The newest claims made by Bobov 45 are that two of the five beit din rabbinic judges are biased because they or their families have business ties with Bobov 48 – facts that appear to have been known for a long time.
The Bobov Succession War Continues
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The seemingly never-ending, almost decade-long fight for succession in secular court and in a beit din between Bobov 48 (i.e., the "real" Bobov) and Bobov 45 (the "breakaway" faction, "Karchen") is close to being concluded, and Bobov 45 is allegedly trying to find ways to prolong it even further because it almost certainly will lose.
The newest claims are that two of the five beit din rabbinic judges are biased because they or their families have business ties with Bobov 48 – facts that appear to have been known for a long time.
But Bobov 45 is now claiming those business contacts are the equivalent of bribery and are shopping this claim to New York news outlets like the Daily News and New York Post who don't know any better and likely wouldn't think to ask a rabbinic expert that does.
The beit is made up of three rabbis not directly part of either group and one judge each chosen by each group as its own member.
The accusation is that two of the three rabbis in that middle unaffiliated group actually have ties to Bobov 48.
The first, Rabbi Seltenreich, because his son married into the Halberstam family actual Bobov rebbes come from and owns the rights to an apartment in a house owned by a leading Bobov 48 member.
The second, Rabbi Yechiel Babad, because he gives kosher supervision to two Bobov 48-linked wedding halls and a hotel owned by that same leading Bobov 48 member.
(That Babad is closely linked to at least one of Eliyahu Weinstein's frauds seems not to bother either side, which is actually much more telling than anything else.)
This beit din has gone on for 10 years, and it is unreasonable for either side to expect these rabbi-judges and their families to stop their lives, not get married, and not do business in the closed and closely linked hasidic community of Borough Park for all that time.
And at any rate, unfortunately for Bobov 45 halakha does not normally recognize either situation as a conflict of interest – especially when a beit din is constructed in the way this one was.
Rabbinic judges serve both as interrogators and fact finders on one hand, and judges, as western law understand the term, on the other.
History is full of instances where a beit is headed by a rabbi whose family has business relationships with one of the parties or has family members married into one of the parties families.
In the hasidic world, outside of Chabad and Breslov most dynasties intermarried, and lots of leading hasidic rebbes and rabbis are related to each other in that way.
But suddenly Bobov 45 is claiming that those relationships should disqualify rabbi-judges when it would never make the same claim if their own rebbe was ruling on a case in which his relatives were involved.
Even so, if Bobov 45 had raised these issues much earlier, it might have caused the recusal or one or both of the rabbis in question. But it did not do so.
Bobov 45 also apparently claims that Bobov 48's rabbinic lawyer, Zalmen Grauz, who is one of the five beit din rabbi-judges (Bobov 45's rabbi-lawyer is one of those five, as well) published a book last year on beit din cases in which he wrote his ruling on this case before the case was completed. They claim halakha and secular law both would require that Grauz recuse himself and no longer be a part of the case as a result – although is by no means clear in either respect, especially because all the relevant evidence had been heard long ago and a large part of it had already been decided in Bobov 48's favor 18 months ago.
Both sides here have been incredibly childish and frequently intellectually dishonest from the start of this dispute.
Similar disputes are commonplace in the hasidic world, as are the lies, misinformation, rejection of halakha when halakha is against them and the pseudo-pious championing of halakha when it supports them.
At least for past 150 years, halakha has almost always favored the rich and powerful and the closely connected. Beit dins are notoriously corrupt as are many of the rabbis who sit on them.
This isn't news and it isn't a shock to many haredim who are well aware of the problems.
So, who is right here? Who gets to call themselves the "real" Bobov and who gets the money and property?
In many ways, who really cares – other then the few men who are fighting for their own aggrandizement and for the possession of those financial assets?