Thursday, July 15, 2010
I remember Daled Av as the Bobover Rov HY"D's Yohrtzeit from when I was a child. In Spinka there was a very subtle Bobover influence, especially in summer camp, where many of the counselors were Bobover bachurim and yungeleit. In cheder we had a Bobover Chossid as Menahel and he would teach lots of Kemp Shalvah songs, as well as the older Bobover nigunim. Come daled Av the Bobover boocherim would pack out and head to New York or to one of the Bobover camps to prave the Yohrtzeit. If it fell out on Shabbos it was a whole Shabbos away from us kids. Anyway. Those are my childhood memories of that day. Looking back I would say that some of us were envious of the bachurim; maybe it was for all the wrong reasons, maybe it was because they got to leave camp and not us, but maybe it was because we also wanted to go to the vaunted Bobover Rebbe. Bobov was way cooler than Spinka, in the eyes of a young kid anyway. Not that we used words like "cool" back then in Spinka, but you get my point, I hope.
One can appreciate the Bobover Roov's greatness when we look back at what he accomplished back in Galicia. If my memory serves me correctly there were dozens of Bobower Jeschiwoth spread all across the Galicianer plain. Many of these boys were sons of very simple folk and had very little potential. Many, not necessarily the majority. I once heard Rabbi Dr. Hershel Fried talk about the Roov and how he would take these "Mountain Jews" who didn't own a pair of shoes and would make "mentshen" out of them. Besides for teaching them Torah he would teach them how to speak properly, teach them how to eat using cutlery - fork and KNIFE - and how to take them care of themselves. Kind of a Kovod Ho'Odom approach, but without sacrificing the Chassidishe Levush and ideals. Yes, they were jealous of him, his cousins, especially the other Sanzer Eyniklach who had very little to show as far as accomplishing in the realm of Yiddishkeit. ב א ב ו ב is Roshei Teivos "בא אחיך במרמה ויקח ברכותיך," they said. While many of the Sanzer Rov's children were still alive and well, their brother's GRANDCHILD was building Yiddishkeit and producing feine Yungeleit, talmidei chachomim, by the hundreds. He took the zeide's broches and ran with them, so to speak.
Matzeivah recently placed at the site of the mass murder outside Lemberg/Lwow. Reb Benzion Halberstam of Bobov was one of the murdered.
The Belzer Chassidim laughed at him and called him a Mechalel Shabbos because he came to shul with shiny shoes on Shabbos morning after walking home from shul on a muddy street. "It must've been that he polished them," they said. It never ocurred to them that he had a second pair... So while Belz was losing their young men and women to the ills of the day, Bobov was building. The Bobover Roov saw past the "s'nisht inzer minheg & choodesh ooser min Hatoyreh" (in this case) and confronted the ills of the times head on. It takes a big man to recognize that what he's doing is right no matter the scorn from others. We saw some of that in RBZ's son in our days, when his son took a decimated group of survivors and restored SOME of the glory here in the United States. But In America, when all groups see themselves as belonging to the same cookiecutter Yiddishkeit/Chassides it's tough to stand out and shine. Here too Bobov was the butt of many jokes among other Chassidic groups, but here they have less to point to as far as accomplishments. Less, I said, not that they have nothing. May Hashem avenge the blood of the Kedoshim, veHu Besoychom, speedily and in our days!