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February 25, 2013

When A Rebbe Banned Modern Medicine, Science, Secular Education And Zionism

Munkatcher Rebbe Moshe Leib RabinovichThe pre-WW2 Munkatcher Rebbe vehemently opposed any secular education for Jews. He also opposed modern medicine and science and, along with the fifth and sixth Lubavticher Rebbes and the Stamar Rebbe, were the leading anti-Zionists of their era. (Lubavitch, Muncatch and Satmar cooperated on anti-Zionist efforts.) According to some accounts, thousands of Jews died in the Holocaust because they or their parents had obeyed these hasidic rebbes rather than trust the emperical proof all around them. Today, Satmar and Chabad-Lubavitch are well-known outside of the haredi world, but Munkatch isn't. However, inside the haredi world, Munkatch is very well known for a specific thing its current rebbe spends much time doing. What is it?

Munkatcher Rebbe Moshe Leib Rabinovich

The Munkatcher Rebbe Rabbi Moshe Leib Rabinovich

The pre-WW2 Munkatcher Rebbe, known as the Minchas Elazar, vehemently opposed any secular education for Jews.

He also opposed modern medicine and science and, along with the fifth and sixth Lubavticher Rebbes and the Stamar Rebbe, were the leading anti-Zionists of their era. (Lubavitch, Muncatch and Satmar cooperated on anti-Zionist efforts.)

According to some accounts, thousands of Jews died in the Holocaust because they or their parents had obeyed these hasidic rebbes rather than trust the empirical proof all around them.

Today, Satmar and Chabad-Lubavitch are well-known outside of the haredi world, but Munkatch isn't. However, inside the haredi world, Munkatch is very well known for a specific thing its current rebbe, Rabbi Moshe Leib Rabinovich,  spends much time doing.

What is it?

It's what haredim call pidyon shvuyim, ransoming captives. But what Rabinovich does is pair particular haredim accused of crimes with specific defense attorneys he believes best suited to defend them. He also tries to to get cases heard by certain judges he believes are friendly, and he suggests various defense strategies or, depending on the case, urges defendants to strike plea bargains.

Halakha has long held that if you fail to teach your child a trade, you have instead taught him to steal. Rabinovich's ancestor blocked the secular education needed to prepare children for jobs in the modern world. His descendant is now occupied on a daily basis dealing with the spoiled fruit of that decision.

Bernard Wasserstein documents some of the Minchas Elazar's craziness in his book about Jewish Europe just before the Holocaust, On The Eve, published last year by Simon & Schuster. Here's an excerpt:

Wasserstein p1
Wasserstein p2
Wasserstein p3

Comments

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if he did not trust science why is he wearing glasses

just purchased the book

Who new that everything was not like in fiddler on the roof?

In May 2010 the Munkatcher Rebbe speaking on the yarzeit of his grandfather, the Minchas Elazar, denounced those who commit mesirah (informing) and even have the chutzpah to think it is a mitzvah. He declared it one of the major problems facing Jews in America.
http://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/munkatch-mesirah/


He then followed up during his drashah for akdamos on shavuos when he decried the presence of mosrim in the community. He said hashem will nokem them and they will come to no good end. He made it clear he was not claiming ruach hakodosh but just saying what is in the torah.

http://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/munkatch-nokem-mosrim/

For a great video of the old Munkatcher Rebbe see this 1933 clip of the procession proceeeding the wedding of his daughter to the father of the current Rebbe as well as footage of other segments of the community including a darling children's choir singing the dreaded zionist Hatikvah.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rp1OeIf0D0w

I read Wasserstein's book. It has a lot of interesting information. He is not the only one who posits that European Jewry was in extreme sociological crisis prior to WWII and on the verge of the some sort of social implosion or upheaval. I once attended a lecture by R. Nathaniel Helfgott, and he provided a number of sources who said the same thing.

Wasserstein's thesis is sound, but while reading the book I couldn't help but think he was manipulating the data to make his point. His selection of 1939 as the year to examine is he best example of this. Had he selected any year prior to the start of WWII, I believe his point would have been more convincingly made. But then again prior to 1938, the chaos of European Jewish life probably appeared more normal.

"According to some accounts, thousands of Jews died in the Holocaust because they or their parents had obeyed these hasidic rebbes rather than trust the empirical proof all around them"

This is pure zionist read comunist style propoganda and without a trace of truth (like evidence) to it. pure and simple a LIE! even it's repeated a thousand times.

For the life of me i dont understand why they dont bann themselfs from this world and go right away to the next when they see that they are not fit to live on this earth.

For the record. Six million Jews perished in the Holocaust most weren’t even religious Jews at all, 99% of them never knew the Munkacher rebbe in Hungary (who died years before the holocaust) or the Lubavitcher rebbe in Russia, or the Satmar rebbe in Rumania. Yet you state

"Jews died in the Holocaust because they or their parents had obeyed these Hasidic rebbes"

and why did the 99% 'others' die ?!

Snake--We went over this a thousand times way before you came here to fm its not those rebbes that died way before but their offspring rebbes or those that were living in the years before the war broke out those rebbes that urged their followers to stay put.

For the record. Six million Jews perished in the Holocaust most weren’t even religious Jews at all, 99% of them never knew the Munkacher rebbe in Hungary (who died years before the holocaust) or the Lubavitcher rebbe in Russia, or the Satmar rebbe in Rumania. Yet you state

"Jews died in the Holocaust because they or their parents had obeyed these Hasidic rebbes"

and why did the 99% 'others' die ?!

Posted by: Snake | February 25, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Please.

1. He died in 1937. Kristallnacht was in 1939. Poland was invaded in 1939, and the pogroms began then. Mass killings bt death squads started in 1941, gas chambers not long afterward.

2. Read Eim Habanim Semeicha. Thousands of Jews believed they were safe from the Nazis because their own anti-Zionism would protect them. They believed this because teh disciples of the Munkatcher Rebbe and the Satmar Rebbe told them so.

Lunatics. That's all they ever were. Cut them loose.

Shmarya,

Be careful in relying on a polemical work like Eim Hamanim Semeicha, in determining historic fact. My father z"l was in Budapest in 1944. His family was in the Kisvarda Ghetto. He told me that Jews knew they were in for horrific times. Perhaps the full extent of the Holocaust was not known, but by then thousands of Jews had already been deported from Hungary back to Poland. Thousand more had already perished in the Munkaszalgolat, the forced labor brigades attached to the Hungarian military. My grandparents sent my father a letter in May, 1944 in which they spoke of impending deportation and that they knew they probably would not survive the war. Jews knew what awaited them. But the masses of them had no way out. The Chassidic rebbes are no more responsible for their fate than was Rudolph Kasztner (who I hold to be a true hero of our people).

BTW, for a far better snapshot of what Hungarian Orthodoxy looked like in the relevant time period, read Jacob Katz's autobiography.

The Reform movement too, opposed "vehemently" Zionism. SO all the non religious Jews of Eastern Europe, are to blame as much, no?

And then of course we have the Judenrat, made of of members of many different religious organizations. Come to think of it, you too Scott, would have been an honorary member.

Modern Medicine, Science, Secular Education And Zionism

You mention Zionism with the other things to make it sound pleasing for the secular audience, how manipulative.

Posted by: DBSesq | February 25, 2013 at 11:29 AM

1. By 1944 it was almost impossible to flee, but hat was not true in the 1930s and early 40s.

2. Eim Habanim Semeicha contains eyewitness testimony of a haredi rabbi who saw and heard other haredi rabbis tell Jews that the Nazis would not hurt them because, unlike the Jews the Nazis had already hurt, "we" are anti-Zionist.

Posted by: Snake | February 25, 2013 at 09:55 AM
Posted by: Snake | February 25, 2013 at 10:06 AM

How true every word you say.

I suppose you're new on FM don't waist you're time just note an important thing before arguing: FM source for anything against JEWS is even a pashkville he will copy and paste from a three year old if it helps.
No one is even laughing anymore when he writes that the rebbes KILLED tens of thousands of Jews hehehehe LOL.
Janci,go ahead bla bla bla bla

My grandfather a satmerer prewar i heard this from my mother,used to listen by a neighbor on the radio how the war was going and as my mother told me he knew that there was big trouble ahead ofr the jews in fact he even planeed to hide as i was told but it was too late to find a hiding place i know of a family from our town a hassidishe family who was hidden with 3 small children in the town from where all other jews were deported in fact there were 3 jewish families who were hidden by goyim so many people did have a sense of pending doom.

Be careful in relying on a polemical work like Eim Hamanim Semeicha, in determining historic fact. My father z"l was in Budapest in 1944. His family was in the Kisvarda Ghetto. He told me that Jews knew they were in for horrific times. Perhaps the full extent of the Holocaust was not known, but by then thousands of Jews had already been deported from Hungary back to Poland. Thousand more had already perished in the Munkaszalgolat, the forced labor brigades attached to the Hungarian military. My grandparents sent my father a letter in May, 1944 in which they spoke of impending deportation and that they knew they probably would not survive the war. Jews knew what awaited them. But the masses of them had no way out. The Chassidic rebbes are no more responsible for their fate than was Rudolph Kasztner (who I hold to be a true hero of our people).

Posted by: DBSesq | February 25, 2013 at 11:29 AM
wHAT YOU WROTE IS 100 PER CENT CORRECT ,A COUSIN OF MY MOTHER IN HUNGARY HAD A FATHER WHO WAS SENT BACK TO POLAND SINCE HE WAS BORN THERE I AGREE WITH WHAT YOU WROTE EVERYWORD IS TRUE,MY FATHER WENT TO MUNKASOLGALT IN 1942 UNTIL THE END OF WW2 HE DIDNT COME HOME.

Posted by: Yerachmiel Lopin | February 25, 2013 at 09:31 AM

Thanks for the video clip. Love the part the Kids singing the Hatikvah, and to watch the boy girl dancing, was so refreshing. At that time the Zionist youth had high expectations for the future. My heart is full of pain.

Posted by: Snake | February 25, 2013 at 09:55 A

What more evidence do you need, the fact speaks for itself. If the Rabbis would have said to their flock, save yourself and your family by any means possible, how many more would have survived. It is totally irrational to argue otherwise.

Posted by: DBSesq | February 25, 2013 at 11:29 AM

For the last hour I want back to work and your post really irritated me so much I had to stop what I was doing and reply to your whitewashing history.

As a lawyer I really thought that you have the ability to discern between the Orthodox Jews and the Zionist, or even the Communist Jewish population. The Zionist and the Communist know at 1938 that Europe is on the brink of WW II, they tried to leave, and some succeeded, they got out their families but the stayed back either to protect their assets, or to fight for the common causes, either Zionism or Communism. Nevertheless, the point is they knew and they tried to take action to help their family. Inasmuch, the orthodox community was assured by their leadership that God will protect them. That is the point of this article.

By the way if my memory served me right, if you read the literature of personal WW II stories, you would find numerous stories were young man and even woman who left the confine of the religious community and came back to save their family and helped them to escape into the woods and were protected until after the war. On the other hand, I never ever read even one story were a Chasidic Jew went and rescued his Zionist or Communist brother or sister.

Correction: Kristalnacht was in 1938

It feels like we, in America, are now living in times very similar to Germany in the late '20s/ early '30s. Sort of like the calm before the storm.

So when do we get out? Do we listen to the Zionists and run to Israel? Do we listen to the rabbis and run to Eretz Yisroel? Do we listen to the anti-semites and get the fuck out of America? Do we listen to Helen Thomas and go back to Poland and Hungary?

Or do we just remain and become a statistic for a future FM blog on how American Jews didn't leave when they were able to?

Or is everything just fine and dandy here in America?

Posted by: jancsibacsi | February 25, 2013 at 12:26 PM

I am sure that you do not agree with the snake oil some attorney is trying to sell. The fact is that DBSesq trying to minimize the culpability of the Rebbe’s in prewar Europe, he is a lawyer, he must defend his client zealously, and in this case, it is the Rebbe’s of prewar Europe.

No one is even laughing anymore when he writes that the rebbes KILLED tens of thousands of Jews hehehehe LOL.
Posted by: Deremes | February 25, 2013 at 12:04 PM

I guess that yesterday’s drinking didn’t help to clarify your mind. The point is not that the Rebbe’s actually killed someone; the question is, is the Rebbe’s complicit in the death of their flock and any real student of history, would answer with a resounding yes. You on the other hand don’t have the capacity to be honest with your inquiring mind.

DBSesq - you are wrong as far as i know there were no killings in munkaszolgalat in the hungarian work force they were needed for work only after being handed over to the germans in my fathers case that was after 2 years in the hungarian working force the killings and brutality started.

Joe Field -You are right,the way i see it is the people saw it as one for all or all for one meaning that the rebbes will stay so the people went along with him blindly.


"For the life of me i dont understand why they dont bann themselfs from this world and go right away to the next when they see that they are not fit to live on this earth".
Jancsibacsi
=====================
now let me ask you Jancsibacsi,did this idiotic statement of yours make any sense?
this proves what i have been claiming all the time,you are nothing but an ignorant off the derech young hasid trying desperately to sound like a sophisticated secular atheist,but it's not working,you are just making a big fool out of yourself
you are just embarrasing yourself


in Munkatch there was a very frum and religious jewish doctor,and the Rebbe used to curse him day in and day out,and he explained the reason for it,that he was afraid that the townfolks would come to see that you can go to university and study to become a doctor and still remaim frumm,and that is very dangerous

JanciBacsi- I'm surprised that you were not aware that most of the forced Jewish labor battalion sent to the salt mines at Novi Sad (Ujvidek) perished in 1942 from brutality and harsh conditions.

spacedout BT-If that is true i am very surprised,as i wrote before my father went into the hungarian working battalion as he told me he was 21 years old went in october his father passed away in 1942 december he got a telegram and was let to go home for about a week or so he was never beaten was fed he did work not overworked so it is a surprise to hear that they were killed in the munkaszolgalat as it is called in hungarian i know the hungarian nyilos murdered many jews but not in the manukaszolgalat very sruprised if it is true after the hungarians handed the group over to the germans the murder and horror began my father just passed away at the age of 88 4 years ago.

Shmaryah,should change -How many times do i have to write to you that i was never a hassid get that through youre thick kop head, you keep repeating the same meshugas i go everyday to shul even daven fardem ummid eat youre heart out.

Lubavitchers Are Christians --For you the best course would be not to get out of america but just commit youreself into a lunatic asylem, there you will be safe from any harm.

The Jews of Eastern Europe got a preview of how bad things could become in the years immediately after WWI, when some 60,000 Jews were murdered in an area centered in Galicia. Had the immigration quotas to the US not been tightened in 1921 and again in 1924, far more Galitzianers would have left for the US to join relatives already there.

LAC: It is always good to have a Plan B, just in case. If things really turn ugly in the US, going to Israel won't be of much help. A bankrupt US won't be interested in Israel. If you have dual citizenship, you will have more options.

Posted by: jancsibacsi | February 25, 2013 at 08:09 PM

Kind of interesting my father also was in the manukaszolgalat, and survived, he never really talked too much about his trials and tribulation. My father also passed away at 88, he was fairly healthy up until two weeks before he passed away. From what I understand that lots of people who were inducted into manukaszolgalat indeed survived. Interesting to note my father was not freed by the Russians but by the American, because as the Russians gained the upper-hand, his battalion was forced marched to Germany proper. Eventually he was freed in Dachau concentration camp.

Posted by: Shmaryah,should change his name to Julius Streicher | February 25, 2013 at 07:11 PM

It’s not our problem that your critical thinking process is not working to its fullest potential. I fully understand what Jancibacsi, is convoying to the religious community.


I didn't say anyone was murdered in the Munkaszalgolat jancsibaci is correct. The Hungarians intended the conscripts for labor and nor murder. But the conditions were brutal, subhuman really. Conscripts were not given uniforms or healthy food. Barracks, even in the winter, were not available. My father slept in open rail cars. Many died of exposure or as a result of the harsh conditions.

“But the conditions were brutal, subhuman really”…”Many died of exposure or as a result of the harsh conditions.”
Posted by: DBSesq | February 25, 2013 at 09:25 PM

Welcome to war, over forty million people died as a direct result of the war. Nevertheless, the Jews were systematically slaughtered by the Nazis and its elk. All that will not reduce the culpability of the Rebbe’s in the deaths of their supporters.

DBSesq-As i wrote before where my father was it was work and no brutalization there were hundreds if not thousands of other places in munkaszolgalat so every place was different ,the hungarians handed my fathers group over to the germans thats when all hell broke loose .

Joe Field -I still have a photo of my father in the soldier like hat they wore in munkaszolgalat,i think the germans just left them after the russians were nearing to were they were so as i remember he just walked back home half was 100 s of miles and then got a ride to the train station from where he got home my father had a brother who made it through the war but perished on the way back home after eating too much

DBSesq-As i wrote before where my father was it was work and no brutalization there were hundreds if not thousands of other places in munkaszolgalat so every place was different ,the hungarians handed my fathers group over to the germans thats when all hell broke loose .

Posted by: jancsibacsi | February 26, 2013 at 07:39 AM

One story my father told me about the munkaszlgolat is illustrative of his experience. One day he had a horrible stomach ache (probably due to the food) and did not go out to work. The commanded "cured" the stomach ailment by hanging my father from his thumbs for eight hours.

My main point is that the rabbis are no more responsible for deaths in the holocaust than any other Jew. Kasztner was also wrongly accused of failing to tell Jews to get out. He was accused of selling his soul to the devil in order to save his family and friends. It simply isn't true. Kasztner worked tirelessly to save lives and saved more lives than any other Jew in Europe. I don't deny that some rabbis' rhetoric was over the top in its strident anti-Zionism. But I doubt it influenced anyone. If we believe that it did, then we have to accept the possibility that Kasztner is also complicit in Jewish deaths. But among many other points she makes, Lucy Davidowicz correctly says that there was no real Jewish ability to at all influence events. Jews were prisoners.

Where some some of moral judgment can be made is in how to treat those rabbis and leaders who fled, leaving their flocks behind. I never understood why anyone venerated the Satmer Rav or the Belzer Rav after the war. I do not blame them, or anyone for that matter, for saving their ownlives. But having done so, I don't understand how they laid any claim to leadership after the war. Leadership means not abandoning your team. "The captain goes down with the ship" as it were. Few people are true leaders in that sense, but those who claim that mantle, must adhere to its ethos. Compare the Satmer Rav to his savior. The Rav got on the train, Kasztner didn't; nor did Samu Stern, the head of the Neolog community of Budapest. Tell me who was the bigger hero? But again cowardice is not the same as moral complicity.

Posted by: DBSesq | February 26, 2013 at 10:10 AM

I am not sure if you are purposely ignoring me, or you talking to me thought jancsibacsi, either way I will respond to your last argument.

It’s refreshing to see that at least you are willing to give credit to Kasztner and Stern, for their resolve to stay with the community and try to save as many as possible. Nevertheless, this part of the discussion has nothing to do with the culpability of Jewish leaders in the death of “their” followers. It’s all about a person willing to run into a house on fire to save its inhabitants. Some have that courage and some don’t. Therefore, it’s fair to say that the Satmer Rebbe and other leaders in the Orthodox community didn’t have what it takes to run into a house to save another person.

The second question would be suppose the house is your, and your children are in the house, is it expected that you as the father should run in and try to save your children. Some people would say yes, that is the first prong they failed to exhibit any leadership qualities, even you questioned why after the war, and survivors revered them.

Now let’s circle back to the original argument. In the 1930’s you had Rebbe’s who for whatever reason counseled their flock not to leave Europe for America or Palestine. Moreover, they virtually guaranteed that no harm will befall them, because they are anti-Zionist and follow the laws of the Talmud. The morale question is theses Rebbe’s culpable in their eventual death, and suffering of many who survived. Without a doubt I believe that the answer is a resounding yes. Now, we could argue the degree of culpability, but, we should be in agreement that they are to some degree culpable.

DBSesq | February 26, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Monday morning quarterback?

It wont be an overstatement that nobody including Kastner did as much as Rabbi Weissmandel z'tl in trying to save Jews it didn't matter if they were non religious as long they were Jews he tried and rescued.Nobody took it as personal as him and after the war he couldn't overcome the fact that the Zionist establishment held back rescuing Jews.But that's not the point here.
Rabbi Weissmandel zt'l who was a big tzadik and a worldly man held and said it that Al pi halacha every Jew must do anything and everything to rescue themselves he was of the opinion that if somebody keeps you back physically from jumping of the train you should hurt that person so one can rescue themselves.So your thing about leadership is an emotional thing which has nothing to do with halacha.

Posted by: Deremes | February 26, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Again and again you have been told that you are totally wrong from a historical prospective, but it’s all in vain. You never really studied history, and you read only your version of the story as promulgated by the Anti-Zionist groups.
Not only is your statement about Rabbi Weissmandel totally a mischaracterization of facts but you and your people vilify the true dedicated people who helped people to survive. Finally you cannot point to even one historical document that will prove that Rabbi Weissmandel rescued Jews who were not religious or better yet, Zionist.

Here come the blah, blah, blah.

Posted by: Joe Field | February 26, 2013 at 11:54 AM

YOU may try hard but YOU know the truth.

Let me ask you this:
do YOU know of anyone who was told by one the big rebbes not to flee Europe for America or Palestine and they virtually GUARANTEED that NO HARM will befall them, BECUASE they are anti-Zionist and follow the laws of the Talmud??

Was you're father told not to leave and was he told that he is GUARANTEED nothing will happen to him because he is anti-Zionist and follows the laws of the Talmud???

Posted by: Deremes | February 26, 2013 at 12:08 PM

At least this time it was not blah-blah
Our discussion is not a talmudical discussion, with that understanding I will not quibble with your point that I cannot produce a person or a written account that someone, or specifically my father was, “GUARANTEED nothing will happen to him because he is anti-Zionist and follows the laws of the Talmud”, no but, he was told by the Rebbe not to leave and he didn’t. The question if he was specifically told only goes to evaluate the degree of the culpability, not to exonerate the Rebbe. At that time, it was understood by the Chasidim that what the Rebbe’s position is, and my father as a good Chasid complied with the Rebbe’s pronouncements.

Please, R'Joe, i really do want to know.
Are you saying that you don't know of anyone who was told those reasons but you keep repeating Zionist propaganda lies? im surprised at YOU.

Joe Field-According to my understanding is that no one really knew the horror or the magnitude of what was going on otherwise no one would of left the towns or cities leave their homes into certain death,so it is easy to talk now but then it was a different atmosphere,no one can bring himself to beleive that such evil or mass murder is possible in the 20 th century so the rebbis were no different in their understanding they couldnt beleive either that such horror is happening,i dont like to judge anyone,i do know that as a child i used to go to a shtible hassidishe shtible and many times i heard the kids my age how evil the zionists are and its all theier fault i wasnt a hassidishe kid ,the hate that those kids exhibited effected me since i was not hassidish and sort of felt that i am also in a way guilty they mentioned the satmerer rebbe in his seifer the intense hate he had for the nonreligious zionists i did not like that at all the same hate still persists today its even much worse.

Joe, I agree that there were failures in leadership. Moreover, you and I seem to be espousing two sides of the same coin. I'm not sure how much could have been done by rabbis caught in Eastern Europe to save Jews though. I also question the effect of the rhetoric. I don't deny that the Belzer Rebbe's brother in law exhorted the Jews, before a packed house in the Kazincy schul, to remain faithful. I don't deny that he lied that night and said that the rebbe is no leaving out of fear, but rather out a deep seated desire to live in Israel (query, do you think that maybe this was said because Belzer rebbe knew there was no way out for his chassidim and other Jews, and he didn't want to contribute to mass hyteria or malaise? I'm not sure of the answer to that, nor of the ethics involved. I'm just trowing it out there). And I agree that in leaving as he did, the Belzer abdicated his leadership. Same for the Satmer Rav. Same for R. Moshe Carmilly Weinberger who was secreted out of Kolosvar, leaving a despondent community behind. But, based on Katz's autobiography, the way he describes Hungarian Orthodox life, I just don't think those exhortations did all that much; people didn't really believe them. It's not a matter of "no harm, no foul." Rather it's a matter of one victim didn't really harm another when he said what he said.

Deremes, I refer you to R. Elchanan Wasserman's famous letter to a talmid in which he explicitly questions the utility of fleeing physical death in Europe in exchange for spiritual death in America. And again, I don't attach any real level of culpability for anyone's death as a result of that letter. People who could get out, and ultimately chose not to, brought their fate upon themselves. But that letter does place R. Wasserman so out of the pale of normal thinking that I refuse to ever learn anything from his published writings. I've concluded that he was so possessed by his eschatology that he lost all perspective on Jewish life. I agree that R. Michoel Ber Weissmandel labored intensely to save people. Sadly he accomplished little for his effort. No Jew in Europe saved more Jews than did Kasztner.

Posted by: Deremes | February 26, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Is it so hard to understand? You did learn Talmud, didn’t it sharpen your critical thinking? I guess it didn’t, so I will oblige you and help you.

Under normal circumstances rules are promulgated via a written document laying out the reasons why you take a certain position, using previous rulings or trying to argue a new idea based on some backup to fallback. When it comes to question which is not part of Halakha but general question like should I go into this business or any question of that nature, they will asked the Rebbe specifically if they should. Than you have the other type of pronouncements, which were the spoken words of the Rebbe at a get together like a brit milah, or Sheva Brachot.

In the Chasidic world there is no need for the Rebbe to specifically confront a person it is in his pronouncements that the tone is set. It is a well-documented fact that before World War II the Rebbe spoke and said that Zionism is the core of the Jewish problem and will only bring hardship and reprisal. Additionally, in these same speeches the Rebbe explicitly forbad his followers from emigrating to the USA or Palestine.

Moreover, after the war Satmer Rebbe wrote a few books, but for purpose our discussion we will just talk about VaYoel Moshe and Al HaGeulah VeAl HaTemurah. Both books were written after the war, it has two main purpose, one; to explain to the Jewish world his thesis and the validity of the State of Israel as a Jewish state. For our discussion I am not interested to debate the Three Oaths, which the Satmer Rebbe and numerous other Rebbes’s before the war agreed with his position. The second part of his books examines the consequences of Zionism; in lengthily discussions he blamed the holocaust on Zionism.

Looking at after the war Rebbe’s writing, ispo facto that before the war his position was the Zionism will bring bad tiding, for the community. Based on that alone it is fair to extrapolate that his Chasidim viewed Zionism as a cause for Anti-Semitism, and if you are not part the Zionist movement you will be save. The exact same view the Neturei-Karta has today. I know you will reply that the Satmer Rebbe was against the Neturei-Karta, yes that was true after the war, when he understood his mistake, but he wouldn’t admit to it.

How different were the Rabbis of Mirrer Yeshiva who saw danger and told their followers to flee.

Lubavitchers Are Christians | February 25, 2013 at 02:53 PM

Good post. My thoughts too. When do we know when and if to leave?

I used to think that Jews had ample time to leave before WWII but chose to remain. Now I think differently. Also, even if one decides to leave, where is a safe haven and is it affordable?

Joe Field -You are talking to a wall that is deremes to him the satmer rebbe is above g-d, they the hassidim not all of them project their own hate into the zionists as the aying goes,it takes one to know one,they are failures big time with all their abus and molestation they show their true face,and on top of all that they think they are cleverer smarter then us all this shows how big of a fool they are,their emotional bond with their rebbe prohibits them from thinking critically but in their eyes they are the critical thinkers,you cant get more deluded then that.

Posted by: DBSesq | February 26, 2013 at 01:11 PM

I fully agree with your assessment that during the deportation’s none of the Rebbe’s had the wherewithal to help their Chasidim, it was too late. The question still remains, before the war why didn’t they advise their flock to leave? That by itself raises the questions which must be asked, the Rebbe’s who according to their Chasidim have the knowledge and transcendent every other living being than why when they saw the clouds are gathering , they never understood the consequences. Nevertheless, after the war they should have showing contrition, which they failed.

Finally, I agree that any Rebbe who put himself ahead of his flock, and willingly got on a train for freedom and knew that the others will go by train to a certain death, is a fraud.

Posted by: jancsibacsi | February 26, 2013 at 12:56 PM

You are right that nobody in their right mind could foresee the systematic eradication of a people. That said if the Rebbe’s are infallible as the Chasidim claim, than there is no excuse that they didn’t before alert their flack.

Re: The current Munkatcher. I've always been curious as to his position regarding molesters. On the one hand i personally had an incident of molestation commited against myself by an individual who davened at and was closely connected with munkatch. The rebbe personally warned the individual after he was made aware of my complaint. On the other hand though, the infamous BM Lebowitz serial sex offender operated out of the munkatcher mikvah for many many years, n to compound the disgrace, he sat 'oyven oon' (on the dais) at all munkatch public gatherings (tishes etc) . Everyone knew about BML there for years, n when i asked somone why they let him sit up there i was told that decades ago BMLs brother, another piece of work, who goes by the name of nikolsburger rebbe, (not to be confused with Jungreis nikolsburger), was an administrator in munkatch and that the rebbe felt intimidated by the possibility that the lebowitzs would expose munkatch financial crimes if BML would be ousted. This shit just goes deeper n deeper.

Posted by: jancsibacsi | February 26, 2013 at 02:33 PM

Yes you are accurate, not for a second do I believe that, I could change Deremes’s views. That is not my goal, the purpose of debate is not to change the opposing team’s mind; it is to lay out a position before the judges who score the winners and losers. The same is here, the readers are the judges, and I don’t want the judges to think that Deremes is winning the debate, therefore I try I answer his arguments with the hope that the readers will take away the right conclusion.

DBSesq-i am aware of R'Elchanan Wasserman's position.

The issue here there is a famous lie being told on FM on any boring day in the name of the Satmar rebbe that he told his chassidim not to leave Europe becuase they are safe becuase of their anti-Zionism.Nobody can prove it becuase a lie you cant prove.

Rabbi Weissmandel came up with the idea the Nazis can be bought it is something everyone knew but some tried to deny it.Until the book that defends Kastner.(cant recall the author)verifies it.

Joe Field-I understand you perfectly,they the deremes and his think alike cohorts are actually convinced that they are interpreting history the correct way,i never forget and from this i knew exaclty with who we are dealing when he bought up the jews for exchange for trucks ,he actually thinks that it was for real convinced beyond a shaddow of a doubdt,but you and me know that it was just a ploy and could never be for real who in their right mind especially the enemy would give trucks for people in the middle of a war especially asking the americans to give the trucks for jews,no one who can think rationally would buy that.

Joe Field-you write and write and write but you are not honest to yourself.
Plain and simple YOU do not know of ANYONE to whom the Satmar rebbe said not to flee Europe "becuase being anti-Zionist will save them" but i Joe Field will repeat the lie and then explain this and that.

Posted by: Deremes | February 26, 2013 at 04:20 PM

Let me make it simple, that even you would understand, my father RIP told me that he was told not to immigrate to Palestine, and the rest is history.

The bottom line is that you fail to refute any logical arguments that I placed in front of the readers.

Finally, I agree that any Rebbe who put himself ahead of his flock, and willingly got on a train for freedom and knew that the others will go by train to a certain death, is a fraud.

Posted by: Joe Field | February 26, 2013 at 02:56 PM

I was once told that the Bobver Rebbe, who survived the concentration camps, was didscovered after WWI working as a clerk in a grocery store on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He had no desire to be a rebbe after the war. It was the chassidim who survived who insisted he once again lead them. Any one know if this is true?

As to your indictment of religious leaders for their rhetoric before the war, I just don't know if it's valid. After all, German Jews didn't try to get out until it was too late, and they were the closest witnesses to the madness that awaited. Immigration quotas made getting out hard, if not impossible, in most cases. In the case of Hungarian Jews, not until 1944, when Horthy allowed the Germans into Germany, did they fully realize that they too would be subject to the Final Solution. Until then, they collectively thought they would be saved, even if Polish, Galician and Lithuanian/Ukranian Jewry would not. This was true for the Neolog and completely assimilated Jews more than for the Orthodox. Once reality set it, it was too late for all but a few.

There is a missing clue to Moishe Leib Rabinovich (MLR).
Does no one know of his father? Is there no one remaining who remembers MLR from his days in the Telshe Yeshiva in Wickliffe,Oh?Oh what tales there are to be told.

DBSesq --I must say youre writing is very eloquent i wish i was able to write as good as you do, may i ask you do you speak hungarian?

Deremes,

Why do you doubt information given to janscis and Joe F that was given to them by their fathers?

FYI Non observant Jews helped observant ones escape Nazis and settle after the war in other countries.

DBSesq-I did hear from others my fathers age that they were also brutalized as i said where he was they were treated pretty decently,can you please tell how it is possible to be hanged by youre thums and the weight did not severe the finger isnt it too much for the thums too support the whole boddy and on top of that for many hours?

Bas Melech -In my parents town both my parents are from the same town there were 3 goyishe families who hid frimme jews and can you beleive this the germans did not deport the families who had a husbands father killed in ww1 i know the son of one i speak with him often that was from my home town which today is in romania,it was hungary between 1940 and 1945.

Posted by: DBSesq | February 26, 2013 at 05:04 PM

Please allow me to drill down to the particulars and find common ground. The fact is that other groups who were not Chasidic is irrelevant to our discussion. In the late 1930’s before the war broke out numerous Jews left for Palestine, or the States. That is not limited to just Zionist but German Neologin Jews left on mass, using the German Commodity Trading Transfer Law, to transfer part of their wealth. One must differentiate between German industrialists who on his own, decided that he was emancipated and, therefore no need to leave the country. In his mind he was part of the ruling body, and the Chasidim, who relied only on their Rebbe’s guidance.

The Zionist movement did facilitate movement of people to Palestine. The point I am trying to put forth is, only in the Chasidic community you had the mentality, if the Rebbe said don’t worry, you must not worry, and the Rebbe has a direct channel to HaShem.

Moreover, even if only one person could have immigrated to another country, they would have been saved. Can you enumerate to me how many Chasidic Jews came to the USA before the end of WW II, not to many why, only because of the Rebbe’s known opposition.

That is why I will not relent in my quest to pronounce that every Rebbe who before the war opposed immigration either to the States, or Palestine is culpable to some extend in the demise of his flock.

JancsiBacsi- Novi Sad was not in Magyarosag proper but in Bacska province of former Yugoslavia. As a military canton the Nyilists y'maoch shmam did pretty much what they wanted to.The account of the Novi Sad/Ujvidek incident comes from the Jungreis family who made great efforts to supply young men in the labor battalions with food.

Posted by: Yohanan Gamar | February 26, 2013 at 07:24 PM

I am all ears

spacedout BT-I know that novisad is in yugoslavia the way you are saying it it looks like that was the only place that murdered jews i do beleive you i hear many stories about the nyilas murderers they were the ss og hungary pure evil, the only munkaszolgalat i meant to write that killed jews

Joe Field -One of my fasthers brother immigrated to palestine in 1935 as a halutz zionist he lived on a kibbutz for over 62 years he was the luckiest in the family.

Jancsibaci, thanks. I do not speak Hungarian beyond "hol van a vey ce" and some curses. I wish I did though.

Joe, I often share your views when having religious oriented conversations on this topic. It's a good way to illustrate the stupidity that is Daas Toireh. But as a matter of historical accuracy and when dealing with the true complexity of the situation, I'm not fully there.

Joe Field -One of my fasthers brother immigrated to palestine in 1935 as a halutz zionist he lived on a kibbutz for over 62 years he was the luckiest in the family.
Posted by: jancsibacsi | February 26, 2013 at 08:34 PM

Yes, your uncle was smart and lucky. And that is my point, Chasidim were the only group who relied on supernatural (God) forces, while others tried and some seceded.

Posted by: DBSesq | February 26, 2013 at 09:22 PM

I really believe we are not that far apart.

There is a historical fiction book about Jews in Hungary prior to and during WWII. I think it is based on a true story. The Invisible Bridger by Julie Orringer follows a secular family during this period. According to the author, Jewish work camps were started in response. The treatment of Jewish workers depended upon the commander in charge. Many Hungarians disagreed with the anti-Jewish sentiment, unlike the Poles.

Jansci, most of my family lived in the US since the early 1900s. Relatives who remained in Poland were helped by goyim at great risk to themselves. Until the present, the neighbors dislike the goyishe family who assisted the Jews.

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