Deputies Chairman] and Neville Laski [a Manchester QC, macher & knacker]. I would have liked the opportunity to "Chap a Shmuess" with them. Two new Bachurim from Gateshead arrived last week and I accompanied one to the Rebbe's house after the Tish, hoping to gain admittance and having a good excuse. The latter is to some extent a necessity as he normally demands a reason why one wants to see him. However, someone was in before us and it took rather long. Meanwhile, a few people collected outside awaiting admission. When finally the door opened it was done so by the Rebbe himself and seeing the number assembled he shouted (in Yiddish) "Is this a bus stop?" Owing to the hour he only gave me a few minutes. ...............

Learning is going well............


[HT -
I don't get how people were so short-sighted when it came to Rav Herzog. Here it was eight years after the Holocaust, when he had saved so many Gedolei Yisroel, and had saved so many children who were stuck in monasteries when their parents put them there so that they be saved from certain death. That was beside for the fact that he was a talmid chochom in his own right. I would also assume that he was invited by the Yeshiva authorities to be maspid, he didn't just come on his own. Yet some people there tried to shout him down and not let him speak. The same thing happened at Reb Isser Zalman's levaya, if you remember. Oyb Azoi, there seems to be a disrespect shown here for the baaleibatim of the yeshivah as well. What he could do to stop the Giyus Banos is questionable. Just like DBG didn't listen to Reb Meir Karelitz and Reb Hirsh Peysach Frank and Reb Isser Zalman when they met with him and begged him to rescind the decree, despite RHP also being on the State's payroll, so too would he not listen to Rav Herzog. It just goes to show how things have always been the same, despite having changed so much.]

Previous "Dear Mum" letters: Please not that the numbers were recently changed. "Parts" were taken out, meaning no more Part I and Part II, only numbers.
Dear Mum - 1
Dear Mum - 2
Dear Mum - 3
Dear Mum - 4
Dear Mum - 5
Dear Mum - 6
Dear Mum - 7
Dear Mum - 8

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

a Prince has Passed

R Yisroel Sholom Yosef Friedman passed away yesterday, on his 95th birthday, that is. [My grandmother died on her 86th birthday, not that you care.] Not much is known about this quiet, unassuming man who managed the Ruzhiner Yeshivah in Yerushalayim for close to sixty years. He was the son of Reb Mordche Shlomo of Boyan-New York, and the brother in law of Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, having married RHL's sister. Some years ago, when we discussed Boyan at the visit of the Boyaner Rebbe to Crown Heights for the wedding of his wife's cousin Nosson Gurary's child, Schneur mentioned him in passing, and dubbed him and his younger brother Yitzchok "MO lay people." "Yisrael has the personality, appearance and temper of a Rebbe," he said. "It's too bad he was not interested in the position. He would have met a fine Rebbe in the US," Schneur said. I guess what Schneur is saying is that he wishes that R Yisroel would have bucked the trend and had more of an impact in a much broader circle of Jews. What happened by him refusing the position was that we waited 14 years for a Boyaner Rebbe, who despite being an exceptional leader, moved to Israel and has no impact here, his accomplishments not withstanding.

I realize it sounds corny, using the term "Prince" just because he was a Ruzhiner eynikel, but what else would you suggest?

Schneur comments:

Baruch Dayan Emes.
As was the case with many pre War Rebbische kinder, he probably saw no future in being a rebbe in the US. In that sense he was wrong. Once he made that decision it affected his shidduchim, education, and social setting (friends) etc. He had regal bearing, was highly intelligent and a fine man, but the life decisions he made sort of prevented him from being a Rebbe when his father passed on. A word about Rabbi Brayer the present Rebbe. I do not know him, but I spoke to him on the phone several times concerning a business matter (about Torah) and he was such an anav and spoke in normal tones; what a contrast to lots of other Rebbes I have dealt with - although some are clearly wonderful people. If R. Brayer were in the US I do think he has what to "sell". I wonder if his Anash in Israel appreciate him. Mr. Friedman was a MO, which is not a shem genai, he was a professional social worker and a lover of books, as he collected festschriften (Sefer Yovlos). He ran the Boyaner shtibel on 441 (Emes) West End Ave. It was a nice place with him and Reb Sender Bistrizky ZT"L and others.

Rabbi Israel Friedman Zecher zaddik Livracha

Monday, December 21, 2009

Munkacs Renewal

It's been a while since we discussed Munkacs. We had been talking about Reb Burechel's abdication of the throne and got sidetracked by more important issues, like the size of O Deutschs' peyos. Let's skip ahead and see what happens once Munkacser talmidim realize that RBYYR will no longer lead them, and they wouldn't want him even if he DID want! By now the older son was married to the daughter of Reb Ahron Bernshtein of Chayei Olam Yeshiva in J'lem and was ready to lead on his own. Although educated in Ohio's finest Torah institution, Reb Moshe Leib Rabinovich was a chassidisher yungerman, well-versed in the ways of his grandfather, despite never having seen him. In 5722/1962 the Munkacser Beis Medrash was founded in Boro Park and RMLR was invited to lead the congregants. [I'm told now that the poster is not from 1962, but rather from 1969, and that the Yeshivah was functioning for quite some time by then. It's just that the shul in BP was started then. Until then it was in W'burg, with Reb Moshe Leib serving as Rebbe there. ויש לעיין בזה.]I would imagine that the Talmud Torah was founded only later on, probably late 60s to early 70s. What's ironic is that at that time the Rebbe was considered tier two or three, but the cheder was a serious place, where many local kids went, despite not being affiliated with Munkacs. Today the opposite is true; the institutions have collapsed and basically died, yet the Munkacser Rebbe has "made it" after all those years.

No, my friends, I'm not poking fun at the Munkacser, I'm telling how people saw it, not Lubavitcher people, locals, people of Hungarian and Galician extraction, that is. Maybe the opinion was juvenile and unfounded, but that's the way the Oylem Goylem saw it. They saw him as the man with the biggest Menorah, the one who made as if he was a 90-year old tzaddik living in Poland. איי, why do we care what the Oylem Goylem thinks if we admit that it's "Goylem"? It's simple. Very often these are the opinions that accompany people for the rest of their lives. Ask people today what they think of the Munkacser and they may refer to the late minyanim available at his shul or to the tall menorah, but they may have very little to say about his Torah knowledge or his askanus tziburis. Why? because as children a Rebbe's level of learning was never important, it was all about the "Parenches" (bleachers) and the color of the Bekishe and the sons who are vying for control. And if that's the way he sees it as a child he often retains those opinions, no matter if he learned in Brisk on Rechov Peres, or by Reb Chaim Feinstein, or in Satmar Bayswater or in Lubavitch in Qiryat Gat.

The fact that by that time most of his zeide's surviving chassidim had defected to Satmar is another whole story...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dear Mum - 8

Yom Sheni Lesder Vayechi 5714 - 15th Dec '53

My dear Parents

I havn't received a letter from you............. I am carrying on learning as normal. On the eighth of Chanuka I went to watch Hadlokos Nerus at the Gerer Rebbe Shlita. Many Chasidim and others were present and the pressure was tremendous. The same evening around midnight I went to R' Ahrele's Chassidim where there a great ceremony on this night. Firstly they lay out a table and distribute Shirayim. This takes about two hours since they have a principle not to do any item of Avodah in a hurry; all must be done with insight and deliberation. After that they assembled all the wicks and oil left over from previous days, together with some other items and placed them on a large metal tray in the middle of the BHM"D. The Rebbe with tremendous fervour set it all afire to the accompaniment of Psukim such as Vechol Horisho Keoshon Tichleh. This was followed by Rekida after Rekida, to their well known main Niggun. Due to weariness, since it was already after three, I did not stay to the end of the proceedings. As you know, following your instructions, I learn one Possuk of Torah in great depth each day. I have now reached Sh'mos 21:1 and am unsatisfied with the commentaries I have seen. Please have a look and tell me of you have any suggestions.

Since a long time ago there have been in Jerusalem numbers of missionary societies. They labour intensively mainly trying to convert new immigrants to Christianity. Anyone who comes under their umbrella receives many financial benefits including tickets for trips abroad. They are recognized by the Misrad Hadatot, to avoid enmity....... Last night a report was received that in a few hours time they are going to convert fifty-four people. Such mass conversions are kept secret, but this time one candidate backed out at the last moment and spread the news. There was an emergency gathering there of several hundred Yeshivah Bachurim and others. A few broke into the house, broke windows and cut of the electricity. However, the police soon arrived in great numbers with dogs and started fighting and beating up people with sticks. The police are mostly low intelligence immigrants from .............................. The screaming and shouts of "Gestapo" enraged the dogs even further and the chase carried on all down Rehov Meah Shearim. By then it was already ten at night and the commotion aroused all the courtyards of Meah Shearim. Men and women came out of the tenements and when they saw the police assumed that had come to round up girls for National Service. The screaming intensified. The police arrested many males including four Bachurim from Chevron. They were today released on bail. How painful it is to see a Jewish State arresting Jews for hindering Jews who want to apostatize. May Hashem have mercy.

On the topic of National Service which is due to be enacted soon people are saying Tehillim and more. Asoroh BeTeves has been declared an additional prayer day. Re: your suggestion that I should have regular lessons in Ivrit; I have some difficulties. There simply is no time. In the Yeshivah it is customary to speak only in Yiddish in public. In my room all understand and speak English, so there is little opportunity. Nevertheless, I have learned something whilst shopping and visiting offices. ........ On reading about [Dr] Altman [Communal Rav in Manchester] I admit to a degree of sympathy. On the one hand the Higher Broughton activists want to put him in Cherem and the Jewish Chronicle lambasts him for his absence at the opening of the Reform Synagogue.

Your son Elozor


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Head Scratcher...

Photos from Here

What say you; Is it:

"Creative?" Bizayon haMitzvah?

Just cute? neither one?

They do own a fish store. It's not like they sought out fish.

some things never change

London's East End at the turn of the 20th century

Sent by Reader "Eli R."

"Decorum was not a feature of synagogue worship in those days, nor was the Almighty yet conceived as the holder of formal receptions once a week. Worshipers did not pray with bated breath, as if afraid that the deity would overhear them. They were at ease in Zion. They passed the snuff-boxes and remarks about the weather. The opportunities of skipping afforded by a too exuberant liturgy promoted conversation, and even stocks were discussed in the terrible longueurs induced by the meaningless ministerial repetition of prayers already said by the congregation, or by the official recitations of catalogues of purchased benedictions. Sometimes, of course, this announcement of the offertory was interesting, especially when there was sensational competition. The great people bade in guineas for the privilege of rolling up the Scroll of the Law or drawing the Curtain of the Ark, or saying a particular Kaddish if they were mourners, and then thrills of reverence went round the congregation. The social hierarchy was to some extent graduated by synagogal contributions, and whoever could afford only a little offering had it announced as a "gift"—a vague term which might equally be the covering of a reticent munificence. Very few persons, "called up" to the reading of the Law, escaped at the cost they had intended, for one is easily led on by an insinuative official incapable of taking low views of the donor's generosity and a little deaf. The moment prior to the declaration of the amount was quite exciting for the audience.

On Sabbaths and festivals the authorities could not write down these sums, for writing is work and work is forbidden; even to write them in the book and volume of their brain would have been to charge their memories with an illegitimate if not an impossible burden. Parchment books on a peculiar system with holes in the pages and laces to go through the holes solved the
problem of bookkeeping without pen and ink. It is possible that many of the worshipers were tempted to give beyond their means for fear of losing the esteem of the Shammos or Beadle, a potent personage only next in influence to the President whose overcoat he obsequiously removed on the greater man's annual visit to the synagogue. The Beadle's eye was all over the Shool at once, and he could settle an altercation about seats without missing a single response. His automatic amens resounded magnificently through the synagogue, at once a stimulus and a rebuke. It was probably as a concession to him that poor men, who were neither seat-holders nor wearers of chimney-pot hats, were penned within an iron enclosure near the door of the building and ranged on backless benches, and it says much for the authority of the Shammos that not even the Schnorrer contested it. Prayers were shouted rapidly by the congregation, and elaborately sung by the Chazan. The minister was Vox et praeterea nihil. (A voice and nothing more; a mere sound; hence, fine words without weight or meaning) He was the only musical instrument permitted, and on him devolved the whole onus of making the service attractive. He succeeded. He was helped by the sociability of the gathering—for the Synagogue was virtually a Jewish Club, the focus of the sectarian life."

From "Children of the Ghetto / A Study of a Peculiar People" pp. XI, by Israel Zangwill (1893)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

East Ramapo School Board - וד"ל

You guys living in Monsey, New Hempstead, New Square, Chestnut Ridge, Wesley Hills; help me out here. Help all of us out. What's going on with the board? What was the big "scandal" with the hiring of the new "friendly" lawyer? How are the frum members of the board doing against the anti-Semites and the bureaucrats? How can we help? why are my school and property taxes so darn high???? This guy Weider looks like he has a bright future ahead of him. We need guys like that in public office.

Received via e-mail:

The East Ramapo School Board meets Today 12/16 at 7:15 in the gym at District headquarters, 105 South Madison Avenue Spring Valley, New York 10977. Come and see for yourself.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

אהן בליטות

(L-R) Reb Chaim Shlomo Leibovitz and Reb Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Kanievski

You might say I'm still reeling from all the flak I got over the O Deutsch piece. I too like it when at least some of you agree with the point that I'm making, and I'm usually pretty sure of myself by the time I put in writing. For some reason you people - at least those of you who don't know me personally - think that it was an attack on Peyos in general. Nothing could be further from the truth. Anybody that knows me would attest to the fact that I'm a very proud proponent of peyos, I wear them myself, as do my boys, but altz mit a shiur. Even in Bene Beraq of today, where anything goes, I'll bet you guys a slice of pizza that ROD sticks out like a brown thumb. Oh wait, he has brown thumbs too, I meant a green thumb. Not R AJ Soloveyczyk, not R Dovid or R Meir or R Yitzchok S for that matter, not R Chaim Kanievski, not R Shmuel Greineman, not R AL Steinman, nobody looks like that. The only ones that resemble him somewhat are those who shaved their side locks for many years and then grew them in their later years. Then, naturally, the hair gets very bushy and wild, almost uncontrollable. Ironically, it's Reb Chaim Sholom Leibovitch, whose appointment as R"M in Ponovezh caused the Markovits clan to raise such a ruckus and go as far as threatening his life, he's the one with the frizzy peyos, but with him it's obvious that it's just the way it grows now. (It seems like in the above picture he made an extra effort to tame them, lekoved the chasuneh...)

All this is an outgrowth of the Hungarian/Galicianer/CI/Brisk Litvak movement, where people with no mesorah began to rethink everything they ever saw in their parents' home and reinvented yiddishkeit. Deutsch is an Hungarian, maybe even from a non-Chasidic home, and he probably had no peyos growing up, I would assume his father didn't either. Or, maybe he did have peyos and was surprised by the fact that growing up many of his Bnei Brak friends didn't, so he took it to the extreme. Bringing rayos from the Beis HaLevi, which is a painting, or the Rogatchover, who's hair and moustache grew long as well, is beyond ludicrous. I'm surprised at some of you, trying to pull the wool over our eyes with comparisons that just don't jive. Do you really think we're that naive? This man (R' Osher Deutsch) combs his peyos every morning. Guaranteed. Not only does he comb them but I would bet five forint (that's Hungarian money, for those of you in Lakewood and Crown Heights) that he combs them that they look as wide and unkempt as possible... There's no other explanation, at least not in my dark and unenlightened world, a world devoid of Torah according to some of you here... Why I'm bothering with this issue in the first place is beyond me. The more I like at this thread the more foolish it looks.

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but this was not the way in di Litteh. They may have wanted blittes on their esrogim, but they never walked around with blittes. Those that did were oysgetohn fun der velt. Anybody over the age of 30 knows the very simple looking Litvishe Yidden, the ones who never chas vesholem wore double breasted suits because they were too stylish, and the ones who drove the oldest and most banged-up cars. They wore bent-down hats with no pinches, and had a shtikkel beard with bushy sideburns. Any emphasis on trappings like a long coat or this type of hat or that size peyos were considered silly and left to the clueless chassidim. Nowadays it seems like everything's changed. Every second Litvak now ears a kapote. They all have Brisker peyos and Borsalinos. You'd be hard pressed to find a wife without a custom sheitel. What has happened with the pure world that the Olam HaYeshivos once was? The way I see it the outgrowth of peyos went together with the fancy suits and hats and sheitels, it's not an increase in hiddur bemitzvos at all. Chassidim are becoming more misngadish and the misnagdim are becoming more chassidish. With Rebbes, kvittlach and peyos.

It's a funny world.

Monday, December 14, 2009

א בריוואלע לכבוד חנוכה

לכבוד ידידי ר' הירשל שיחי-ה

עס איז שוין חנוכה. די לעכטלעך האט מען שוין אנגעצונדן, אביסעל דריידל געשפילט, געגעסן א פאר לאטקעליך און די קינדער שלאפן שוין. דער טאטע אליין וויל אויך אביסעל הנאה האבן פון דער פרייליכן יו"ט. נו, א גוטע געדאנק, לאמיר גיין זעהן וואס טוט זיך ביים צירקיס, אפשר וועט מען גאר זעהן ווי דער ציג שפרינגט און טאנצט. ב"ה, מיר זענען נישט אנטוישט געווארן. דער ציג איז גאר אין פולן שוואונג. און די אלע מיני לֵצים מכל הסארטין שפילען אין זיינע געצעהלט. דא קען מען טרעפען גאר ערנסטע לֵצים מיט א שטארקע אידיעלאגיא, פארביסענע ברוגז'דיקע לצים מיט זייער מאוימ'דיקע פֶּנימער, און אויך אן א שיעור גלאט אידיאטישע לֵצים. אלע זענען זיך צאם געקומען מהנה צו זיין דער עולם. קוקנדיק אויף די גאונישע פלפולים פון די אלערליי חברה איז מיר גראד איינגעפאלן א תירוץ. יא! א תירוץ צו דער אלטער קשיא פון דער הייליגער בית יוסף. איך האב אנגעהויבן צו טראכטן ווי אזוי עס האט מן הסתם אויסגעזען ווען מען איז אריין אין בית המקדש גלייך נאך דער מורא'דיגער נצחון פון די חשמונאים. מען קען זיך פארשטעלן אז עס איז געווען גאר גרויסע נייעס און דער עולם איז געקומען לויפן פון אלע זייטן: ליטווישע, חסידישע, עולמ'שע, פּוילעשע, חב"דניקעס, קנאים, און אפשר א פאר מאדערנע אויך. נו! אז עס איז דא אזא עולם האט דאך יעדער א דעה.

די ערשטע זאך דארף מען באקוקן דעם הכשר אויף דער קריגעלע, אַה! א הכשר פון א כהן "גדול". דארף מען דאך מברר זיין צו ער איז באמת א "גדול." נו, אפשר איז ער געווען א ביסל געכאפט אין דער ציונית, וואלטן אונזערע קנאי'שע אידעלעך נישט צוגעלאסט נוצען זיין הכשר, בפרט נאך פאר אזא הייליגער מצוה ווי צינדען דער מנורה אין בית המקדש. די מאדערנע (קרי ר.ק.א.) האבן מורא געהאט "ווער קען וויסען אפשר איז דער כהן "גדול" גאר געווען א לויבאוויטשער!" נו, דארף מען אים אונטערזוכען און זען אויב ער האט גחתמ'ט אויף זייערע נייע אני מאמין'ס. די סנַאגס וואלטן געזאגט אפילו אויב ער חתמ'ט אויף די נייע אני מאמין'ס העלפט עס גאר ניט. לאידך די לויבאוויטשער האבן מורא אז אפשר איז דער כהן גדול א מאל געווען אין דער התאחדות איז דאך דער שֶמֶן זיכער טמא, אדער אפשר איז דער "גדול" גאר א מתנגד! איז דאך ערגער ווי אלץ. פארשטייט זיך אליין אז על פי דרך הטבע וואלט מען קיין מאל נישט געקענט אנצינדען די מנורה נו, איז געווען א מורא'דיקער נס אז דער עולם איז געווען פארנומען - אולי זענען זיי אלע געווען אויף הירשל'ס בּלָאג - האט מען געקענט צינדען די מנורה, און וועגן דער אומגלויבליכע נס האט מען צוגעלייגט נאך איין טאג חנוכה.אויב דער תירוץ שטייט שוין אין איינע פון אונזערע הייליגע ספרים וועל איך מוזן זאגן ברוך שכוונתי.

א לוסטיגען און פרייליכען חנוכה,
פון דיינע אמת'ער גוטער פריינד
הירשל, אלץ חסידישער יונגערמאן זאלסטו שטענדיק געדיינקען אל יבוש מפני המלעיגים

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I'm on your side here!

(No! it's not the same picture as the previous one)

So it's official. I'm now an "anti-Semite" because I look at a man who needs to be all different than the rest of the world and call a spade a spade. Not only that; this is one of the people who are the cause of so much machlokes and heipech kevod hatorah in the world today, where gedolei yisroel are openly and brazenly defied and maybe even defiled. This is a man whose presence causes a commotion such as never seen before in the "Torah" world; where a man walks in and basically chases away such greats as R Chaim Kanievski and R Michel Yuda Lefkowitz from their own eyniklach's vort! This is a man who has shlepped the Yeshiva world in secular court in Israel, whose goons threw leben at a 90+ year-old Rosh Yeshiva, and whose actions caused the greatest "demonstration" for Koved HaTorah ever assembled. I'm speaking about the time last year when almost all the Rosh Yeshivos in EY were mocheh against the terrible chillul hashem that Deutsch and Markowitz perpetrated last year. You would think that the ones who wave the banner of Torah would be upset at that and call him out over it, but I guess the proverbial "wool" is pulled down very tightly here in the US; nobody seems to know what he's done, and they still demand his "Kovod haTorah."

A good friend of mine, a very proud Litvak, (well, actually he only wishes he could be a Litvak, he's as Polish as they come) told me that it's something like this: that a Satmarer can poke fun at a Vizhnitzer and vice versa, but a Litvak can make fun of neither. So goes the world. The same is true for the non-Jewish world; a white guy can't make fun of Blacks, but Blacks can make fun of themselves as well as of Whites. Jews also have it good when it comes to satire. There they say the reason is because of all the persecution that Blacks endured in America for 300+ years, and the same may be true for Jews as well. I would also be upset if a Litvak or any non-Lubavitcher would be poke fun at a Meshichist, despite my vehement opposition to that movement. I would see it as an affront to Lubavitch and the Rebbe as a whole, not a beef with the shittos of a Meshichist. I guess what's good for the goose is good for the gander, (if that is an appropriate analogy) If you don't like when others do it don't do it yourself neither. You can count this post here as an official "apology."

וה' יברך את עמו בשלום

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Winner! - Peyos of the year decade

L-R Reb Shmuel Markovits and Reb Osher Deutsch of Ponovizher Yeshivah in Bene Beraq at a Chanukah Mesibah/"Chagigah" tonight. Only a Hungarian can do that.

Photo source

Thursday, December 10, 2009

?איי איי איי! ר' בערל אויכעט

R-L: Reb Berel Povarski, Reb Yoel Kahan, Reb Chaim Peretz Berman (SIL of RBP and Eynikel of the Steipler. His father Reb Shlomo Berman was a chavrusah of Reb Yoel for years in Lubavitcher Yeshivah in Tel Aviv)

Read the whole article in this week's "שעה טובה"

We knew this to be the case, despite the facade they put up all these years. In Di Lita there was no such thing as "Daas Teyreh," you did as you understood because you believed in yourself just as much as you did in the Rov and Rosh Yeshivah. You didn't believe that the Rov or Rosh Yeshivah fliht in di himmlen, so there was nothing he "saw" that you didn't see yourself. Obviously I'm speaking about Jews who knew how to learn, not simpletons. {You may even say that the fact Reb Elchonon HY"D went against the consensus when it came to debate Zionism and the creation of the State of Israel also follows that logic. He didn't subject himself to the views of then Gedolei Hador.} So the fact that there was this one big wall of Litvishkeit/Bnei Torah seemed a little bit of a stretch, at least for some of us. We always knew better and could not prove it, and we figured that they were afraid to speak up about this new movement that cut large swaths of Jews from the fabric of Orthodox Jewry. The last few weeks we've been witness to cracks in that black wall, and we cannot be more excited. Not because of any imagined "victory," G-d forbid, but rather because we're happy the sons of Israel get along as they should.

Watch Video, if you so please - or download it here

More GREAT pictures here

After Reb Yoel visited Reb Aron Leib Shteynman last week, the attacks came soon after. The hierarchy wasn't happy that the #2 Gadol (or # 3 depending on whom you ask) was meeting with the enemy with no conditions for reconciliation met beforehand. The Israeli Yated attacked Chabad with a vengeance, and basically took a swipe at Reb Aron Leib for not remembering Maran and his righteous battles a few short years ago. I'm sure guys like R Shmuel Deutsch, the ultimate Hungarian-Litvak of our times, were out to excommunicate RAL. This bodes well for all of us. It seems like Schneur is right; the only ones that have issues are those who never saw Di Lita or Reysen in theirs or their parents' lives, and to them Chabad is evil. Reb Yoel had a successful few days after that meeting. Large crowds came to see and hear him in Binyanei HaUmah. He met many other Chassidishe Rebbes and sons of Rebbes. There was a meeting with Rav YT Weisz, GaAV"D of the Edah Hacharedis which is also bg news, considering that he's become a big Kano'i since assuming the leadership of that community. But there was bigger news.

When you watched the meeting with Reb Aron Leib, despite the smiles and the handshakes, there was no warmth there, no chemistry, if you will. RAL never heard of Reb Yoel, or so it seemed, and you maybe thought to yourself "MAYBE they're taking advantage of an older man." RAL is still from the pre-War generation, meaning he was an older bachur when the war came around and basked in the glow of the pre-War greats. Reb Yoel left the Soviet Union at the age of 5 in 1935 and grew up in Tel Aviv, where he had RBD's father Reb Dovid Povarski as Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshivas Achei Tmimim in Tel Aviv. RAL was never part of the great "teilung" in 1989, at least that's what I'd like to believe. That's "crack 1." Now when it came to Reb Berel Povarski it was totally different. These pictures don't lie; they tell a story of how layers and layers of hate and divisiveness come crashing down in one just a few short minutes. You might say that they're having a grand old time! All that was missing was a glezeleh mashkeh and it would be picture-perfect. You realize how all this could have been avoided if only.... No, I won't point fingers here, not at my group nor at any other, I'm just thinking out loud. And I'm not claiming any idiotic "Didan Notzachs" either. I'm just very, very happy to see it. One thing's for sure now, I know which side I'm on when it comes to the Ponovezher internal conflict!

Here too the naysayers will say that this is nothing but sweet revenge for Reb Berel, since his father was treated so terribly at the hands of Maran's people years ago. The irony in this is that when Lubavitchers point to Maran's dislike of Lubavitch and point to a certain snub that may or may not have happened as the reason for the dislike they're laughed out of the room. How dare they accuse him of having human emotions and feelings and acting on them, they say! I understand that RBP is not on Maran's level yet, but he is part of the general daas torah consensus, and if we accuse him where will it end? I call this visit to RBP "crack # 2" in the walls that divide us. There's still much to do, on either side, but the fact that Reb Yoel was the one that shlepped around to see all these Rabbonim shows us that he's interested in thawing the ice, despite the fact the wasn't the one that built those walls. Now the onus is on other Rabbonim in the Litvishe/Yeshivishe camp to reciprocate and try and bridge the great divide that splits families, friends and classmates for no apparent reason. May Der Ayberhster give them all lange, gezunte yohren.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

?וויפיל איז די שיעור

ירושלים, תש"ט - למצולמים אין קשר לכתבה

מורי ורבותי, ס'האלט שוין ביי "באו מים עד נפש." איך האלט מער נישט אויס די עקלהאפטיגע אטאקעס וואס איך מוז ליידן פון די אנשי בליעל דא. דא רעדט מען פון מענטשן פונעם דיוטא התחתונה, שלוחי הס"מ, וועלכע זענען נישט מער ווי אנשי עמלק, און האבן געמאכט אלס זייער'ס א מטרה קאלט מאכען פאר אנדערע אידן, און זיי אפשוואכן פון התקשרות בצדיקים, לימוד תורת הבעל שם טוב, און בכלל פון קיום המצוות בהידור. וואס קען מען טוהן מיט די אוממענטשליכע מענטשן? וויזוי קען מען מאכען אן עק צו די אומ"פראוואוקט"ע אטאקעס? פארוואס מוז איך זיך לאזן פון זיי? דער אמת איז איך בין אים דען אויך שולדיג. איך רעד זיך איין אז צוליב "פרייהייט פון אויסדרוק" מוז איך אלץ דורכלאזן, ווייל אז נישט וועט קיינער מער נישט ליינען ואס איך האב צו זאגן. פונקט פארקערט! די מענטשן פארטרייבן מיטלמעסיגער און אומפארטייאישע ליינער מיט זייערע נארישט אטאקעס, און די רעזולטאט איז ווייניקער ליינער און מער שונאים. די עצה איז גאר א פשוט'ער. מיר וועלן נעמן גאר שטרענגע שריטן פון היינט אהן אויס. קאמענטן וואס באלאנגן נישט צו די טעמע פון וועלכע מען רעדט וועלן זאפארט געמעקט ווערן, אהן קיין אויסנאם! נישט קיין חילוק צו ס'איז א ליובאוויטשער צו א מתנגד צו א סאטמארער םון סיי וועלכער פארטיי, צו א געשוואוירענער אגנאסט. טאמער האט איר נישט וואס צו צוגעבן וועגן וואס מען רעדט, איז זייט מוחל שרייבט ערגעץ אנדערש, אפשר ביי כל העולם כולו אדער גאר אין "ישיבה וועלט", אבער נישט ביי אונז! ואין עונשין אלא אם כן מזהירין, ואכמ"ל, וד"ל, וצע"ק, ודפח"ח, ושפת"י, ובלצ"ג ונאמר אמן

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dear Mum - 7

Yom Bays Leseder Vayigash 5714 - 7 Dec '53

Dear Parents, Shlito

Has the date of the wedding [of my brother] been fixed yet? All is well here and I am learning well BH. In Zevochim I am up to Daf 38. The Achronim which we use are Keren Orah, Sfas Emes, Chemdas Doniel, Lekutay Halochois, Even Ho'ozel and also Chidushim from the present Brisker Rav, Shlit"a, which have been duplicated here.

Shabbos I spent in Belz. It was nearly Shabbos when I arrived in Tel Aviv as I had relied on taxis, which to my dismay were all fully booked. The buses take longer. I had to try a couple of hotels until I got a room for sleeping. The crowd was as great as Yomim Noiroim and packed into a BHM"D, which though far more modern is a lot smaller than the outdoor Succah used in Yerushalaim. It was the first time I had been a complete Shabbos there, and only now do I realise what stamina is needed to carry it through. The timetable was roughly as follows. Chanuka Lecht followed by Mincha at 4, then a two hour break before Kabolas Shabbos after which the Olam makes Kiddush and eats there. As there is not enough sitting space many had to eat standing. After Bircas Hamozoin there was a break until the Tish which started at 11.30 and ended at 2, and if one wants to see anything there is constant unrelenting pressure in a tropical heat. (No windows are opened when the Rav Shlita is present). Shacharis started at 9.30 and ended at 1.45, not that they Daven slowly but due to the two long Hefsekim when the Rav Shlita signals from his room. It is these Hefsekim which occur any time and for any length of time which make everything take so long The afternoon Tish started at 4.30 when the Rebbe made Kiddush. It was dark at five but Minchah was held at 5.30 followed by Seudah Shlishis at 6.30. This with a few Hefsekim took until twelve, then a break until Maariv at two, Chanuka Lecht at three, with Zmiros etc and Melaveh Malka at four. The crowd who came after Shabbos and stayed until the end was even greater than that present all Shabbos. I finished nearly knocked out but extremely satisfied. Once I hope to go on an ordinary Shabbos with a small Olam.

The Halperns in Zichron Meir had written and sent me messages asking me to visit them and stay there over Shabbos . I went there on Sunday and spent some pleasant hours talking to R' Shmuel Shlit"a [the father of a Manchester uncle, who handed over his Rabbonus to Rav Wosner]. They are such fine people and the grandchildren are very sweet. On Friday there was the Levayo of another Gadol in Yerushlaim, Rav Shloime Kahane ZT"L. He used to be the AB"D of Warsaw and was a great authority on Agunos. Once I went to visit him but was not admitted as he was unwell. ............. Recently with the threat of Giyus Bonois people have been trying to marry off their daughters, and Yeshivah Bachurim are at a great premium. Last week there were three engagements in Chevron besides a Chasunoh and since my arrival here there have been at least a dozen Simchos. This is causing a grave shortage of older Bachurim. There are indeed only two left now. ....... I have developed a technique of not answering questions about myself to strangers. There is one Shadchan'te who regularly makes a nuisance of herself on the premises, but she is tolerated, having had a number of successes.

- Dear Keeva [my brother] The Chazon Ish on Gitin VeKidushin was published in 1932 and is now out of print. I bought some of the available ones from the Gadol himself. The ones available are........................... They used to cost 2 Liros each, (about 7/6 in England) but since his Petiroh they may be dearer.


Monday, December 7, 2009

פיקטשערס - סתאאאאאם

הגאון בעל החפץ חיים זצ"ל - רבי ישראל מאיר הכהן קאגאן

הגאון מהרש"ם מבערזאן זצ"ל - רבי שלום מרדכי הכהן שוואדראן

הרב ד'שאפראן זצ"ל - רבי שמעון ישראל פאזען

Sunday, December 6, 2009

דער באסטאנער

Photo from BeChadrei Charedim

Maybe of you heard of him through Hanoch Teller's book, or maybe you once davened in his shul on a chol haMoed trip. Maybe you knew that they came from ארץ ישרא-ל and only got stuck here, but they were originally a very proud Yerushalmi family, not American at all. Maybe you had to nebach utilize his organization's know-how and connections because of a family member that needed care in Boston. The point is that he - the Bostoner Rebbe, Reb Levi Yitzchok ben Soroh Sosha Horowitz zt"l - was a man who was basically kulo chesed, like some of the Tzaddikim in the Old Country. He wasn't there to build chassidim for himself, he was there to teach, and if he made some chassidim on the side, then so be it. He taught with love, and never made any of his students feel any less than him. Theirs was truly an open house, one where you shared everything with the inhabitants. His love for Eretz Yisroel, his homeland, made him return there and build a community that is now the pride and joy of the English-speakers in Yerushalayim and Israel. He was a sometimes lone voice of sanity among the members of the MGT, especially when thousands of Jews were to be expelled from their homes. I dare say that in EY Bostoners were maybe looked down upon by the more "seasoned" chassidim, but the Bostoner Rebbe had nothing to be ashamed of when it came to accomplishing in his 68 of leadership. What some of us may not know is that his older brother from Boro Park, Reb Moshe, who passed away some years ago, was the one who inherited his father's position in New York. Yet despite being younger and needing to go back to Boston to build there you might say RLYH came out on top. Boston in Boro Park is down to almost nothing; only Reb Moshe's son, the Flatbush Bostoner, went and built his little kingdom there - I believe after his father's passing. Funny how those things work...

Yehi Zichro Boruch.

as a child

Friday, December 4, 2009

History - and maybe the end of an era!

(L-R) Reb Aron Leib Steinman shlit"a and Reb Yoel Kahan, shlit"a

Reb Yoel is tough to ignore once he's in front of you. You can say all you want behind his back, but he's a major presence, and Reb Aron Leib seemed to be quite enthralled by him - judging from the big smiles here in the picture. I also don't think RALS is a major Kano'i when it comes to Chabad, or any other matter, so this may not have been a major "kibbush" for Lubavitch. The Satmorim hate him for allowing bochurim no longer in Yeshiva to join the NaChal HaCharedi. Others have other issues with him, but I've heard from Lubavitchers that learned in Ponovizh in the 50s - and I may have mentioned it here already - that "Reb Aron Leib iz ah Tzaddik." And if they can say that then there's nothing more to add. The zealots want to know who let him in. They want heads to roll here. Better shmireh at the door would've avoided this major bizoyen for them, they say. This is an unforgivable crime, they say, and those responsible need to pay!

אולי יש לומר בדרך אפשר that what bothers them most is the end of legacy of Reb Lazer Vaboylniker. After all, many, many people see his split from the Agudah - which they see as solely based on the AI in Israel not distancing itself from Lubavitch that time - as his greatest accomplishment. To them building the Shas party and setting policy in Israel has no real meaning, only bashing Chabadskers is really important - as far as his public life is concerned. Once in a while, if really necessary to win an argument with a Chabadsker or a Gerrer, they might point to askonus and inyonei haKlal, but for the most part it's the fact that he "stood up" to Chabad despite it not being popular (huh?) and despite the fact that nobody else would do it. So if a few short years later Chabad is welcome in the homes of Roshei Yeshiva blocks from his home then the legacy is dead. You might look at this meeting and say that Chabad is no longer a threat since Gimmel Tammuz, and you may not get an argument from many people - even Lubavitchers, but that's only because since the Rebbe's passing people are no longer afraid that he'll "farchap" their kids like in the old days. However, the zealots are still just as opposed to the Rebbe and Chabad as ever before, so in that sense nothing has really changed, and the fact that these two elderly yidden met cannot be underestimated.

What "gets me" is how people will do anything to find an excuse for this meeting, ranging to "the anshei HaBayis were asleep on the job, to "Reb Aron Leib is an Ohev Yisroel - he was never a kanoi - and would allow the biggest Rosho to enter his house" to "Chabad is no longer a threat," something even some Lubavitchers would say. Reb Yoel symbolizes the Rebbe to the outside of Chabad world; he's the one that makes it happen and accessible to them. I would say that they're - the zealots, that is - reading this all wrong; somebody needs to give the Bnei Berakkers a lesson in public relations. Here they have this golden opportunity of showing the world that even the Lubavitchers recognize that the true Gedolei Yisroel are in their camp, and that the world Jewry is dependent on them and their daas, and they blow it! Instead of hemming and hawing and trying to find a good excuse they need to raise the flag of victory and sing "Didan Notzach!" That would beat the Lubavitchers at their own "game" and make them come out looking like winners.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

אשריך, רבי פנחס - (PINNED)

(Yated Ne'eman, Friday, 10 Kislev, 5770)

MatchIt says:

"Sent. In the mail. Done. (his $100 check to the fund)
Thank you Tzig for posting this brave Yated Appeal.
Rabosai, put your money where your mouth is! If your reading The Tzig then you are from those that get a kick out of someone who actually crosses party lines to help another Yid.
SMR crossed all lines to help Yidden. Pinny L. just did the same.
Send him a $100.00"

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dear Mum - 6

Reb Isser Zalman zt"l

The Tzig says: You can learn alot from what they consider objectionable at the Tribune and removed and from what they left in. It seems like snide remarks about Chabad are A-OK.... Read about Elozor Reich's adventures in the Holy Land in the winter of '54.

Home from Home Part 6 (Unexpurgated Edition) Publ. 5 Nov 2009

30 Nov '53 Yom Beis leseder Mikaytz Poh Yeruslaim

Dear Parents

In the last few week the weather has changed and it is quite cold completely with frequent rainfall, but no fogs. Learning is going excellently and at the moment..........

Last week there were many Hespedim for R' Isser Zalman [Meltzer]. On Monday at the Etz Chaim Yeshivah during the Hespedim a Kanoi caused some consternation by shouting that the advertised Hesped on the following day in a Shool by Rav Herzog was a Chatzufa etc. and he should not be allowed to speak, as he acted against him [the Niftar] in Giyus Bonois. The next day I was there [in Zichron Moshe Shool], Udvorov Osu Peri. After Rav Herzog had been speaking for a few seconds some people started a tremendous uproar. RH's supporters tried to throw them out and in the whole floor a scrap developed with such cries as "Chillul Hashem"," Giyus Bonois iz nisht kan Chilul Hashem?" emanating form the pressure points The women in the gallery also added to the confusion by shouting at the Rav. The tumult continued for about ten minutes when about fifteen police arrived and ejected the demonstrators, and he was allowed to continue without further interruption; a leberdicke shtetel.

Thursday evening there was a Hesped in Chevron. As I already had enough of Hespedim I went instead to Safriya (Kfar Chabad - HT) which is a Chabad Kibbutz and was present at the 19 Kislev celebration. It was most interesting. Firstly the Olam who came. People who have not the slightest Shaychus to Yiddishkeit, but whose fathers or grandfather were Chabad Chasidim were not only present and comprised half the crowd, but sang and danced with a Hislahavus no less than the 100% ones. There was first a Seudah for a couple of hours with speeches by Rav Zevin, the author of Moadim Behalochoh, then by [Zalman] Shazar (Rubashov), who is a Mechalel Shabbos and more. He was previously a Cabinet Minister and is now a Gantze Knacker in the [Jewish] Agency and so helped the Kibbutz immensely. [He later became President of the State.] The way everyone was Chonef him and his associates was quite sickening considering what people they are. But he spoke such a Droshoh with quotations from Shas, Tanya and other Seforim one would never guess. The Lubavitchers seem to have queer Shitos in dealing with such people. At about eleven that crowd left and the proper Chasidim started Farbrengen until morning. I stayed until 2 am then got a lift to Tel Aviv which is not far, where I spent the rest of the night. On the taxi on the way there, I happened to travel with, besides {R'] Eli [Sternbuch] {R' Avrohom] Erlanger [of Kol Torah today] and my Chaver Mr W.................

L-R: Rav Schneur Garelik, ?, Rav S"Y Zevin, Rav IY Unterman, Shazar

Rabbi [Shmuel Yosef] Rabinow is here and I have been to see him. He sent regards to you and told me some Torah on Zevochim. On Shabbos he gave a Deroshoh with a BHK"N packed to more than capacity. Whether he will get a position with the Eda Hacharedis has not yet been resolved. You ask for details about the {R' Moshe] Sternbuch's engagement... The Mechutan is a Hungarian [I now know this is incorrect, he is of Polish origin] ] who has been living here for a time. He is very wealthy having businesses in leather and diamonds. An ardent Chosid of the Chazon Ish ZTL, whom he used to visit several times weekly [and consult on business decisions] I suppose you know that the latter was the sole Shadchan................... In a few hours it will be Chanuka. The olive oil I brought with me will be very useful as it is very expensive here. ........