Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reb Yoel - "Just Lucky"

R. Itamar Rosenbaum, the progenitor of Nadvorna chassidim ("Ha’admor Hazaken MiNadvorna"), and his very frank opinion of the Satmar Rebbe, R. Yoel Teitelbaum:
When a hasid of Satmar told him that Reb Yoel was the messiah he retorted: "If you were to say that R. Yoel is a great scholar, I would agree. I would also endorse the view that he is a tzadik, a giant among men. But to assert that he is the Messiah, this is ridiculous and preposterous. How could we face the world with him as the messiah?"

He then explained the influence by which R. Yoel wielded such power over such large masses of chassidim in this way: "The owner of a 5th Avenue store is not necessarily superior intellectually to a shopkeeper in the Bronx. The former was just lucky and fortune smiled upon him."

He found it incomprehensible that the Rebbe of Satmar forbade his followers to visit the Western Wall. "If he lived in Israel," said R. Itamar, "he would visit the Wall. Only in heaven is it known who is a genuine rabbi."
I was originally going to make this a "name this quote" contest (complete with a real, honest-to-goodness prize - a hagiography from CIS Publishers.) But I waited too long to post and Google Books has since made available a preview of the book wherein this is found.

Source: Hasidism in Israel: A History of the Hasidic Movement and Its Masters in the Holy Land by Tzvi M. Rabinowicz.

8 comments:

G*3 said...

Does this mean that R. Rosenbaum held that not every little thing is dictated by God? I thought that standard Chasidish beleif is that God is responsible for everything. So there is no "luck."

Frum Heretic said...

Good point. "just lucky" and "fortune smiled upon him" are curious idioms from a chassidic rebbe, since chassidim generally take hagacha pratit to extend to even the smallest details of physical reality. But even if God is responsible for everything, it doesn't mean that the reason a person ascends to leadership is because of his own merits. I guess that this was the best way that Reb Itamar could express his strong feelings regarding some of the Satmar Rebbe's beliefs.

Pen Tivokeish said...

Perhaps R. Itamar Rosenbaum saw himself as the blameless shopkeeper in the Bronx.

In reality R' Yoel had the wow factor back in Hungary where he pulled comparatively large crowds even back then.

Anonymous said...

R' Isamar's grandchildren are for the most part associated with Satmar.

Frum Heretic said...

Perhaps R. Itamar Rosenbaum saw himself as the blameless shopkeeper in the Bronx. On the surface it seems that R. Yoilish's attitudes toward the State of Israel were in large part the motivation behind R. Itamar's feelings. Are you suggesting that perhaps jealousy also played a role?

Frum Heretic said...

R' Isamar's grandchildren are for the most part associated with Satmar.

The association of Nadvorna with Satmar is a strong one. I can't imagine that many other rebbes in this dynasty held like R. Isamar.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that R' Isamar'l was jealous of anybody. He was reknowned in Europe as a poiel yeshios. He came to America after the war and chose to be a "nobody".

lars shalom said...

BEAUTIFUL TORAH

even though im heavens, i understand absolutely none of this