Oldest Lag Baomer Fire in America
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May 5, 2023 6:43 am at 6:43 am #2187363
I have heard that the fire by the Zidichov Rebbe of Chicago is the oldest lag baomer fire in america.
It supposedly was started by the current rebbe’s grandfather when he arrived in chicago nearly 100 years ago.
Does anyone know of an older one?
That still continues till today?May 5, 2023 9:26 am at 9:26 am #2187417
Can you provide any primary source ?
There must be some mention of this in the past 100 yearsMay 5, 2023 9:30 am at 9:30 am #2187425takahmamashParticipant
What’s the difference? There’s no halacha that one needs to light, or even attend, such a fire.May 5, 2023 11:13 am at 11:13 am #2187432
Just an interesting (historical) fact.
That is what the family says.
They must know some family history.
What do the know-it-alls say?
Dovi Safier? Do you read this?May 6, 2023 9:26 pm at 9:26 pm #2187662
I believe that in Stolin they had a fire since 1910 or earlier. I’ll have to check the exact year.May 6, 2023 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm #2187666
Okay, if he was the one who started it, it would have been in 1924.May 6, 2023 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm #2187687Little FroggieParticipant
The thing started as a “Geshmake” idea, some Eretz Yisroel chassidim did after the music in Stolin way back…
Way back those days (40+) no one had any festivities besides Stolin and maybe some other very few. They danced in Stolin for 3 – 4 hours straight, until about 12 – 1 and then went home. The Eretz Yisroel Yungeleit and Bochurim wanted a taste of Meron, so after everyone left, they lit a fire in a trash can and sang the night away…
After a few years of doing it that way they made it more official. And gave it more focus.
And the rest is history.May 7, 2023 7:52 am at 7:52 am #2187701
Does not sound right.
R Yochanan came to America in 1950….
Little froggie’s estimate of 40 years makes more sense…May 7, 2023 7:53 am at 7:53 am #2187704
Motcha: The Detroiter only came in July 1923.May 7, 2023 10:19 am at 10:19 am #2187770
“Way back those days (40+) no one had any festivities besides Stolin and maybe some other very few.”
I dont remember a fire in the 90’s. They had music and dancing yes. Are you sure they had a fire 40 years ago?May 7, 2023 11:47 am at 11:47 am #2187811Always_Ask_QuestionsParticipant
Biggest bonfire in Chicago was in 1871. I don’t know whether anyone blamed Jews.May 7, 2023 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm #2187861smetheworldneedsmoreloveParticipant
minhag yisroel kdinMay 7, 2023 3:26 pm at 3:26 pm #2187891
@AAQ, the cow belonged to O’Leary but the original name was Goldberg.May 7, 2023 3:28 pm at 3:28 pm #2187899Little FroggieParticipant
Yeah, I’m pretty sure. It was in the 80’s. And after every else left. Very unofficial, low-key, modest at around two in the morning.May 8, 2023 12:41 am at 12:41 am #2188015Yserbius123Participant
Rav Eichenstein, the Zidichover Rebbe of Chicago, needs a speedy refuah sheleima!
יהושע העשל בן שארצא באבטשא בתושח”יMay 8, 2023 12:44 am at 12:44 am #2188021
That’s why I said 1924. Since the Detroiter came in 1923, after Shavuos, he would have made his first Lag Ba’Omer hadlakah a year later, in 1924. But it’s possible he didn’t after all.May 8, 2023 12:45 am at 12:45 am #2188024
They’ve had a fire in Stolin at least in the past 55 years. I’m 60, and I remember it ever year. But I happen to know they had t earlier as well, and I remember when we were the only people in Boro Park who did it at all. I can’t speak for Boston or Detroit, though.May 8, 2023 6:12 am at 6:12 am #2188042HaLeiViParticipant
One minute. Is that “they” or “we”?May 8, 2023 10:23 am at 10:23 am #2188132
could be that could explain why I don’t remeber
thanksMay 11, 2023 9:37 pm at 9:37 pm #2189860ujmParticipant
In 1938, in Los Angeles, the Kossoner Rebbe, Rav Moshe Shmuel Rottenberg (who had previously been Rebbe in the Kloiz in Kisvarda) made a Lag B’Omer bonfire. I saw an image of the invitation to it. The invitation also referenced that he did it the previous year, so this wasn’t his first year doing it in Los Angeles.
The Kossoner moved to America in the 1930s, at which point the Salkaver Rov from Tiszaszalka, Rav Roth, took over his position in the Kloiz in Kisvarda.May 11, 2023 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm #2189865
An interesting add-on is the fact that R Yehoshua Heschel Eichenstein (I), the first Zidichov Rebbe in Chicago, later became a mechutan of the Kossoner Rebbe, when his son R Avraham married the Kossoner Rebbe’s daughter.
(See @Yserbius123’s post. Shartza Babtza was a daughter of the Kossoner Rebbe.)
Apparently the Zidichov Rebbe started a tradition (1924) and was followed by his future mechutan (1937). What an appropiate shidduch:) 🙂May 17, 2023 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm #2191214
So here is some historical facts; obtaining a permit to light a fire in the street even for burning the Chometz was almost impossible in a discussion I had about with the Bostoner Rebbe Harav Pinchas Dovid Horowitz ztl about ten years ago he then said to me, the Chometz was burned in a very small can only the ten small pieces of bread not even the Lulav so it will not be noticeable, he remembered, most Jews would throw the Chometz in large buildings that had an incinerator or simply flush it down in the toilet, some would throw the Chometz into to the lake or ocean just as they did it by Tashlich, so here is a first hand from a Rebbe that was born and lived here in the USA. When I asked him about Lag Bu’Omer Hadloka he had a laugh, it was impossible, he said yearly some Rebbes and Kehelos would place an ad in local newspapers that they will make an Hadloka just as in Miron for the purpose to attract people to the Bais Hamedrash so they can generate some funds, but sadly and as a fact, the Hadloka never materialized. No permit from the police or fire department was granted. Therefore when his grandfather the old Bostoner Rebbe who he was named after, when he came to the USA in 1924 and heard about the problem to obtain a permit decided to make a so-called inside Hadloko lighting it in a little larger glass plate filled with oil for RASHBY and more small plates for other Tanuim for witch grew bigger and larger only in the ’80s and 90′ by his father Harav levi Yitzchok ZTL and his uncle Harav Moshe ZTL , but all Hadlokos maintained indoors and small so no one should get scared and call the fire department,
STOLIN: when I spoke to Rabbi Meir Pilchick Ztl he referred Me to Reb Pinchas Shor an old stolin chossid who will know about the Hadlokos in the USA, on a phone conversation with him, he said one year after the Histalkus of the Stoloner Rebbe Harav Yochanan ZTl they followed the Bostoner Rebbes initiative and started to lighten an inside Hadlokos with music, this went on inside for years for the same reason unable to obtain a permit, during the years in the ’60s some Talmud Thoras took the risk only during the day and made an Hadloko in a safe manner like in the yard so as not to be noticed in the public street, I heard even one got a permit for it as a campfire, and the fire department was present,
Rimanov: in the year 1994 the Rimanover Rebbe Harav Chaim Eluzer wassertheil decided to lite an outside Hadloko on the street where he resides at 1870 53 Street with only a permit from the police it was lit without a permit from the fire department, after 20 minutes the neighbors called the fire department and it was immediately extinguished no fine was given since a police permit was given, on that same year the Lelover Rebbe Harav Alter Biederman ZTL decided to wait until the neighbors ware at sleep and on about 11;00 pm he too lit an Hadloka the fire department arrived and put the fire out too.
More to follow as part #2 ”the first permit from the fire department”May 19, 2023 12:58 am at 12:58 am #2191722
Still it doesn’t mean others didn’t make one in their backyard or other private area.
Obviously we aren’t necessarily talking about homogenous 10 foot outdoor fires in the middle of the street with hundreds of participants…
It probably depended on the city/neighborhood/neighbors, but a modest fire in a private area might totally have been possible.
(The 1956 number for Stolin does make more sense than @Motcha’s 1910…..)May 19, 2023 2:16 am at 2:16 am #2191728
you are correct. As a matter of fact, I heard and saw some photos taken from an Hadloka in Boro Park by the Ribnitzer Rebbe ZTL Harav Chaim Zavell Abrowmowitz, who thousands flock to his kever in Monsey 24/7. He would light a Hadloka without prior notice, without music, and with a very short dance. His first took place in 1976 but was not consistent in the following years. It can be called a private Hadloka but may have been the seed planted for future years. I don’t have any other photos documented but did hear that the Yerushalayimer Rebbe, Harav Wolf Samet ztl, who lived for about 30 years in the lower east side since about 1929 and established the Kerestirer Bais Hamedrash there, in a postcard written in 1935 to his brothers in Yerushalayim he mentions that he made a Hadlakah for R’ Shimon outdoors. But it does not specify how or where it was done.May 19, 2023 3:50 pm at 3:50 pm #2191826
WOW!May 22, 2023 7:13 am at 7:13 am #2192162
Part #2 ”The first permit from the fire department”
The following year 1995 was the turning point for the concept of Hadlokos in the USA and later to the entire globe.
It was obvious then that a fire department permit must be obtained in order to have a real celebration with no fear of getting the fire department to disturb the atmosphere of Tefilah, Devakus, and Simcha, but a severe debate erupted then between the askonim with a legitimate argument, in the Heimishe community the majority of all local askonim claimed that another fire celebration would seriously damage the enormous efforts put in for years to regulate the Serafas Chometz fires and in such advocating and encouraging for a second fire and a new affair that is just not a must. It was very difficult to obtain a permit. Even for Chometz burning the fire department was closing an eye on the Serafas Chometz fires adding a lag Baomer only a few weeks later will jeopardize their long years of efforts. Therefore only a handful of askonim even wanted to get involved, but it was the Rimanover Rebbe who said he will not give up! we need Rebbe Shimon Bar Youchai’s light and spirit with miracles here in the USA too. “With RASHBI’S merit, his kedusha in the streets, we must ignite the fire to distinguish the fire of the Yetzar Hara in the streets,” proclaimed the Rimanover Rebbe, and he insisted that it is doable. So it was the Rimanover Askonim, notably headed then by a young man from Boro Park Mr. Shlomo Heller, who devoted time and effort and with the intervention of a prominent askon and a police liaison Rabbi Berish Freilich who had a previous friendship with the Rebbe started their efforts to obtain a better permit. With Hashems Help, Rabbi Freilich got the police to grant a better permit that will also close the entire street by the police department itself. This permit will officially bring the police to close off the street of the Bais Hamedrash and so if the fire department will come they will not interfere in the work of the police. This was the advice from Rabbi Berish Freilich then, to light an Hadlaka outside the previous Rimanov Bais Hamedrash at 1639 46th Street. that will attract a very large attendance.
acting on his advice, A very intensive campaign was then launched with big posters on polls and walls and press ads, which brought a large turnout of people to the first public Hadloko at the nightfall of Lag Baomer. After the street was closed and it seemed a success a few Rebbe’s were also in attendance pouring oil and cotton to join this historical moment, such as the Lizensker Rebbe Harav Yossef Mayer from Monsey ZTL, and the Tenke Rav Harav Dovid Friedman ZTL. As the Rimanov Rebbe took the torch and lit the Hadloka, the music was playing and some attendees were seen shedding tears from their eyes, praying. It seemed as if a new light has come to the USA. But after 45 minutes suddenly the ”Satan” could not agree to such a thing of Kedusha happening for the first time in the street of the USA legally, and so, since the previous Rimanov Bais Hamerash was in very close proximity to the Stoloner, just a half a block from the Stoloner Bais Hamedrash on 16 av. a small group of young Bachurim took a garbage can placed it in the alleyway of the back yard and some private houses and lit it as a Hadloko. This immediately alarmed the neighbors, who called the fire department. They came and extinguished both Hadlokos. Rabbi Meir Piltchik who lived only a few houses away from the Batai Medrashim Felt very uncomfortable about what just happened the Rebbe’s Hadloka was disturbed he came over to the Rimanover Rebbe and committed himself that the following year a Fire department and police permits will be granted and the Rebbe will not have Agmos Nefash. He said, “I don’t know how but a Chossid gets done what the Rebbe wants!” And so he did, the following year in 1996 the Stoliner Askonim after trying all ways to have the fire department agree to the Hadlokos on Lag Baomer failed since the local Askonim did not help, being concerned that the Hadlokos will interfere with the Sereifas Chomitz Fires. The Rimanover Rebbe came up with an idea and communicated to Rabbi Meir Pilchik zl to send some neighbors who lived on the block to go to the fire department and ask for a permit and call it a ”Block Party” which includes a bonfire and grills. A block party was very popular in those years even in some boro park streets. This was a brilliant idea, Rabbi Meir got over 25 signatures to request a permit, and for the first time the fire and police department permit was granted to the Stolon kehila on 16 av. and to run into 46 St. to the Rimanover Kehila. at that point after heavy advertisements about the upcoming Stolin Hadloko most Askonim caved in and gave up some were even offered help by the police, not even knowing how the fire department granted a permit, More Kehilas could now join or have their own Block Party. This was in 1996 – תשנ”ו. [for the elders who remember lightning and thunderstorms with buckets of rain from above helped spoil the fire at nightfall but not the spirits!] The rest is history.
The Rimanover Rebbe has been traveling to different neighborhoods, cities, and countries to promote his initiative. Today, there are over 500 Hadlokos worldwide, outside of Israel, with thousands of attendees. In the year 2016, the Rimanover Rebbe started to introduce a Hadloka to conclude the Lag Baomer the first and second Hadloka took place in Lakewood just outside Srulowitz Bais Hamedrash והיה לעת ערב יהיה אור !
I would like to thank all involved who took the time to share with me their recollections and photosMay 22, 2023 10:35 am at 10:35 am #2192281
@max, what is your fixation on Wassertile? you posted no less the 6 posts about himMay 22, 2023 1:24 pm at 1:24 pm #2192292
I have his Sefer Ohr Hashabbos and got connected to his Divrai Torah. it’s a beautiful Sefer on Parsha insights, go buy it and learn in it, it will change you into a much better personalityMay 22, 2023 2:13 pm at 2:13 pm #2192325
@max, I have a seforim shank with seforim from Devray Chaim, Iros Moshe, Imray noam, Noam elimelech etc. yet Iam not fixated on them, the only thing I can say about him was every time I walked on 53 street, he tried to shlep me in to be a tzenterMay 23, 2023 7:08 am at 7:08 am #2192459
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