Why I am a Chasid of the Belzer Rebbe

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16 Responses

  1. LOberstein says:

    This morning a chusheveh member of the hanhalah of Ner Yisroel told me the same thing. He praised the Belzer Rebbe for attending the levaya and visiting the hospital. I think normal human beings think that way. The question is why others didn’t. I once heard the answer from Rabbi Moshe Horowitz, the Bostoner Rebbe. He told me about 40 years ago that the gedolim of the previous dor would state their opinion without hesitation but today he said, they first have to look around the room and think what will the others think of me if I take this position.
    The Belzer Rebbe is his own man, he doesn’t care what others will say and that is why he does what is right without concern for ultra-orthodox political correctness. I was told that the Roshei Yeshiva of Hebron were at the levaya also.

  2. mb says:

    Even this English Yekke can’t fail to be deeply moved by this posting.

    Thanks a zillion.

  3. mycroft says:

    Moving story-because unfortunately Klal Israel does not usually act and feel as “Am Echad” The generalnon-reaction to the tragedy by those who are not from the machene of the victims is something to cry about.

  4. Shalhevet says:

    From people who were able to attend the levaya, I heard that many people – across the religious spectrum – DL, MO, Yeshivish, Charedi, Chassidish, Litvish, Sefardic, not-yet-religious, all turned out together. A tragedy in Klal Yisroel is a tragedy for Klal Yisroel. A student of Torah is that to all.

  5. Garnel Ironheart says:

    It’s said that in the end of days, the face of the generation will be like the face of a dog which Rav Elchanan Wasserman interpreted as: just as a dog runs ahead of its master, supposedly leading him, he constantly looks back to make sure he’s going the right way.

    This would fit in well with Loberstein’s column.

    The kiddush Hashem of the Belzer’s actions only cast into greater relief the non-action of all his colleagues. Is he a modern day Noach, the single righteous man in his society?

  6. Bob Miller says:

    From the current issue of Yated Neeman (Monsey, NY):

    “We Are All Merkaz Harav
    by Avrohom Birnbaum

    Can dry ink on paper describe the magnitude of the tragedy?
    A friend who attended the levaya of the eight kedoshim murdered in cold blood at the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva last week told me that although being in the journalism business in Eretz Yisroel has unfortunately afforded him many occasions to observe and attend many tragic events, he can not recall a maamad such as last week’s levaya. The outpouring of grief, the pure Yiddishe tzaar, the tears and the anguish were so powerful and tragic that no person with a heart could remain unmoved.
    No person at that tragic levaya of eight innocent bochurim could return to mundane, everyday life. None of the attendees could return home to eat lunch, read the paper, or even engage in the pursuit of parnassa. All felt the instinctive pull to bury their tear-stained faces in a Gemara, Tehillim, or anything that could invoke Divine mercy and beg Hashem, “Mi she’omar l’olamo dai, yomar litzaroseinu dai.”
    For those not at the levaya, just the media pictures of eight figures wrapped in tachrichim lined up next to each other were heartbreaking. As ehrliche Yidden, we have an obligation to be noseh b’ol, to share the burden of tragedy with those directly affected.
    Just think of the parents, the fathers and mothers of these bochurim, who raised these children from infancy, merited to watch them grow and blossom, and sent them to learn in yeshiva…
    Human nature is such that, rightfully or not, we will eventually move on and forget about this tragedy.
    Their parents won’t. Theirs is a life sentence.
    Every night, when going to sleep, the mothers and fathers of these bochurim will face their pillows with torturous feelings of grief, guilt and thoughts of “where would he be now if he was still alive?” The pain that is their lot and will continue to be their lot is something that we, as Jews, are obligated to feel. Their pain should be our pain. Their tragedy is our tragedy. It is the most elementary duty of being noseh b’ol im chaveiro…”

  7. L Oberstein says:

    Garnel Ironheart is correct.I am finding out that everyone across the board shared in the mourning. Below is the message that Rabbi Hopfer, President of the Vaad Harabanim put in his shul’s bulletin. The question now is who will attend the shloshim, will other great rabbis also particiapte? Time will tell.

    “Families of the eight kedoshim just got up from shivoh this morning. We are fast forgetting what happened in the Darkei Tzion just one short week ago. We must be mishtateif b’tzaarom – feel the pain and anguish of the parents, siblings, families, and friends of these eight young Bnai Torah who were brutally murdered with Gemorras in their hands (and we must not forget the dozens of wounded).
    These young men had dreams. They dreamt they would grow up and do something for Klal Yisroel — do something for the honor of the Ribbono shel Olam — and their lives were ended for one reason only: they were Yehudim,and there is a whole wide world of people who do not want that.
    There is Amalek here today – let us not forget that, and let us realize what they truly want for us. Listen to the krioh this Shabbos, of Parshas Zochor very attentively; it will make a great difference.”

    A Gutten Shabbos,
    Yaakov Hopfer

  8. Michoel says:

    I wonder what the Belzer Rebbe would think of posts 1,3, and 5. Why can’t we just allow ourselves to be inspired without adding the cynicism about others?

  9. Garnel Ironheart says:

    We cannot allow ourselves to be inspired because it ends up producing absolutely nothing.

    How many people that attend “inspiring” Shabbatons make it to shul for the 6:45 am minyan the next Monday morning? How many chasidim will look at their dati leumi brothers with more understanding and a greater feeling of family because of the Belzer’s inspiring example?

    The greatness of the Belzer is not in that his act was inspiring but that he acted. Period. Instead of perfunctory statements or expressions of grief, he conducted himself with holiness and ACTED as a Jew should. And that is what sets him in stark relief to all the others who simply wrote stirring words and expressed heartfelt sympathies.

    And all he did was what any Jew who was able to should have done – comfort the mourners and visit the sick. Have we sunk so low as a people that a visit by a leader from one group to the stricken of another is a cause for inspiration?

    Is it not enough that there is literally a whole world out there working towards our destruction? Can this tragedy lead not just inspiring thoughts but actual Jewish deeds?

    We should not be inspired by the Belzer’s acts, may he and his family be blessed with long life, health and happiness, but rather we should ACT like he did. Then something positive will have come of all this.

  10. kar says:

    thank you for this post

  11. Bob Miller says:


    You’re under a misimpression that the Belzer Rebbe’s was a solitary act. Check around the Jewish Web and you’ll see this was far from the case.

  12. LOberstein says:

    A colleague told me a short while ago that he had just spoken to the Rosh hayeshiva , Rav Aharon Feldman who told him that Rav Elyashiv and RavNosson Tzvi Finkel and many others of that stature did indeed attend the funeral at Mercaz Harav.

  13. Ori says:

    Garnel Ironheart: We should not be inspired by the Belzer’s acts, may he and his family be blessed with long life, health and happiness, but rather we should ACT like he did. Then something positive will have come of all this.

    Ori: Good point. What have you done today to increase the unity of the Jewish people? Can you think of something extra you could have done but didn’t, and if so will you do it tomorrow?

  14. Michoel says:

    Garnel wrote:
    “but rather we should ACT like he did. Then something positive will have come of all this.”

    Nu? So writing something positive or negative is also a form of acting, is it not?

  15. Michoel says:

    Rabbi Oberstein wrote:
    “Rav Elyashiv and RavNosson Tzvi Finkel and many others of that stature did indeed attend the funeral at Mercaz Harav.”

    Rav Eyashiv is by-pass surgery survivor who bli ayin hara is in his upper nintees and walks very slowly with a walker. Rav Finkel has suffered for years with severe Parkinson’s. They both attended the levaya with unavoidable shoving and heat. Will Garnel please apologize for his accusation of “non-action”? Why on earth did you make such an assumption?

    We need not be overly pollyannish but we need to also know the Klal Yisroel is EXTREMELY GREAT! The Charedim, the Religious Zionist, baal habatim, yeshiva and seminary students, all of Klal Yisroel. And assuming bad things about them is not a simple matter at all.

  16. zalman says:

    Who knows the impact of a person’s deeds?
    Perhaps the current Rebbe’s actions and transcendence of ideological differences, were inspired by the first Rebbe’s act of gratitude to Rav Yitzchak Halevi Herzog, which were in turn inspired by Rav Herzog’s unsparing efforts to save and honor the first Rebbe (including a detour to Damascus)… all notwithstanding ideological differences.

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