Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Satmar Rebbe and a Censored Mishnah Berurah, and R. Baruch Rabinovich of Munkács

The Satmar Rebbe and a Censored Mishnah Berurah, and R. Baruch Rabinovich of Munkács

Marc B. Shapiro

1. In my recent interview in Der Veker, available here, I said that I hope to discuss how the Satmar Rebbe was mistaken in identifying a Zionist censorship in the Mishnah Berurah.

In Ha-Maor, Elul 5716, p. 30, M. Abramson tells the following story that appears under the heading על זיוף המשנה ברורה. The Satmar Rebbe was away from home and asked his assistant, R. Joseph Ashkenazi (who is the source of the story), to bring him a book. Ashkenazi brought the first book that came to his hand. It was a Mishnah Berurah printed in Israel. After investigating the history of the printing of the Mishnah Berurah at the National Library of Israel, I concluded that the copy the Satmar Rebbe was given was published by Pardes in 1955 (one year before the event described). Here is the title page.

Later the Rebbe returned the book to Ashkenazi and said that as far as he remembers, the language in section 156 of this copy of the Mishnah Berurah differs from what appears in other editions. Ashkenazi checked an older edition of the Mishnah Berurah and discovered that the Israeli edition had altered the original text.

The original Mishnah Berurah 156:4 reads:

מצוה על כל אדם לאהוב את כ"א מישראל כגופו שנא' ואהבת לרעך כמוך וכו' ודוקא רעך בתורה ומצוות אבל אדם רשע שראה אותו שעבר עבירה המפורסמת בישראל ולא קיבל תוכחה מצוה לשנאתו.

I have underlined the words that Abramson calls attention to. While the original text reads: לאהוב את כ"א מישראל, the Pardes edition has לאהוב את עמיתו. Abramson notes, “In this they wanted to show their support for democracy, that one needs to love not just the Jews but also the Arabs.” The Pardes edition also omits the second series of words that I have underlined, which express sentiments that are not very tolerant of the irreligious,[1] as well as some other words.

Here is the uncensored page in the Mishnah Berurah.

Here is the censored page in the Pardes edition.

Upon looking again at the Abramson article, I see that I misremembered, as it does not actually say that the Satmar Rebbe attributed this censorship to the Zionist publisher. He simply noticed the problem in the Israeli edition and said that this Mishnah Berurah is not like the others he has seen. It is Abramson who explicitly blames the Zionists (although perhaps the Rebbe agreed with Abramson). Abramson sarcastically writes that apparently they also provide copies of the Mishnah Berurah “to the children of Mapai and Mapam,” and this explains why they altered and censored the text.

Yet the truth is that what we have just seen has nothing to do with the Israeli publisher, Pardes. I found the same censorship in a Mishnah Berurah that appeared in Warsaw in 1895, and interestingly, it is this very edition that is found on hebrewbooks.org here. In other words, the changes we have seen were inserted under Czarist rule, and the Israeli publisher simply reprinted a copy of the Mishnah Berurah without realizing that it was a censored version.[2]

I know of another example where the altering of a text was blamed on the Zionists, and this time the one doing the blaming was a Mizrachi rabbi, R. Avigdor Cyperstein. In the Mossad ha-Rav Kook Archive of Religious Zionism there is a letter from R. Cyperstein to Dr. Yitzhak Rafael dated May 14, 1967. The relevant section reads as follows:
ידידי היקר – אני רוצה לזכות אותך בזכות הרבים, ובטח לא תחמיץ את המצווה הזו: כעת בכל העולם נפוצים הסידורים תוצרת הארץ הוצאת "בית רפאל", ת"א – "סדור התפלה השלם" – והנה מצאתי בסידור זה דבר נורא: במעמדות של יום הששי מובא הגמ' מנחות מד. המעשה באדם אחד שהי' זהיר במצוות ציצית וכו' ושם כתוב "באה לבית מדרשו של ר' חייא, אמרה לו רבי צוה עלי ויעשוני גיורת וכו', – והמולי"ם הללו העיזו לשלוח יד בגירסת הגמ', ובמקום ויעשוני גיורת – השליכו את הגיורת החוצה, והכניסו במקומה "עברית" . . . והמרחק-התהום בין גיורת לעברית – אין צורך לבאר, וגם כוונתם הטרופה, בוקעה מזה, ומעלה סרחון, בכי' לדורות. דומני שאין מי שהוא שהעיז לכבוש את המלכה בבית וכל ישראל – מתפללים מסידור זה, וע"כ מצווה לפרסם זה ברבים, ולתקן בהוצאות החדשות.
It is hard to know whether what R. Cyperstein refers to was indeed a Zionist inspired alteration. I say this because the version ויעשוני עברית is also attested to in a few sources that pre-date Zionism. I think it is more likely that the publisher just assumed that this is a more authentic reading.

Since I have been discussing the Satmar Rebbe, here is as good a place as any to note that contrary to popular belief, the name Satmar does not come from St. Mary. The original meaning seems to be a personal name, and in popular etymology the word came to mean “great village.”[3] Yet even in the Satmar community some believe that the word comes from St. Mary, and because of this they pronounce it as “Sakmar”. In pre-war Hungary this pronunciation was common among many Orthodox Jews, not only Satmar hasidim.[4] For one example of this, here is Samuel Noah Gottlieb’s entry on Satmar in his rabbinic encyclopedia, Ohalei Shem (Pinsk, 1912), p. 425. As you can see, while "Szatmar" appears in the vernacular, in the Hebrew the city is spelled "Sakmar". There are many more such examples.

This avoidance of saying the word "Satmar" is similar to the way Jews referred in Hebrew and Yiddish to the Austrian town Deutschkreutz. Unlike the case with Satmar, when it came to Deutschkreutz the universal Jewish name was Tzeilem (Kreutz=cross=tzelem). On the other hand, there was a significant Jewish community in the Lithuanian city of Mariampole, whose name comes from Mary. Yet I am not aware of anyone who avoided saying the name of this city. Shimon Steinmetz emailed me as follows:
We might also note other cities with Christian-y names, like Kristianpol. Kristianpoler was a name used even by rabbis, cf. Rabbi Yechiel Kristianpoler, and his son Rabbi Meir. In addition, the Lithuanian town Kalvarija, which has a very Christian association, Jews used it without any issue. On the other hand, the Jews called St Petersburg, "Petersburg," without the "St."
One other point about Satmar: In a lecture I mentioned that one of the old-time American rabbis met with the Satmar Rebbe and concluded that when it came to the State of Israel, you simply could not speak to him about it. He was like a shoteh le-davar ehad when it came to this in that no matter how much you tried to convince him otherwise, he refused to listen to reason. Someone asked me which rabbi said this. It was R. Ephraim Jolles of Philadelphia (as I heard from a family member). I don’t think his formulation is too harsh, as anyone who has read the Satmar Rebbe’s writings can attest. It does not bother me if he or anyone else wants to be an anti-Zionist. However, the anti-Zionist rhetoric found in the Satmar Rebbe’s writings, and those of his successors, is often more extreme than what we find among the pro-Palestinian groups. Take a look at this passage from Va-Yoel Moshe, p. 11.

אם נקח כל פירצות הדור והעבירות המרובות הנעשות בכל העולם וישימו אותם בכף מאזנים אחת, ומדינה הציונית בכף מאזנים השני', [המדינה הציונית] תכריע את הכל, שהוא השורש פורה ראש ולענה של אבי אבות הטומאה שבכל אבות הנזיקין שבכל העולם כולו, והן המה המטמאים את כל העולם כולו.

By what logic can one claim that such an outrageous passage would be anti-Semitic if said by Mahmoud Abbas, Linda Sarsour, Tamika Mallory, or Max Blumenthal, but not so if the very same thing is said in Satmar?

If anyone wants to see the results of this rhetoric, here are two videos with kids from Satmar. In this one the children are being taught that the Zionists started World War II and to hope for the destruction of the State of Israel.

In this video children were told that Netanyahu was in the car and they were to throw eggs at it.

It is very painful to see how children are being indoctrinated with such hatred. Again I ask, if such a video surfaced from a leftist camp, there would be no hesitation in labeling it anti-Semitic. So why are people hesitant to conclude that Satmar is also involved in spreading anti-Semitism?

The general assumption is that the Satmar Rebbe hated Zionism and the State of Israel so much, that he was inclined to believe even the most far-out anti-Semitic canards against the State. I have always found this difficult to believe. Say what you will about the Rebbe, there is no denying that he was very intelligent. Thus, I have a hard time accepting that he could have really believed in Zionist control of the media and other anti-Semitic tropes found in his polemical writings. In other words, I think it is more likely that he did not believe in any of these things but said them anyway in order to convince his followers not to give up the fight against Zionism, a fight that had been abandoned by so many former anti-Zionists after the Holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. In such a battle it was necessary to turn Israel not only into something bad, but actually the worst sin imaginable.

R. Nahum Abraham, a Satmar hasid and prolific author, has recently written that the Satmar Rebbe would deny things that he knew were true. He regarded his denials as “necessary lies,” in order to prevent people from being led in the wrong direction.[5] If the Rebbe thought that it was permissible to deny the truth of certain hasidic stories in order to prevent his followers from being influenced by them, isn't it possible that he would exaggerate the evils of the State of Israel in order to best indoctrinate his followers with an anti-Zionist perspective?

This approach also would explain a big problem that no one has been able to adequately account for. How was the Satmar Rebbe able to have friendly and respectful relationships with people who, based on what he writes, he should have regarded as completely out of the fold due to their involvement with the State of Israel? This includes even men like R. Aharon Kotler who supported voting in the Israeli elections, which the Satmar Rebbe claimed is “the most severe prohibition in the entire Torah.”[6] Yet we know that the Satmar Rebbe respected R. Aharon and others who had a very different perspective.[7] Can't this be seen as evidence that there is a good deal of ideologically-driven exaggeration in the Satmar Rebbe’s writings, and that not everything he says really reflects his actual views? After all, if he really thought that voting in the elections was the most severe prohibition in the Torah and the State of Israel was completely destroying Judaism, would he still be able to be on good terms with rabbis who instructed their followers to vote and be part of the State?

2. Since I mentioned Munkács in this post, let me return to another recent post here where I discussed R. Baruch Rabinovich, the son-in-law of R. Hayyim Eleazar Shapira and his successor as Munkácser Rebbe. When I wrote the post I was unaware of the fact that R. Baruch’s grandson, R. Yosef Rabinovich, recently published Ner Baruch, which is a collection of Torah writings and letters from R. Baruch. He includes in the volume the haskamot written by R. Baruch. I examined new printings of the volumes with haskamot that I was unaware of and found that R. Baruch’s haskamah to the first edition of R. Yitzhak Adler, Seder Shanah ha-Aharonah (Munkács, 1937) was deleted in subsequent printings. The same thing happened with R. Baruch’s haskamah to R. Judah Zvi Lustig’s Yedei Sofer (Debrecen, 1938). Here is how the page with the haskamot looks in the original printing.

Here is how the page with the haskamot looks in the reprint, where R. Baruch’s haskamah has been deleted.

Another point about R. Baruch: In 1946 he tried to become chief rabbi of Tel Aviv but lost out to R. Isser Yehudah Unterman. This is discussed in Samuel Heilman’s Who Will Lead Us? From a letter that appears in the archive of R. Isaac Herzog, and was sent to an unknown rabbi, we see that in 1950 R. Baruch was also interested in becoming av beit din in Tel Aviv.

This information is, to the best of my knowledge, not recorded anywhere else. In this letter, which I found here (a site that contains more interesting information and pictures about R. Baruch) we that R. Herzog, R. Unterman, and R. Yaakov Moshe Toledano were strongly opposed to R. Baruch receiving this appointment. Although the reason for this opposition is not mentioned, it is perhaps because they felt it was an abomination that someone from the anti-Zionist Munkács dynasty should have such a position in the State of Israel. However, as I have mentioned in my previous post, it is doubtful that R. Baruch ever really shared his father-in-law’s strong anti-Zionism. It is possible that the anti-Zionist statements he made in the pre-war years might not have reflected his actual beliefs but were due to his position as rebbe. That is, as the successor of R. Hayyim Eleazar Shapira he felt that he had to make such statements. It is also the case that had he not continued his father-in-law’s anti-Zionist stance he would not have retained much of a following in Munkács.

When R. Baruch wanted to become chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, a letter in opposition to this was published by Chaim Kugel, head of the Holon Municipal Council:
Is it conceivable that this man . . . who hounded Zionism and Zionists . . . who loyally continued the line of the Munkács court, which cursed and banned any Jew who pronounced the word Zion on his lips . . . is it conceivable that this man will appear as a representative and moral leader in the first Hebrew city, and be a guide to its residents and Zionists?[8]
In those days it was obvious that positions of chief rabbis of important cities would go to Zionist rabbis. Here, for example, is a letter to R. Unterman from David Zvi Pinkas, an important Mizrachi figure and signatory of Israel’s Declaration of Independence.[9] Note how Pinkas tells R. Unterman that the Mizrachi expects him to follow the Mizrachi approach in everything he does. If R. Unterman could not commit to this, then Pinkas would have found another rabbi who could.

In my earlier post I neglected to mention R. Baruch’s Hashav Nevonim that appeared in 2016. This book is full of interesting material, and the more I read from R. Baruch, the more impressed I am. He really was a fascinating figure in so many ways.

There is a good deal I can say about Hashav Nevonim, but let me just call attention to the first essay that appears in the book, focused on conversion. Conversion is a matter often in the news. I have said on numerous occasions that what currently passes as the standard approach to conversion was not the case at all in previous years. To begin with, among the rabbis there were different understandings of what kabbalat ha-mitzvot entailed, and the currently accepted view that a prospective convert must commit to become fully halakhically observant, as practiced today in Orthodox communities, was not the view of many, and perhaps not even the view of most. The notion that a conversion could be annulled after the fact was hardly ever put into practice, although even this is found on occasion and R. Baruch cites some authorities who speak about this very point. Thus, it is not, as has often been alleged, a modern haredi idea with no historical basis although, as mentioned, it was very rare.

After going through the various views on conversion, R. Baruch concludes as follows (p. 47).

מנהג העולם נראה כמקבל דיעה זו, וכל מי שנתגייר, בין ששומר מצוות, ובין שחוזר ועובר עבירות, דינו כישראל, כל שקיבל עצמו עול מצות עם גירותו.

I have underlined the words which are not currently accepted by many (most?) conversion courts and which are at the heart of the controversy regarding voiding conversions. Today, the assumption of many conversion courts is that if someone who converts is later seen violating halakhah in a serious way, we can assume that this person never really accepted the mitzvot at the conversion, and the conversion is therefore not valid. It is this argument which was hardly ever put into practice in previous years and now appears to be quite common, so much so that converts claim to feel that their conversions are always “on condition,” namely, that even many years after converting there is the possibility that the conversion will be declared invalid because of a lack of proper kabbalat ha-mitzvot.

On pp. 27-28, R. Baruch calls attention to the novel view of R. Isaac Benjamin Wolf, author of Nahalat Binyamin (Amsterdam, 1682), a book reprinted a number of times and which carries the haskamah by R. Jacob Sasportas. Here is the title page.

R. Isaac is described as rabbi of מדינת מרק. This refers to the German county of Mark, about which see here.

Here is page 89a in Nahalat Binyanim

According to R. Isaac, in places such as Spain and Portugal, where one could not practice Judaism openly, if a Jewish man marries a non-Jewish woman, and the woman chooses to practice Judaism, both she and her children are regarded as Jewish. How can she be Jewish when she never immersed in the mikveh and there was no beit din to preside over the conversion? R. Isaac says that there is no obligation to immerse in the mikveh when there is danger (as there would be in a place with the Inquisition looking to find Crypto-Jews). Although he does not elaborate, it is obvious that according to R. Isaac kabbalat ha-mitzvot in front of a beit din is not an absolute requirement. In other words, he holds that in a she’at ha-dehak one can convert on one’s own, without a beit din.

This is a fascinating position that is at odds with accepted halakhah, so much so that most people won’t even believe that such a position is possible. R. Baruch is not able to cite anyone who agrees with it. The position of Nahalat Binyamim is discussed by R. Eliezer Waldenberg, who not surprisingly completely rejects it.[10] However, he does cite a medieval view that has some similarity to Nahalat Binyamim:

היה מקום להביא סמוכין לזה משיטת האביאסף שהובא במרדכי ביבמות סו"פ החולץ שמפרש דברי הגמ' שם שאומרת מי לא טבלה לנדותה שמשמע דבדיעבד הוי גר גמור גם בטבילה בלי ג'.

Unlike R. Waldenberg, R. Hayyim Amsalem, Zera Yisrael, p. 290, does not reject Nahalat Binyamin out of hand. Instead he writes:

חזו דברי גאון קדמון זה לאיצטרופי, ולדון להקל בבני האנוסים ובבני יהודים לענין גיורם וחזרתם לדת, שכל שימולו ויטבלו לשם יהדות בהודעת מקצת מצוות כהלכה, סגי להו אף לכתחילה, אע"פ שאנחנו לא יודעים מה שהיה אח"כ לענין קיום המצוות, וזה אתי אפי' למ"ד קבלת מצוות מעכבת.

See also Jacob Sofer, Sipurei Yaakov (Lvov, 1913), vol. 2, pp. 7ff. (no. 42), for a lengthy story starring the Maharal. The tale is obviously fictional, but of importance for our purposes is that the story, reported in a hasidic text, tells of a woman who ran away from her non-Jewish husband and married a Jewish man, had children, and was a righteous woman. However, this woman never converted with a beit din, and yet on p. 8a it specifically states that she and her children are to be regarded as Jewish. R. Nahum Abraham points to this as an example of an anti-halakhic hasidic story that cannot be true.[11]

Finally, Nahmanides in his commentary to Yevamot 45b has an interesting view and I do not know if it is accepted.

ואיפשר לומר דגבי קבלת מצוות צריך שלשה אפילו בדיעבד דמשפט כתיב ביה מה התם שנים שדנו אין דיניהן דין אף כאן אינו גר אפילו בדיעבד, אבל מי שהודיעוהו מקצת ענשן של מצות ומתן שכרן של מצות וקיבל עליו בב"ד לטבול ולמול, אם הלך ומל וטבל שלא בפני ב"ד הרי זה כשר ולא פסלינן לזרעיה

3. There are many new books to speak about. One of them is Chaim I. Waxman, Social Change and Halakhic Evolution in American Orthodoxy. The content of the book can be seen from the title. I will be reviewing this book in an academic journal, so I do not need to speak about it here. I would, however, like to call attention to one point that will not be mentioned in my review. Chapter 5 is titled “Tensions Within Modern Orthodoxy.” Not surprisingly, it deals with women rabbis. On pp. 109-110, Waxman refers to R. Jeremy Wieder’s view on the matter (the name is misspelled “Weider”). He quotes from an article in the Yeshiva University Commentator, which summarizes R. Wieder’s position as follows: “[I]n light of the success of the yoetzet halacha program in increasing overall observance in the communities that he has observed, it may be very beneficial to have women rabbis.”

I was quite surprised to see such a liberal position expressed by a YU Rosh Yeshiva, and I checked the source which appears here. R. Wieder is indeed quoted saying, among other things, that there is no binding tradition on the matter of women rabbis since the issue of women in leadership positions is a new question, thus preventing the development of a “stream of Jewish tradition.” However, when I read the article I did not find anything about how it may be “beneficial to have women rabbis.” I then noticed the following at the beginning of the article. “Editor’s Note: This article has been edited to more precisely convey the opinions represented.” In this case, I think the meaning of “more precisely convey” is that what originally appeared was altered (presumably at R. Wieder’s request) in order to prevent controversy. Yet even with the removal of R. Wieder’s view that it may be “beneficial to have women rabbis,” the current text of the article does not alter the substance of R. Wieder’s opinion. Thus, we find the following:
Lastly, Rabbi Wieder talked about the issue from a philosophical standpoint. He argued that expanding the pool of rabbinic students could lead to an increase in qualified rabbinic candidates. Rabbi Wieder added that he has observed the yoetzet halacha program increase overall halachic observance in the communities it serves and he expressed his optimism that women rabbis could generate similar improvement.
These words are certainly in opposition to the OU’s recent statement on women and religious leadership which is available here.

The question I have been asked a few times is if in the current political climate it is possible for a rabbi at a mainstream Modern Orthodox synagogue, or a teacher at a mainstream Modern Orthodox school, to feel free to express support for the ordination of women. Would such a rabbi or teacher risk censure from his colleagues or even the possibility of losing his job? The answer to these questions will determine if we are dealing with a real wedge issue (as I think we are).

Another new book is R. Bezalel Naor’s Shod Melakhim. R. Naor is well known as an outstanding interpreter of R. Kook. His great knowledge of the entire scope of Jewish thought (not just R. Kook) is apparent to anyone who examines his writings. Yet I do not know how many are aware of R. Naor’s achievements when it comes to rabbinic literature. This latest book is a collection of R. Naor’s studies on various halakhot in the Mishneh Torah. As part of R. Naor’s explication of these halakhot, he offers the reader wide-ranging enlightening discussions using numerous sources, both traditional and academic. For those who can appreciate the synthesis of the traditional and the academic approaches to the study of Maimonides, R. Naor’s new book is a real treat.

In the past I have spoken about the late R. Mordechai Spielman’s great work on the Zohar, Tiferet Zvi. The seventh volume of Tiferet Zvi has recently appeared, and can even be purchased on Amazon. Anyone who is interested in how the Zohar has been interpreted, and the impact of the Zohar on later rabbinic literature, will benefit greatly from of R. Spielman’s writings.

A new book (over 600 pages) by Benjamin Brown has appeared. It focuses on the Karlin hasidic dynasty. When I received the book in the mail, the first thought that came to my head is that Brown is a phenomenon. There is no other way to put it. It is not just the quantity of his literary output that is astounding, but also the quality, as everything he writes is worth reading.


[1] Regarding the Hafetz Hayyim’s view of the non-religious, which is very much at odds with current approaches in the Lithuanian yeshiva world (at least in America), see Benjamin Brown, “Ha-‘Ba’al Bayit’: R. Yisrael Meir ha-Kohen, he-‘Hafetz Hayyim,’” in Brown and Nissim Leon, eds., Ha-Gedolim (Jerusalem, 2017), pp. 127ff. Brown also shows that in a few letters the Hafetz Hayyim adopts a more moderate perspective.
[2] In future posts I hope to say a good deal more about the Satmar Rebbe’s writings. For now, let me just respond to someone who emailed me and compared R. Hayyim Eleazar Shapira, the Munkácser Rebbe, to the Satmar Rebbe. It is true that they are similar in terms of their strong opposition to Zionism, and the Satmar Rebbe can be seen as the Munkácser Rebbe’s successor in this matter. However, in terms of their scholarly approach, they are quite different, as the Satmar Rebbe did not have the Munkácser’s critical sense. In fact, I was quite surprised to learn that the Satmar Rebbe accepted as authentic the forged anti-Zionist letters published by Chaim Bloch in his three volume Dovev Siftei Yeshenim. See R. Dov Schwartz, Meshiv Devarim (New York, 2011), pp. 140-141.
[3] See here.
[4] Shimon Steinmetz called my attention to סאקמאר appearing as the name of the city as early as 1859 in R. Hayyim Meir Ze'ev ha-Kohen, Sha'arei Hayyim (Pressburg 1859), in the list of subscribers at the beginning of the book. (You can find this on Google books, but the version of the book on hebrewbooks.org is missing these pages, as well as other pages.) This shows that referring to the city as "Sakmar" was already common. Steinmetz also called my attention to the same thing in the list of subscribers found at the end of R. Hayyim Joseph David Azulai, Kise Rahamim (Ungvar, 1870). In this case, you can see the subscribers in the copy on hebrewbooks.org, but it has been removed from the copy on Otzar ha-Chochmah. If this was removed intentionally, on the assumption that it is not really part of the sefer, it is a big problem, as the subscriber information can be of great historical importance. It is vital that both hebrewbooks.org and Otzar ha-Chochmah scan books in their entirety, without making any changes whatsoever.

R. Yoel Teitelbaum used the term Satmar all the time, and it was on his stationery, but I did find a number of places where he wrote Sakmar, spelled סאקמער and סאקמיר. See e.g., his approbations to R. Abraham Hayyim Reinman, Va-Yetze Perah (Satmar, 1940), R. Asher Steinmetz, Mikveh Yisrael ha-Shem (Jerusalem, 1961), and his letter in Divrei Yoel: Mikhtavim (Brooklyn, 1981), vol. 2, p. 81. See also Esther Farbstein, Be-Seter ha-Madregah (Jerusalem, 2013), p. 862, for a 1949 letter from Budapest to R. Yoel in which the word Sakmar is used. Shimon Steinmetz wrote to me as follows:
I think you can see by his [R. Yoel's] correct spelling in Latin letters that he didn't take it seriously, and perhaps not too many Jews did. After all, R. Joel Teitelbaum himself, who I think most people would consider fairly zealous, did not insist or use it very much. . . . This tells me that when people did call it Sakmar, most of them were probably just calling it that because it was already what Jews called it. Perhaps it was even a sly joke to begin with.
[5] Peti Ya’amin le-Khol Davar (n.p., 2017), p. 31
[6] Divrei Yoel, Mikhtavim, no. 90.
[7] In a future post I will publish a letter I received from Moshe Beck dealing with this point. Beck is the chief rabbi of the U.S. Neturei Karta.
[8] Translation in Heilman, Who Will Lead Us?, p. 45.
[9] The letter is found in the Israel State Archives, David Zvi Pinkas collection, 3070/15-פ.
[10] Tzitz Eliezer, vol. 17, no. 42:11.
[11] Heikhal ha-Besht 18 (Nisan 5767), p. 18. For an Arabic version of this story, see Bayit Neeman 96 (26 Tevet 5776), pp. 4-5.

1 comment:

David Ohsie said...

"This article has been edited to more precisely convey the opinions represented." Love the euphemism here :).

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