Machberes: Inside The Chassidish And Yeshivish World
By Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum
After the initial passage of the military draft bill in the Knesset late Sunday evening, July 21, an instructional rally for chassidishe yeshiva students of military draft age was held on Thursday evening, July 25, at the Beis Yisroel Hall in Jerusalem, organized by the Eidah Hacharedis of Yerushalayim. Member dayanim of the Eidah Hacharedis, including Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss, av beis din, participated. The hall, with seating for 2,000, was filled to capacity, with standing-room-only inside and outside of the hall.
The students were given general instructions on how to respond should they receive a draft notice, including how to behave in face-to-face situations. The rally was addressed by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, rosh yeshiva Beis Dovid in Bnei Brak; Rabbi Chaim Uri Freund, member dayan; Rabbi Dovi Zvi Schlesinger, rosh yeshiva Minchas Yitzchok in Bnei Brak; Rabbi Shaul Sirota, member dayan; and Rabbi Aaron Poppenheim, mashgiach yeshiva Toldos Aaron.
Each student was presented with a pamphlet, in effect a manual of proper behavior at every stage of confrontation in the induction process. The pamphlet begins with the receipt of an enlistment notice and goes step-by-step through to their actual induction into the Israeli military.
Bicycles In Williamsburg
The Chassidic community in Williamsburg has had difficulty in adjusting to having bicycle lanes running through its main thoroughfares. In addition to the physical threat of speeding cyclists rushing through red lights and stop signs and hitting pedestrians, including children, issues of riders’ lack of modesty in attire also represents a challenge to the neighborhood’s tranquility. Chassidishe motorists and residents feel that their collective “right of way” is being forcefully and deliberately trampled upon. When bicycle riders ignore rules of the road, some motorists have insisted that the riders be held to account.
Rabbi Naftali Chaim Indig, a popular and dedicated community police liaison, issued a call to members of the Williamsburg community to extend every possible consideration to bicyclists riding through the neighborhood. Rabbi Indig advised residents that some of the bicyclists wear helmets that have video cameras encased and may deliberately be seeking to provoke reactions, especially reportable incidents. Encroachment of bicycle lanes and other infractions should be avoided. A word to the wise is sufficient.
On Monday evening, July 22, Tu B’Av, Moshe Pollak was engaged to the youngest daughter of Rabbi Avrohom Eliyahu Wosner, rav of Kehillas Shevet Halevi in the city of Brachfeld in Israel; son of Rabbi Shmuel Wosner, revered author of Shevet Halevi in Bnei Brak. The kallah is the youngest grandchild of the Shevet Halevi. The fully active centenarian Shevet Halevi is the preeminent posek of the entire chassidishe world, and beyond. The Shevet Halevi was vacationing in Jerusalem and, in his honor, the engagement was held there with the attendance of chassidishe rebbes and roshei yeshivas. The Shevet Halevi was a student of Rabbi Meir Shapiro, zt’l (1887–1933), founder of daf yomi and Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin. After immigrating to Palestine and having studied under Torah giants of the Holy Land, he reestablished the Lubliner Yeshiva and continues to serve as its rosh yeshiva.
The chassan is the son of Rabbi Sholom Pollak; son of Rabbi Avrohom Alter Pollack, zt’l (1934–2006), Beregsazer Rebbe and author of Beiso Noavo Kodesh; son of Rabbi Yosef Mayer Pollack, zt’l, Hy’d (1910–1944), Beregsazer Rebbe; son of Rabbi Chaim Avrohom Pollak, zt’l (1890–1932), Beregsazer Rebbe.
Miraculously escaping the Holocaust, a young Avrohom Alter arrived in then Palestine in 1947, together with his mother, Rebbetzin Chana, a’h, and his sister. His widowed mother was there married to Rabbi Aaron Rokeach, zt’l (1880–1957), the fourth Belzer Rebbe, whose wife, children, and grandchildren were murdered in the Holocaust. The young Avrohom Alter was adopted by the Belzer Rebbe and given full attention as though he were his son.
Rebbetzin Chana was the daughter of Rabbi Yechiel Chaim Labin, zt’l (1888–1985), Makava Rebbe; son of Rabbi Moshe Labin, zt’l (d. 1939), Zidichover Drohabitcher Rebbe; son of Rabbi Yisroel Yosef Labim, zt’l (d. 1902), Zidichover Rebbe; son of Rabbi Yaakov Naftali Hirtz Labin, zt’l, Zidichover Rebbe; son-in-law of Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Eichenstein, zt’l (1763–1831), Zidichover Rebbe; son of Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac Eichenstein, zt’l (1740–1810), founding Zidichover Rebbe.
When Avrohom Alter was engaged to be married, the Belzer Rebbe kept the chassan close to his side. During that Rosh Hashanah, the Rebbe asked him to give special attention to the white velvet cover used to hide the shofar during tefillos. That, the Rebbe shared with him, will be used when he badecks (covers) the kallah right before proceeding to the chuppah.
Throughout his life, the Beregsazer Rebbe felt an exceptional kinship to his adopted father, the late Belzer Rebbe. His sefarim, named Beiso Noavo Kodesh, span the months of the year and describe the customs and practices of the late Belzer Rebbe that he observed. Later, the beis medrash that he established and led in Petach Tikvah was named Beis Aaron, dedicated to the late Belzer Rebbe.
Rosh Hashanah In Uman
In response to a number of incidents in recent years, including the killing of a young student, the Ukrainian interior minister announced that 400 police officers will be assigned to maintain security in Uman during the Rosh Hashanah season this September in preparation for an expected 35,000 pilgrims. In their announcement, they stressed that they are coordinating their programming with security agencies of Israel.
Simultaneous with the security strategy announcement, a news report divulged that a break-in had occurred at the gravesite of Rabbi Nachman Breslover, zt’l (1772–1810), in Uman. The full-time non-Jewish security guard was overwhelmed and beaten. The charity boxes at the gravesite were emptied and the perpetrators escaped. The guard remains in the hospital in serious condition.
Yahrzeit Of Kiryas Yoel’s First Automobile Fatality
Twenty-four years ago, on the 15th of Av, Rabbi Mordechai Adler, zt’l (1952–1989), rav of Khal Mincha Chadasha in Boro Park, crossed a dark street in Kiryas Yoel. Dressed in the traditional black garb of chassidim, he was hit by a car and, sadly, did not survive. Though things have not changed much since his passing—darkness remains dark and chassidim continue to dress in black—nevertheless, the use of reflectors must again be highlighted.
In the early years of Kiryas Yoel, established in the 1970s, the local Monroe Town Council met regarding the influx of chassidim, their new neighbors. The minutes of the town council were regularly published in a local weekly. The minutes reported that the town council passed a resolution requiring chassidim while on parade on Friday nights (when they come home from shul) to have the person in front and the person in the back carry lit lanterns, in line with behavior accepted by the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish. In addition, certain homeowners were required to have their dogs locked behind closed doors on Friday nights, so as not to molest chassidim during their parades. The rest of the minutes revealed regular municipal matters with which the town council dealt.
Rabbi Mordechai was the son of Rabbi Naftali Chaim Adler, zt’l (1917–1995), Djzikover Rebbe of Natanya; son of Rabbi Mordechai Yehuda Adler, Djzikover Rebbe of Tzefas. Rabbi Mordechai, grandson of the Imrei Meir, married the granddaughter of Rabbi Moshe Aryeh Low, zt’l (1903–1995), zt’l, Temeshvarer Rebbe and author of Moshe Yedaber. Rabbi Naftali Chaim was the stepson of Rabbi Baruch Hager, zt’l (1895–1963), Seret Vishnitzer Rebbe of Haifa and author of Mekor Boruch. Rabbi Naftali Chaim was the son-in-law of Rabbi Chaim Meir Hager, zt’l (1888–1972), Vishnitzer Rebbe and author of Imrei Meir.
After having served as the rosh yeshiva of the Seret Vishnitzer Yeshiva in Haifa, Rabbi Naftali Chaim moved to Netanya, where he established the Djzikover Beis Medrash. v
Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum is the Rav of B’nai Israel of Linden Heights in Boro Park and Director of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. Rabbi Tannenbaum can be contacted at email@example.com.