Friday, January 16, 2015

Kotzk blog

Over the years I have read/heard things about Kotzk and the Kotzker Rebbe. Some of them have actually appealed to and resonated with me significantly.

After all, the main thrust of Kotzk is said to be Emes, truth, and that is not a Chasidic thing, it is a general value (or should I say general Jewish value?), that appeals to Litvaks as well. Especially perhaps to those into mussar.

Anyway, the other day I was surfing around and came across a Kotzk blog! I sampled it some and found some good stuff there! So you might enjoy it as well.

It is from South Africa, yes, that country that gave the world The Shabbos Project.

Anyway, in case it interests you, you might want to check it out.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Yehuda Green's new song Rebbe, Rebbe - a Chasidic song, not for Litvaks

Yehuda Green, chazan at the Carlebach Shul in New York, and a talented singer, has recently released a song with the title Rebbe, Rebbe.

The lyrics seem to be more or less as follows

רבי, רבי, רבי, מיר ווילען זיך מקשר זיין צו דיר

הנני מקשר נפשי, רוחי, ונשמתי, לנשמת אדוני מורי ורבי

עם שאר הצדיקים והאבות הקדושים ועם שאר הצדקניות והאהמהות הקדושות

In the parshas Vayigash issue of the Yated Neeman newspaper published in the USA, there was a feature on Reb Green recently (p.64-5). In it, this new song was mentioned and it was claimed that it carries a special message for anyone who has a Rav or a Rebbe, and is very meaningful, not only to Chasidim, but to anyone with a spiritual leader who guides them.

However, the language, and the idea of hiskashrus used, is from the Chasidic world. The composer, R. Pinchas Pomp, is a Chasid, and Yehuda Green himself, according to the Yated feature on him, is from a large Chasidic family in the Beis Yisroel neighborhood of Yerushalayim.

According to Wikipedia's entry on Yehuda Green, Green is from a Breslov family, and went to a Lubavitcher Yeshiva.

It seems to be coming from a Breslov milieu. Here one can see a video in which it is sung at a Breslov gathering (at 3:10). If you examine the lyrics, and are familiar with Breslov teachings, you can recognize a strong Breslov influence.

So I don't buy that it is a universal song, for anyone with a Rebbe. The song is a Chasidic song, about a Chasidishe Rebbe, not a Rebbe in general, of the types non Chasidim can also have. While non Chasidim also have connection to their Rabbonim and Rabbeim, their conception and practice of hiskashrus, if you want to call it that, is different than that of Chasidim.

Litvaks please be aware of this.

See also this writeup about it at a Habad website, along with some interesting comments by Lubavitchers.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Breslov - Lubavitch Dance Continues. Breslov visits 770 after Lubavitch plants flag in Uman

A few months ago, Lubavitch planted their flag in Uman in a major way, during the big annual Breslov Rosh Hashanah get together there, in the guise of an Uman Chabad House.

Now, Breslov has returned the favor, with a Na-Nach truck visiting Lubavitch HQ at 770 the other day.

What will be the future of the relationship between these two Chasidic groups, who have grown in popularity and visibility in recent years, who share the characteristic of their Rebbe having passed on? Time will tell. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Moshiach will be a Misnaged: As Related by the Seventh (!) Lubavitcher Rebbe

Previously, a post here discussed the Lubavitch teaching that Moshiach will be a Misnaged (opponent of Hasidism).

Someone might think that it is an obscure, forgotten teaching, dug up from over two hundred years ago, when the Alter Rebbe was still alive. But that is not exactly the case.

I found some more information about it recently. It is mentioned in the recent book on the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe by Joseph Telushkin, and he gives a source for it, from the last Rebbe. The late seventh Rebbe himself (!) mentioned it, right in the beginning of his tenure as Lubavitch leader. His version is a bit different than what was posted here previously, but the basic facts are the same.

You can see it here, in a sicha from Chol Hamoed Sukkos 5712 (1951 C.E.), תורת מנחם ד:נג

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Rav Shraga Silverstein z"l - noted writer, translator, teacher, passes away

Looking through Mishpacha magazine of Parshas Noach, 28 Tishrei 5755, I noticed, on page thirty six, a report on the passing of noted author and teacher Rav Shraga Silverstein z"l, this past erev Rosh Hashanah. Rabbi Silverstein translated many important classical Jewish texts, making them more available to a broad public, as well as writing deep works of his own. It is only appropriate that he be remembered and eulogized. His impact may have been mostly quiet (at least on readers, who didn't encounter him beyond the printed page), but it was deep and profound.

המקום ינחם את האבלים בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים

P.S. The following info on him was printed with his edition of דרך תבונות:

Alumnus of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin, B.A., M.A. Brooklyn College, settled in Yerushalayim 1963 with family, where he taught in a foremost school of Jewish education as well as English in U.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lubavitch Public Relations pioneer R. Yehudah Krinsky speaks about his career

R. Yehudah Krinsky, longtime aide to the late Lubavitch Rebbe, recently spoke about his career at a gathering, relating some interesting anecdotes.

He reveals (25:55 app.) that his hiring as part of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's staff, way back in the 1950's, was specifically for P.R., public relations purposes. They needed someone who knew English, a native speaker like him. The Rebbe himself was behind it, he says (26:25 app.).

This shows how important P.R., public relations, was, and is, to the late Rebbe and Lubavitch. It is not some professor outsider who is saying it here, it is the Rebbe's close aide himself!

P.S. In the beginning of this video from the 5755 Lubavitch shluchim conference, one can see old, historic images of R. Krinsky, and a look at his years in the Lubavitch movement.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Alter Mirrer R. Moshe Pivovoz z"l recalls glory and mir-acle salvation of Mirrer Yeshiva

About a month ago, R. Moshe Pivovoz, an alter Mirrer Yeshiva talmid from Europe, who lived on the Lower East Side of NYC for many years, was niftar, at the age of ninety six. See posts on it, here, here, and here.

Approximately two years before that, he spoke at length (over an hour and a half), and in great detail, about his life, his memories of life with the Mir Yeshiva, as well as how it miraculously survived the WWII period. The talk was recorded and posted online, for which we express our great gratitude to those responsible.

The recording contains important information, which may not have been reported elsewhere. For example, Rav Pivovoz sings niggunim, songs, sung by the Yeshiva people at that time. He shares the tune for Chad Gadya sung by famous Alter Mirrer R. Shmuel Kharkover (Vilensky) z"l (thirty one minutes into recording).

He sings a beautiful, Yiddish song about the Yidden in golus, at twenty two minutes into the recording, and explains it in English.

At fifty one minutes into the recording he describes Simchas Torah at the Mirrer Yeshiva, and sings niggunim sung there. The old Litvish tunes are quite different than most popular Jewish music today.

Some Mir names heard in the recording, in addition to the above, include
R. Yosef Dovid Epstein, R. Yonah Minsker, R. Elchonon Hertzman, R. Chaim Shmuelevitz, R. Leizer Yudel Finkel, R. Chatzkel Levenstein, R. Avrohom Kalmanovitch, זכרונם לברכה.

You can check it out in video or audio format.

Part one (the major part)

Part two (smaller, conclusion)

Thank you