Wednesday, October 19, 2016

One child's memories of Zushe Partizan

Reb Zushe's (30th) Yohrzeit is the second day Sukkos.

I was ten or eleven years old so this was in 1979-1980. It was Hoshana Rabba, the day when children shook the Rebbe's lulov and esrog, and thus an important day for Lubavitch kids. It was around 1pm and 770 was full of late Hoshana cloppers, and us kids were just hanging around 770. Suddenly there was a loud commotion. Zushe Vilimovsky was standing on a table (he always seemed to be standing on a table) summoning all kids to dance with him in a train, shoulder to shoulder, marching through 770. Zushe lead the march and his face was beaming. The Song was v'somachto and his energy enveloped us. We sang at the top of our lungs and we were all filled with joy. We circled the entire downstairs shul and then outside to the sukkah then back to 770. Thinking about it today, remembering such innocent religious ecstasy, I am thinking of Zushe. He was no child. Known as "the partizan" he had gone through hell. But he had deeper secrets to convey, truer teachings; and on that day his unbridled joy he was able to express more intensely with innocent children.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

אַ סוכה'לע, אַ קליינע

אַ סוכעלע, אַ קליינע
אברהם רייזן 1876 - 1953
אַ סוכעלע, אַ קליינע
פון ברעטלעך געמיינע
האָב איך קוים מיט צרות געמאַכט.
געדעקט דעם דאַך מיט אַ ביסעלע סכך
און כ'זיץ אין איר סוכות ביינאַכט.
מיט פאַרזאָרגטן געזיכט
דאָס ערשטע געריכט
עס טראָגט מיר מיין ווייב באַלד אַריין.
זי שטעלט זיך אוועק און זאָגט מיט שרעק
דער ווינט וואַרפט די סוכה באַלד איין.
פון ווינט דעם קאַלטן
וואָס בלאָזט דורך די שפאַלטן
מיין ליכטעלע לעשן זיך וויל.
דאָך מאַך איך מיר קידוש און זעט נאָר דעם חידוש
מיין ליכטל ברענט רואיק און שטיל.
עט, זיי ניט קיין נאַר
און האָב ניט קיין צער
עס זאָל דיר דער ווינט ניט טאָן באַנג.
ניט זעלטן זיי קומען די ווינטן און ברומען
דאָך שטייט אונדזער סוכה שוין לאַנג.

Friday, September 30, 2016

"איני יכול לשאת שיהודי מתאמץ בשבילי"

A story about the Rebbe Reb Shimon Sholom (R' Shimme'le) of Amshinov who spent Rosh Hashonoh 1940 in Vilna. He eventually escaped via Russia to Japan and Shanghai, China. Agav, the idea that he fasted two days on Y"K 1941 because he was in doubt - due to his crossing the International Dateline - is a myth. He was by that time already in mainland Shanghai. What he did about Shabbos is another story, which we'll leave for a later time.

א כוח"ט און א גוט געבענטשט יאר

Thursday, September 22, 2016

שלא כל הרוצה ליטול את השם...הרשות בידו

a Rebbe sees מיט א ווייטע בליק

Who are you? Who are your members? What are your guiding principles? You need to be guided by Torah leaders. 
(from a letter by RYY of Lubavitch in 1942)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Reformers in Cincinnati funding Yeshivos in דער ליטא


History has shown that our brothers the so-called "misnagdim" are very astute to follow trends. After catching on to the trend that is popular at the time, they soon claim ownership. Our era is an era of extremes, we nebech have the OTD phenomenon with kids falling from all kinds of house and groups, and at the same time we have the height of zealotry; zalonim and aronim try to catch up to the others, Rav Shteinman party and Rav Auerbach's party are out to show who is more kanoi,who has more chumrahs. The misnagdim realized that the youth likes extremes so they are jumping to the forefront, as if they invented Kanoas and chumrahs. So far both parties are still licking the bones they get from the Zionist Government, but they act as if they are kanoim on issues like that the Rav of Boston is de-legitimized because he did not go along with the קנאות flavor of the day.  Yesterday I saw this siddur of an original old time Litvak. He learned in Salaboka, like Mussar Slabodka, still saw Reb Yisroel Salanter and wrote alot to Reb Yitzchok Elchonan, someone he knew personally. He arrived to Cincinnati early and became a popular orator, saying that at least the 3-4 hours that he darshens the crowd sits and doesn't desecrate the Shabbos...He befriended Reverend Issac Weisz, the president and rabbi of the Reform Movement, who is cursed as Yemach shemoi by every frum Jew. But shockingly, the holy yeshivos in the Lita were collecting money from his congregation! and Weisz himself helped all the Roshei yeshivos! for a while he was even mad at their chutzpah to attack him and yet to come for him for money, but he still went with them to the wealthy to help them collect money! I don't think that this fact is mentioned anywhere in the Artscroll /Hamodia universe Now I see why the Lita had so much Shekotzim: Koach Hapoel B'Nif'al.....

I hope my point is clear...

Monday, September 12, 2016

"Rav and Rebbe" by Chaim Dalfin

400 pages; 550 endnotes, 50 pics & docs.  New Interviews. Addendum, Bibliography, Glossary and  Index.  Limited Printing.  Endorsed by: Rabbi Menachem Genack of the OU and Professor Larry Schiffman of NYU. Preface written by Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet of YU Gruss Kollel, Jerusalem.  To order books in bulk or/and do a book signing, please call: 212-444-9102

buy it here

Friday, September 2, 2016

How did RYY of Skver know about Shakespeare?!

Received via e-mail:

Hirshel: Someone told me that in this week's ami Mayer Schiller eulogizes his friend the Hollywood actor Steven Hill. Not before he retells his own life's story....They were both were Baalei Tshuvah who were mesmerized by the old Skverer. Steve went thru hardships in making a living after he became a BT because he would not play unclean parts. He poured his heart out to the old Skverer.  Out of the blue the Rebbe suggested to him he should maybe play some Shakespeare plays (which are probably clean) Shiller writes that he was shocked that a Ukrainian rebbe knew about Shakespeare plays! The million dollar question is now How did the Skverer, considered by his people the greatest קדוש and חסידא ופרישא, know about this תחתון שאין תחתון למטה הימנו? Unless Mayer Schiller isn't telling the truth, in which case all is well... I mean for the Chassidim.

(We attach the relevant part of the article)

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Belzers and their own accounts of history

Received via email:

Hirshel: Have you seen this? They have a long article on a Rabbonim convention against the Pilsudski decree. They claim that the Belzer Ruv Reb Aron was behind the whole אסיפה even though he just became Rebbe. He maneuvered the whole Galicia to that big convention. They have a long article with not a single document to prove that it was all the initiative of Belz. It seems more Reb Ben Zion of Bobov was one of the main leaders and spokesman for that event according to the documents. In the documents of the Rabbonim signatures u don't see Reb Aron, all you see is one Belzer signature of the Belzer Chossid the Tarnapoler Ruv. The only document they have that Belzer was the main focus of the event is by Pollak of Satmar, a staunch Belzer chusid from the infamous statement that Kook seforim and מנחת אלעזר are ספרי מינות. Nothing from Galicia. Just the opposite! All the newspapers point to Bobov The fools are proud of an old Belzer chutzpah, that when the chusid arrived to Bobov to invite Reb Ben Zion to the meeting a bobover chusid asked the Belzer messenger: The Belzer Ruv is young and was just crowned as Rebbe where does he take the backbone to invite all older gedolim? In a typical Belzer chutzpah    (that was belz from amol, where they were overloaded with confidence before they send 10 dayonim to KJ to ask mechila) he answered Vos heist? from the heavens! 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tzedokoh and מאדעס - a brotherly conversation

It's a bit out of character that of all people davka the Gorlitzer Ruv was ready to emigrate to the USA to bring back the masses to Yiddishkiet. It's almost unbelievable that he should feel such a deep responsibility for every Jew. And they paint him as such a kano'i all the time. As someone who was insular, the model for today's general charedi mindset. But it's printed, and we live and die by the printed word. And the fact that Tzedokoh takes care of the evils of Goyishe fashions? Now, that's something!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

סאטמאר און חינוך עצמאי: א מאדנער שידוך

See Here
רבינו סר מן הדרך
Meeting at the Ruby Schron offices
אלף ילדים צרפתים נרשמו למוסדות חינוך חרדיים

First there's this strange interest in French Jewry. They're not authentic-looking like the תימנים, so why care about them? They also don't think much of Satmar. So it's the Kaliver Rebbe that sounded the alarm. He's the one that traveled the world and saw these precious Jews, and he worries that once the make aliya they'll lose some of their will to fight. In the Holy Land we're all Jews, so it doesn't matter how religious we are. They might say. OK. At least the KR has some real concern for them; he doesn't do it out of a vendetta against the Israeli Government. And the Satmar Rebbe is taking the credit because of the Kaliver's illness. OK. SO they travel to Toronto - why davka Toronto? - to raise money for Chinuch Atzmai, so that the French olim that went to either Otzar haTorah or Chabad  or other frum schools in France can continue to do that and not - chas veSholom - go to ממלכתי דתי schools. Dunno what kind of money they raised in Toronto, but it was significant. The entourage consisted of the Satmarer, R Malkiel Kotler and R Dovid Feinstein. A carefully choreographed group. Why RDF? Maybe since R Malkiel is closely identified with the מחבלים faction of Lithuanians in Israel they were afraid that people would think that this was not REALLY an issue. Then they came back to NY and started working on the oylem here. Stories in all Haredi publications, some week after week, including the Ami, which I found kinds surprising, since they're not supposed to be such alarmists. Then they started raising money here.

The Satmorim were perplexed. They've been taught their whole life that Chinuch Atzmai is חינוך לכפירה. The כפירה of ציונות, of course. Which is THE worst kind. And here the Satmar Rebbe who is more closely aligned with the zealot faction is going around raising money for them. OK, he's not flying coach on a commercial airliner, but STILL! Most swallowed it, but some could not. Pashkevillen started to appear decrying the travesty. Demonstrations by a few zealots happened right outside Schron's offices in NYC. And being that Satmar that is a chassidus run by the people, not by the Rebbe, the upper management decided that they needed to act. This was one thing they didn't think through. But what were they to do? They already collected the money. They can't send it back now, that would be foolish and embarrassing. So some genius came up with a plan to use the money for schools in France or something. Maybe 'splain to the Frenchies that Israel is a terrible place where they beat Jews and cut their beards off in the army. That will change their minds and make them stay in jolly ol' France. All this time his brother in KJ is laughing all the way to New Hampshire. They wanted to get him involved but he said no. Even his friend Reb Malkiel couldn't convince him. Let them all go וואו די גרינע פעפפער וואקסט. Said he. Which goes to show you: Satmar and Chinuch Atzmai mix like Gin and Slivovitz. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Friday, August 19, 2016

!!ראו זה דבר חדש

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 Available after being out of print for over 20 years. Over 500 authentic Chassidishe stories as recorded by Reb Zalman Duchman a”h. Translated into a clear Hebrew from Yiddish. Footnotes and references and background information. Over a hundred pages of new material with colored photocopies of the Rebbe’s letters and a new updated biography.
 6”X9” 388 Pages 

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

HaRav Reb Chaim Sofer gives his blessing for expansion

In this sefer'l - compliments of the $1 table at Pinter's in BP - they have an article that was printed in the Belzer periodical אור הצפון about Reb Yitzchok Tzvi Ratzersdorfer, a talmid of the כתב סופר. A businessman. Having made a fortune from the diamond trade with Belgium he decided to move there.  The traveling from Vienna, where he lived, to Antwerp was too much for him. His father was shocked, Belgium was then a מדבר שממה in terms of Yiddishkeit. He took him to the holy Reb Chaim Sofer, בעל המחנה חיים, the king of all the kanoim, the Reb Chaim of Hungary, to ask him for his approval on his son's plan to move. Reb Chaim said:  "Lech lecho, ואעשך שם לגוי גדול.... If you leave your parents' country, וועסטו דארט אויסוואקסען א גרויסע גוי. In other words don't go! So he stayed. A while later Ratzersdorfer met Reb Chaim again. Reb Chaim asked him what were you thinking? to go live in a place with no mikvah? No kosher meat? No Chinuch for your sons and daughters? Ratzersdorfer answered humbly I will start with all religious matters from Amsterdam a few kilometers away, then I promise to build a kehilah there in Belgium. I'll bring a frum Rov, I'll build a mikveh, I'll build a Shul, and I'll bring an erliche melamed for my kids. The Rebbe will realize that I'll make everyone proud. I won't bring shame onto the family...Then Reb Chaim agreed that he go. At the same time he mentioned to Reb Shia'le Belzer Reb Chaim's argument against going. The Belzer Rov also agreed if he will do his master plan to build orthodox Jewry to Belgium then he can go. The rest is history.

וכך הווה

חב"ד סטראשעלע

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Thank G-d! We have people like this to show us how G-d's Torah is correct. What would we do without him? We might have ספיקות...

And it make such perfect sense too, right? I mean droves of two and three year olds left Yiddishkeit due to the Haskoloh and Zionism, right? They had a million and a half members of children in those groups, right? I think what's missing in this man's life was a bissel Chassidus. That way he would see that not everything has to make perfect sense to him. And that's what's most important in life is not that HE understand everything according to his שכל. And then he wouldn't say such things and publish them! I guess that's what growing up in America does to you. All that Hershey's chocolate and Entenmann's cakes gets to your head and heart. מטמטם את המוח ואת הלב. Your mind thinks such thoughts and your heart is too farshtopped to stop your heart from thinking such thoughts.

Monday, August 15, 2016

When the holy Brezhner Ruv R' Shulem Neuschloss met the holy Skverer Rebbe...

And told him His uncle Reb Moshe the Ruv of New Square gave cake and spirits in Shul the day he turned 70. The holy Rebbe acts shocked. I wonder why he's so shocked. He doesn't know what his zeide did, and his father, nebach, didn't reach that stage in life, so why be shocked? Maybe it's a good thing? How many times have we proven here that many, many Tzaddikim celebrated - or at least observed - their Yom Holedes?

(l/h column second paragraph)

Friday, August 12, 2016

חינוך עצמאי דינער - 1956-תשט"ז

Via Matzav

Highlights include: Irving Bunim "twists" Reb Yoshe Ber's arm and gets him to speak despite telling him beforehand that he wouldn't. Reb Yosher Ber speaks of the extremists who tried to keep him from attending this dinner. I assume he means his friends in the Mizrachi? I'm surprised they publicized this video. I'm sure the more קנאות'דיגע elements among the Yeshivishe - even some of RAK's descendants - are not very happy.