Before you read this love letter to Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum from VIN News, please see these three posts:
The Satmar Rebbe and the Holocaust.
And also remember that the Satmar Rebbe survived Bergen-Belsen because he and his entourage were passengers on Kasztner's Train (more here), the Zionist organized rescue of almost 1800 Hungarian Jews negotiated with Adolph Eichmann, the Nazi in charge of the Final Solution.
The train was diverted to Bergen-Belsen by Adolph Eichmann and its passengers were held there as Eichmann waited to see if the Jewish Agency could come up with additional ransom meant to save other Jews.
The Kasztner hostages – who had marginally better conditions than other prisoners – were released on Eichmann's orders, 318 after about one month and the remainder after close to five months. All were taken to safety in Switzerland.
After the War, when Kaszter was libeled and the government of Israel sued in support of Kasztner, The Satmar Rebbe was asked to testify on Kaszter's behalf. The Satmar Rebbe allegedly replied, "I was saved by God, not by Zionists."
The Rebbe – who had ordered his hasidim to stay in Hungary and who steadfastly refused to believe the Nazis would harm Hungary's anti-Zionist Jews, fled Nazi-controlled Europe with the help of the Zionists he so vilified, leaving his followers to burn in Auschwitz.
Today is the Satmar Rebbe's 30th yartzeit:
Tens Of Thousand To Attend Thirtieth Yahrzeit Of Reb Yolish Teitelbaum, Dean Of Chasidic America
David Gold • VIN News
Kirays Yoel, NY - This Sunday, August 16 the 26th of Av, marks the 30th year since the passing of Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, zecher tzadik livracha, the legendary leader of the robust Satmar Chasidim.
Rabbi Teitelbaum, or Reb Yoilish (or, more formally, the Baal Divrei Yoel, and Baal Vayoel Mosha), as he was known, rebuilt a devastated Chasidic dynasty on American soil. More importantly, he presided over three decades of the transformation of the Williamsburg, Brooklyn neighborhood into an entrenched, flourishing fortress of Chasidic life.
Reb Yoilish survived the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during WWII, arriving in the United States in 1946 after a brief stay in the Holy Land.
His uncompromising stance on Orthodoxy became the gold standard used by the dozens of other Chasidic groups that took up residence under his shadow in Williamburg in the post-War years. Among his numerous identifying stances is his insistence on the highest levels of modesty; he approved the Palm brand of non-see-through women’s hosiery manufactured by the Brach family.
Reb Yoilish is perhaps most identified with his staunch opposition to Zionism, which he saw as a grave spiritual threat to authentic Jewish practice and belief. But Reb Yoilish is also known for spearheading in the late 1970s what later came to be known as Kiryas Joel.
With his right-hand man Reb Lipa Friedman A'h and Rabbi Leibish Lefkovits A'h, with various other activists at his side, Reb Yoilish and his Chasidim originally looked at a property in New Jersey upon which to build a new village outside the decadent big city. Ultimately, they ended up in upstate Monroe, New York.
Kiryas Joel, designed to safely isolate future generations of Chasidim from insidious cultural influences in Brooklyn, is now a sprawling oasis of Torah study, tzedakah and chesed that is home to tens of thousands of overwhelmingly Satmar Chasidim.
Reb Yoelish's tzidkus was only matched by his scholarship.
Rabbi Ephraim Greenblatt of Memphis, Tennessee, shlita, [a big talmid chocham] a talmid muvhak of Reb Moshe Feinstein, zatzal, told VIN News in a different interview that when he asked Reb Moshe who to consult on Torah learning, he was told, "go to Reb Yoelish—he has kol hatorah kulah in his head and knows more than anyone from this generation." Rabbi Greenblat told VIN news that when he first met the satmarer rabbi after the advice of his rabbi, he was mesmerized of the Bekias Hatorah of Reb Yolish.
Rabbi Wein, who merited a personal visit from the Rebbe in 1960s Miami Beach while serving as a rov in that city, paraphrases a gemara about the passing of a great Tanna, who was mourned by a contemporary who said, "Now there is no one to be afraid of." The Satmarer Rebbe, who came to symbolize absolute adherence to the highest levels of frumkeit, inspired awe in all, says the rabbi.
Never Before Seen Video Of The legendary Satmar Rabbi Credit: Shiezoli of YouTube
It can perhaps be said that the greatest measure of a great man is what he leaves behind when he dies—or what he doesn't. Reb Yoelish left this world with the slimmest of personal possessions, and absolutely no money. Whatever money he had always went to tzedakah, and thousands of Jews will attest that it was the Satmarer Rebbe who was baal chesed of the generation, having discreetly helped them through crushing troubles over the decades.
While there were those who disagreed with Reb Yoilish’s philosophies, especially regarding how to deal with the Zionistic creation of a Jewish State, they all knew they were dealing with a profoundly holy tzadik and maintained the utmost respect. Rabbi Yolish was the first and only Tazdik to write a book specifically about the subject of Zionism known as The 'Vayoel Mosha'. Rabbi Yolish never wavered. He regarded the establishment of Israel as a satanic act and was convinced that the Holocaust was a divine punishment for Zionism. Even though, as he noted, "I have become the object of scorn and contempt no force in the world shall move me from my stand to accept, God forbid, the [Zionist] heresy, from which the Merciful One must save us".
The great tzadik and leader Reb Yoelish Teitelbaum passed away in 1979, leaving a huge community, and Klal Yisroel, grieving for its terrible loss. 30 years later thousands of his chasidim still continue to talk with tearful emotions of 'Der Hilger Rabbi', as they used to call him.
His funeral was attended by tens of thousands of Chasidim and Jewish (and non-Jewish) leaders, by some estimates in the secular media more than 100,000 including many from the then-young Kiryas Joel. It was considered an historic event in the state of NY.
Reb Yoilish was laid to rest in Kiryas Joel.
Beginning late Saturday night, thousands are expected to pay their respects at his grave.
In the years and decades since his passing, the tziyun of the Satmar Rebbe, Reb Yoilish Teitelbaum has become a shrine for many Jews, from Chasidim to Litvaks and even to secular Jews. Around the year, all have found Reb Yoilish’s kever a most appropriate place for tefilah.
[Hat Tip: Seymour.]