Friday, April 28, 2006
Maybe you heard the Satmar Rebbe - Moshe Teitelbaum - passed away on Monday night. He was an Auschwitz survivor, and a vital part of re-energizing the Hungarian-Chassidic community in America after the war. His loss is immeasurable to his followers.
What's really sad is the battle waging between 2 of his sons, Zalman and Aharon. Each claims that HE is the next Satmar Rebbe. They have been arguing for years in courts (a big no-no, as Jews are supposed to resolve legal disputes with a beis din). Less than 2 hours after the rebbe's death, the legal battle began anew. There were fistfights between the 2 camps at the rebbe's funeral. Can you imagine?
Reb Zalman resides in Williamsburg, the Brooklyn enclave of Satmar chassidim. He's the head honcho at the main Satmar shul there. Reb Aharon makes his home in Kiryas Yoel, a Satmar village in Monroe. He's the boss there. Both have their followers and factions. It wouldn't be so bad if there wasn't money and property (and power) involved. Not that I'm implying anything.
The late rebbe wrote in his will that Zalman should succeed him. You would think that would solve all this, right? But Aharon's side claims the rebbe had alzheimer's.
Now here's where I - as a Lubavitcher - scratch my head. If your rebbe says or does something, isn't that legit? Alzheimer's or no? Do you believe in your rebbe? We have our own politicking in Chabad too. People say some things that happened after the rebbe's stroke aren't valid. He couldn't talk, after all. I ask the same of my fellow Lubavitchers: Do you believe in our rebbe?
I know hashgocho protis - divine providence - applies to all of klal yisroel. How much more so does it apply to our righteous leaders, who embody us all? Let me tell you, this whole Satmar mess stinks. I'm curious to see who wins.
Believe me, it 'aint gonna be the chassidim.