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September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Divrei Yoel’

My Machberes

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

The 33rd Satmar Yahrzeit

On Tuesday, August 14, Satmar chassidim commemorated the 33rd yahrzeit of Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, zt”l (1886-1979), revered Satmar Rebbe and author of Divrei Yoel.

On that day, only men were permitted into the Kiryas Yoel cemetery. The same restriction applied the preceding evening. On Monday, August 13, the cemetery was open exclusively for ladies from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Men marking the yahrzeit on Monday of a close relative buried in the cemetery came before or after the restricted period. (Inside the ohel, ladies are restricted from entering the men’s side at all times, even if the chamber is empty.)

After the passing of Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, zt”l (1914-2006), late Satmar Rebbe and successor to the Divrei Yoel, the previously monolithic Satmar community effectively became divided. Elder son Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, the Satmar Rebbe headquartered in Kiryas Yoel, and Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, the Satmar Rebbe headquartered in Williamsburg, lead the two halves of Satmar, each of which is independent and immense.

Rabbi Aaron’s following in Williamsburg is quite large. He occupies the important pulpit his venerated great-uncle, the Divrei Yoel, founding Satmar Rebbe, established in the 1970s.

In addition to their presence in Kiryas Yoel, followers of Rabbi Aaron maintain an expanding and entirely separate school system along with a number of shuls in Williamsburg that function under his leadership. Both rebbes have widespread followings – in Boro Park, Monsey, Kiryas Yoel, Lakewood, Montreal, Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, and elsewhere.

Rabbi Zalman Leib, Satmar Rebbe residing in Williamsburg, occupies the pulpit originally established by the Divrei Yoel upon his arrival in America in 1947. The successor to that pulpit upon the passing of the Divrei Yoel was his nephew, Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, zt”l (1914-2006), late Satmar Rebbe and author of Beirach Moshe. Rabbi Zalman Leib’s following in Kiryas Yoel is considerable and they too have established a growing school system and string of shuls there.

The Asifa and Satmar

The two brothers visited the ohel at different times and held separate yahrzeit commemorative meals. Rabbi Aaron delivered a fiery address in which he proclaimed fealty to every directive of the Divrei Yoel.

The controversy within Satmar with regard to the Asifa – the rally on the dangers of the Internet held at New York’s Citi Field in May – went public when it was reported that Rabbi Aaron not attend while Rabbi Zalman Leib did.

Rabbi Aaron declined to participate because some of the speeches were in English. Rabbi Aaron conducts himself in strict adherence to the psak din resolutions adopted at Michalowitz in 5626 (1865) that separated Hungarian Orthodoxy from other streams of Judaism. The psak din was ratified by the overwhelming majority of Hungarian Orthodox rabbis and was exactingly adhered to by the Divrei Yoel.

Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe

One of the tenets adopted at Michalowitz was the prohibition of rabbis speaking publicly in shuls or at Jewish forums in languages other than Yiddish. Rabbi Zalman Leib, together with other leading chassidishe rabbis, felt the enormous threat to Yiddishkeit posed by unrestricted use of the Internet demands that Orthodox Jews unite to fight it. Among the chassidishe rebbes who participated in and encouraged attendance at the Asifa were the Monsey Vishnitzer Rebbe, the Skulener Rebbe of Boro Park and the Pshevorsker Rebbe of Antwerp.

The Daf Yomi Siyum and Satmar

Though agreeing with the importance of the Asifa and its message, many within Satmar, particularly followers of Rabbi Aaron, vigorously faulted Satmar’s participation. If people were permitted to attend the Asifa, they feared, many would feel they could likewise attend the Daf Yomi Siyum HaShas. They felt Satmar must adhere to its principles of separation. They noted that the Kasho Rebbe directed his students and followers to step away from the seating area during the English speeches and that Rabbi Todrus Silber, Yavushna Rav, left his seat during speeches in English, returning only when speakers spoke in Yiddish. They also pointed out that Rabbi Shlomo Leib Weinberger, Satmar Dayan, put his hands over his ears during the English speeches.

The opponents of compromise point to the Siyum HaShas as “proof” that compromise is a slippery slope bringing G-d-fearing Jews to Zionism. They say the invitation to Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau, chief rabbi of Tel Aviv and former chief rabbi of Israel, is proof of that. The Vishnitzer Rebbe instructed his followers not to attend the Daf Yomi Siyum because of the honor given to the chief rabbi – this despite Rabbi Lau’s being descended from Vishnitzer chassidim and from relatives of Rabbi Meir Shapiro, zt”l, the originator of Daf Yomi.

My Machberes

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Belz – Satmar Reconciliation

On Monday, January 17, a distinguished group of Belzer chassidim visited the ohel in Kiryas Yoel. The group approached the gravesites of Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, zt”l (1886-1979), founding Satmar Rebbe and author of Divrei Yoel, and, his nephew and successor, Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, zt”l (1914-2006), Satmar Rebbe and author of Beirach Moshe.

At each gravesite the group gave charity, lit candles, recited Tehillim, and read aloud a letter from Rabbi Yesochor Dov Rokeach, Belzer Rebbe in Jerusalem, seeking forgiveness, as outlined in the Shulchan Aruch, Orech Chaim 606:1 and Rambam, Hilchos Teshuvah 2:9-10.

Included in the delegation were Belzer dayanim Rabbi Moshe Shimon Bineth, Rabbi Asher Eckstein, Rabbi Mordechai Galitzky, Rabbi Shimon Wolf Klein, Rabbi Shalom Pesach Langsam, Rabbi Wolf Ber Lerner, Rabbi Tuvia Watenstein; Belzer leaders Rabbi Ezriel Hecht, Rabbi Yosef Langsam, Rabbi Gavriel Menzer, and Rabbi Moshe Yosef Moskowitz. The letter was read by Rabbi Shimon Wolf Klein, the Rebbe’s gabbai.

Belzer Delegation at Kiryas Yoel ohel.

Though no explanations were given, much unofficial speculation has been offered. There is still anger over a speech given in Jerusalem by the Belzer Rebbe on Motzaei Shemini Atzeres/Simchas Torah 1981, shortly after the passing of the Divrei Yoel. The Belzer Rebbe was 33 years old at the time and had been serving as Belzer Rebbe since 1966.

 

Belzer Rebbe, Early Years

Born in 1948, today’s Belzer Rebbe married Rebbetzin Sarah, the daughter of Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Hager, Bnei Brak Vishnitzer Rebbe. At the time of the wedding, Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua’s father, Rabbi Chaim Meir Hager, zt”l (1887-1972), Vishnitzer Rebbe and author of Imrei Chaim, was still alive. The Belzer Rebbe resided in Bnei Brak for one year. In 1966, he moved his residence to Jerusalem, where he assumed leadership of the growing Belzer kehilla. In 1972, the Vishnitzer Rebbe passed away and Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua succeeded his father as Vishnitzer Rebbe in Bnei Brak.

Childless for several years after their marriage, the Belzer Rebbe and Rebbetzin visited the United States to seek the blessing of the Divrei Yoel and, presumably, to seek medical assistance. In 1975 they had a son, Aaron Mordechai, their only child. The two names are in honor of the child’s great-uncle, Rabbi Aaron Rokeach, zt”l (1880-1957), fourth Belzer Rebbe, as well as of the child’s grandfather, Rabbi Mordechai Twersky, zt”l (1902-1949) Bilgorayer Rav.

 

Belz-Eidah Hacharedis Differences

In 1981, the Belzer kehilla established its own beis din and kashrus certification. In effect, the Belzer kehilla seceded from the Eidah Hacharedis of Jerusalem, which was then a coalition of Toldos Aaron (today Toldos Aaron and Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok), Satmar, Dushinsky, etc. The move toward independence on the part of Belz and its then-realignment with the Agudah, Ger, Vishnitz, etc., was loudly condemned.

That year, when the Belzer Rebbe visited New York, the police, fearing violence, discouraged him from visiting Williamsburg. The Belzer Beis Medrash in Williamsburg had been ransacked and hundreds of chassidishe youths were stationed on roofs along the Belzer Rebbe’s expected route of entry. The Belzer Rebbe chose to forgo the Williamsburg visit.

The Divrei Yoel passed away on Sunday, August 19, 1979. In addition to serving as Satmar Rebbe, he also served as chief rabbi and president of the Eidah Hacharedis. The Beirach Moshe, as nephew, Sigeter Rav, and obvious successor, was not anointed as Satmar Rebbe until months later. In addition, until the first yahrzeit the Sigeter Rav chose to be called the Satmar-Sigeter Rebbe.

In 1979 the Divrei Yoel had invited Rabbi Yitzchok Yaakov Weiss, zt”l (1902-1989), Manchester av beis din and author of Minchas Yitzchok, to join the Eidah Hacharedis as rosh beis din. When the Divrei Yoel passed away, the Eidah Hacharedis appointed Rabbi Weiss as its chief rabbi. The position of president was given to the Beirach Moshe. Today, Rabbi Tuvia Yitzchok Weiss (no relation), former rosh beis din of Antwerp, is the chief rabbi of the Eidah Hacharedis; Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch is the rosh beis din, and Rabbi Dovid Soloveitchik, Brisker rosh yeshiva, is the current president.

Reportedly, the Belzer Rebbe has long sought to reconcile with his brother-in-law, Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe. They are sons-in-law of the aging Bnei Brak Vishnitzer Rebbe, as is Rabbi Dovid Twersky, Skverer Rebbe. The old adage applies here: Those that know are not speaking, and those who are speaking do not necessarily know. Some are hinting that the Satmar Rebbe welcomes the Belzer Rebbe’s current outreach but declined to reciprocate until forgiveness was asked of the Divrei Yoel and the Beirach Moshe in accordance with the Shulchan Aruch.

Now that the Belzer Rebbe has formally, in adherence with Shulchan Aruch guidelines, asked forgiveness, many speculate that the Satmar Rebbe, who will be visiting Israel shortly, will openly meet with the Belzer Rebbe. Others maintain that Satmar will not warmly embrace Belz but will grant the same ceremonious cordiality as is given to Vishnitz, Ger, Modzitz, Boyan, etc.

My Machberes

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

The Battle Of Satmar’s Armories

This year’s 67th annual 21 Kislev celebration of the miraculous Holocaust rescue of Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, zt”l (1886-1979), founding Satmar Rebbe and author of Divrei Yoel, will be celebrated all over the world on Motzaei Shabbos Vayeshev, December 17. On that day in history, Thursday, December 4, 1944, the Satmar Rebbe was aboard a train that crossed the border into Switzerland and to freedom. The deliverance was made possible by Dr. Rudolf Kastner, who bribed the Nazis and thus saved 1,685 Jewish souls.

Divrei Yoel, zt"l

Throughout the years the 21 Kislev event was always a unifying occasion as Satmar chassidim from around the world sat together and held hands singing and dancing. However, with Satmar currently divided, two separate celebrations are held. Each half of Satmar is led by a son of the Beirach Moshe and represents an independent network of communities, shuls, yeshivas, girls’ schools, meat stores, matzah bakeries, and cemeteries throughout the world.

The followers of Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe and oldest son of the Beirach Moshe, will be conducting their central 21 Kislev event at the New York State National Guard Armory. The followers of Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe and third son of the Beirach Moshe, will be marking the event at The Williamsburg Marcy Armory.

 

National Guard (Troop C) Armory

Last year’s event was held at the Pulaski Port Complex, near the Pulaski Bridge, not far from Williamsburg. The Pulaski Complex proved too small for the huge gathering, forcing the search for a larger facility. The New York State National Guard Troop C Armory represents an additional 2,000 seats to help accommodate the tens of thousands of Satmar chassidim who will join Rabbi Aaron in the special celebration.

New York State National Guard (Troop C) Armory

The facility, at 1579 Bedford Avenue between Union and President Streets, was built between 1903 until 1907. It was designed by the renowned architects Pilcher and Tachau, who also designed the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx as well as the Jewett House of Vassar College. Interestingly, the National Guard/Troop C Armory building is not yet landmarked. Presently, offices at the facility provide military support services, military food service, military customer service, military legal services and military employment services.

The Troop C Armory in Crown Heights South is the last of the great castellated armories in Brooklyn. It was built for Squadron C, a cavalry unit. The special needs of a horse and equipment unit necessitated some of the important differences between the Troop C armory and many of the others in Brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods. Troop C was established in 1895, saw action in the Spanish American War in 1888, and became part of the 101st Cavalry in 1921.

Lewis Pilcher, one of the armory’s architects, was a Columbia University graduate. He became a professor of art at Vassar College, and later served as an architect for the state of New York. While at Vassar, he designed Jewett House in 1907, a large dormitory building that actually resembles an armory.

The Troop C Armory was one of the first of its kind to emphasize structural and engineering components as much as more decorative and stylistic features. The enormous space used for drilling soldiers towers over the administrative parts of the building. Compared to the nearby 23rd Regiment Armory, on Bedford and Atlantic Avenue, where that building’s tall fortress tower dominates the skyline, this armory’s design and space primarily served for drilling cavalry soldiers and their horses.

The armory, in addition to the usual component of administration and dormitory space, also had room for stabling hundreds of horses, as well as heavy equipment such as cannon and wagons. As the military modernized in the 20th century, horse-drawn equipment was replaced by tanks and trucks. The tanks became familiar sights at parades and training exercises when tanks actually rolled down Bedford Avenue often. There is still a National Guard unit here, and now Hummers have replaced tanks.

In addition to the National Guard, the building has been used for many other functions. The building’s facilities have served as community rooms used by local communities, including Lubavitch. In February 2001, the International Conference of Shluchos held its 23rd International Kinus-Conference Gala Banquet at the Armory, attended by more than 3,000 Lubavitcher women.

 

Williamsburg Marcy Armory The booking of the Williamsburg Marcy Armory by Rabbi Zalman Leib’s followers is considered a triumph. Many major Satmar events were held at the Marcy Armory, beginning with the 21 Kislev commemoration in 1978, when the celebration included the Divrei Yoel, and again in 1979, the last celebration in which the Divrei Yoel participated before his passing on 26 Av (August 19), 1979. The 1978 celebration included the establishment of Keren Hatzolah, the fund-raising organization that finances yeshivas that do not accept any monies from the Israeli government.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/my-machberes-4/2011/12/15/

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