Satmar

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The Fighting Teitlebaums

Jonathan Mark of the NY Jewish Week has the best background article I’ve seen on Satmar, although I’m sure some of the finer points will be debated by readers.

From the NY Daily News: Fists Fly At Satmar Rebbe’s Funeral.

Meanwhile, Adam Dickter, also of the NY Jewish Week, has a detailed blow-by-blow account of the conflict, including rival side’s PR firms and street warfare. It closes this way:

“[Williamsburg] is not a community where people move to the Five Towns or to Flatbush. You have four generations davening together in the same shul. There are very few dropouts. This is the great strength of Satmar and chasidism in general.”

In many ways, Satmar is the polar opposite of Chabad. Both had few members in 1950. (Chabad was actually larger than Satmar then.) Satmar now numbers about 100,000 worldwide. Chabad, about half that. But Chabad has thousands of supporters who, while not themselves fully observant, appreciate the good Chabad does – and the slick PR. Chabad also has within its ranks thousands of ba’alei teshuva; Satmar has few. A Lubavitcher hasid from 100 years ago would not recognize today’s Chabad or most of it’s hasidut. A Hungarian hasid from 100 years ago would find little different about Satmar lifestyle and theology.

Which path is dearer to God?

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25 Comments

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25 responses to “Satmar

  1. Anonymous

    NO PATH IS DEAR TO GOD IF IT INCLUDES INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL FIGHTING

  2. Dovid

    Certainly lubavitch is less dear to God. It is full of ignorant people who believe in a religon that is NOT Jewish. Moreover, the Lubavitch may love some drug addict in the street, but they hate satmar chassidim. They don’t care for those who do not promote their agenda. Feh.

  3. Ma. Rabbi

    Better check your numbers again. Satmar has more people in NY, but Lubavitch has Chassidim in 22 countries around the world. Not to mention all over the USA. How many Satmar live in Wisconsin? But Lubavitchers do.

  4. dovid

    So its important to God that one lives in Wisconsin? Lubavitch is a pathetic Hare Krishna like sect. Chassidim are bad enough. But crazies are unwanted.

  5. Anonymous

    The Reform movement claims 1.5 million members in the US. And they have pretty shuls.

  6. dovid

    So its important to God that one lives in Wisconsin? Lubavitch is a pathetic Hare Krishna like sect. Chassidim are bad enough. But crazies are unwanted.

  7. Ma. Rabbi

    Reply to David
    Its important to G-d that wherever Jews live, they have rabbis and teachers to serve them. Lubavitch is filling this need.

  8. ah yid

    any jew from 800 years ago would not recognize today’s Judaism,lifestyle and a lot of it’s torah.

  9. Have checked my numbers, MA rabbi. Chabad has about 50,000 ***HASIDIM***. I’m not counting the non-fum hangers on and the community mailing list that includes every MO person in the state.

  10. Dovid

    I am not so sure that we are obligated to run after everyone to be frum. The entire baal teshuva–and the lubavtich movement’s mass prostelyzing–actually evidence that the heart-on-sleeve, shallow approach to Judaism produces, at best, strange, sordid results, often manifested by non-Jewish like values absorbed into the “Jewish” divrei Torah and thinking. There really is no need for that. Not at all. Hence I, as representative of many, can hardly be greatful for the “Rabbis” (who I DOUBT are qualified) of Lubavitch who hang out in Kansas because they could not otherwise find a job.

  11. Yochanan Lavie

    Dovid, I agree with your ideas about Lubavitch. But I don’t believe that non-observant Jews should be written off (not that you’re saying that). That is elitist, and against Ahavat Yisrael. The current BT movement is indeed intellectually shallow. It needs to be replaced with a better outreach program.

    (Full disclosure: I was raised classically Reform and became more observant on my own. I am not 100% frum, but I am by far the most observant and knowledgeable person in my entire family).

    I agree with ah yid that Judaism does evolve over time, and our ancestors would not recognize everything we do. What is “authentic,” in my Am Ha-aretz opnion, are things compatible with Torah values. The clothing of the 18th century Polish nobility is optional at best.

    Shmarya asks which path is dearer to God. Only He knows. I suspect He both likes and dislikes aspects of both. I think He dislikes Chabad messianism and Satmar anti-Zionism, but likes the chesed from both.

    Not that anyone asked me…

  12. MP

    to “dovid”:
    “But they hate satmar chassidim”.
    This is a patent lie. Lubavitchers do NOT hate Satmar Chassdim CH”V! The was some bad blood and disagreement in the past, but there never hatred ch”v. They are fine yidden and big baalei chessed who have their own path in Yiddishkeit. Even disgusting sonei isroel (the likes of you) we do NOT hate. Itamu chattoim veloi choitim…
    But it is fair to say that unlike the previous Satmar Ruv (who was greatly respected despite the disagreements), Rabbi Moshe Teitelboim a”h was not held in great esteem in Lubavitch and generally regarded as a lightweight. And not because of any machlokes! Rav Hutner spoke out against Lubavitch and was not liked by Lubavitchers, but he was never dismissed as a lightweight.

  13. Shmuel

    1. G-d loves all Jews, and wants them to worship Him, not a dead rabbi. I hope Lubavitch eventually learns this.
    2. Satmar chessed is, in a word, exemplary. They are hard to beat. I put away my petty politics and appreciate their magnificent acts of lovingkindness; they put aside their petty politics and do the acts of chessed noone else can, and they day in and out help Jews they feel are totally wrong and holding up the real Moshiach. Yet they help out anyway. See what we can accomplish as Jews if we just put aside petty politics?

  14. Anonymous

    satmar has only grown because they have 10 children each – no body converts to satmarism – check out hella winston’s book – Unchosen – if you think none of them go off the derech – they do – and according to the book – there are many “frum” satmars who think it is ok to visit “professionals” (prostitutes)

  15. nachos

    Is there really a Lubavitcher in Wisconsin?

  16. nachos

    Is there really a Lubavitcher in Wisconsin? Is Rabbi Samuels really Lubavitch? lol

  17. Rabbi Samuels is a very nice man. I disagree with his theology, and have argued with him as far back as 1987 about Chabad, but he’s a difficult man not to like. I enjoy seeing him, and just heard recently from a friend who is going to Milwakee on business and plans to see Rabbi Samuels, who he knows as well. I told him to send my (sincere) regards. There are alot of shluchim I really can’t stomach. And then there are guys like R. Samuels. I just wish his theology was a bit more normative …

  18. Neo-Conservaguy

    Shmuel: I’m sure you meant to also mention that God loves all the nations, not just the Jews. He may have different requirements and plans for different groups, but He hears all prayers from all people.

    MP: I’ve never heard a good word from a Lubavitch Jew toward Satmar – quite the opposite. The stories of physical violence by Satmar against Lubavitch are well-known and not forgotten. I’ve been told that Lubavitch will not purchase products, including meat, with Satmar supervision, based upon these events of over a decade ago.

    Yochanan, who wrote, “I agree with ah yid that Judaism does evolve over time, and our ancestors would not recognize everything we do. What is “authentic,” in my Am Ha-aretz opnion, are things compatible with Torah values.”: get yourself to a good religious Conservative or left-wing Orthodox rabbi and bask in the light of truth. You’re on the correct path – avoid those who would ignore several thousand years of documented halachic evolution. The halacha has always changed to meet the dynamic tension of the past vs. the needs of the people – sometimes faster, sometimes more slowly, but always progressing (when not stunted over the past several hundred years in some places for complicated reasons).

  19. MP

    neo-conservative,
    I agree, there has been some bad blood in the past. And true, no one has officially removed Rav Dworkin’s a”h punitive issur on the Hisachdus Horabonim hechsher (he issued the issur as a response to their failure to condemn the violence). But I do not believe that the perpetrators of violence against the Lubavithers represented a sizable group among the Satmar-affiliated Jews. My personal interaction with them has always been very pleasant (no so with the ‘yeshivish’ types). My feeling about them is they are my brothers that have a different view on many things.
    And let me end with this note: no one in CH has forgotten the gangs of Satmars rushing into our neighborhood during the 1991 pogrom to help us out!

  20. “Rav Dworkin’s a”h punitive issur on the Hisachdus Horabonim hechsher (he issued the issur as a response to their failure to condemn the violence).”

    CORRECTION: Issued because the REBBE said the above. Rav Dworkin only rubber-stamped the thought.

    Now, ask yourself: When Chabad thugs tourtured and harassed Rav Rifkin in the 1970s, and THE REBBE did not denounce the violence, should all Jews have boycotted Chabad-supervised food?

  21. Dovid

    Even disgusting sonei isroel (the likes of you) we do NOT hate. Itamu chattoim veloi choitim…

    MP, you belong to Lubavitch. Ergo, you are a Sonei Yisroel and a Sonei Hashem. There is no point entering into dialogue with the ignorant. And your flippant, useless remarks only amplify the notion that one should stay away from am haaratzim.

  22. Yochanan Lavie

    Neo, thanks for the shout-out. BTW, the rabbi of my shul (I live in a small Jewish community) is Lubavitch, and he has friends who are both Satmar and observant but ex-Satmar. He has good things to say about that community.

  23. Shmuel

    Neo: agreed. G-d does hear the prayers of all nations.

  24. Nigritude Ultramarine

    no body converts to satmarism

    Not true. I know of several Jews of Puerto Rican extraction who are Satmar chasidim today.

  25. yoely

    counting the amountof satmarer shuls is completely different to lubavitch because for example rodney street has 2000 people every week and that is not the only beis hamedrash in town, in kiryas yoel another 2000, in london800-1000 between 4 shuls, just to name a few.

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