Monday, March 1, 2010

Reb Shlomo Halberstam HaNavi

It was a wonderful Purim this year at Bobov, so why not a story about founding Bobover Rebbe, Reb Shlomo Halberstam. When I read this story in the Pshevorsker Rebbe's sefer, Shelosh Esrei Oros-Sipurei Kadosh, I really got a good laugh. In actuallity though it's a very sad story, but it tells of Reb Shlomo Halberstam's nevuah (prophesy). Of course that's a bit of a joke too.

Reb Shlomo Halberstam was av beis din (head of the religious court), in the city of Vyzhnytsia, known as Viznitz, before he became Rebbe. The people didn't get along with him, and he didn't get along with the people. While there, Reb Halberstam said that it's been tried and tested in Viznitz, and whenever a new Rabbi is appointed the people always have machlokes (disagreement) with him. HaBa'al Baruch Ta'am, author of sefer Baruch Ta'am, is a gadol (great man; giant) in Torah, and not a Rebbe of chassidim, and the people have machlokes with him. The gaon Rav Tzvi Hirsch had a position as Rav, and he was actualy a Rebbe. He wasn't well known and kept a low profile, but the people still had machlokes with him. There was another Rav who a gadol in Torah who was also a Rebbe of chassidim, and they still had machlokes with him. "And so to conclude," said Reb Halberstam, "I am not a gadol, nor I am not a Rebbe, and the people still have machlokes with me! This city has no mazel, and there will always be machlokes in Viznitz."

And so the Rebbe's words proved correct. Viznitz may have been transplanted from Poland to Bnei Brak, but there is still machlokes in Viznitz. The machlokes is just as bad, or even worse, then in Bobov or Satmar, with people literally beating each other up in the streets. There are stories of chassidim stealing each others Streimels and then ransoming them off to their owners. Like Bobov and Satmar, there will be two competing Rebbes when the present Rebbe passes away. Not to mention the Vizniter Rebbe of Monsey.

It should be noted, however, that while in the city of Viznitz, Reb Halberstam was responsible for the establishment of the first yeshiva in Poland.


Miriam Woelke said...


Not to forget the book burning of each other in Kiryat Vishnitz / Bnei Brak.

Mostly it is quiet but sometimes the Machloket just flames up again. Also because in Bnei Brak the Vishnitzer mostly live in the same neighbourhood (in the Kiryah).

Today a lot of politics are involved. The Vishnitzer Rebbe Israel Hager, the Satmarer Reb Aharon and the Belzer Rebbe are ONE family union.

Chazzan805 said...

Just to explain, the Satmar and Belzer Rebbes are married to daughters of the Viznitzer Rebbe, as is the Skverer Rebbe. But why did they ally themselves with Reb Yisroel (one of the sons of the Rebbe) in particular, and not Reb Menachem Mendel?

SBA said...

Nonsense - Viznitz and Vishnitzeh are 2 completely different places - nothing to do with each other

Chazzan805 said...

You see, it's all a little bit of a joke. Don't take it so literally and you'll find the humour.