Tuesday, December 31, 2013

does Rabbi Steinsaltz speak for us?

when he laments the state of the Rabbinate today

I get different reactions from otherwise like-minded, intelligent, frum people. One person asked me "when will he take his yarmulke off already?, this shande." He's an "alter apikores." Another guy applauds RAS's bravery and tells me that he (RAS) writes what we think. Then of course the OTDers stand up and cheer, but that's just יניקת החיצונים in my humble opinion. They could care less what Rabbis do now, they're out to have a good time and no pipe-smoking Rabbi with an old blue shirt and scraggly beard will tell them otherwise, no matter how brilliant he is. But closer examination of his words tells us that all he's saying is that he wants Rabbonim to care more for their respective flocks. This isn't a מאי אהני לן רבנן rant after all. No call to allow this one and that one to be מותר לבא בקהל or to marry. No call to make broad changes to Halacha just to conform with the times. It's simply a call for a little more compassion. A helping hand. A shoulder to cry on, if you will. Don't shoot the messenger.

Monday, December 30, 2013

You had to wonder where all that money was coming from...

Rabbi Deutsch may need to focus on his day job a bit more from hereon in...

Not to meddle in his personal life, but how many private museums are there out there? How does a guy with a desk job and a hobby for history buy all that expensive stuff in the first place? I guess the chickens did come home to roost ---- and they found nothing to roost on when they got there. So with the help of every single news outlet willing to listen and write about it he's trying to sell off. $995k should be within reach, I suppose. NYT story and photo

a little something for your Monday

   ניצחתי ואנצח, גמרתי ואגמור, אני נהר המטהר מכל הכתמים. אני איש פלא ונשמתי פלא גדול, חידוש כמוני לא היה מעולם

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Addendum to August 19th 2012 post - wedding 19 Kislev 5709

That was at the Kabbolas Ponim. This was at the chuppah. Pirsum Rishon? Maybe. Lubavitch Archives seems to think so. I think I may have seen this picture before. Same Lubavitcher wedding. The chosson, zol gezunt zein, doesn't look impressed.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

a personal story...

אני שולח לכם קטע מהתוועדות של משפיע אנ"ש באנטווערפען, הרה"ח הישיש ר' יעקב שיחי' פרידריך, שמגולל סיפור אישי מדהים ונפלא איך שעבר את שנות שואה ............... כל טוב

Thursday, December 26, 2013

להבין הקושיא... למה לא נתגלה תורת הבעש"ט בימים הקדמונים

This Maamar was brought to our attention by the blogger at chakira.org, who saw it in - believe it or not - in the sefer "ים החכמה" by Reb Itche Meir Morgenstern. This is from last year's תורות. RIMM quotes a whole long shtikkel from the Rebbe נ"ע, and truth be told, I had a hard time believing it, so I went and looked it up. First on nittel, only to realize that it was nittel, and then again now. It's from a מאמר ליחידי סגולה that was said in 5663/1903, and it's not the usual style, that's for sure. After answering the first קושיא the Rebbe goes on to explain why the Chevlei Moshiach started davka around 1891, using the Rabbeyim and their accomplishments as points in time. How the fact that the Rabbeyim were born and passed on at a certain time is not coincidental... This definitely NOT the Rebbe Rashab that Satmar loves...

Box.com link

Monday, December 23, 2013

שומו שמים! כ"ק רבינו ה"ברך משה" זצ"ל גיט שלום פאר דער הויפט נעאלאגישער ראבינער אלעקסאנדער שייבער!

More on Rabbiner Scheiber

   זה באמת חוצפה גדולה ועצומה, הרי בן האדם הזה היה מחלל שבת בפרהסיא. ולדוגמא כל ליל שבת (בטעמפל של הראבינער סעמינאר) אחרי קידוש גדול לכל הציבור, כשהיה רואה יהודים יורדים מקומה הג' במדריגות, היה מכריז בקול: הרי יש כאן מעלית! ועוד כיוצא בזה סיפורים. ובא מי שקורא לעצמו הסאטמאר רב [תסתכל בתאריך ליד התמונה!] ונותן לו יד בידידות!!!!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

how giving an aliya to a leading Reform Rabbi changed his life and now may make him completely frum

Burt Siegel now puts on Tefillin while davening with a minyan every day and learns Torah with a young chavrusah

It was only 5 weeks ago that we discussed Rick Jacob's attending the Kinus HaShluchim. We discussed what good it would do, and whether or not it would empower Reform Jews now that they are given credibility by Chabad's leadership. Whether Reform was a dying breed and Chabad's overtures to its President would only bring them closer to authentic Yiddishkeit. While the jury is still out on the Jacobs case the jury may not have such a hard time when it comes to Siegel. Simcha Bunim Siegel, that is! They may see quite clearly that Rabbi Krasnjanski's kiruv has paid dividends. That המאור שבו מחזירו למוטב, no matter how many years he studied at HUC, or how long he's preached at some Liberal Temple. And that he may just be mekarev his whole congregation as a result of the learning and davening that he does at Rabbi K's Chabad House/Kolel!.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A רעדע from הגה"ח רד"מ ליברמאן שליט"א at ישיבה גדולה ליובאוויטש לונדון י"ב תמוז תשמ"ח

a little context as to וואס דא רעדט זיך און וועגן וועמען ס'רעדט זיך when we speak of HaRav Lieberman, one of Lubavitch's many, many hidden gems. Introduction by Reb Efraim (Freddy) Hager o"h of London.

Monday, December 9, 2013

HaGaon Reb Chaim Kanievski Shlit"a זאגט אריין פאר Larry Gordon about his (lack of) beard

And Reb Larry is man enough to tell us about it!

I'll go out on a limb here and say that Reb Chaim doesn't do this to every clean-shaven Harry that visits him. Matter o' fact, I'll bet you 20 bucks he doesn't. So either somebody told him about Larry's Lubavitcher yichus, or maybe there is some truth to what they say about RCK.... Then again, if he was using Lubavitch he'd maybe bring up the Tzemach Tzedek on the matter?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

שיעור מהמשפיע הרב משה וויינבערגער שליט"א

This is a shiur or shmooze in Elul 5773. Those who know say that the Beis Medrish looks alot more empty than usual. I don't know. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

זיכרונות שסיפר הגאון ר' דוד משה ליברמן שליט"א אב"ד ק"ק שומרי הדת אנטווערפן יצ"ו בשבת שבע-ברכות של נכדיו שיחיו

Rabbi D.M Lieberman שליט"א is a Rov who demands respect. Not by requesting it; it's his knowledge and his achievements that demand it for him. His background makes him somewhat unique; a Talmid of Heide Yeshiva, BMG and Lubavitch. In Rabbonus it's been Chicago, Detroit and since 5740 Antwerp. In his 65+ years of public service he's accomplished much, but what may be his greatest accomplishment is forcing the Machzikei HaDas  (Antwerp-Kreiswirth) community to recognize and honor him... I cannot tell you what he's referring to about the Chicago politics... Here are some of his zichraynes...

 נולדתי בגרמניה. משפחתי מגליציה, היו "גאליציאנער חסידים" (רופשיץ וכד'). עזבנו את גרמניה כשהייתי תינוק בן שנה לאנטוורפן. בגיל עשר למדתי בהיידע אצל "א טעלזער ראש ישיבה". חמש שנים למדתי בישיבה. פגשתי שם את ר' אפרים וולף (לימים מנכ"ל הישיבות תומכי תמימים בארה"ק) וגם את אביו שאז כבר היגרו מגרמניה להולנד. במלחמה הגעתי עם אימא לצרפת למחנה ריכוז (לא כמו המחנות בגרמניה, יותר קל). אימא נשלחה לאושוויץ (הצרפתים שלחו אותם – כל זמן שצרפת לא נכבשה לגמרי תחת הנאצים, הצרפתים שתפו פעולה ושלחו יהודים למחנות. אחרי הכיבוש, כבר לא שלחו יהודים). אבא היה באנגליה בתקופת המלחמה. אחרי חצי שנה, ברחתי מהמחנה לדוד שלי, אח אימי, שגר בצרפת. שמעתי שיש ישיבה במרסיי וכך הגעתי לר' זלמן שניאורסאהן. הייתי כל הזמן צמוד אליו, יותר מהאחרים. הוא חייב אותנו ללמוד חסידות למרות שלא רצינו, זה היה בשבילנו דבר חדש. היה שם א' רובינסקי, מצרפת, מאוד מוכשר שלמד חזק חסידות, הוא נשלח אז יחד עם 23 חבר'ה למחנות. לילה קודם הייתי איתם באותו מקום היכן שתפסו אותם (20 חבר'ה עם 3-4 מבוגרים). היינו בחדר שאכסנו בו חביות יין והיה לו פתח לחדר של ר"ז. פעם הגיעו הגרמנים לבית ושמענו כיצד הם מנסים לפתוח את החדר שלנו ור"ז מסיח את דעתם מאתנו. הוא ממש פעל ועשה רבות לשמור עלינו ולהציל אותנו. לאן שר"ז הלך הוא לקח את הספרייה אתו, הייתה לו ספרייה גדולה, כך היו לנו ספרים. נסענו הרבה. פעמים רבות בדרך עצרו אותנו הצרפתים, אך כאמור בסיום המלחמה כבר לא שלחו יהודים למחנות השמדה. ובניסים, הגרמנים – שגם היו בדרכים – לא עצרו אותנו.

 הגעתי לניו יורק בתש"ו לפני פסח. נכנסתי להרבי הקודם נ"ע למסור לו ד"ש מר"ז, אמר שכבר שמע ד"ש... ("ר' זלמן היה חסיד של הרבי הקודם"). סיפרתי שאני נוסע ללייקווד, וחייך... הרבי זי"ע התעניין אצלנו האם יש לנו מקום להתאכסן וכו'. למעשה הייתי בפסח עם אחי אצל הרב יצחק הוטנר. בלייקווד היו 35 בחורים, בערך כך ב-770 – אולי ב-770 קצת יותר. בפורים ביקשתי לנסוע ל-770 ואמר לי הגרא"ק שאשאר בישיבה. בסוף נסעתי. למד איתי שם שלמה קרליבך – ומאז נשאר קשר, בא לבקרני בשיקאגו וכו'. הוא מעולם לא היה "תלמיד" ב-770. אחיו רא"ח לא היה תלמיד בלייקווד. בתש"ז נכנסתי ליחידות להרבי הריי"צ ואמרתי שאני רוצה לעבור ל-770 "כי הלימוד שלי לא מתאים לשם". שאל: ומי יודע אם הלימוד כאן מתאים? בכל מקרה נכנסתי ללמוד בישיבה. כתבתי להגרא"ק שאני עוזב ולא ענה לי. ר' זלמן ש"ס סיפר לי שאמר לו הרבי הקודם שהפנים שלי נחקקו אצלו. פעם כתבתי שאני רוצה ללמוד אנגלית, ושלשם כך זקוקים ל"מסירה ונתינה". כתב שאעשה זאת "בשביל לקרב את הנוער". המכתב אצל בני. בתקופה שלמדתי ב-770 כמה פעמים הרבי זי"ע נכנס ל'זאל' ודיברתי אתו בלימוד. אני זוכר פעם אחת ששוחחנו על הרמב"ם שהנוצרים והמוסלמים מיישרם דרך למלך המשיח. ופקפקתי בפניו על ייחוס הדברים לרמב"ם. אולם סבר בתוקף שזה מהרמב"ם. בתש"ט נקראתי ליחידות (מן הסתם ע"י רמ"ל ראדשטיין) ואמר לי לנסוע לשיקאגו ל"בני ראובן" (היו שם כמה בתי כנסת נוסח האר"י). זה היה מתאים מבחינת "פאליטיק". כי היה שם ר"ז, וכל מי שהגיע לשם היה הוא "בולע אותו". לי, בגלל קרבתי, לא יכול היה לעשות זאת... הייתי כותב משם מכתבים לרבי וגם לחברים. היחיד שהחזיר לי תמיד תשובה, היה הרבי, ואם לא החזיר, הייתה סיבה... כמה שנים קודם כבר נשלחו בחורים לכל ארה"ב לפתוח ישיבות וכך הצילו את היהדות וכו'. שמעתי מתלמיד של רש"פ מנדלוביץ ששמע את רבו מתבטא "אם חב"ד יכולים, אנחנו יכולים". ואז פתחו את "תורה ומסורה". חמשה פעמים הייתי ביחידות אצל הרבי הקודם. היחידות האחרונה הייתה למחרת י"ט כסלו תש"י. פעם (האחרונה) הייתה לי יחידות שדיבר מוסר והיה מעין רוח הקודש, ובסוף התאמץ לומר ברכה. בי' שבט הגענו ללווי' (פעם ראשונה שנסעתי במטוס). מיד נכנסתי לרבי זי"ע להיפרד, לשאול משהו, בכלל היה עונה בפשטות לכל השאלות. קיבלתי "יורה יורה" מהגרמ"פ. כמה פעמים עורר אותי הרבי זי"ע לקבל גם "ידין ידין" ולא עשיתי. פעם התבטא "איך זע אז ס'איז דיר שווער צו פאלגן". וזה אמת... אבל קיבלתי "יורה יורה ידין ידין" מהרב גוסטמאן. הרבי הסכים שאסע לאנטוורפן.

Friday, November 29, 2013

לא לעכב אחרים מלהצטרף

A Ksav Yad Kodesh from the Lubavitcher Rebbe זי"ע that explains why sometimes Roshei Teivos from well-meaning people go against the idea and can hurt the cause.

ר"ת זה עלול שיעכב אחרים מלהצטרף למבצע זה
 היפך המטרה לגמרי

Thursday, November 21, 2013

יארצייט - כ"ק אדמו"ר הרה"ק יוסף יצחק שניאורסאהן מאוורוטש זצוקללה"ה

I'm gonna throw this out there and see if it sticks. Today is the Yohrtzeit of RYY of Avrutch, grandfather and namesake of the Frierdige Rebbe and son of the Tzemach Tzedek. He was married to Chana, daughter of Rav Yaakov Yisroel of Tcherkas and, you might say, defied his father and went to accept a rabbonus and a derech against his father's wishes. He became a Rebbe b'derech Tchernobel. Chabad-Lubavitch archives, publicized, via their FB page, a picture some time ago that has an inscription that reads "Itzhak-Joseph Shneerson." Can it be that the picture is either of the Avrutcher or his son Reb Nochem Dov? Here are the תולדות of the Avrutcher from Heichel HaBesht. באדיבות קובץ היכל הבעש"ט
Box.com link for non-Scribd users

Monday, November 18, 2013

Guest Post: Introducing Teachings of Rav Moshe Weinberger & Addressing Prior Comments (by Dixie Yid)

First of all, thank you to Reb Hirshel Tzig for publishing this guest post so that I can share some information and thoughts about my rebbe, Rav Moshe Weinberger, shlita, who I see as one of the greatest mashpi'im in our generation. I do this with the recognition that although it is absurd for an ant like myself to "explain" Rav Weinberger to those who are not yet familiar with him, the comment section of Reb Hirshel Tzig's recent post about the inspiring Rosh Chodesh Kislev farbrengen held at YU convinced me that many Circus Tent readers may benefit from some additional insight into this very special Rav.

My biggest hurdle is, as Rav Weinberger said about Rav Kalonymous Kalmish Shapira, Hy"d, the "Aish Kodesh," at that tzadik's hilula a few years ago, is "For those who are not yet familiar with his teachings, how does one explain that this [is] not 'just another rabbi?'" The only way for readers to truly get a sense of why Rav Weinberger's teachings are so vital for our generation is by listening to at least one series of his shiurim. I recommend starting with one of the series of shiurim on the teachings of the Baal Hatanya, Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, or Rav Kook. You can also read some of  his recent Shabbos morning drashos on my blog here. Nevertheless, I will try to hit a few roshei perkaim and point those interested in learning more toward some helpful sources.

My only basis for speaking on the issue is the fact that I have been a student of Rav Weinberger's in Woodmere for about nine years and a student-from-afar of Rav Weinberger's for about twelve years. Readers should note that the views I express here are my own and I am not an "official" spokesperson or gabai for Rav Weinberger. Any mistakes in attempting to characterize Rav Weinberger's teachings are my own.

In terms of format, I will address the topic by responding to many of the misimpressions expressed in certain of the comments to Reb Hirshel Tzig's post according to the categories listed below. In doing so, I am intentionally looking past the profound bizui talmidei chachamim, smallness, and ignorance in which many commenters enclothed their "analysis." I'm also numbering the paragraphs so I can refer to the paragraphs in this guest post if a comment raises a point or points I've already addressed here either explicitly or implicitly. Life is short. Here are the general types of comments/"complaints" organized by category:
  • It is problematic that Rav Weinberger does not limit his self-identification and teachings to Chabad chassidus
    • It is problematic that Rav Weinberger cannot be pinned down to clear Chabad/Chagas/MO/Litvish labels
    • Rav Weinberger's teachings are not penimius/derech arucha u'tzetzara. They're "Poilishe bubeh maasehs," fireworks, and pomp to appeal to the masses and are without tochen.
    • YU should be ctiticized for hiring a chasidish mashgiach and thereby abandoning their Brisker/Litvish/RYB Soloveitchik heritage (I'll explain below why I place this in the "Rav Weinberger is not Chabad" complaint category)
  • How can a Rav who learned in YU and is "worldly" credibly be considered a "Rebbe?"
  • Rav Weinberger appeals to the chevra at YU because they are starved for spirituality
  • Rav Weinberger appeals to the chevra at YU because he teaches Rav Kook
  1. It is problematic that Rav Weinberger does not limit his self-identification and teachings to Chabad chassidus. I understand that in Chabad communities, it is widely held that any derech/Torah from outside of the world of Chabad is, at best, a pale shaddow of Chabad chassidus and, at worst, klipa and sitra achra incarnate (the "Chabad First" view). To the extent one categorically believes this, there is nothing for me to say. While Rav Weinberger learns, teaches, and lives Chabad chassidus on a level very few in the generation can match and looks to the most recent Lubavitcher Rebbe, zy"a, as one of the greatest tzadikim of the generation, he does not "limit" himself to Chabad chassidus, as great as it is. He once commented to me regarding this view (even if it were applied to Breslov, Rav Kook, or any other derech), that he feels bad for those who water their spiritual garden from only one wellspring because they lack the wide variety of nourishment available in the wellsprings of other tzadikim. Those who subscribe to the Chabad First view disagree. They believe anything anyone else has to offer is already included within Chabad chassidus, so they are not "limited" in any way and lack nothing. As I said before, there is nothing I can say to those who subscribe to this view. IY"H, we can just agree to disagree.
  2. It is problematic that Rav Weinberger cannot be pinned down to clear Chabad/Chagas/MO/Litvish labels. I sympathize with those who are baffled by their inability to pin Rav Weinberger down to one derech or label. The urge to label is very strong and many people feel great anxiety and mistrust toward anyone they cannot pin down to a certain "type." It is true. I see Rav Weinberger himself and his teachings as containing everything within them. He is both Chabad and Chagas, Chabad and Breslov, Satmar and Rav KookChassidish and Litvish, Ashkenazi and Sefardi. This is one of the reasons his teachings resonate such a wide spectrum of people in this generation. While most people in the Litvish, Chassidish, and modern orthodox camps view each derech as being mutual exclusive to one another, Rav Weinberger is one of the great neshamos and minds of the generation (though certainly not the first in history) who can master them all and, from a higher perspective, see and explain how each divergent viewpoint and shita is emes according to its own bechina/shoresh under the principle that "Elu v'elu divrei Elokim Chaim." A comprehensive explanation of this wondrous but difficult-to-understand perspective is beyond this scope of this short post. But I recommend that readers who want to begin understanding this concept start by reading my translation of a fundamental principle undergirding this "klaliyusdik" viewpoint from the 5th volume of Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh. Also, I recommend reading my translation of a maamar on Chochma and Bina from Rav Itchie Mayer Morgenstern, shlita, which Rav Weinberger taught a few years ago. Just click through from one post to the next (7 posts).
  3. Rav Weinberger's teachings are not penimius/derech arucha u'tzetzara. They're "Poilishe bubeh maasehs," fireworks, and pomp to appeal to the masses and are without tochen. I put this category in the "Rav Weinberger is not Chabad" complaint category because I think this false impression is based largely on the assumption that any non-Chabad rav is ipso-facto a teacher of fantastical stories, short-lived inspiration, and superficial vert'lach. This complaint is simply based on a lack of knowledge. If one listens to any series of shiurim linked-to above, this misconception will evaporate. Readers should also not lend much credence to the few examples of supposedly fantastical statements quoted by commenters to Reb Hirshel Tzig's post because they are based on a tiny sampling of introductory shiurim given during Rav Weinberger's first few weeks at YU. Rav Weinberger is at Aish Kodesh and at YU (presumably) for the long haul. Although it is silly that I even "need" to say it, Rav Weinberger is only here to teach the "derech arucha u'ketzara." It's all about teaching  inner work on a long-term basis, teaching us to connect to the G-dliness within. He teaches "avodah," not "hisorerus." The wondrous events he sometimes recounts, in my view, are there to dispel popular misconceptions about chassidus and wake people up who think it is all about a set of customs and dress code, speaking Yiddish, or nice but shallow stories and vert'lach. In order that the students understand that they don't already understand what chassidus is, he is telling the YU guys, "It's not about that superficial stuff. There is something very big here! This is worth your attention!" If someone doesn't even know chassidus and pnimius Hatorah have something substantive to offer, they'll never know to search there for the deeper meaning his soul craves.
  4. YU should be ctiticized for hiring a chasidish mashgiach and thereby abandoning its Brisker/Litvish/RYB Soloveitchik heritage. First, to get the to real heart of this complaint (i.e., not the merits of the complaint as expressed), I also place this issue in the "Rav Weinberger is not Chabad" complaint category because I find it difficult to believe that the commenters focused on this issue are old-time RIETS musmachim upset about the direction of the yeshiva. Most if not all of them are presumably Chabad/from outside the traditional YU population. One must ask himself why outsiders would be so incredibly concerned about the purity of the Brisker derech in YU. Ultimately, the most likely explanation is that people are bothered by the fact that someone other than a Chabad chossid is turning the YU guys onto pnimius Hatorah. Under the Chabad First theory, non-Chabadnicks are suspect by definition. This suspicion therefore leads to any of the various permutations of the "purity of YU's Brisker heritage" complaints found in the comment section.
  5. Second, I think it's important to address the merits as well because there are academic-types and Brisker purists who also share this complaint. In different ways, I believe it is both true and false. It is true in the sense that YU institutionally is generally a kalter Litvak sort of place and has probably always been that way (for the record, I went to YU and had a wonderful experience). So in that sense, on a practical level, this is a clear departure from the past and introducing someone who teaches that Yiddishkeit and Torah must live in the heart as well as the mind is an innovation not consistent with the past.
  6. But I disagree that it is a reason to complain. There is a famous story about Reb Noach of Lechovitch. The chassidim noticed that he did not continue all of the hanhagos of his father, the previous Rebbe.  When, upset, they asked him why, he said, “To the contrary, I’m doing exactly what my father did. My father did not copy anyone, and I do not copy anyone.” Merely sticking with what one has done in the past because that is how it was "always done" is just as much of a falacy as changing something just for the sake of change. I recommend that you read Rav Weinberger's drasha from parshas Chukas where he explains how Hashem provides different leaders in each generation according to the needs and shoresh of that generation in the context of Moshe and Yehoshua. The yeshiva is continuing its path of rigorous shiurim, which are packed as always. But the body of Torah without the soul is hollow and empty. Simple or deep nigleh alone will not satisfy many in this generation just before Moshiach's arrival. Toraso shel Moshiach is what the generation is thirting for, which is why Rav Weinberger was received so enthusastically every time he spoke at YU as a guest speaker and why they ultimately asked him to join as mashgiach. The yeshiva is wise to bring on someone who knows how to fulfill the needs of the generation. Each generation is different. The fact that the yeshiva, at least to some extent, recognizes this is to its credit.
  7. Comments which question how a Rav who learned in YU and is "worldly" could credibly be considered a "Rebbe." As one of the commenters correctly pointed out, Rav Weinberger has never conducted himself or called himself a "Rebbe." People may very often treat him, in one way or another, similar to a Rebbe because of his greatness as a Rav, mashpia, and posek. This is the natural response to the greatness of a Rav and tzadik who certainly does not need to "ask" for such treatment. To the extent anyone fargins Rav Weinberger his style of speaking or teaching, I would ask: Would anyone have him not teach or not identify with chassidus because of his background despite the fact that doing would violate his own essence? Should he  not teach chassidus to the world? Can someone with water refrain from giving a thirsty man a drink because he did not grow up as a restaurateur? And as one commenter, Schneur, wisely pointed out, "[T]here was another Rebbe who attended a secular university and was worldly and became a well known rebbe..."
  8. Rav Weinberger appeals to the chevra at YU because because they are starved for spirituality. I agree with this but not with the potential underlying assumptions. First, the comment may assume that people are starving at YU but not elsewhere. This is certainly not true, and the YU crowd certainly has no monopoly on empty, checklist-style Yiddishkeit. My experience tells me that it is perhaps even slightly less of a problem at YU than elsewhere. All chevra from every group are starving for something deeper, for a Yiddishkeit that is not built around societal expectations and what the neighbors will think. Rav Weinberger understands our generation and is an expert at communicating avodah pnimis and pnimius Hatorah to people from a modern orthodox, yeshivish, or chassidish background. There are others in our generation who do the same thing for some of the same populations, like Reb Tzvi Mayer Zilberberg, Rav Itchie Mayer Morgenstern, the Stechiner Rov, and Rav Kluger. But different mashpi'im appeal to different people and each person should drink the waters of the tzadik who speaks to the essence of his own unique soul. Kein yirbu!
  9. The second mistaken assumption which may underlie this comment is that because the YU folks are so starved for spirituality, they will settle even for "moldy bread." While this point is not really worthy of a response because it can only arise from a complete lack of knowledge, suffice it to say, as already explained above, this preconception will be dispelled by anyone who seriously takes the time to listen to a series or two of Rav Weinberger's shiurim. This comment/assumption is also probably predicated on the Chabad First outlook referenced above. If one views any non-Chabad rav as, by definition, "moldy bread,"  then there is nothing that I can say to dispell such a person of his views.
  10. Rav Weinberger appeals to the chevra at YU because because he teaches Rav Kook. As in the previous point, I partly agree and partly disagree with this comment. On a superficial level, I understand why people would say this. The thinking goes that because Rav Kook was a "Zionist" and because the MO folks are "Zionists," Rav Weinberger is more appealing to them because he teaches Rav Kook. Again, on the surface level, that may be true for some people in the MO camp who know very little about Rav Kook. But many people even in that world recognize that Rav Kook was sooo much more than "Zionism." That is one piece of a larger, klaliyusdik, pnimius Hatorah, Moshiach-tzeit outlook on the world which was taught by Rav Kook. While Rav Kook is so amazingly awesome and deep, his approach does not exactly square with YU's Litvish and MO background. Therefore, I'm not sure how much of a selling point the Rav Kook part is before one has already given it a chance and seen how Rav Kook is the deepest of the deep and speaks to the essence of our generation.
While I have not addressed every point in the comments, I hope that by addressing many of the categories of such comments, I have at least provided a few ma'areh mekomos for those who are interested in understanding and exploring Rav Weinberger and why his Torah resonates so deeply with our generation.
B'virkas kol tuv,

Thursday, November 14, 2013

נעאלאגישע ראבינער אין בעלזער שטיבל אין סאמבאטהעלי

בעלז וועט זיין א ווינקל אוי, אוי, אוי פאר תורה! אוי, אוי, אוי פאר תורה, און יראת שמים, ביז משיח וועט קומען

....זעהט אויס אז מ'קען יא מקרב זיין רעפארמער ווען מ'דארף, אדער ווען ער דארף גאר

Monday, November 11, 2013

...דיני "חג שבדה מלבם" אנשי סטמר ובו ז' סעיפים

I wonder what the late Ponovizher Rosh Yeshiva would say about his good friend the Satmar Rov and the new "hag" that his Chassidim made. Is this too a חג שבדה מלבם? Is it as bad as י"ט כסלו? Are these הלכות as good as Reb Meshulom Roth's פסקים regarding saying הלל ביום העמצאות?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

סאטמארער (אהרונים) גליון באשולדיגט אגוה"ר און אגודת ישראל אין פארשווייגן נאצישע שחיטות און נישט וועלן ראטעווען אידן

און זיי נוצען אלץ ראי'ה אן "אגודיסטישע" רב פון וויען-טאראנטא, הרב שמעון פירסט ז"ל. כ'ווייס נישט ווער דער גרינבוים איז. חפשתי ולא מצאתי דער ספר "עיר הגולה" פון הרב פירסט, אזוי ארום אז ס'איז שווער צו וויסען צו ער זאגט טאקע אזוי אין זיין ספר, צו איז דאס סתם א בלבול. ס'איז שווער צו גלייבען אז ער שרייבט אזוי, ווייל אינעם זעלבן מחבר'ס ספרים האט ער הסכמות פון הגאון ר' משה פיינשטיין זצ"ל, דער נשיא פון אגודת הרבנים... קומט אויס אזוי: דער סאטמאר רב האט כידוע באשולדיגט די ציונים אין וועלן אז מ'זאל אויסהרגענען אייראפעישען אידנטום "כי רק בדם יהי' לנו הארץ," דאס ווייסט יעדער בחור אין סאטמאר. עד היום האט מען אבער געמיינט אז די אגודה, ובראשם דער סאטמאר רב'ס ידיד נאמן הרב אהרן קטלר, האט יא געטוהן וואס נאר זיי האבען געקענט. געראטעוועט ישיבה בחורים, רבנים, און ראשי ישיבה. היינט אבער זעהט מען אז דאס וואס דער רבי ז"ל האט געזאגט אז "ציוניסטן, מזרחיסטן, אגודיסטן ימש"ו" איז נישט סתם א הלצה בעלמא, נאר די אגודה איז געווען בדעה אחת מיט די ציונים און האט אויך נישט געוואלט ראטעווען אידן! זיי האבען נאר געוואלט געלט און כבוד, און ווען נישט דער בחור'ל וואס בלאנדזשעט אריין אינעם ביורא פון אגוה"ר וואלט מען די הונדערט טויזנט טאלער נישט צונויפגעקליבען און מ'וואלט די מענטשען נישט געראטעוועט. זעהט די פערטער שטיקל, "די אגודה האט אויך פארשוויגן" ותמצא נחת. אוי לנו אז אזוי איז מען מחנך אינגע אידישע קינדער, און אוי להם לאחיי ורעיי חסידי ותלמידי סאטמאר אז ביי די אלטע לייט ווערט מקויים דער מאמר חז"ל זקני ע"ה כל זמן שמזקינין דעתן מטורפת עליהן.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

happenings at YU with @Hamashpia

 "Farbrengen with the Mashpia"

Sources from the farbrengen tell me it was an unbelievable sight. Dancing with a jam-packed crowd singing the Rosh Chodesh Kislev niggun! The air was electric. The crowd was estimated at 200 people!

 Listen to the farbrengen Here (h/t Menachem Butler @myshtender)

חינוך של "אהבת ישראל" בוויזשניץ

From a new sefer by Dudi Zilbershlag about the Sereter Rebbe's days in Belz, which ended a bit soon with his divorce. We learn two nice things here (actually, we already knew the first thing, but it's nice and reassuring to see again and again: That 1) not for nothing was he called the Ahavas Yisroel, and 2) that the Belzer Rov (מהרי"ד) was no zealot, as some, ahem, would like to portray him.

Monday, November 4, 2013

So Rick Jacobs, URJ President, was a guest at the Kinus HaShluchim Banquet last night. Now they have what to speak about at the AI convention later this month.

Lubavitch sees it as a major "כיבוש"

The keepers of the faith see all their issues with Lubavitch as being vindicated now. They were right all along; Lubavitch is "outside the pale." I guess they'd be right if this Hungary, circa 1869. But Chabad didn't order a table at the URJ's annual convention, it was the other way around, as far as I can see. But who knows? Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they were wrong for inviting him. Maybe it sends out the wrong message. Maybe they never asked a Rov. Or maybe it's the Hungarian in me talking  - we're very allergic to Reform, you know - and doubting positive action. The jury's out on this one. But then again, if you do NOTHING nobody will EVER criticize you. Nothing positive or constructive, that is. Like this next news blurb:

In other, more important news, The Sanzer Rebbe visited the Vizhnitzer (Mendel) Rebbe. Hands were shaken, wine was poured into silver goblets, and mounds of grapes, both red and green, were served. The Rebbetzin's yummiest lemon meringue pie was served on her finest bone china. A few anecdotes about deceased grandfathers and maybe even grandmothers were exchanged, and parting words were said, with eyes rolling in ecstasy. According to some people this is how REAL Jewish leaders should be spending their time, not trying to affect actual change in Judaism. This is what Rebbes should be doing with their time.

Monday, October 28, 2013

when "Litvaks" start with "כתב התקשרות" run for the hills...

They don't recommend or even suggest, and they don't just make it a popular thing to do, they put A GUN TO YOUR HEAD and make you sign the darn thing! Otherwise you're עמלק ובני קרח and you deserve סקילה. Your kids are to be chucked from schools and Yeshivos, you from Kolel and your wife from her teaching job at BY. I think this is proof positive that the Chassidic, namely Cherkas-Chernobyler blood, that flows in Reb Chaim's veins through his zeide Reb Peretz is still quite potent! (yes, I know, we need to do an in-depth study and analysis into what's going on in Eretz Yisroel, and especially how Reb Shmuel A still is allowed to roam the streets freely. Again we have Chassidim = RSA making trouble in the Litvish camp... ועוד חזון למועד)


Sunday, October 27, 2013

They take it all, your ideas, your slogans


No shame. Using Uforatzto as their theme song. The nerve! Since when do AI conventions have theme songs and videos anyway? What's next? farbrengens and kinus HaShluchims? 

Friday, October 25, 2013

...ווי נעמט מען די פעסטע גאסן

Oy, the נסיונות of 1912 Budapest! One can only imagine... But the truth is that velt has been velt ever since time began. Budapest was a very European city, it being part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quite modern for its times. And for a bochur'l from a non-Chassidic background who was searching for the truth... G-d only knows how difficult it was! Yet we see that for some reason Reb Arele yearned for those days! Almost like Rebbe Nachman he wanted those nisyonos so he could overcome them and reach much greater heights thereafter.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

In book news...

If you thought you were the velt's chochom who knew all the "secrets" over all the generations, all the stories that Chabad tries to "cover up" because it's so terribly "embarrassed" by them - this book is for you. As if. Portraits include: "Reb Nochum the Mitteler Rebbe's son, "DER MALACH," Reb Mendel Schneersohn בן אדמו"ר מהר"ש, and Berke Gurary.  If you're a Barry Gurary fan only because you hate The Rebbe and Lubavitch - and you know who you are - read the book and you might actually learn a few things. You may actually be surprised that a whole lot of what you heard about all of the above is hearsay, half-truths, and even lies. The book is due out today and can be ordered through Jewishinfo.org or e-mail RCD at info@rabbidalfin.com. Now let me see Satmar put out a book about The Satmar Rebbe's daughter and what was done to her, or such similar events... And they say Chabad has secrets. Ha!

Monday, October 21, 2013

The tale of the goodie-two-shoes 12 year-old bochur at Maariv מוצש"ק......

..... and why do I have an issue with him?

Maybe it's me? but a 4ft. 4inch 12-year old davening like he has the world on his shoulders ---- is kinda weird to me. Did I mention that he had it all going on? You Yeshivishers will know what I mean: A black velvet yarmulke, no rim, peyos behind the ears - not overdone but very noticeable -  and the hair: a small tshoop, just the edge combed to the side. Being that this was after mincha Shabbos he was already sans the tie. (why wearing a tie to mincha is such a burden I'll never know...) I walked in to shul with a few minutes to spare until maariv, and he was preparing parshas eykev, obviously his bar-mitzvah parsha. At maariv there was at Krias Shma doing the whole thing with trop.... Then at shmone esrei there he was again, when I was at modim he was at Hashiveynu; he spent two minutes on the first brochoh aloneThis kid had it all figured out. He may be the next gadol haDor. Did I mention that he looked like he was 7 years old? So there you have the facts. What I wanna know is why his childish antics - albeit trying to act all grown up Yeshivish holy - get to me! Why was I so, so repulsed (!) by this? Is he the first kid that seems to be serious beyond his 12 years? no. Is it the fact that he was of the Yeshivish extraction/persuasion? Maybe. I can be truthful with you. But I'm not quite sure that this was my issue with his behavior. I'd be probably just as amused if it was a Chassidishe kid. But this kid.... what can I say.... It just was weird. It's good that kids take Yiddishkeit seriously, and I don't think they should wait until they're 17 to get serious. L-rd knows they "grow up" so quickly, let the ruchnius come early too. But this behavior just seemed way too much for this blogger.

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Saving Torah is most important?


I saw this yesterday in a new sefer on Reb MD Weissmandel, put out by a einikel. It has original droshos and new bits of info. They have 2 articles of Nisan Gordon in the Moment (a Yiddish newspaper in that era) who interviewed him in the hospital before his passing. In the Moment, they also have a article by Reb Lazer Wiezel, (it's probably Eli the one and only Auschwitz survivor...) they hide it .... in the copy you see that he cried about the shas that was printed in 1944 by the US Vaad Hatzalah organization and the money it took to print could have saved Jews - even that late. I heard this legend and hearsay forever  - that he was mad at RAK for that - I never wanted to believe it but now I see... look at what Reb Reuven said on that shas! Even though I think that according to dry Halocha he was not too wrong....saving Torah is above all..... (It seems like this was said at a Nitra Yeshiva dinner in 1956, shortly before his passing, when Hungarian Jews were waiting to get over the border and into safety during the revolution there. - HT)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The authentic "Chabad perspective" on הגאון הרב עובדי' יוסף זצ"ל

(photo credit: Walla News)

Such was the request made to me. "Give us the authentic Chabad perspective on Harav Ovadia Yosef." What an undeserved honor! Who am I to speak in the name of Chabad? Not to speak ill of שוכני עפר, but it's a tricky question. It's also not a question that gets a straight answer throughout the ages. ROY's opinion changed on many issues, some of them concerning Chabad, and some issues that Chabad sees as "their own," such as "Land for Peace." Some opinions changed due to political reasons, such as whether or not his Shas party stays in the Government and continues to enjoy those perks. And some changed maybe because he was having a bad day... Many Chabad'niks will never forgive him for allowing the Oslo accords to pass; without him there would be no Oslo, were his Shas party leave the coalition the Government would fall and Rabin would not have his way. Yes, Aryeh Deri vehemently denies that too, but, he'll deny his name is Aryeh Deri if the situation calls for it. Even many who have forgiven him still distrust Shas and are afraid that given another chance they'd do it again - in a heartbeat! Some will never forgive him because of disparaging remarks he made in the past, which he also seemed to regret... I guess you might say that a Lubavitcher's opinion is in line with his general personality. If he's the forgiving type he'll forgive ROY as well, and if not - not. After all, he didn't make it his life's mission to knock Chabad and the Rebbe every chance he got. So, in short: We all base our opinions of others on what we like and how we think! Having said that, his knowledge of Torah is beyond dispute. His התמדה is beyond dispute. He built a network of Yeshivos and schools that were מחזיר עטרה ליושנה - to a degree. Living a long life is always beneficial. It's all good. זאל ער האבען א ליכטיג'ן גן עדן. ער האט גאר אסאך געשוויצט פאר'ן אייבערשטענ'ס וועגן.

So that leaves us with two general sorts of people who did not attend the levaya: 1) The Kanoyi from Meah Shearim, or from anywhere, or the Brisker, to whom all Chief Rabbis - anybody who doesn't follow the shittah - is treyf chazir. No matter how old they are, how many seforim they wrote, and how many millions attended. The fact that he lead a second class group of people doesn't help either. 2) The Chazon Ish'nik, who is upset that ROY did not give the CI the proper respect, which is to be mevatel his daas. OK, so maybe that's an understatement, maybe he was downright disrespectful to the CI, just like he was to any Ashkenazi, including the holy רמ"א. But that was years ago, he learned not to do that. As much. The Steipler referred to him by his first name, without as much as a "Reb," or "Rav," and his son Reb Chaim did NOT attend the levaya, although they say he wasn't feeling well.

חבל מאוד that his true successor - and then some - his בכור HaRav Yaakov Yosef predeceased him. He had his father's ידיעות התורה yet was not swayed by money or power. He served as an MK but sat there learning... He left the Knesset because of the time being wasted, as well as the corruption. And he also would not be מבטל his דעת to his father, so for 20+ years he was PNG in that house. Rabi Yaakov Yosef would've been the perfect "successor." Now it'll be chaos there, chalilah. Having said that, I am NOT the official Chabad spokesman, so you're all most welcome to disagree.